When the SPACs come marching into Asia

The rapid pace at which special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) are raising money is putting regulators across the region in a quandary: either further accommodate an unproven investment structure or risk being left behind.

SPACs are grabbing media space as quickly as they are raising capital. Better known as blank-check companies, they have grown exponentially in only a matter of years. In the first few months of 2021, for example, SPAC deals in the US surpassed the near-$80 billion accumulated in 2020, which was already six times more than during 2019.

Without any commercial operations, SPACs offer an alternative route for start-ups looking to become a listed entity. Besides avoiding the often lengthy and costly ordeal of applying via a traditional initial public offering IPO, benefits include attaching forecasted earnings projections which would otherwise be forbidden.

Their popularity...

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