SPACs – A Primer (Part II)

Just before Thanksgiving a faithful reader alerted us to an article from Business Insider [link]. In it noted sommelier and “lifestyle director” Sara Lehman reviewed eleven wines – cabernets, pinot grigios and rosés – all under $10.

Among selections including Trader Joe’s (“It’s reminding me of apple juice”), Costco (“Give it a nice swirl first”), and BJ’s (“I’m getting some barnyard”), Ms. Lehman chose Target’s ‘The Collection.’ “If I were to bring something less expensive to my friends.”

$10 guidelines reminded us of our current topic: special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. These ‘blank-check’ companies differ from regular-way IPOs by being priced at $10 per share, then floating around that level. Another difference is that investors have the option of cashing out (with interest) at the IPO price before the vehicle makes an acquisition.

As it has with many elements of capital formation, COVID has created challenges for the IPO market. While the trough-to-peak recovery since March has dramatically buoyed prices, headline-induced volatility makes pricing initial public offerings a challenge.