Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), also known as blank-check firms, continue to expand their focus across the technology market. And that focus could soon involve IT distributors, MSP software providers, and cloud computing companies that work closely with VARs, ChannelE2E believes.
The list further below, updated regularly, tracks the latest SPACs that are raising money, pursuing IPOs (initial public offerings) and/or completing technology company mergers.
But before we get to the list further below, here’s some background on the SPAC market — including some concerns that a SPAC market bubble could be forming.
What Is A SPAC?
A SPAC or “blank check” company is designed to raise funds in an initial public offering (IPO) with the aim of acquiring a private business. That private company then becomes public as result of the merger, Reuters notes. Or as Investopia puts it:
“The founder of a SPAC pools money from investors and he or she may contribute to the SPAC to form a blank check company with the sole purpose of acquiring another company—or companies. The money raised through the IPO of a SPAC is put into a trust. The funds are held until the SPAC successfully identifies a viable merger or acquisition opportunity to pursue with the invested funds.”
ChannelE2E believes SPAC organizations may acquire MSP software companies as soon as this year (2021).
SPAC Market Size and Potential Investor Bubble
The SPAC trend helped to fuel $63 billion of IPO fundraising worldwide in January 2021, more than five times the proceeds from the same period a year earlier, Bloomberg reports.
Still, some pundits believe we’re heading toward a SPAC bubble — which involves too much money potentially flowing to lower-quality companies that perhaps shouldn’t be publicly held. Among those raising caution flags:
- Billionaire investor Sam Zell says some SPACs remind him of the speculation in Internet companies during the 1990s dot-com bubble. Although SPACs can be effective transactions, Zell is worried about the fundamental business prospects for some companies that go public via a SPAC, CNBC reports.
- And The New York Times raised these SPAC concerns in February 2021.
- The SPAC trend mirrors the reverse-merger implosion from a decade ago, and SPACs will end in a bursted bubble, according to Ivana Naumovska, a professor at INSEAD, a business school with campuses in France, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore.
- Moreover, the fast-growing SPAC industry may also attract closer scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has indicated.
To be clear, ChannelE2E’s view on the SPAC trend is this: SPACs aren’t “all good” or “all bad.” Much like the dot-com bubble (which ultimately produced giants like Amazon, Google, eBay and others), SPAC activity could give us some great tech companies. But there will surely be some losers as well. The key questions:
- Just how big a SPAC bubble are we potentially facing?
- How soon could it potentially pop?
- And how many investors/companies could be impacted?
The answers to those questions were unknown when we first published this blog on February 10, 2021. In the meantime, here’s the list of technology-focused SPACs — which we update regularly.
Technology-Focused SPACs, IPOs and Mergers: 2021 Activity
Among the technology-focused SPACs we’re tracking so far in 2021 (sorted alphabetically)…
5G Edge Acquisition Corp. The blank check company filed to go public in late March 2021. Source: Bloomberg, April 1, 2021.
Advancit Acquisition I: The blank check company, targeting media and technology, filed with the SEC to raise up to $350 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, February 17, 2021.
Agile Growth: The blank check company, targeting technology, filed with the SEC to raise up to $300 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, February 2, 2021.
Aeon Acquisition: The blank check company, formed by The Aeon Group, has filed to raise up to $125 million in an IPO. Aeon Acquisition will seek to acquire technology-focused businesses that have an aggregate enterprise value of $1 billion to $1.5 billion. Source: Renaissance Capital, January 25, 2021.
AfterNext HealthTech Acquisition: The blank check company — formed by TPG targeting healthcare technology — lowered the proposed deal size for its upcoming IPO. The Fort Worth, TX-based company now plans to raise $250 million. The company had previously filed to raise roughly $300 million. Source: Renaissance Capital, July 30, 2021.
Agile Growth: The blank check company, led by former Alfresco CEO and investor Jay Bhatt, raised $300 million. Agile Growth plans to focus on the technology industry, including pure software and software-enabled businesses such as infrastructure and application software, healthcare IT, fintech, robotics/automation, and education technology, as well as potential additional software and technology segments. Source: Renaissance Capital, March 10, 2021.
