Alternative asset specialist Beneficient set to complete $3.3 billion SPAC merger

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Beneficient is set to go public this week with a blank-check vehicle in a deal valuing the financial services firm at about $3.3 billion, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Last year, Beneficient announced plans to go public via a merger with Avalon Acquisition Company. Avalon stockholders approved the deal on Tuesday, said the source who was not permitted to discuss the confidential matter.

Beneficient provides liquidity and services to qualified individuals and smaller institutions invested in private equity, venture capital and other alternative assets. It has disclosed providing investors $1.1 billion in liquidity.

The company is expected to begin trading this week on Nasdaq under the ticker BENF and the combined company will be called Beneficient, the person said.

Representatives for Beneficient and Avalon could not be reached for comment.

The company previously said access to public markets will help finance more liquidity transactions in the roughly $12 trillion alternatives sector.

Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are publicly listed companies that were raised with the intention of merging with a private company, which then goes public through the merger.

The market for SPACs has contracted in recent months and many so called de-SPACed businesses that were formed by the merger of an operating business with a blank check company are trading below their original IPO price and some have filed for bankruptcy, lawyers and industry analysts say.

Beneficient is led by founder, CEO and Chair Brad Heppner, who previously founded and acquired a number of companies in the alternative asset space, including the Crossroads Group. Avalon is led by Donald Putnam, founder of Grail Partners and Putnam Lovell Securities, and Craig Cognetti, a partner at Grail Partners.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)