Should you invest in SPACs?

 In a conventional initial public offering (IPO), a privately held company releases new shares and, with the assistance of an underwriter, offers them for sale on a public stock exchange. In contrast, in a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) transaction, a private company achieves public trading status by merging with an existing shell company that is already listed on the stock exchange—the SPAC. Rather than choosing the traditional route of going public through an IPO, an increasing number of private companies are now favoring the option of making their stock exchange debut through acquisition by a SPAC.

Should you invest in SPACs?

What's a SPAC stock?

A special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), colloquially known as a "blank check company," is an entity devoid of operational activities that undergoes an initial public offering (IPO). Once it becomes a publicly traded company, the SPAC proceeds to acquire or typically merge with an existing private company, thereby taking it public.

Essentially, a special purpose acquisition company's primary existence revolves around the quest for another firm that can be brought into the public markets through a merger. Until this merger occurs, the SPAC's sole assets consist of its cash reserves and its listing on the stock market. When a SPAC raises funds, the investors participating in the IPO are unaware of the specific company that will eventually be targeted for acquisition. Institutional investors with established successful track records find it easier to convince others to invest in this unknown venture. Even if the SPAC's sponsors have a particular target in mind, this information is not disclosed (to streamline and expedite the listing process of the SPAC). This is why SPACs are often referred to as "blank check companies" or "cash shells." Following the capital-raising IPO, the funds are held in an interest-bearing trust account until the SPAC's founders or management team identifies a private company seeking to go public through an acquisition.

Nonetheless, SPAC sponsors are bound by a deadline within which they must secure a suitable deal, typically occurring within approximately two years of the IPO. Should they fail to do so, the SPAC is liquidated, and investors receive a return of their invested capital along with interest.

How does a SPAC work?

Initially, a sponsor of a specific SPAC takes the shell company public primarily to secure funds for an upcoming acquisition. To enhance their appeal, SPAC sponsors embark on a roadshow, akin to the process of an initial public offering (IPO), during which they present their case to institutional investors such as hedge funds and private equity firms to generate interest and secure capital.

The standard structure of a SPAC IPO typically includes Class A common stock shares bundled with warrants. A warrant provides the holder with the option to purchase additional stock at a predetermined price on a future date. The customary IPO price for SPAC common stock stands at $10 per share, while the exercise price for the warrants is typically set at approximately 15% or more above the IPO price. A few weeks following the IPO, the warrants are spun off and traded separately from the SPAC stock.

Subsequent to the fundraising phase, a minimum of 85% of the SPAC IPO proceeds must be deposited into an escrow account designated for future acquisitions. In practice, roughly 97% of the capital raised finds its way into the escrow account, with the remaining 3% earmarked to cover IPO underwriting fees and SPAC operating expenses, encompassing due diligence, legal, and accounting fees.

Upon identification of a potential target company, the SPAC sponsors formally announce their intentions. The date of this public announcement is referred to as the "announcement date," often sparking significant speculation among retail investors. Following the announcement, the SPAC sponsors engage in further due diligence and negotiate the terms of the acquisition. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also scrutinizes the acquisition terms.

Once the business combination gains approval and additional capital is secured, the transaction is finalized, and the acquired company is listed on the stock exchange.

Why so many companies are choosing SPACs over IPOs

Several factors have contributed to the popularity of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) over traditional Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) in recent years. Here are some key reasons why many companies are opting for SPACs:

Faster Process: Going public through a SPAC is often quicker than the traditional IPO route. SPACs are already publicly listed, and when a merger is announced, it typically takes less time to complete the process compared to the extensive regulatory and administrative requirements of a traditional IPO.

Predictable Valuation: SPACs can provide more predictable valuations for companies going public. Traditional IPOs involve a pricing process that can be uncertain and subject to market fluctuations, whereas SPAC mergers often involve fixed valuations negotiated in advance.

Access to Capital: SPACs offer access to capital even in uncertain market conditions. Companies may be more inclined to choose SPACs when market conditions are volatile, as SPACs provide a source of financing that can be less influenced by market sentiment compared to a traditional IPO.

Less Stringent Regulatory Requirements: While there are still regulatory and due diligence requirements in SPAC transactions, they can be perceived as less onerous and time-consuming compared to the rigorous disclosure and reporting obligations associated with traditional IPOs.

Marketing Flexibility: SPACs allow companies to communicate their growth story to potential investors more openly and with greater flexibility than during the IPO "quiet period," which restricts communication before an IPO.

Easier for Smaller Companies: SPACs can be an attractive option for smaller companies that might not meet the financial or operational requirements for a traditional IPO. They can attract funding and go public with less financial history or operational maturity.

Alignment with Strategic Goals: In some cases, SPAC mergers align with a company's strategic goals better than a traditional IPO. It can provide an opportunity for companies to access expertise, networks, and resources from SPAC sponsors.

Lower Costs: While SPACs have their own associated costs, they can be more cost-effective for some companies when compared to the expenses involved in a traditional IPO.

Alternative Exit Strategy: For private equity firms and existing shareholders looking to exit their investments, SPACs offer an alternative exit strategy that may be more attractive than a traditional sale or IPO.

Market Enthusiasm: The surge in popularity of SPACs has generated a level of market enthusiasm, attracting more interest from investors and sponsors. This, in turn, can make SPAC mergers an attractive option for companies.

Should you invest in a SPAC before merger?