Alpha Capital Acquisition: The blank check company, targeting technology businesses in Latin America, filed with the SEC to raise up to $200 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, January 29, 2021.
Alpha Partners Technology Merger: The company filed with the SEC to raise up to $250 million. Alpha Partners Technology Merger plans to identify, merge with, and partner with a technology business that will exhibit sustained, long-term growth and value creation, the company says. Source: Renaissance Capital, February 17, 2021.
Altimar Acquisition Corp. II: Fathom Digital Manufacturing Corporation, an on-demand manufacturing firm with 3-D printing expertise, will merge with Altimar Acquisition Corp. II. The deal values Fathom at $1.5 billion. Fathom is majority-owned by CORE Industrial Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused exclusively on investing in North American manufacturing, industrial technology and services businesses. Source: Fathom, July 16, 2021.
Apollo Acquisition: a blank check company targeting the internet and technology sectors, filed with the SEC to raise up to $40 million. Source: Renaissance Capital, July 20, 2021.
Apollo Strategic Growth Capital I: Multiple updates…
- Vista Equity Partners-backed Solera Holdings is in talks to go public via a merger with blank-check firm Apollo Strategic Growth Capital. Source: Bloomberg, February 4, 2021.
- Vista Equity Partners and Apollo Strategic Growth Capital are in discussions on a potential deal involving Solera, DealerSockt and Omnitracs. Source: Bloomberg, March 4, 2021.
- Vista Equity Partners’ negotiations to merge three of its companies with acquisition firm Apollo Strategic Growth Capital in a $15 billion transaction have been halted. It isn’t clear when or if talks will be revived. The talks centered on a merger featuring Vista’s Solera Holdings Inc., DealerSocket Inc. and Omnitracs. Source: Bloomberg, March 17, 2021.
Apollo Strategic Growth Capital II: The new special purpose acquisition company is upsizing its planned IPO by 25% as the company’s first SPAC reportedly moves close to making a merger deal. Source: SeekingAlpha, February 5, 2021.
Apollo Strategic Growth Capital III: The SPAC plans to raise $400 million in an IPO. Source: Reuters, March 29, 2021.
Aquarius I Acquisition Corp. Lion Group Holding Ltd., operator of an all-in-one trading platform that offers a wide spectrum of products and services with a focus on Chinese investors, has signed engagement letters with Maxim Group LLC and Loeb & Loeb LLP to form a second SPAC company, Aquarius I Acquisition Corp. Source: Lion Group, March 8, 2021.
Archimedes Tech SPAC Partners: Multiple updates…
- The company, targeting AI, cloud services, and auto-tech, filed with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, February 16, 2021.
- The company priced its upsized IPO ($ATSPU) and now expects to raise $120 million. While the Company may pursue an acquisition in any business industry or sector, it intends to concentrate its efforts on identifying businesses in the technology industry. Source: Archimedes Tech SPAC Partners Co., March 10, 2021.
- The technology SPAC has completed a $120 million IPO. Source: Archimedes, March 15, 2021.
Aries I Acquisition: The blank check company has filed with the SEC to raise $175 million in an IPO. The company plans to target highly specialized fields within the technology sector across North America, Europe, and Asia, including: aerospace, satellites, and space exploration; quantum computing and chemistry; artificial intelligence and machine learning; cybersecurity; and blockchain and digital currencies. Source: Renaissance Capital, March 3, 2021.
Athena Consumer Acquisition: The blank check company, targeting technology-enabled consumer products and services, filed with the SEC to raise up to $200 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, July 20, 2021.
Athena Technology Acquisition: Multiple updates…
- The blank check company targeting technology, direct to consumer, and fintech, filed with the SEC to raise up to $250 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, February 5, 2021.
- The company raised $250 million in an IPO. Source: Renaissance Capital, March 16, 2021.
Continue to page two of five for more SPACs.