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Opinion
Chris Bryant

Ex-Russian Minister Nets $11 Billion With a SPAC

The blank-check trend is cementing the wealth and voting power of founders and early financial backers, such as Arrival's Denis Sverdlov.

Hop on the bus.

Hop on the bus.

By the time a start-up has gone public, a founder can count themselves lucky if they still own 20% of the shares.

It’s striking then that the boss of Britain’s Arrival Ltd., Russian tycoon and ex-politician Denis Sverdlov, will control 76% of its stock after the maker of electric vans and buses completes a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in the coming weeks. The stake, owned by Sverdlov’s Luxembourg investment company Kinetik Sarl, is valued at about $11 billion even though Arrival hasn’t begun manufacturing vehicles yet.