The Year of SPACs

September 23, 2020

If there is one corner of the financial market that has benefited from the pandemic, it is special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). This atypical pathway to the public markets was once a niche strategy for small investment firms. Now, the strategy has become one of the hottest financial topics of 2020 after a massive uptick in the volume of these vehicles.

A record 82 special purpose acquisition corporations went public this year to raise a record $39 billion, far exceeding the $9.5 billion in gross proceeds for SPACs in 2019 or the $8.5 billion in 2018.

SPACs are vehicles that raise money in an IPO, and then place the funds in a trust while the sponsor searches for a business or multiple businesses to acquire. The companies then complete a merger and the target becomes a listed stock.

A private company going public via SPAC has a few advantages over a traditional IPO. Private companies can go public on a faster timeline and there is more certainty around a company’s valuation. Furthermore, the listing of a SPAC requires a much lower level of diligence than a similarly sized IPO since there are no financial statements to analyze. For a sponsor, raising a SPAC is similar to raising a closed-end fund, allowing for a shorter and more comfortable timeline during the fundraise. In addition, the reputation of SPACs has improved over the past decades as governance practices have been refined and made more shareholder-friendly.

The volatility and price declines earlier in 2020 made IPOs and direct listings impractical options for many private companies, which is where SPACs have stepped in. There has been a lot of talk particularly in the venture community not being satisfied with the IPO process. That has led to conversations about going the direct listing route, and now the SPAC route. There have been several companies that have gone the IPO route and set a price underwriters deemed reasonable, only to see the stock surge on the first day of trading, which ultimately results in money being left on the table. And with IPOs being inherently riskier, there was less incentive to take on more risk by going public during an election year and pandemic.

It is clear SPACs are here to stay, but it is uncertain whether they will continue at the same rapid pace as this year. While the population of companies that might combine with a SPAC is growing, it still represents a small subset of private companies, limiting the potential disruption of the traditional IPO process. While the momentum driving innovation around public listings is encouraging, SPACs will not provide a solution for every private business. That said, there is a two-year time period for a SPAC to acquire a business, guaranteeing they will remain around for at least the foreseeable future.

Print PDF > The Year of SPACs

 

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

The opinions expressed herein are those of Marquette Associates, Inc. (“Marquette”), and are subject to change without notice. This material is not financial advice or an offer to purchase or sell any product. Marquette reserves the right to modify its current investment strategies and techniques based on changing market dynamics or client needs.

Related Content

04.11.2024

First to Cut: The Fed or the ECB?

Based on implied probabilities derived from options markets, investors are currently forecasting an 82% chance that the European Central Bank…

04.10.2024

1Q 2024 Market Insights Webinar

— LIVE WEBINAR APRIL 25 — Please join Marquette’s research team for our 1Q 2024…

04.01.2024

Sweet and High Up

Chocolate eggs and bunnies may have appeared more expensive to shoppers this Easter weekend, as the price of cocoa futures…

03.27.2024

The Crystal Ball Has Clouded

Last month, Marquette published a Chart of the Week that highlighted the aberrational length of the current…

03.26.2024

Assessing the Likelihood of a Recession and Understanding the Impact on Portfolios

Is a recession coming to the U.S.? It’s a question that has been asked since 2022, as the Fed’s rapid…

03.21.2024

The Dynamic Duo

In 2023, investors were stunned by the robust performance of seven prominent mega-cap stocks deemed the “Magnificent Seven.” Largely beneficiaries…

More articles

Subscribe to Research Email Alerts

Research Email Alert Subscription

Research alerts keep you updated on our latest research publications. Simply enter your contact information, choose the research alerts you would like to receive and click Subscribe. Alerts will be sent as research is published.

We respect your privacy. We will never share or sell your information.

Thank You

We appreciate your interest in Marquette Associates.

If you have questions or need further information, please contact us directly and we will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Contact Us >