A Special Purpose Acquisition Company is a company that’s solely set up to buy another company or companies. Yes, it’s as wacky as it sounds. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
One of the remarkable stories of 2020 – and even more so 2021 – one which has sparked many comparisons to 2007 just before the credit/housing bubble popped, has been the record surge of blank-check, or SPAC, issuance where investors – at a loss what to invest in – hand their money to a marquee investor who promises to find an appropriate investment over a given period of time or refund the money.
We first discussed the threat of the SPAC bubble back in December, around the time some wondered if the good times may be ending: in an interview with Bloomberg last month, Olympia McNerney, Goldman’s head of U.S. special purpose acquisition companies, described the U.S. SPAC market as being “perhaps too frenzied” and predicted volumes will become more “rational: as fund managers deal with what she described as indigestion.
In retrospect, the good times were only getting started. As Goldman’s Ben Snider wrote over the weekend, so far in 2021, 144 SPACs have gone public — averaging roughly five per trading day — raising a total of $44 billion. Just seven weeks into the year, this represents more than half the totals in 2020, which itself witnessed a 5x increase in SPAC activity relative to 2019. The good news is that unlike historically, when SPACs tended to underperform the market, the median of the 15 most popular SPACs has returned 8% YTD, with some generating much stronger returns and only one delivering a modestly negative YTD return.