Foley-backed SPAC agrees to $7.3 billion deal with Blackstone’s Alight By Reuters

© Reuters. The ticker and trading information for Blackstone Group is displayed at the post where it is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

By Anirban Sen and David French

(Reuters) – A blank-check firm backed by prominent investor Bill Foley has agreed to take Alight Solutions LLC, the U.S. benefits services provider owned by buyout firm Blackstone Group (NYSE:), public in a deal valued at $7.3 billion, the companies said on Monday.

Reuters was first to report on Sunday that special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp was nearing a deal with Alight.

Funding for the deal includes a so-called private investment in public equity (PIPE) of $1.55 billion. Alight’s existing owners will retain a stake once it is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ALIT”.

Foley Trasimene’s shares rose 9.4% in premarket trading.

Based in Lincolnshire, Illinois, Alight offers cloud-based benefits administration and human resources services to businesses, including 70% of the Fortune 100 companies, in 188 countries, according to its website.

“It is deeply embedded in health, wealth and payroll with all of these large companies,” said Foley, who will become Alight’s chairman. “This is a company which is the kind of classic utility that I love to invest in.”

Foley added he will advise Alight regarding its next growth phase, including boosting the percentage of its business done outside the United States from 10% today.

Alight Chief Executive Stephan Scholl said the deal would help the company offer its integrated platform of employee benefits to more clients.

With the pandemic causing severe economic dislocation, companies are being forced to cut costs as much as possible while also making benefits – especially around healthcare – easy to access. Outsourcing firms should benefit from this trend.

The deal comes after Blackstone and peer CVC Capital Partners said last month they would merge Paysafe Group with Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp II in a transaction that valued the payments processor at $9 billion.

Alight was advised by a bank group led by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:) and law firm Kirkland and Ellis, while Bank of America Corp (NYSE:) and Weil, Gotshal & Manges provided financial and legal assistance respectively to Foley Trasimene.

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