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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

Visualizing the World’s Population by Age Group

33% of the world’s population is under 20, making young people the largest demographic worldwide. But this might not be the case forever.

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Age Composition of World Population

The Briefing

  • According to the United Nations, the global median age has increased by 7 years since 1950, from 24 to 31
  • That said, young people accounted for 33% of the global population in 2020, making them the largest demographic across the globe

Visualizing the World’s Population, By Age Group

An aging population can have far-reaching consequences on a country’s economy.

With this in mind, today’s graphic looks at the age composition of the global population in 2020, based on the latest figures from the United Nations.

The Global Age Composition

Our global population is getting older, largely because of increasing life expectancies and declining birth rates.

In 2020, more than 147 million people around the world were between the ages of 80-99, accounting for 1.9% of the global population.

Age GroupNumber of People (2020)% of Global Population
<20 years2.6 billion33.2%
20-39 years2.3 billion29.9%
40-59 years1.8 billion23.1%
60-79 years918 million11.8%
80-99 years147 million1.9%
100+ years0.6 million0.01%

While that percentage may seem small, that particular demographic accounted for merely 0.05% of the population in 1950, meaning our world has a notably higher percentage of older people than it did 70 years ago.

Why is this significant? An aging population typically means a declining workforce and an increase of people looking to cash in their pensions. This can put pressure on the working class if taxes are raised.

Of course, an aging population can have positive impacts on society as well. For instance, elderly citizens tend to volunteer more than other age groups. And research has shown that older communities have lower crime rates. By 2050, the crime rate in Australia expected to drop by 16% as the country’s population gets older.

To mitigate some of the risks associated with a rapidly aging population, certain countries are working towards more sustainable pension systems, to support aging citizens while taking the stress off the working population.

» Like this? Then you might like this article on The World’s Youngest and Oldest Countries

Where does this data come from?

Source: United Nations World Population Prospects 2019 (accessed Feb 12, 2021)

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Datastream

Euro 2020: Qualified Nations and Past Winners

After a year-long delay, the 2020 UEFA European Championship is back with new rules, reduced spectators, and fierce competition.

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Euro 2020 past winners

The Briefing

  • The 2020 UEFA European Football Championship will kick off Friday, June 11th 2021 after a year-long delay due to COVID-19
  • The tournament will take place across 11 host cities and feature new rules, reduced spectators, and fierce competition

The 2020 European Championship Returns with New Rules

After a year-long delay, the 2020 UEFA European Championship is set to kick off what will be the largest international sports tournament to take place since the pandemic.

While the final stage of the tournament typically takes place in one or two nations, this year’s will be played across 11 different countries.

Running from June 11th to July 11th 2021, the opening game between Italy and Turkey will kick off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, and the final will take place at London’s Wembley Stadium.

COVID-19’s Impact on Teams and Spectators

Aside from the initial year-long delay, COVID-19 has changed how teams and spectators will participate in the tournament.

Squads have been expanded from 23 to 26 players, and coaches will be permitted to call up more players if COVID-19 infections force players into isolation.

For spectators, individual stadiums within host cities have announced varying capacities ranging from 20-100%, with strict stadium entry requirements across the board. Since these capacities are pre-tournament estimates, we’ll have to wait until matchday to see how many ticket-holders are comfortable attending the fixtures in person.

Host Stadium and CitySpectator Capacity
Johann Cruijff ArenA, Amsterdam25-45%
Baku Olympic Stadium, Baku50%
Arena Națională, Bucharest25-45%
Puskás Aréna, BudapestAiming for 100%
Parken Stadium, Copenhagen25-45%
Hampden Park, Glasgow25-45%
Wembley Stadium, LondonMinimum of 25%
Football Arena Munich (Allianz Arena), MunichMinimum of 14,500 spectators (~22%)
Stadio Olimpico, Rome25-45%
Estadio La Cartuja, Seville25-45%
Krestovsky Stadium (Gazprom Arena), Saint Petersburg50%

Source: UEFA

More Substitutions and the Video Assistant Referee System

This edition of the tournament will also feature two new rule changes to the action on the field.

Coaches will now be able to make up to five substitutions (six if the match goes to extra time), a change first introduced in domestic leagues to allow players more rest as match calendars became congested.

Another key change which was already in play at the 2018 FIFA World Cup is the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. This system appoints a match official who reviews the head referee’s decisions with video footage, and allows the head referee to conduct an on-field video review and potentially change decisions.

Strong Competition Among Euro 2020’s Favorites

Despite current world champions France remaining as undeniable favorites, bookies are putting England to win the tournament (despite a fairly young squad) partially due to the home field advantage in the semi-finals and final.

Spain, Germany, and Italy remain formidable competitors, and Belgium’s golden generation will have one final shot at silverware after their third place finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

European champions Portugal are another obvious threat, as Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to become the tournament’s top goalscorer of all time (currently tied with Michel Platini at 9 goals).

While the 2020 edition of UEFA’s European Championship features a variety of on-field and off-the-field changes, the trophy truly feels up for grabs and is a welcome return to international football for fans around the world.

»Like this? Then you might enjoy this article, The Top 10 Football Clubs by Market Value

Where does this data come from?

Source: UEFA

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