Goldman Sachs plans $350 mln 'blank-check' IPO

miércoles 26 de marzo de 2008 04:14 CET

NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N: Cotización) on Tuesday filed plans to raise $350 million for a new 'blank-check' company, in the latest initial public offering for the increasingly popular vehicle.

The new company, Liberty Lane Acquisition Corp, also said it is making significant changes to the typical structure of a blank-check offering, in that management will put up less of its own money and receive a smaller stake than normal. It said the IPO may grow to $402.5 million if there is enough demand.

Also known as special-purpose acquisition vehicles, blank-check companies are formed solely to acquire other businesses -- typically within two years, as is the case for Liberty Lane.

Blank-check companies raised more than $12 billion last year in more than 60 initial public offerings, up from $2.6 billion in 2006, research firm Dealogic said. The companies raised about one-fourth of all U.S. IPO proceeds in 2007.

According to the filing, management will put up just 1 percent, or $3.5 million, for the offering, less than normal. It will also receive just 7.5 percent share of the company below the usual 20 percent.

In addition, each IPO unit will contain one share and half a warrant, rather than one share and one warrant, reducing the potential dilution to public shareholders, the filing shows. The shares and warrants can trade separately.

Liberty Lane will be led by Paul Montrone and Paul Meister, respectively the chairman and chief executive of Liberty Lane Partners LLC, a private equity firm formed last year, the filing shows.

Montrone is a former chairman and chief executive of Fisher Scientific International. Meister is a former vice chairman and chief financial officer of Fisher Scientific, and former chairman of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (TMO.N: Cotización), formed in November 2006 from the merger of Fisher Scientific and Thermo Electron.

Liberty Lane Partners' portfolio includes Prestolite Wire, Mr. Gasket, Sign Supply USA, East West Plastic and Electronic Products Corp and Emerson Ecologics. The latter supplies nutritional and herbal supplements, medical supplies and veterinary products.

According to the filing, Liberty Lane Acquisition Corp plans to list its shares and warrants on the American Stock Exchange. No timetable has been set for the IPO. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Lincoln Feast)