Special Purpose Acquisition Company SPAC Explained: Examples and Risks

SPACs, aka blank-check companies, merge with a target company within two years of going public. They then change their ticker symbol to represent the combined company. However, after an IPO, the price of the pre-acquisition SPAC may vary wildly depending on market conditions, rumors surrounding the shares and other factors.

what is a spac

If the SPAC doesn’t find a company, the money is given back to the investors. According to the SPAC security rules, until a target company is found, all the money is stored in a trust account. The value of the shares and warrants should trade as close as possible to their launch price, but it can change if shareholders strongly believe they have found an attractive acquisition target.

Deadline Pressures for SPAC Sponsors

Market conditions have changed over the past nine months, and sponsor teams have improved markedly. That’s what we found when we analyzed redemption history since the study ended. For the 70 SPACs that found a target from July 2020 through March 2021, the average redemption rate was just 24%, amounting to 20% of total capital invested. And over 80% of the SPACs experienced redemptions of less than 5%.

However, the final answer to the question of what SPAC stocks are the best to buy is on you. Analyze first, and don’t open your wallet for the first SPAC you find. The main sphere of the business is robotics technology which can improve efficiency and lower the cost of surgeries for the wellbeing of patients. Pricing – after the SEC approves the IPO, a price is set for the shares and the number of shares that will be sold is set. This is where the shell company incorporates and issues shares to its founders and prepares their S-1, which is a required form to be filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission before a company’s IPO. In the world of SPACs, fast moves are a huge feature of the space.

However, SPACs are a way for public investors to now partner with investment professionals and venture capital firms. Exchange-traded funds that invest in SPACs have emerged, and these funds typically include some mix of companies that recently went public by merging with a SPAC and SPACs that are still searching for a target to take public. As with all investments, depending on the specific details of a SPAC investment, there will be different levels of risk.

  • As a curious investor, it’s always good to explore new ways to potentially make money.
  • In a March 2020 event, Allison Lee, acting chair of the SEC, said that the “investment returns don’t match the hype surrounding the SPAC bubble”.
  • Your money may sit for up to two years in an escrow account.
  • They initially pony up a nominal amount of investor capital – usually as little as $25,000 – for which they will receive “founder shares” that often equate to a 20% interest in the SPAC.

Our point is not that our analyses are correct and the earlier ones were wrong. Rather, we mean to highlight the volatility of the SPAC market and the need to pay attention to the timing and limitations of market analyses. If the deal is approved, the merger is completed shortly thereafter using the assets remaining after any withdrawals. The SPAC and PIPE proceeds are invested in the target, the governance structure of the SPAC dissolves, and the target starts trading under its own name and ticker symbol. When the SPAC and target agree to terms, the SPAC commences a road show to validate the valuation and raise additional capital in a round of funding known as a PIPE, or private investment in public equity.

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JPMS, CIA and JPMCB are affiliated companies under the common control of JPMorgan Chase & Co. After the transaction closes, SPAC investors can become shareholders or redeem their shares, which is determined by the amount in the trust account. SPACs typically use the funds they’ve raised to acquire an existing, but privately held, company. They then merge with that target, which allows the target to go public while avoiding the much longer IPO process. At that point, the entity usually is no longer known by the SPAC moniker, but by the name of the acquired company. If the SPAC is unable to make a deal within the predetermined time frame, the SPAC is liquidated.

Because of this, a SPAC may look for a big-name institutional investor to act as a persuasive tool. It’s important to bear this unknown quantity in mind if you’re thinking of investing in a SPAC. This is quite literally as close as you will get to a blind investment.

what is a spac

This additional source of funding allows investors to buy shares in the company at the time of the merger. Sponsors use PIPEs to validate their investment analysis , increase the overall funding available, and reduce the dilution impact of sponsor equity and warrants. They also serve https://cryptolisting.org/ as a means to guarantee a minimum amount of cash invested in the event that original investors choose to pull out of the deal. PIPE investors commit capital and agree to be locked up for six months. When a SPAC begins, it is a shell company that goes through the IPO process.

The company’s cash is held in short-term Treasuries until then, so the initial investment will be safe, but the company’s shares might drop under the IPO price in the course of normal market volatility. After that, the company will then file for and eventually execute an initial public offering to raise additional funds from the public markets. First, though most SPACs start out with share prices of around $10, this price can rise substantially due to the fame of those behind them or the announcement of their target acquisitions.


While a popular alternative to traditional IPOs, the SPAC market has seemed to sour in recent years. Called “blank check companies,” SPACs provide IPO investors with little information prior to investing. SPACs seek underwriters and institutional investors before offering shares to the public. During a 2020–2021 boom period for SPACs, they attracted prominent names such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank, in addition to retired or semiretired senior executives.

what is a spac

Easily research, trade and manage your investments online all conveniently on Chase.com and on the Chase Mobile app®. Morgan online investingis the easy, smart and low-cost way to invest online. Each situation must be examined individually, and only after what is wolves of wall street that can a final decision be made. It is safer to invest in SPACs that have already chosen a target company. SPACs are safer for investors as they are guaranteed to get their money back if the SPAC is liquidated or an investor doesn’t like the merge.

