Why SPACs are here to stay as a global opportunity
By Vanessa Malone
The Special Purpose Acquisition Company (“SPAC”) industry; made up of companies formed solely to raise capital, acquire existing private companies, and take them public, grew at an unprecedented rate over the last two years.
In 2020, already a record year for SPACs, 248 companies raised over $83 billion.¹ Within the first half of 2021, 343 SPACs raised over $107 billion in gross IPO proceeds, surpassing all of 2020.²
While the surge of SPACs in the US dwarfed the market globally, the SPAC industry appears to just be getting started overseas in Europe and Asia.
SPAC Industry in Europe
SPAC Sponsors in Europe have typically opted to list SPACs in the US. Of the 8 European SPACs that completed an IPO in 2020, only 3 chose to list on European stock exchanges.³ This was mainly due to the regulatory framework in place for SPACs.
In the UK for example, a SPAC listing is suspended when the acquisition target is announced. This creates a lock-up period that can make the SPAC less attractive for issuers and investors.
To address this hurdle, the Financial Conduct Authority “FCA” has proposed to amend the rules to include a ‘redemption’ option allowing investors to exit a SPAC prior to any acquisition being completed, add a time limit on a SPAC’s operating period if no acquisition is completed, and other beneficial changes.⁴
These suspected improvements along with the recent slowdown in the US brought on by a regulatory scare from the Securities and Exchange Commission “SEC” has eyes turning to Europe and other jurisdictions creating favorable landscapes.
According to Refinitiv, the 8 SPACs in Europe have raised a total of $2.2 billion. In May, the Revo S.p.A. SPAC raised €220 million in its AIM Italia listing.⁵ Also in May, the Hedosophia European Growth SPAC targeting European tech companies worth up to €5 billion raised €400 million in its Amsterdam listing.⁶ To differentiate from US SPACs, Hedosophia European Growth is only giving Sponsors their full share allocation if the company meets the stock price targets. This approach aims to incentivize Sponsors to deliver on the company’s promises.
SPAC Industry in Asia
Asia is also eager to break into the SPAC boom.
Like Europe, most Asia-based SPACs are taking place in the US. Few markets in Asia allow SPACs to list which is creating missed opportunities. Recently, Singapore’s multinational company, Grab, announced a $40 billion deal to merge with US-based Altimeter Growth Capital which would allow it to trade on Nasdaq.⁷
Singapore and Hong Kong have been working quickly to propose regulations that would enable SPACs to list on their markets.
The Singapore Exchange “SGX” aims to have a new SPAC framework finalized this month.⁸ The Indonesia Stock Exchange “IDK” development director Hasan Fawzi said the bourse would pass regulations by July that would allow companies to go public via SPACs.⁹
It’s too soon to tell which of these exchanges will emerge as SPAC hubs but moves are being made to meet the demand.
SPACs are here to stay
There are various reasons why SPACs have established themselves as viable alternatives to traditional IPOs but a key advantage is that they can offer a more cost effective and less demanding IPO path. For high-growth innovative companies across tech and other fast-paced sectors, we believe SPACs are a great option.
It’s why we’re excited to introduce our upcoming exchange and trading app for digital securities, Upstream, which we believe is positioned to become a leading hub for SPACs globally.
Upstream plans to offer the world’s first blockchain-based SPAC IPO marketplace, aiming to give investors of all levels direct access to listed SPAC IPOs using both digital currency in the form of USDC stablecoin and traditional bank payments.
On Upstream, we aim to make SPACs accessible to investors of all levels from the very beginning at the same price and time as Wall Street. To date, SPACs have almost exclusively been offered to well-connected institutional investors, Wall St., and the world of private equity and hedge funds. Our goal is to level the playing field and help to facilitate the distribution of shares fairly across all interested public participants.
We believe SPACs are here to stay and we look forward to serving the global market.
Upstream, a MERJ Exchange Market, is a fully regulated global stock exchange for digital securities. Powered by Horizon’s proprietary matching engine technology, the exchange will enable investors to trade shares in SPACs, high-growth startups, and other unique asset classes directly from the app: https://upstream.exchange. Interested issuers can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MERJ Exchange operates Upstream as a fully regulated and licensed integrated securities exchange, clearing system, and depository for digital and non-digital securities. It is an affiliate of the World Federation of Exchanges, recognized by HM Revenue and Customs UK, a full member of the Association of National Numbering Agencies, and a Qualifying Foreign Exchange for OTC Markets in the US. MERJ is also a member of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative.
Horizon is a fintech company that builds and powers global securities exchanges with an integrated suite of software for compliant issuance, management, and secondary trading of securities. Our in-house solutions combine Wall Street and Silicon Valley to power the next generation of securities offerings and trading in the U.S. and globally: https://www.horizonfintex.com/.
+ USDC funds are custodied pursuant to the Liechtenstein Law on “Tokens and Trusted Technology Service Providers” as passed in Blockchain Act on October 3, 2019 and/or MERJ Depository and Registry Limited: Licensed securities facility (License No. SF001).
THIS BLOG SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER TO SELL SECURITIES OR THE SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION WHERE SUCH OFFER OR SOLICITATION IS NOT PERMITTED. US INVESTORS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO TRADE IN UPSTREAM LISTED SECURITIES.