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Theron Aims to Raise R500 m through JSE in May for Cilo Cybin, Other Genetics Assets and Offshore Expansion

Cilo Cybin valued at R300 m

Gabriel Theron has hit the accelerator in expanding his Cilo Cybin Pharmaceutical empire, with the United States firmly in his sights. He’s planning to raise R500 m, through the creation of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to be listed on the JSE in May 2022. Cilo Cybin, which he values at R300 m, can’t be listed directly as it doesn’t have a long enough earnings track record to qualify.

He told Bloomberg’s news service on 8 February 2022 that of the funds raised, R300 m would be for the SPAC to buy his company, Cilo Cybin, and the remaining R200 m would be used to invest in the fledgling cannabis industry in South Africa and the United States. He said he was also interested in non-cannabis health companies, particularly in the genetics and wearable health-device sectors.


Asset Managers will hold 75% of SPAC

Theron intends taking up  5% of the SPAC, 20% will be offered to the public and the balance of 75% to asset managers and institutional investors.

“We know the investors, we know the funds, we have the hype here,” he said of his decision to list in Johannesburg. A secondary sale on the Nasdaq was a possibility, he added.


Theron’s line in the sand: publicly trading by August latest

“We don’t have time to wait to acquire the American assets,” he told Bloomberg’s, referring to the US companies the SPAC will target. “I want to be publicly trading by the third quarter of this year. That’s my line in the sand.”

SPACs raised $160bn around the world last year but are relatively rare in Africa. While US SPACs aren’t required to have a particular target in mind when they list, the rules in SA are different, according to Theron.  Bloomberg’s referred to the SPAC as a “blank chequebook cannabis company” because it didn’t have to specify its intended acquisitions. To what extent the rules are tighter in SA is unclear. The JSE didn’t immediately reply to Bloomberg’s queries.

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