Indicted billionaire Thomas Barrack drops SPAC plans By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Thomas Barrack, Executive Chairman, Colony Northstar, speaks at the Milken Institute’s 21st Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) -Falcon Peak Acquisition Corp, the blank-check acquisition firm of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s billionaire ally Thomas Barrack, withdrew its initial public offering registration on Friday after he was charged with illegal lobbying.

The special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, which had filed for a $250 million IPO in March, did not give a reason for the cancellation of the IPO in a regulatory filing on the move. A Barrack spokesperson declined to comment.

Barrack, who chaired Trump’s inaugural fund and was a frequent guest at the White House, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with illegally lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. He denied the charges through his spokesperson.

SPACs are shell companies that raise funds in an IPO with the aim of merging with a private company, which becomes public as result. They have become a popular alternative to a traditional IPO, though investor interest has cooled in recent weeks after some of the deals ended up performing poorly.

The canceled SPAC’s sponsors were Falcon Peak Partners, Barrack’s family office, and TI Capital Management, a Los Angeles-based investment firm founded by Ziad Ghandour. Barrack was named as the blank-check company’s chairman, while Ghandour serves was its chief executive officer.

A TI Capital Management spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

Barrack founded telecommunications infrastructure-focused private equity firm Colony Capital (NYSE:) in 1991, which was rebranded as DigitalBridge Group Inc. He stepped down as DigitalBridge’s chief executive in 2020 but remains a non-executive director.

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