13 April 2023

Wood SPAC one invests in online sneaker retailer Footshop

WOOD SPAC One, founded by investment group Wood & Company, has agreed a deal with the owners of Footshop, an online shoe and clothing retailer, to take up to 49% of the company. Completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of WOOD SPAC One's shareholders. Once approved, the acquisition of the stake and the subsequent merger of the two companies will result in Footshop's shares becoming publicly traded on the Prague Stock Exchange.

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Footshop, founded in 2012 by Peter Hajduček, is a leading European retailer specializing in premium street footwear and apparel. The company operates primarily online and serves customers across Europe and around the world through its global e-shop. In addition to its online presence, Footshop also owns physical stores located in Prague, Budapest and Bucharest. Last year, Footshop achieved sales in excess of CZK 1 billion, with 70% of sales made outside the Czech Republic. While the company's EBITDA operating profit was approximately CZK 20 million, the company posted a negative net profit, which Footshop attributes to strategic investments in expansion.

The Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) is a widely used investment vehicle on Western stock exchanges, particularly in the US. In Central and Eastern Europe, however, Wood SPAC One is a pioneer as the first SPAC in the region. A SPAC is a company that has no trading activities and is formed solely for the purpose of raising capital through an initial public offering (IPO) with the aim of taking over or merging with an existing company within a set timeframe, usually within two years. SPACs have been around for many years, but their popularity has skyrocketed recently. In 2020 alone, 247 SPACs have been established in the US with a total investment of USD 80 billion, and a record 613 SPAC IPOs will take place in 2021. That's a significant increase from just 59 SPACs coming to market in 2019.

The Prague-based Wood & Co Group is a major securities trading entity and is the largest securities trader on the Prague and Budapest stock exchanges. Wood & Company manages assets worth over EUR 1.8 billion annually, making it a leading player on the financial market in Central Europe.

Wood SPAC One has been listed on the Prague Stock Exchange since last May and has attracted around CZK 550 million from dozens of wealthy investors. The CZK 207 million will be used to buy part of the shares of Footshop's existing shareholders, while CZK 214-317 million will be used to increase the company's capital.