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Foley-backed SPAC agrees to US$7.3 bil deal with Blackstone's Alight

Foley-backed SPAC agrees to US$7.3 bil deal with Blackstone's Alight
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BENGALURU/NEW YORK (Jan 25): A blank-check firm backed by prominent investor Bill Foley has agreed to take Alight Solutions LLC, the US benefits services provider owned by buyout firm Blackstone Group, public in a deal valued at US$7.3 billion, the companies said on Monday.

Reuters was first to report on Sunday that special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp was nearing a deal with Alight.

Funding for the deal includes a so-called private investment in public equity (PIPE) of US$1.55 billion. Alight's existing owners will retain a stake once it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "ALIT".

Foley Trasimene's shares rose 9.4% in premarket trading.

Based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, Alight offers cloud-based benefits administration and human resources services to businesses including 70% of the Fortune 100 companies in 188 countries, according to its website.

"It is deeply embedded in health, wealth and payroll with all of these large companies," said Foley, who will become Alight's chairman. "This is a company which is the kind of classic utility that I love to invest in."

Foley added he will advise Alight regarding its next growth phase including boosting the percentage of its business done outside the United States from 10% today.

Alight Chief Executive Stephan Scholl said the deal would help the company offer its integrated platform of employee benefits to more clients.

With the pandemic causing severe economic dislocation, companies are being forced to cut costs as much as possible, while also making benefits — especially around healthcare — easy to access. Outsourcing firms should benefit from this trend.

The deal comes after Blackstone and peer CVC Capital Partners said last month that they would merge Paysafe Group with Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp II in a transaction that valued the payments processor at US$9 billion.

Alight was advised by a bank group led by JPMorgan Chase & Co and law firm Kirkland and Ellis, while Bank of America Corp and Weil, Gotshal & Manges provided financial and legal assistance respectively to Foley Trasimene.