Ellie Mae Vets Form SPAC To Acquire Mortgage And Real Estate Startups

A new blank check company whose management team has deep roots in financial software is looking for acquisition opportunities, with a focus on the mortgage and real estate verticals.

Southport Acquisition Corp. on Friday priced an initial public offering of 20,000,000 units at $10 a unit, and plans to raise up to $234.6 million if underwriter BofA Securities exercises a 45-day option to purchase an additional 3 million units. Each unit consists of one share of common stock, and one-half of a warrant, with whole warrants redeemable for one share of common stock for $11.50 per share.

Led by TVC Capital cofounder and managing partner Jeb Spencer, and Northgate Capital veteran Jared Stone, Southport Acquisition Corp.’s board of directors includes Ellie Mae cofounder Sig Anderman, SimpleNexus CEO Cathleen Schreiner Gates, and Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield.

The company is looking for “a leading financial services software or FinTech partner, with particular focus on mortgage and real estate software verticals, that generates between $50 million and $100 million of revenues and is valued between $1 billion and $2 billion,” the company said in an investor prospectus. “By employing our management team’s industry skills, experience, and extensive personal network, we believe we will be able to add substantial value to a target business, which we believe will enable us to be perceived as a preferred M&A partner.”

Three members of Southport Acquisition Corp.’s management team are veterans of Ellie Mae, the mortgage technology developer acquired for $11.4 billion by Intercontinental Exchange Inc. in September, 2020. Today, the ICE Mortgage Technology platform processes about half of all U.S. mortgages.

Sig Anderman

Southport Acquisition Corp. board member Sig Anderman cofounded Ellie Mae and served as its CEO and chairman from 1997 through January 2015. Anderman then served as executive chairman until 2019, when Ellie Mae was acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

Jeb Spencer

Southport Acquisition Corp.’s CEO, Jeb Spencer, was the CEO of Del Mar Datatrac Inc., which was sold to Ellie Mae in 2011. Spencer then served on Ellie Mae’s board of directors from 2011 to 2019, where his duties included chairing the company’s mergers and acquisitions committee. Today, as a managing partner of TVC Capital, Spencer services on the boards of eight software companies, including Centage Corp. and SimpleNexus.

Cathleen Schreiner Gates

Southport Acquisition Corp. board member Cathleen Schreiner Gates is the CEO of SimpleNexus, which is being acquired by cloud banking solutions developer nCino Inc. in a $1.2 billion deal that is expected to close by Jan. 31. Before SimpleNexus, Schreiner Gates spent more than 7 years at Ellie Mae, the last 4 years as executive vice president of sales and marketing.

Jared Stone

Jared Stone, the chairman of Southport Acquisition Corp.’s board of directors, cofounded the private equity investment firm Northgate Capital in 2001, where he served as a managing director until 2015. He co-led Northgate’s investment in Del Mar Datatrac, which was sold to Fiserv in 2005 and to Ellie Mae in 2011. He’s served on the board of Centage Corp. since 2014.

Dave Winfield

After a 22-year career in Major League Baseball, Southport Acquisition Corp. board member Dave Winfield in 1995 established Winfield & Winfield Ltd., a personal services corporation that provides business development, consulting and advocacy services.

“Our management team includes prominent leaders with proven track records in the software industry, who are well positioned to identify and evaluate businesses within various sectors that we believe would benefit from their experience, skills and access to the public markets,” the company said in its investor pitch. “This team offers extensive experience growing, operating, investing in and acquiring companies at the forefront of key technology trends, particularly in the real estate and mortgage sectors, while also navigating the capital markets to enhance value.”

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