SPAC mania may be nearing its peak. Everyone from Peter Thiel to Paul Ryan is backing special purpose acquisition companies, firms that are taken public as empty shells, destined to raise money for the purchase of a business at some point in the future. And why wouldn’t they? For the SPAC managers, it’s a great way to get rich.
In the case of Opendoor’s merger with a SPAC managed by Chamath Palihapitiya, for instance, the venture capitalist stands to share fees totaling $175 million with his partner, Ian Osborne. And that pales compared with the fees of $569 million that former media executive Jeff Sagansky will share in the DraftKings merger with Sagansky’s SPAC.
These SPACs come from a wide range of managers, with mixed track records. Below, The Information has assessed the strengths and weaknesses of eight such managers, based on years of reporting about many of them.