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Return of the SPAC: They’re Back and Bigger than Ever

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SPAC IPOs 2020

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The Briefing

  • Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) are shell companies created with the sole intent to raise capital and buy a private organization, or a stake in a company
  • In 2020, 248 new SPACs went public, an increase of more than 300% from 2019
  • 2020 was a record-breaking year for SPACs on many fronts. For instance, Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings raised $4 billion—the largest raised in SPAC history

SPACs are Back and Bigger than Ever

In 2020, SPACs raised over $82 billion in capital. That’s more funds in one year than in the last 10 years combined.

But what exactly is a SPAC, and how have they changed over the years?

SPAC IPOs versus Traditional IPOs

SPAC IPOs are essentially the opposite of traditional IPOs.

In a traditional IPO, an established company goes public to raise funds. In contrast, SPAC IPOs involve a shell company that’s already raised capital and is looking to purchase an organization (or a stake in a company).

While traditional IPOs are seeking funds, SPAC IPOs already have the funds—what they’re seeking is an organization to attach themselves to.

SPACs, also known as “Blank Check” companies, provide a faster way to raise funds compared to traditional IPOs. That’s because the audit process for a SPAC is shorter, since they don’t have any financial statements to review.

A Brief History of SPACs

248 SPACs went public in 2020—189 more than in 2019.

2020 has by far been the biggest year for SPACs in the last few decades. Here’s a look at the number of SPAC IPOs over the last 15 years, along with their average size:

Year# of SPAC IPOsAverage IPO Size (M)
200528$75.5
200637$91.5
200766$183.2
200817$226.0
20091$36.0
20107$71.8
201116$69.4
20129$54.5
201310$144.7
201412$145.8
201520$195.1
201613$269.2
201734$295.5
201846$233.7
201959$230.5
2020248$334.4

SPACs had a brief moment in 2007 prior to the financial crisis, but by 2009 they had lost traction—that year, only one SPAC IPO went public. However, in the last few years, SPACs have picked up momentum again.

And in 2020, the use of this curious go-public vehicle has skyrocketed.

The New and Improved SPACs of 2020

Historically, SPACs haven’t had the highest returns for investors. In fact, they were once considered a last resort when it came to raising capital.

But in the last few years, SPACs have ramped up their game. According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, there have been three significant changes:

  1. Improved track record
    In 2020, more than 90% of SPAC deals closed. That’s a notable improvement compared to previous years—before 2015, at least 20% of SPACs liquidated.
  2. Bigger in size
    The average SPAC trust size is 5x larger than it was a decade ago.
  3. Well-known participants
    Some high-profile investors have jumped on the SPAC-train this year, which has helped generate hype.

While some experts are expecting the popularity of the SPAC to continue in 2021, it’s still early days. So it’s hard to know for certain if SPACs are back for the long-haul.

»If you found this article interesting, you might enjoy this full-length post on traditional IPOs: The World’s Largest IPOs Adjusted For Inflation

Where does this data come from?

Source: SPAC Data
Details: All US-listed SPACs are included in the data set. Figures as of Dec 30, 2020

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Datastream

Charting the Rise of Cross-Border Money Transfers (2015-2023)

With over 280 million immigrants transferring billions of dollars annually, the remittance industry has become more valuable than ever.

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The Briefing

  • 79% of remittance payments in 2022 were made to low and middle-income countries.
  • Borderless, low-cost money transfer services like those provided by Wise can help immigrants support their families.

The Rise of Cross-Border Money Transfers

The remittance industry has experienced consistent growth recently, solidifying its position as a key component of the global financial landscape. Defined as the transfer of money from one country to another, usually to support a dependent, remittances play a pivotal role in providing food, healthcare, and education.

In this graphic, sponsored by Scottish Mortgage, we delve into the growth of the remittance industry, and the key factors propelling its success.

Powered by Immigration

With over 280 million immigrants worldwide, the remittance industry has an important place in our global society.

By exporting billions of dollars annually back to their starting nations, immigrants can greatly improve the livelihoods of their families and communities.

This is particularly true for low and middle-income countries, who in 2022 received, on average, 79% of remittance payments, according to Knomad, an initiative of the World Bank.

YearLow/Middle Income (US$ Billion)World Total (US$ Billion)
2015$447B$602B
2016$440B$596B
2017$477B$638B
2018$524B$694B
2019$546B$722B
2020$542B$711B
2021$597B$781B
2022$626B$794B
2023$639B$815B

India is one of the global leaders in receiving remittance payments. In 2022 alone, over $100 billion in remittances were sent to India, supporting many families. 

Enter Wise

As the global remittance industry continues to grow, it is important to acknowledge the role played by innovative money transfer operators like Wise.

With an inclusive, user-centric platform and competitive exchange rates, Wise makes it easy and cost-effective for millions of individuals to send money home, worldwide.

Connection Without Borders

But Wise doesn’t just offer remittance solutions, the company offers a host of account services and a payment infrastructure that has helped over 6.1 million active customers move over $30 billion in the first quarter of 2023 alone.

Want to invest in transformative companies like Wise?

Discover Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, a portfolio of some of the world’s most exciting growth companies.

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