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May 23, 2022

UK digital bank Atom eying US listing via SPAC merger

UK-based digital lender Atom Bank is planning to list itself on the US stock market, Sky News has reported citing undisclosed sources. 

The digital bank is planning a £700m merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) formed by Wilbur Ross.

Notably, Ross served as the commerce secretary in the US administration between 2017 and 2021.

As per the terms of the deal, Atom Bank will merge with Ross Acquisition Corp II and raise around £150m in PIPE (private investment in public equity) investment.

Ross and other founding members of the SPAC, which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in the spring of last year, could also join the PIPE round. 

Banking industry sources told the publication that the talks are at an advanced stage but there is no guarantee that a deal will materialise given the weak market sentiment. 

If a deal is announced, it will take around six months to complete. 

In February this year, Atom Bank raised £75m in funding and at the time the bank’s CEO Mark Mullen said: “It is also a fundamental next step on our journey toward IPO.”

Founded in 2014, the digital lender is backed by the likes of BBVA, Toscafund and Infinity Investment Partners.

As Atom Bank’s business is entirely focused on the UK market, it would have been expected to go public in London.

Speaking to City AM, Tech London Advocates chief Russ Shaw said: “Although is it great to see UK fintech Atom Bank potentially prepare to list on the public markets, it is disappointing – if true – to see a home-grown fintech opt for a SPAC listing in the US versus a listing on the London markets.”

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