Paysafe, backed by Blackstone and CVC, in merger talks with Bill Foley SPAC: Bloomberg

November 6, 2020.
Blackstone is a major backer of Paysafe Group. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Blackstone is a major backer of Paysafe Group. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Group, a payment processing company backed by private equity firms and CVC, is in talks to combine with a special purpose acquisition company supported by dealmaker Bill Foley, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The SPAC, called Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II, is looking to raise $1 billion in equity financing for the tie-up, Bloomberg said, adding that the figure implies a valuation for the combined company of more than $10 billion when debt is included.

Spokespeople for Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II, Paysafe and CVC declined to comment on the report, while representatives from Blackstone did not reply to a request for comment.

Paysafe, which is based in the U.K., has businesses that include paysafecard, which enables people without bank accounts to make online payments; Skrill, which offers fast money transfers and “quick checkout” for payment acceptance; and Paysafe:cash, which lets people make online payments at physical locations called payment points.

Paysafe was acquired by Blackstone and CVC in December 2017 for GBP 2.96 billion ($3.89 billion), according to an announcement from Linklaters, which advised banks that were involved. The deal was one of the 10 biggest leveraged buyouts that year, Linklaters said.

A SPAC is an investment vehicle that raises money from public investors with the intention of merging with at least one operating company. U.S. activity involving SPACs has surged this year, according to SPAC Research, which reports $63 billion raised and 170 IPOs so far this year, up significantly from $13.6 billion raised and 59 IPOs in 2019.

Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp. II raised $130 million through an August initial public offering, a figure that it said involved issuing 100 million units for $10.00 each. Each unit is made up of one share of Class A common stock plus one third of a warrant, the SPAC said. Warrants give a holder the right to purchase shares at $11.50 each, the entity noted.

The SPAC, in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said that its sponsor is Trasimene Capital FT, LP II, which in turn is beneficially owned by Foley, who is also its chairman. It is Foley’s second such vehicle, with the first having gone public in May.

Foley’s professional background includes having founded Fidelity National Financial, where he serves as chairman and previously served as CEO; being Trasimene Capital’s senior managing director and being chairman of companies such as Dun & Bradstreet, which focuses on financial analytics and data, and Black Knight, which focuses on mortgage industry analytics and data and of Cannae Holdings, which is an investment holding company.

Foley is also executive chairman of the company that owns the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, which is called Black Knight Sports and Entertainment LLC. Foley is joined by the Maloof family as comprising the Golden Knights’ ownership team, according to its website.

Foley, as part of an investor group, also worked with Blackstone on a 2017 acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, the group’s acquiring company, then called CF Corporation, said at the time. The deal, which was worth almost $1.84 billion and involved the buyer changing its name to FGL Holdings, involved having Blackstone provide funding support, the company noted. The company was acquired by Fidelity National Financial in June, Fidelity & Guaranty said.