Chera family goes SPAC shopping

Retail giant is latest to join IPO craze

New York /
Jan.January 22, 2021 07:00 AM
Isaac and Richard Chera 

Isaac and Richard Chera

One of New York’s biggest retail owners is going shopping — with a blank check.

The Chera family’s Crown Acquisitions is raising $200 million for a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that is focused on proptech, according to a regulatory filing.

Crown PropTech Acquisitions will look to acquire a startup with “innovative software, hardware, products, operations or services that are technology-driven and enhance the value of the infrastructure or property ownership,” the filing said. Ideally, the firm will merge with a business that intersects with industries beyond real estate.

Crown, which owns one of New York’s biggest retail empires, was founded by the late Stanley I. Chera, who died in April 2020. Isaac and Richard Chera, two of Stanley’s sons, run the company. Their brother, Haim, moved over to Vornado when Crown acquired a 24 percent stake in the real estate investment trust’s retail portfolio. Crown also has a brokerage arm, Crown Retail Services.

Crown benefited from the city’s retail boom of the mid 2010s, leaving it exposed to retail’s subsequent downturn. After the Gap did not pay rent at 170 Broadway, Crown defaulted on the $70 million mortgage covering the retail condo at the Financial District property.

Along with CEO Richard Chera, the SPAC’s management team includes Rasheq Zarif, lead strategic advisor, who is also a managing director at Deloitte Consulting, and Pius Sprenger, its CFO, a former executive at Cantor Fitzgerald and Deutsche Bank.

RBC Capital Markets is underwriting the offering.

Blank-check firms made a comeback last year, and a growing number are circling proptech startups.

PropTech Investment Corp., headed by former Abu Dhabi Investment Authority executives Tom Hennessy and Joe Beck, was an early entrant. Their first SPAC took Porch.com public last year, and their second SPAC is in the market for an acquisition.

Tishman Speyer and CBRE also have SPACs, as does Howard Lutnick and Cantor Fitzgerald, whose SPAC plans to merge with View, the SoftBank-backed smart glass maker. (SoftBank has its own SPAC, for that matter.)

This week, proptech VC firm Fifth Wall Ventures filed plans to raise $250 million for its own blank-check firm.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Theaters in some cities are opening with restrictions. (Getty, Photo Illustration by Alison Bushor for The Real Deal)
    Coming attraction: Movie theaters reopen in New York, San Fran
    Coming attraction: Movie theaters reopen in New York, San Fran
    Restaurants and bars accounted for a majority of the gains in February (iStock)
    Leisure, hospitality big winners in February job gains
    Leisure, hospitality big winners in February job gains
    Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Hippo founders Assaf Wand and Eyal Navon, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman (Getty, LinkedIn)
    Hippo strikes $5B SPAC deal with LinkedIn, Zynga founders
    Hippo strikes $5B SPAC deal with LinkedIn, Zynga founders
    Ascena owns Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Lou & Grey and Cacique. (Getty)
    Ascena restructuring approved post-bankruptcy
    Ascena restructuring approved post-bankruptcy
    NYSRA president Melissa Fleischut (Photos via iStock, Getty, NYSRA/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    Nearly 30% of New York restaurants expect to shutter in coming months
    Nearly 30% of New York restaurants expect to shutter in coming months
    Target CEO Brian Cornell. (Getty)
    Internet, shminternet: Target adds, renovates stores as money pours in
    Internet, shminternet: Target adds, renovates stores as money pours in
    (iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    A year later, deferred rent may be restaurants’ downfall
    A year later, deferred rent may be restaurants’ downfall
    Photo illustration of CoStar Group CEO Andrew Florance (iStock, Getty/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
    CoStar ups its bid to acquire CoreLogic
    CoStar ups its bid to acquire CoreLogic
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...