Two SPACs backed by billionaire Ken Moelis withdraw U.S. IPO plans

Chief executive officer of Moelis & Co., Ken Moelis (C), smiles after ringing the bell to mark the company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

March 16 (Reuters) - Two special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) backed by billionaire investment banker Ken Moelis have withdrawn their plans for initial public offerings in the United States, according to regulatory filings on Wednesday.

The SPACs, ACI Corp III and Atlas Crest Investment Corp IV, had filed for their IPOs in March last year and were looking to raise up to a combined $1 billion.

Moelis was among a number of high-profile investment bankers and investors, a list that includes Bill Foley and Chamath Palihapitiya, who rushed to take advantage of the lucrative dealmaking frenzy with SPACs.

However, interest in the market has waned, with shares of several companies such as Grab Holdings and BuzzFeed Inc (BZFD.O), which merged with SPACs, tumbling after going public.

High rates of redemptions by SPAC investors have also dampened investor appetite, as has volatility in the U.S. markets triggered by rate hike concerns and geopolitical tensions.

A SPAC backed by Moelis, founder and chief executive officer of investment banking firm Moelis & Co, has previously taken electric aircraft startup Archer Aviation Inc (ACHR.N) public. However, even on that deal, the companies had to amend terms to cut Archer's enterprise value by $1 billion.

SPACs are listed firms with no business operations but a pool of capital raised through an IPO that they use to merge with private companies, in deals that take the private companies public.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by David Gregorio

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