Everything about Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPACs)

Written By:
January 28, 2024

In recent years, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) have become a popular investment vehicle. High-profile deals for companies like DraftKings, Virgin Galactic, and Open door through SPAC mergers have brought immense attention to this alternative strategy for going public. But what exactly are SPACs, and why are they gaining so much momentum? In this blog, we will explore the concept of SPACs, their lifecycle, advantages, disadvantages, and the factors driving their popularity.

What is a SPAC?

A SPAC, also known as a “blank check company,” is a company formed specifically to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO) to acquire or merge with an existing operating company. They have gained popularity due to their unique advantages over traditional IPOs, such as a faster and more certain path to becoming a public company.

Key characteristics of SPACs include:

1. Known upfront capital: SPACs raise capital through an IPO, providing a known amount of funds for the acquisition.

2. Quicker timeline to go public: SPACs can go public faster than traditional IPOs, as they do not require historical financial results or assets to be disclosed.

3. Target can attract high valuations: SPACs can help private companies achieve higher valuations upon going public.

Who is involved in Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPACs)?

There are several key players involved in a SPAC:

1. Sponsors: SPACs are initiated through a sponsor. The founders who establish the SPAC, generally high-profile investors or industry experts with a good track record of success.

2. Investors: Institutions and retail investors who provide funding through the SPAC IPO.

3. Target company: The private company that the SPAC looks to merge with and make public through the deal.

How does Special Purpose Acquisition Company work (SPACs) work?

The process through which SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, acquire and take companies public is unique compared to traditional IPOs. Let's walk through how SPACs work to pull off their deals.

Everything starts when sponsors - usually high-profile investors, industry veterans, or private equity firms - establish a SPAC for the purpose of raising capital through an IPO. The SPAC conducts its own IPO, which raises funds from public market investors that will eventually be used to acquire a private company.

Once the SPAC IPO is complete, the sponsors have a limited window, typically two years, to identify a private company target to purchase or merge with [3]. During this search process, the funds raised are held in an escrow account so that capital is secured and ready when needed for a deal.

When the SPAC sponsors zero in on an acquisition target, they conduct due diligence to assess the opportunity. Negotiations take place to agree on the valuation and terms of the merger transaction.

If a deal is reached, the shareholders of both the SPAC and the target company will vote to approve the merger. With shareholder approval, the merger transaction can be executed. The target company is then absorbed into the publicly traded SPAC. Through this mechanism, the SPAC provides the private company with an alternative route to achieve public listing status and access new capital quickly [5]. It's a creative approach to bringing companies public outside of the conventional IPO path.

TLDR: SPACs pool funds, identify a target, conduct diligence, negotiate a deal, gain shareholder approval, and finally execute the merger transaction - providing a streamlined public listing process.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPACs)

Understanding the potential benefits and risks of SPACs is important for investors evaluating these vehicles.

Some key advantages of SPACs include:

1. Access to private companies - SPACs provide exposure to coveted late-stage private companies that individual investors normally can't access.

2. Potential for high growth - If the right acquisition target is identified, investors can benefit from the rapid growth of an emerging company.

3. Liquidity - Capital raised is held in trust until a deal is made, providing downside protection.

4. Experienced sponsors - Many SPACs are led by industry veterans with proven track records.

However, SPACs also come with some disadvantages of SPACs to consider:

1. Limited track record - Most SPACs are newly formed entities with no operating history to evaluate.

2. Sponsor dilution - Sponsors typically take a 20% stake, diluting the value for common shareholders.

3. Time pressure to close deals - The 2-year timeframe to complete a deal can force SPACs to overpay for targets.

4. Deal uncertainty - There is no guarantee a SPAC will successfully complete a businesscombination.5. Less regulatory scrutiny - SPAC deals involve less due diligence and oversight than traditional IPOs.

Difference between SPACs vs Traditional IPOs


In conclusion, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) for raising capital and acquiring private companies. SPACs offer several advantages, such as higher valuations, less dilution, greater speed to capital, more certainty and transparency, lower fees, and fewer regulatory demands compared to traditional IPOs. However, the SPAC market has faced challenges in recent years, with a slowdown in IPOs and business combination transactions.

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