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Israeli firm files for $220 million SPAC on Wall Street, days after Taboola deal

ION Asset Management sets up new company aimed at taking another Israeli tech company public in US after closing $2.6 billion agreement earlier this week

Luke Tress is a video journalist and tech reporter for the Times of Israel

A delivery man riding a bicycle passes the New York Stock Exchange and Fearless Girl, a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal, in New York, January 27, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A delivery man riding a bicycle passes the New York Stock Exchange and Fearless Girl, a bronze sculpture by Kristen Visbal, in New York, January 27, 2021. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

An Israeli special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, filed Tuesday to raise $220 million in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange with the aim of taking an Israeli tech company public in the future.

ION Acquisition Corp 2, formed by Israel’s ION Asset Management, filed for its IPO days after its parent company’s first SPAC merged with Israel’s Taboola at a valuation of $2.6 billion.

SPACs are shell companies that aim to raise capital by going public, then merge with and into an existing company, in a process that is generally easier and quicker than a traditional initial public offering. SPACs have been around for decades but have been a major market trend in the past year.

ION’s new SPAC is not eyeing any particular business but will focus on taking another Israeli company public in the US, according to its Tuesday filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The firm said venture capital investments have been growing in Israel in the past decade, but most capital comes from foreign investors, meaning there is limited competition for a fund like ION based in Israel with management that has local roots and expertise.

The new SPAC plans to raise $220 million by offering 22 million shares at a price of $10 each. It plans to trade under the ticker IACB.U.

ION and its affiliates manage assets and support ventures worth over $2 billion, its filing said. It has worked with leading Israeli tech firms including Fiverr, Mellanox and SolarEdge.

ION’s first SPAC, ION Acquisition Corp 1, went public in the US in October 2020, raising close to $260 million with the goal of merging with an Israeli tech company. It trades under the ticker IACA.

Its new acquisition, Taboola, is a content recommendation platform used by online advertisers. The company says it is the world’s leading discovery platform, reaching over 1.4 billion individuals a month, or 44.5% of the world’s internet users. It works with over 10,000 publishers and brands, including CBS, Fox, USA Today and NBC, it says.

Taboola said it took in close to $1.2 billion in revenue and $34 million in operating income last year.

The boards of both Taboola and ION unanimously approved the agreement, which now needs approval from the shareholders of each firm and to pass regulatory requirements.

ION Asset Management was established in 2006 and is based in Herzliya.

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