When the hotel in Jordan where Gary Quin was staying was attacked by al Qaeda, he grabbed his passport and cell phone, dusted himself off and called his wife.
He asked her husband what he would do. He was in the country to pursue a leveraged takeover of Jordan Telecom.
“I said we’ll buy another suit, go ahead. We will do that.”
He recalled the experience in a recent interview with a trade journal Room Alphaas Mr. Quin – now co-founder and CEO of special purpose vehicle (Spac) North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation – prepares for his firm to seal its first acquisition today.
At a virtual shareholder meeting later in the afternoon, they are to confirm the purchase of TeleSign, a US-based company of the Belgian mobile phone company Proximus. It gives TeleSign an enterprise value of USD 1.3 billion (EUR 1.2 billion).
TeleSign is embedded in many people’s everyday lives without them even knowing it. For example, it is used by TikTok to log in with two-step authorization and reset passwords at Alibaba, and it processes a total of 21 billion transactions per year. Last year it had sales of $386 million and operating income of $15 million. Revenue is expected to reach approximately $1.1 billion by 2026 with operating income of $105 million.
A number of special purpose vehicles (spacs) were formed over the past year as investors sought to deploy their money in a low interest rate environment.
North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation (NAAC) raised $380 million in January last year and was listed on Nasdaq to acquire a company involved in the digital economy.
The appeal to people who successfully start Spacs is that they typically siphon off a hefty chunk of stock from a Spac in its IPO. That means founders can be sitting on tens of millions of dollars worth of stock, as did the founders of North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation.
NAAC co-founders include President Patrick Doran. The founders’ interests in NAAC will be converted into equity interests in TeleSign once the transaction closes, and they will have made a phenomenal return on relatively modest investments.
A new holdco will acquire both TeleSign and NAAC, and that company will keep the TeleSign name on the Nasdaq. Proximus will retain just over 66 percent of TeleSign, which will be valued at more than $1.7 billion once NAAC’s cash is added. NAAC shareholders will own just under 22 percent of TeleSign, while 4.9 percent will be held by some of the NAAC founders.
Mr. Quin has held a number of senior roles, including Vice President at Credit Suisse. A former managing director of Denis O’Brien’s Digicel, he was also CEO of the telecommunications company Blackrock Communications.
As a senior adviser to US investment giant Blackstone, he played a key role for the company during Eir, formerly Eircom’s, 2012 audit.
He also advised the government on the sale of its 25.1 per cent stake in Aer Lingus to IAG in 2015 and has been involved in a number of other key transactions, including the IPO of Saudi oil giant Aramco and the launch of Irish companies such as Ires Reit and Glenveagh Properties.
Mr Doran sold his Dublin-based packaging company, Americk, to Spanish group Saica in 2016. The Irish company was founded in the 1980s. It has manufacturing facilities in Ireland and the UK and at the time of sale had annual sales of around €122 million.
“I grew up working,” Mr. Quin recalled in his last Room Alpha Interview and noted that he had a “brief career as a professional athlete” before moving into the business world.
His ‘blue collar’ background in Cork might be a bit overwhelming – his father sold hearing aids in the city, while Quin also followed in his father’s footsteps in his earlier years. His brother Graham now runs Auditone in Cork City.
Mr. Quin said he was given the opportunity to work for him as he expands Digicel operations into Latin America and the South Pacific by Denis O’Brien, the founder of Esat and Digicel, whom he describes as a “servant leader”.
TeleSign CEO Joe Burton, in the same Street Insider interview alongside Mr. Quin, described serving executives as “leaders who are at the service of their employees, their customers and their shareholders and are really just trying to remove roadblocks and create environments in that they work all these people can do great things”.
The “big things” that Mr. Quin, Mr. Doran and other founders of NAAC will complete today will also bring them tremendous financial gains.
That will buy a lot of new suits.
https://www.independent.ie/business/irish-backed-spac-to-seal-13bn-deal-for-belgian-owned-telesign-41660304.html Irish-backed Spac seals $1.3 billion deal for Belgian-owned TeleSign