- Danny Meyer's special purpose acquisition company, USHG Acquisition Corp., filed to raise $250 million in an initial public offering, according to a Friday SEC filing. USHG Acquisition was founded in 2020 and will be listed on the NYSE under the symbol HUGSU.
- USHG is interested in "culture-driven businesses" for potential mergers, according to the filing. The company will target technology, e-commerce, food and beverage, health and retail and consumer goods industries.
- "Blank check" SPACs have already raised more than $35 billion so far this year, according to Bloomberg. In 2020, SPACs raised more than $83 billion, which accounted for 46% of the total of all IPOs.
Though USHG Acquisition Corp. isn't hungry for restaurant acquisitions alone, the creation of the company adds to a recent uptick in SPAC activity in the foodservice space. Last week, SPAC Fast Acquisition struck a deal to merge with Tilman Fertitta's Landry's and Golden Nugget to take the restaurant company public once again. BurgerFi went public last year after a $100 million deal with SPAC Opes Acquisition Corp.
Tastemaker Acquisition Corp., for example, began trading on Jan. 15 after raising $240 million in its offering, which was $40 million higher than expected. Tastemaker was founded by former executives of Jamba and Barteca, and the company is interested in acquiring restaurants and restaurant technology companies, Dave Pace, co-founder of Tastemakers, said in a recent interview. Fifty percent of the company's target group will include middle-market restaurant concepts, and the other half will be comprised of restaurant technology firms that support restaurants, suppliers, equipment manufacturers and other restaurant-adjacent companies.
"I think the M&A environment is going to continue to be robust through the balance of the year as companies get more certainty around the future and get more confidence in the future," Pace said. "There's a lot of money out there chasing deals."
SPACs are "blank check" shell companies created by investors to raise money through and IPO and acquire another company. Going public can give restaurants more access to finance and avenues to provide shares to employees, Pace said.