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OPINION

Forget Spac IPOs – it’s their M&A needs that make your eyes water

IPO volumes for special purpose acquisition companies have been extraordinary since the start of 2020, but looking at them through the lens of future M&A is when they start to look most shocking.

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For anyone tempted to see the wave of IPOs for special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs) as anything other than a bubble, there is one sobering statistic to consider. Just to satisfy the 500-plus Spacs that have not yet announced an acquisition could require M&A volumes amounting to nearly $1 trillion.

In 2020, there were 256 Spac IPOs, raising $83 billion, according to Dealogic data. In 2021, there have already been 174 IPOs, raising $54 billion. Over that entire period, the average Spac IPO raised about $320 million.

According to SPACInsider, there are 344 Spacs still looking for acquisition targets. Add on the 170 that have filed for an IPO and there is a total of 514 Spacs that will be hunting. Based on the average IPO size, there will be about $165 billion to deploy.

There has already been one 2021-vintage Spac that has announced an acquisition – Northern Star II, which raised $350 million in its IPO in January and has already announced its $5.3 billion acquisition of Apex Clearing.

That’s a deal multiple of 15 times the IPO proceeds.