Lawrence Ho’s Black Spade SPAC to List in Hong Kong


Black Spade Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) controlled by Melco Resorts & Entertainment (NASDAQ:MLCO) Chairman Lawrence Ho, is planning to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange, according to a recent regulatory filing.

Black Spade
Black Spade
Melco Resorts Chairman Lawrence Ho. His Black Spade Acquisition filed for a Hong Kong listing. (Image: Macau Business)

The blank check company is working with BOCHK Asset Management, a unit of Bank of China Hong Kong, on the Hong Kong listing. It’d be the exchange’s 11th SPAC listing since it started allowing such firms to trade on the bourse in January.

HKEX introduced the Hong Kong SPAC listing regime in January 2022 after receiving substantial market support to its SPAC proposal consultation. As at 17 March, HKEX had received ten SPAC listing applications, reflecting strong market interest and demand for this new listing route,” according to the exchange operator.

Black Spade is looking for merger targets “related to, or is in the entertainment, lifestyle and health care industry”, according to the regulatory filing. SPACs typically have two years to find a merger partner or face the specter of liquidation.

SPAC Sequel for Ho

This isn’t the first time Ho embraced the blank check structure and it’s not the first time he used the Black Spade Acquisition name.

Last year, Black Spade Acquisition (NYSE:BSAQ) listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It’s yet to find a takeover target. Gven Ho’s background and the recent flurry of deals involving SPACs and gaming companies, it’s reasonable to expect investors will ponder if the new blank-check will go in that direction.

“We believe China’s growing middle-class population of more than 350 million people, with its rapidly evolving consumption patterns and increasing spending power, will continue to shape multiple industries in Asia and across the globe,” according to Black Spade’s S-1 filing.

Some US-based SPACs are either in the process of finalizing deals with gaming companies or looking for targets in the industry, but US investors’ overall enthusiasm for blank check deals is cooling because many deSPACed firms, including betting firms such as DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG), Rush Street Interactive (NYSE:RSI), and Skillz (NYSE:SKLZ), have tumbled in epic fashion.

Black Spade Plans

It remains to be seen if the Hong Kong version of Black Spade will pursue a gaming target. The regulatory filing makes clear the SPAC will look for opportunities that “can benefit from the collective network, knowledge and experience of [its] promoters” and that “is related to, or is in the entertainment, lifestyle and health care industry.”

Founded in 2017, Black Spade Capital is Ho’s personal investment vehicle. It controlled $1.02 billion in assets across various business in the China area, as of the end of 2021.

Hong Kong-based Melco is one of the largest Asian gaming companies with venues including Altria Macau and City of Dreams on the Cotai Strip and Manila, among other destinations.

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