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Media SPAC led by former CBS chief begins trading on NASDAQ By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A view of Nasdaq’s Manhattan borough market, New York City (U.S.A), October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton//File Photo

By Helen Coster

(Reuters) – Argus Capital, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by former ViacomCBS (NASDAQ:) and CBS executives targeting media, entertainment and sports investments, is expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ Wednesday, seeking to raise up to $265 million.

The company aims to take part in the current deal-making frenzy which has characterized the media sector this year.

Argus is led by Joseph Ianniello who was the CEO of CBS and ViacomCBS Digital’s chief executive officer Marc DeBevoise. The SEC filed the paperwork in July.

This listing occurs at a moment when the wider SPAC market is being weighed down due to heightened regulatory pressures and saturated demand. The majority of SPACs listed with the SEC are trading below initial public offerings prices.

In an interview on Tuesday, DeBevoise characterized the company’s acquisition targets as “tech-driven media” with billions of dollars of enterprise value, including spin-offs from conglomerates and other companies.

“From the explosion of devices and connectivity, to streaming becoming mainstream and impacting traditional models…. all of these changes have created a lot of opportunities in our space,” DeBevoise told Reuters.

SPACs are shell companies which raise capital through an initial public offer to make a private company publicly through a merger.

These SPACs are a common alternative to IPOs for companies. It allows them to go public faster, with less regulation and more certainty regarding the value and amount of funds they have raised.

SPACs have been attractive financial instruments in media, which often requires scale to survive. BuzzFeed also announced a June merger with 890 5th Avenue Partners. The deal valued the company at $1.5billion net cash.

Forbes magazine published a statement last month stating that the company would be going public via a merger with SPAC from Hong Kong. The deal values the combined entity as $630 million.



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