Gleiss Lutz advises AEON in connection with the IPO of Signa Sports United by way of a De-SPAC transaction
Gleiss Lutz advises the Japanese AEON Co., Ltd. (AEON), one of the leading retailers in Asia, as a shareholder in Signa Sports United GmbH (SSU), in connection with its IPO in New York. The online sporting goods retailer SSU, which is domiciled in Berlin, plans to make its debut on the stock exchanges in the course of a so-called “De-SPAC transaction”. The company is to be valued at USD 3.2 billion.
A SPAC (“special-purpose acquisition company”) is a shell corporation already listed on a stock exchange which merges with an unlisted company. In the case of SSU, the US company Yucaipa Acquisition is functioning as the SPAC. Yucaipa is contributing USD 345 million as equity; additionally, the IPO candidate will receive USD 300 million out of a capital increase by the investors participating in the De-SPAC transaction. SSU will use some of the money from the transaction to purchase the British online bicycle retailer Wiggle, which generates an annual turnover of around USD 500 million.
AEON’s retail network comprises around 300 subsidiaries, from convenience stores and supermarkets to shopping malls and specialist retailers. AEON is the largest developer and operator of shopping malls in Japan.
SSU is part of the corporate group of the Austrian investor René Benko and is the world’s largest pure play online sporting goods retailer. The company operates more than 100 webshops in 20 countries with over seven million online customers. With the inclusion of the most recent acquisitions, for the 2020/21 financial year ending in September, the company expects to achieve an operating profit of around USD 70 million and turnovers of EUR 1.6 billion.
AEON was advised by the following team of Gleiss Lutz lawyers, headed by Dr. Michael Burian (partner, lead, M&A) and Dr. Stephan Aubel (partner, capital markets law, both Frankfurt): Dr. Christopher Vogl (Stuttgart), Dr. Torsten Spiegel (Berlin, both M&A), Jannik Hermes (corporate, Frankfurt) and Kyoko Mogi (M&A, Stuttgart).
Gleiss Lutz has a leading Japan practice which frequently advises Japanese companies on transactions in Germany. Gleiss Lutz had already advised AEON in 2018 in connection with a 7.5 percent holding in Signa Sports and in 2019 in connection with the increase of this holding.