A Mexican dealmaker in China was one of the key architects behind former President Donald Trump’s deal with a special purpose acquisition company.
Shanghai-based ARC Group Ltd. was an adviser to Trump’s merger partner Digital World Acquisition Corp. and was tasked with building the SPAC’s deal pipeline, according to its listing prospectus. The boutique is led by Mexican founder Abraham Cinta, who’s lived in the Chinese financial center for over eight years.
Cinta has helped over a dozen companies list in the U.S., and has been involved in more than $2 billion of deals, according to an undated speaker biography posted on a private equity conference website. He studied international business administration and previously worked at Mexico’s welfare ministry, the biography shows.
The banker helped start ARC in 2015 and now serves as its chief executive officer. The firm also has offices in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, as well as Mexico City, Jakarta and Singapore, according to its website. Cinta declined an interview request, and a call to ARC’s Shanghai headquarters wasn’t answered outside regular business hours.
The SPAC’s global links are all the more surprising given Trump’s outspoken comments on some foreign countries while in office. The former president was often at loggerheads with China, and attacked 2020 rival Joe Biden on his son Hunter Biden’s business ties to Asia’s biggest economy. Trump also took a tough stance in his dealings with Mexico, threatening to build a wall on the nation’s border with the U.S. The wall remains partially built.
Digital World Acquisition announced Oct. 20 that it’s going to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group Corp. in a deal valuing the target at as much as $1.7 billion. U.S. brokerage EF Hutton is listed in the announcement as Digital World Acquisition’s adviser on the deal.
ARC’s role was more behind the scenes. It owns a stake in Digital World Acquisition’s sponsor, meaning it’s part of the group that pulled the SPAC together and gets discounted stock that will help it benefit handsomely from a successful transaction, people with knowledge of the matter said.
A representative for Digital World Acquisition didn’t comment. A spokesperson for the former president referred queries to Trump Media, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
ARC has worked on a number of other SPAC transactions, including many with an international angle. It was behind Malaysia-based PHP Ventures Acquisition Corp., which raised $57.5 million in August for a deal in Africa. The firm is also advising former Citigroup Inc. banker Jonathan Chan’s Aetherium Acquisition Corp., which is seeking $100 million for an educational technology acquisition in Asia.
The boutique is also a frequent collaborator with Patrick Orlando, the financier running Digital World Acquisition, and has started several SPACs with him.©2021 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.