SPAC at it again... Since last year, special purpose acquisition companies have dominated the public market. SPACs go public for the sole purpose of one day acquiring a real company and taking them public. DraftKings, Virgin Galactic, and Opendoor all went public by merging with SPACs. Wild stat: SPACs have accounted for ~70% of all IPOs in 2021. So far this year, SPACs have raised a record-breaking $129B — already more than they raised in 2020. But as SPAC popularity has grown, so has scrutiny:
Not always SPAC-tacular… SPACs offer a faster, and sometimes cheaper, way for companies to go public. A SPAC merger usually happens in three to six months on average, while an IPO can take 3X to 4X longer. Companies that go public via SPAC are also allowed to make sales projections to prospective investors, while IPO companies can’t. Plus, SPACs can sometimes help companies avoid initial mispricing. But with increasing scrutiny of SPACs, we may see more regulation in the future.
SPACs can be a double-edged sword… SPACs’ advantage — a faster, more frictionless path to going public — might also be their weakness. Companies that go public via SPAC sometimes face less oversight than those that IPO. Meanwhile, newly-public SPACs may not be able to provide as many disclosures to investors since their acquisition target has yet to be named, and financial diligence may be narrower. But all investments carry risk – and even the IPO review process, designed to help protect investors, isn’t a guarantee that companies' disclosures are completely accurate.