You will have no right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Services or to seek compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. All investments can fall as well as rise in value so you could lose some or all of your investment. On top of the simplified process, SPACs are an attractive option to many private companies because it can actually be better value for them. Funding for education can come from any combination of options and a J.P. Morgan Advisor can help you understand the benefits and disadvantages of each one.

How Boards Can Lend Muscle to Human Capital Strategy Setting

One of the less familiar terms to enter the language of investing in the past couple of years is SPAC (pronounced “spack”) – an acronym for Special Purpose Acquisition Company. Disruptive shifts in the marketplace and worker expectations, coupled with growing demands for transparency, are elevating human capital risks and opportunities to boardroom discussions. African Gold Acquisition in August ousted Mr. Morgenthau as CFO following an internal investigation over improper withdrawals from its operating bank accounts and attempts to conceal the withdrawals. The SEC alleged the former chief financial officer of African Gold Acquisition Corp. embezzled money from the company. SPAC is short for Special Purpose Acquisition Company – though it’s also sometimes known as a ‘blank cheque company’ – and they have become one of Wall Street’s biggest trends.

What Is a SPAC Stock? Special Purpose Acquisition Companies Explained

A company may also opt for a SPAC over an IPO to democratize the stock purchasing process. Since SPACs themselves are public companies basically from the beginning, anyone can by extension invest in the private companies they’ll acquire at a relatively low price of about $10 a share. SPAC is the acronym for special purpose acquisition company, also known as a blank check company. Traditional IPO.Traditionally, a company starts and develops a business. “Until a deal is announced, the investor is just hoping that a good merger will happen,” Ritter adds.

The share prices of new IPO companies often jump substantially above the initial listed price, even in the first few minutes or hours of public trading. By the time the average investor is able to snag a share, the price may be drastically higher than was advertised. But prices don’t tend to stay that high—at least in the short term—and everyday investors might end up buying high at a price that won’t be matched again for a long time, if ever.

If the shareholders vote in the negatory, they can get their money back (SPACs are usually priced at $10 per share, but this can vary). Often, initial investors into SPAC’s will get units consisting of one share, plus a fraction (usually 1/3rd to 1/9th) of a warrant. Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions of people attain financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper column, radio show, and premium investing services. This approach offers distinct advantages over a regular IPO.

The management team of a SPAC typically receives 20% of the equity in the vehicle at the time of offering, exclusive of the value of the warrants. The equity is usually held in escrow for 2–3 years and management normally agrees to purchase warrants or units from the company in a private placement immediately prior to the offering. The proceeds from this sponsor investment (usually equal to between 2% to 8% of the amount being raised in the public offering) are placed in the trust and distributed to public stockholders in the event of liquidation. A special purpose acquisition company is founded by a management team using capital from the founders. The shell company then goes through an initial public offering process, where a majority of the SPAC’s shares, usually around 80%, are bought by public investors and the remaining shares are kept by the founders. SPACs are often founded by a private equity company or by experienced individuals, such as former executives of large corporations.

On the other hand, you the investor know what you’re buying up front. A special purpose acquisition company is a company that has no actual business operations but goes through an initial public offering to raise capital. Because the SPAC is a public company , the private company it acquires becomes public through the purchase. So, when a company wants to go from private to public, it has two options — to apply to IPO or to find a SPAC if it’s not big enough to participate in an IPO. When a SPAC deals with an IPO, it remains a shell company that begins looking for another company with which to merge.

Lou Whiteman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. When companies are doing well, they often split their stock. Brianna Blaney began her career in Boston as a fintech writer for a major corporation. She later progressed to digital media marketing with various finance platforms in San Francisco. If a business chooses to go public via the SPAC route, there are some key considerations to keep in mind.

In 2020, a year marked by the flourishing of SPACs, more than $80 billion was used to create more than 200 SPACs, which sometimes are called “blank check” companies. The SEC also alleged he stole funds from another SPAC series called Strategic Metals Acquisition Corp. I and II to pay for his personal expenses and to trade in crypto assets and other securities. Both allegations took place from June 2021 to July 2022, the regulator said.

Now, for example, a SPAC generally has to place the investor money in a trust or escrow account to keep it secure until the target company is publicly announced. At that point, if investors don’t like the looks of the deal, they should be able to recover their funds. Each SPAC has its own liquidation window within which it must complete a merger or an acquisition; past this deadline the SPAC will dissolve and return assets to its stockholders. In practice, SPAC sponsors often extend the life of a SPAC by making a contribution to the trust account to entice shareholders to vote in favor of a charter amendment that delays the liquidation date. Commonly, units are denoted with the letter “u” appended to the ticker symbol of SPAC shares. Most retail investors cannot invest in promising privately held companies.

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