Tishman Speyer jumps on the SPAC bandwagon

160 SPACs went public so far this year, raising $59B

Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer, COO Paul Galiano, CIO Jenny Wong (Photos via Getty; iStock; Tishman Speyer)
Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer, COO Paul Galiano, CIO Jenny Wong (Photos via Getty; iStock; Tishman Speyer)

Tishman Speyer has formed a $300 million blank-check company — becoming the first major real estate owner to embrace what’s become a wildly popular but speculative investing tool.

Through a newly formed SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company, the landlord is looking to merge with a proptech company, according to a regulatory filing Friday. TS Innovation Acquisitions Corp. will be valued at $375 million following its IPO, the filing said.

As one of the country’s largest commercial landlords with 78 million square feet of real estate, Tishman Speyer is hoping its industry experience will give it an edge in a space that’s become crowded with the likes of billionaire Bill Ackman to Oakland Athletics exec Billy Beane.

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“We believe that the network of contacts and relationships of our management team will provide us with an important source of acquisition opportunities,” the IPO filing said.

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Over the past three years, Tishman has “selectively invested” in 11 tech startups, including Ritual, a restaurant pickup app, according to the IPO filing. It also backed VTS, Latch, a smart lock startup, and Lyric, an Airbnb-backed short-term rental startup that effectively closed during the pandemic. And it’s invested in its own co-working model, Studio, with locations in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

The SPAC deal would be Tishman’s biggest bet yet on proptech.

SPACs, which first became popular in the 1980s, have experienced a major resurgence this year. The entities have no underlying assets and are formed with the goal of merging with a target company and taking the company public.

So far this year, 160 SPACs have gone public, raising $59 billion, according to SPAC Insider. That’s up from 59 SPACs that raised $13.6 billion in all of 2019.

iBuying startup Opendoor is going public in a $4.8 billion deal with Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital. Porch.com, a home-services startup, is also going public in a SPAC deal with PropTech Acquisitions Corp, founded by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority alums Thomas Hennesy and Joe Beck. (Hennessy and Beck have raised two, $175 million blank-check companies focused on proptech.) And last week, former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff’s SPAC raised $350 million in its IPO.

But SPACs aren’t for everyone: Airbnb reportedly rejected a SPAC deal from Ackman before filing to go public the traditional route.

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