In 2023, the SPAC market worked through the issuance and deal-making excess of 2020 and 2021. Only 32 SPAC IPOs priced as investors placed greater importance on sponsors with a track record of success. The average SPAC IPO size declined to $125 million, down 21% from 2022, as sponsors acknowledged lower median deal values; 14% of mergers valued companies at $1 billion or higher, down from 50% last year. Additionally, merger activity was steady at approximately 24 closed deals per quarter and liquidations decelerated.
“Despite the challenging backdrop, the SPAC market continues to be a viable pathway to the public markets, but it certainly isn’t ideal for every company,” said Don Duffy, President of ICR. “SPAC transactions can provide optionality for private equity or venture capital-backed companies that may not be viewed as ideal IPO candidates. We’re also seeing increased interest in carve-outs from existing companies and foreign-listed or domiciled companies using the SPAC route to access the US markets.”
In late December, Lionsgate, a publicly traded global mass media and entertainment company, announced that it will spin off its TV and motion picture studio business with a SPAC in a $4.7 billion deal. The transaction will raise up to $350 million in proceeds to Lionsgate, with some of the funds in committed capital. Besides headline transactions like this, the current dynamics should drive solid activity in 2024. There are 32 SPACs in the IPO pipeline, and a significant merger backlog with 140+ pending mergers and 130+ SPACs seeking targets.
“Strong public equity markets and improved investor sentiment should translate to a more robust ‘traditional’ IPO market in 2024,” said Niren Nazareth, Managing Director at ICR Capital. “The U.S. IPO backlog is currently 160+ and growing, however, aspiring public companies in 2024 will likely face more cautious IPO investors than the previous window. The SPAC market can provide a solution for high-quality companies that require more flexibility, e.g., smaller market capitalization, incremental capital and / or time to firmly establish growth or profitability metrics. ICR Capital can help companies evaluate the current SPAC market and related financing strategies as an alternative to other exits.”
ICR is the largest advisor and communications consultant to SPACs, having worked on over 170 transactions since 2021. Get your copy of ICR’s January 2024 SPAC Market Update & Outlook report today.