Beauty tech firm Perfect to go public in U.S. via $1 bln SPAC deal

The Wall St. sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 3 (Reuters) - Perfect Corp, an Asian startup that provides software to beauty and fashion companies, has agreed to go public in the United States by merging with a blank-check firm in a deal that values it at $1.02 billion.

The merger with Provident Acquisition Corp (PAQC.O) announced on Thursday will hand proceeds of $335 million to Perfect, including $50 million from a private investment in public equity (PIPE).

The PIPE round included existing investor Snap Inc (SNAP.N) as well as French luxury group Chanel, software firm CyberLink and Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido.

New Taipei City-based Perfect helps companies like Estee Lauder (EL.N) and Macy's Inc (M.N) boost their digital offerings with augmented reality and artificial intelligence-powered try-ons and facial modeling.

The company, whose shareholders also include Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GS.N) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd , will use the proceeds to bolster its technology and expand beyond the beauty and fashion markets.

The deal comes at a time when investor appetite for new listings has waned due to market volatility, prompting several companies to scrap their proposed SPAC mergers.

The fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine has also added to investor worries about expected monetary policy tightening.

Perfect's merger is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. It is also supported by a $55 million investment that includes Ward Ferry Management and an affiliate of Southeast Asian technology-focused fund Provident Group.

The Provident SPAC raised $230 million in its initial public offering in January last year. SPACS use proceeds from an IPO to merge with a private company, thereby taking it public.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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