April 26th: Jay Ritter

SPACs by Minmo Gahng (University of Florida), Jay R. Ritter (University of Florida), Donghang Zhang (University of South Carolina) (pdf)


Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) IPOs boomed starting in 2020. While SPAC IPO investors have earned 9.3% per year, returns for investors in merged companies are more complex. Depending on weighting methods, they have earned -4.0% to -15.6% in the first year on common shares but 15.6% to 44.3% on warrants. We rationalize why certain companies go public via a SPAC merger despite their high costs by identifying the economic roles of SPAC sponsors and investors. Sponsors transfer more than 30% of their compensation to other investors as inducements to complete mergers. SPACs are evolving towards a more sustainable equilibrium.