UBS promotes SPAC head to co-lead U.S. equity capital markets business: memo

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen at a branch office in Zurich, Switzerland June 22, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) - UBS Group AG UBSG.S has elevated the head of its special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) practice, Jeff Mortara, to co-lead its equity capital markets (ECM) business for the Americas, the investment bank said in internal memo seen by Reuters.

In the new role, Mortara will work with Brad Miller, UBS Co-Head of global banking Ros L’Esperance said in the memo, which was sent to staff on Monday. The memo’s contents were confirmed by a bank spokeswoman.

Mortara’s promotion underscores the growing popularity of SPACs, as well as their importance to UBS’s ECM franchise.

So far this year, UBS has worked on 18 SPAC IPOs with a market share of 7.65%, ranking it fifth across Wall Street, up from 4.48% and eight place in 2019, according to SPAC Research.

SPACs have raised a record $59.2 billion through IPOs in 2020, up from $13.6 billion in 2019 which had been the previous record year, SPAC Research data showed.

Mortara joined UBS in 2016 after 25 year with Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE, where he helped initiate its SPAC business in 2004.

Mortara’s move comes after UBS earlier this month appointed Carlos Alvarez as head of its permanent capital solutions business, which will build continue to out the bank’s SPAC practice, according a separate memo seen by Reuters.

A SPAC is a shell company that uses proceeds from an IPO to acquire a private company. For the private company, merging with a SPAC is an alternative to going public through a traditional IPO.

So far this year, the likes of sports betting platform DraftKings Inc DKNG.O and electric commercial truck maker Nikola Corp NKLA.O have gone public by merging with a SPAC.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston; Editing by Nick Zieminski