Fintech firm Apex Clearing agrees to go public via SPAC

NEW YORK: Apex Clearing Corp, a financial technologies firm that focuses on securities custody and clearing, has agreed to go public through a merger with the blank-check company Northern Star Investment Corp II, according to people familiar with the matter.

The transaction, which could be announced as early as Monday, will be valued at US$4.7bil, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.

The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) was started by Jonathan Ledecky, co-owner of the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.

To support the transaction, the SPAC will raise about US$450mil from investors including Fidelity Management & Research Co and Coatue Management, they added.

Officials from Apex and Northern Star declined to comment.

Fidelity and Coatue didn’t immediately comment.

The deal will provide about US$850mil in gross cash proceeds to Apex, the people added.

Former Cosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Joanna Coles will join Apex’s board after the deal closes, they added.

Apex Clearing, owned by financial technology firm Peak6, was the clearing house for Robinhood Markets Inc before it launched its in-house platform in 2018.

Dallas-based Apex has more than 200 clients, the people said.

They include Stash, Firstrade Securities Inc and Social Finance Inc, according to its website. Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s digital consumer bank Marcus uses Apex, its website showed.

More than one million crypto accounts were opened through Apex so far this year, the people said.

The firm generated more than US$230mil in revenue and pretax earnings of about US$85mil in 2020. Northern Star Investment Corp II raised US$400mil in an IPO in January. It has sinced filed for two more SPACs. ─ Bloomberg

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