Joe McGuane, CFA
Senior Research Analyst, Alternatives
The ferocious appetite for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) continued its momentum throughout the first quarter of 2021. Investors could not get enough of this asset class as a record amount of capital flowed into the space. Through March, 2021 has already seen more SPAC IPOs than all of 2020, with over 300 new deals coming to market. Similarly, gross proceeds thus far through April are already over $100B, well past the $83B that was raised throughout 2020. The space has gotten so hot that sports celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal, Colin Kaepernick, and Alex Rodriguez have all put their names on SPACs that have recently hit the market.
Can this momentum continue? The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might have something to say about it. Earlier this month, the SEC issued new accounting guidance that would classify SPAC warrants as liabilities instead of as equity instruments, as they are currently classified. Warrants are given to capital providers like hedge funds that put up the capital for SPACs before an IPO, to offer the capital provider more upside once the company goes public. SPAC IPOs have since slowed, as affected SPACs would have to restate their financials if this becomes law. With this risk on the table, investors may begin to look elsewhere to put their capital to work, dampening this SPAC market frenzy.
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