Private equity firm Helios Investment Partners plans to merge with Onyx Acquisition Co I in a deal valued at nearly $1 billion, including debt, the blank-cheque firm said on Wednesday.
Founded in 2004, the Africa-focused firm manages $3.6 billion of funds. Helios acquired a 60% stake in major oil company Oando’s downstream business along with Vitol in 2016.
The deal, expected to close in the second half of next year, will create a publicly listed energy transition infrastructure platform, Helios Energy Transition Infrastructure (HETI), focused on the development of natural gas and low-carbon energy infrastructure businesses and assets in Africa.
Helios is pushing ahead with its listing plans at a time few are. Rampant inflation, aggressive interest rake hikes and the fallout from the Russia-Ukraine war led investors to shun speculative investments like special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).
A record number of companies opted for SPACs over traditional initial public offerings in 2021. But regulatory concerns and heightened scrutiny seems to have cooled down Wall Street’s hottest investment trend, with majority of SPACs trading below their offering prices.
Still energy companies fared better, with Greenfire Resources Inc, X-energy and NET Power filing to go public in the last few months.
A SPAC typically sells shares at $10 apiece, puts the cash in a trust account, and then searches for a company to buy. Its shareholders can choose to redeem their shares in return for cash.