The impressive track record of SPACs in enhancing equity value for their shareholders has piqued the interest of investors. In contrast to standard reverse mergers, SPACs generally amass more capital at the time of their initial public offering (IPO). Furthermore, SPACs exhibit the ability to raise funds more expeditiously than private equity funds. The allure of SPACs is bolstered by their liquidity, as they are traded openly in the market. Notably, the appeal of SPAC IPOs has experienced a resurgence since 2014, attracting substantial capital. According to SPAC Research, in 2020 alone, public offerings conducted through special purpose entities amassed over $83 billion. By June 2021, SPAC-facilitated IPOs had already secured more than $108 billion in capital, facilitating the introduction of nearly 350 new companies to the stock market.

Among the prominent names that have chosen to go public through SPACs are DraftKings Inc. (NASDAQ: DKNG), ChargePoint Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CHPT), Virgin Galactic Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SPCE), Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ: NKLA), QuantumScape (NYSE: QS), and Opendoor Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: OPEN). For 2021, a lineup of SPACs includes companies like Butterfly Network, 23andMe, and eToro. There is also significant anticipation surrounding the potential utilization of SPACs by digital media companies such as BuzzFeed, Vice Media, Bustle Media Group, and others to secure funding for their investors.

However, it is imperative for investors to exercise caution, as not all SPACs are of equal merit. Prudent research and due diligence are paramount, as there is a risk of financial loss associated with investments in this arena.

How to Invest in SPACs

Investing in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) has gained significant attention in recent years as an alternative way to participate in the stock market and potentially benefit from mergers and acquisitions. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to invest in SPACs.

1. Understand What SPACs Are:

Before diving into SPAC investments, it's crucial to grasp the fundamentals. SPACs are blank-check companies formed with the sole purpose of acquiring or merging with an existing private company, thereby taking it public. These investments are popular because they offer a unique way to access potential high-growth companies.

2. Research the Market:

Start by conducting thorough research on the SPAC market. Understand how SPACs operate, the different stages of their lifecycle, and the factors that influence their performance. Stay updated with the latest news and trends in the SPAC space.

3. Open a Brokerage Account:

To invest in SPACs, you'll need a brokerage account. Choose a reputable online brokerage that offers access to SPAC investments. Ensure that the brokerage provides a user-friendly interface and research tools to help you make informed decisions.

4. Identify SPACs of Interest:

Look for SPACs that align with your investment goals and risk tolerance. Consider factors such as the management team's experience, the target industry, and the financial terms of the SPAC, including the structure of the units, common shares, and warrants.

5. Participate in the IPO:

Most SPAC investments begin with an initial public offering (IPO). During the IPO, SPAC units are typically offered to the public at a standard price, often $10 per unit. Each unit typically includes one common share and a fraction of a warrant. You can purchase these units through your brokerage account just like any other stock.

6. Understand Warrants:

Warrants are a common component of SPAC units. They grant you the right to purchase additional shares of the SPAC at a predetermined price in the future. Be sure to understand the terms and expiration date of the warrants associated with your SPAC investment.

7. Monitor Your Investment:

Stay engaged with your investment. Keep track of news and updates related to the SPAC, including any announcements about potential target companies. Monitor key dates and events, such as shareholder votes and merger progress.

8. Decide Your Exit Strategy:

Determine your exit strategy based on your investment goals. You can choose to hold your investment through the merger and become a shareholder of the merged company, or you can sell your shares and warrants on the open market.

9. Diversify Your Portfolio:

As with any investment, diversification is essential. Avoid putting all your capital into a single SPAC. Diversifying across multiple SPACs can help mitigate risk.

10. Be Aware of Risks:

Understand that SPAC investments carry inherent risks. Not all mergers are successful, and there is a possibility of losing your investment. Conduct thorough due diligence and assess the potential risks carefully.

11. Seek Professional Guidance:

If you're uncertain about SPAC investments or need personalized advice, consider consulting a financial advisor. They can help you align your investments with your financial goals and risk tolerance.

Investing in SPACs can be an exciting way to participate in the stock market's growth potential. However, it's essential to approach SPAC investments with caution, research, and a clear strategy to make informed decisions and potentially reap the rewards of this investment avenue.


In conclusion, investing in Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) offers a unique opportunity to engage with the ever-evolving landscape of the stock market. With the potential for high returns and access to promising companies, SPACs have garnered significant interest from investors. However, it is crucial to approach SPAC investments with a well-informed and prudent strategy.

Understanding the nature of SPACs, conducting thorough research, and staying updated on market developments are essential steps in the journey of investing in SPACs. Opening a brokerage account that aligns with your needs, identifying SPACs that resonate with your investment goals, and participating in the IPO are critical initial steps.

Moreover, comprehending the role of warrants, monitoring your investments, and deciding on your exit strategy are vital components of a successful SPAC investment journey. Diversifying your portfolio across multiple SPACs can help manage risk, and being aware of the inherent risks associated with SPACs is paramount.

Ultimately, whether you are a seasoned investor or new to the world of finance, seeking professional guidance from a financial advisor can provide valuable insights and help tailor your SPAC investments to your unique financial objectives and risk tolerance.

Investing in SPACs can be an exciting venture, offering the potential for substantial rewards. By following the steps outlined in this guide and remaining vigilant in your investment approach, you can navigate the world of SPACs with confidence and make informed decisions that align with your financial future.

Post a Comment