September 26, 2020

Perella Weinberg Plans Blank-Check Firm for Women-Led Business

(Bloomberg) — Perella Weinberg Partners, the investment bank founded by Joe Perella and Peter Weinberg, is planning to set up a blank-check company that focuses on finding a business owned and led by women.

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PWP Forward Acquisition Corp. will seek to raise about $200 million, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg News. Stacia Schlosser Ryan, the firm’s co-head of consumer and retail as well as co-head of diversity and inclusion, will be chief executive officer of the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

PWP Forward will focus on targets in consumer products and services, health and wellness and financial technology. It will count four women as executives and plans to file to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in September. It will be the first SPAC of its kind, according to Perella Weinberg.

A representative for Perella Weinberg didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

SPAC fundraising is at a record high this year, with over $34 billion raised, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. More than $12 billion was raised in 2019, which had also been a record year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. SPACs raise money from public investors to buy a company they haven’t identified yet.

Blank Check IPOs, Status Symbol of 2020, Have Raised $32 Billion

Of the more than 160 SPACs that have gone public since 2019, Perella Weinberg calculates that only one has had a woman CEO.

“One woman CEO out of 160 SPAC IPOs is not acceptable,” Weinberg and Co-Presidents Dietrich Becker and Andrew Bednar said in the memo addressing the firm’s partners on Thursday. “It is a truly unique moment when we can apply our core expertise to support women in business and at the same time help transform the capital markets.”

Ryan, based in Chicago, has 20 years of investment banking experience, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was previously a managing director at Morgan Stanley before joining Perella Weinberg in 2018.

This isn’t Perella Weinberg’s first blank-check company. Its BPW Acquisition Corp. combined with women’s clothing retailer Talbots Inc. in 2010.

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