Israel-Based De-SPACs Dip Amid Fresh Gaza Violence
by Nicholas Alan Clayton on 2023-10-09 at 11:57am

Israel’s tech sector has been fertile ground for SPAC dealmakers in recent years, but the latest outbreak of violence in the country has sent stocks of Israeli de-SPACs lower to start the week.

SPACs have combined with 15 companies domiciled in Israel since 2015 and all but two were trading in the red near midday Monday. This tracks with the broader market as both major US exchanges are down to start the day, but Israeli stocks have seen deeper dips.

Fintech fim Pagaya (NASDAQ:PGY), which combined with EJF in June 2022, is among the larger of the companies tracking downward. It has a market cap over $1 billion and was down about -7.3% in the first half of the day.

There are exceptions among the flock as HUB Cyber Security (NASDAQ:HUBC), which closed with Mount Rainier in February, is up +78%. Software II’s target Otonomo (NASDAQ:OTMO) is also up +1.8% on the day.

But, both of these companies have largely struggled on the public markets and each has a market cap near $40 million – a fraction of initial valuation at the outset of their SPAC deals.

Overall, the best de-SPAC performers out of Israel continues to be Cellebrite (NASDSAQ:CLBT) and Arko Corp. (NASDAQ:ARKO), the product of deals with TWC Tech II and Haymaker II, respectively.

These come from significantly different sectors as Cellebrite provides software intelligence tools to organizations and governments while Arko manages a portfolio of convenience stores and filling stations in the US. They each last closed above $7.50.

Neither business is likely to see any direct disruption from the events unfolding around the Gaza Strip, but each stock nonetheless has lost over -1% to start the week. Overall, the 15 recent Israeli de-SPACs last closed with a median price of $2.28.

Three more Israeli companies have pending deals with SPACs – Keyarch (NASDAQ:KYCH), Vision Sensing (NASDAQ:VSAC) and OceanTech I (NASDAQ:OTEC). Keyarch’s target ZOOZ Power (TASE:ZOOZ) is already listed in Tel Aviv and is also down about -1.5% today although the exchange logged minor gains in the aggregate.

OceanTech I announced a combination with Israeli biotech firm Regentis in May, while Vision Sensing has been working to close its merger with Israeli lidar technology firm Newsight Imaging since August 2022.

On the surface, Newsight would appear to have the most sensitivity to current events in Israel as it generates much of its income through water quality monitoring services it provides to the country’s main water utility. Its SPAC partner Vision Sensing also has an extension vote coming up on October 20 and it has already seen 84% of its shares redeemed at an earlier meeting.


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