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OPINION

Bill Ackman’s Spac was supposed to be the ‘good’ one. What happened?

Launched in 2020 with the intention of injecting a dose of quality into the fly-by-night market of special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs), the $4 billion Pershing Square Tontine Holdings is fast approaching its deadline to buy something. If it gets wound up instead, has it failed?

Mark Baker on capital markets 1920px

You have to feel for billionaire Bill Ackman. His special purpose acquisition company, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH, or Tontine), which did a $4 billion IPO back in 2020, only has about six more weeks to find an acquisition target before it has to return all that cash to shareholders.

If it hasn’t signed a letter of intent with a target by July 24, then that is most likely what will happen.

If so, it will be a disappointing end to something that had promised to shake up the world of Spacs. And how it needed shaking up! For about 18 months, peaking in the first quarter of 2021 but really running until late last year, anyone and everyone was scrambling to trade off their own name and shove a deal out as fast as possible into an increasingly crowded market, with little care as to how it would trade or what it would buy.

“Do you know more people with a Spac or with Covid?” was the joke among bankers. How we all laughed.

And while all that was going on, Ackman was plodding away with his enormous and innovatively structured vehicle that would surely trump them all.

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