With more than 200 special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, going public in 2020, and dozens more so far in 2021, it can seem like an impossible task to try and decide which are the best to buy. After all, it's fair to assume that not all SPACs will end up finding companies to take public, and many of those that do won't exactly be home runs.
With that in mind, one of our members asked Fool.com contributor (and SPAC investor) Matt Frankel, CFP, which SPACs are his favorites to buy right now. In this Jan. 21 Fool Live video clip, Frankel talks about a handful of promising blank-check companies with fellow contributor Brian Withers.
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Brian Withers: Do you have a favorite SPAC today?
Matt Frankel: Do I have a favorite SPAC today? If I have to name one, [laughs] I assume we're talking about predeal.
Withers: Yeah, I would think predeals, or maybe, like for the SoFi thing, it's going to trade under the SoFi symbol, right?
Frankel: Yeah, I would assume that it's going to trade under the SoFi symbol. As far as an announced SPAC, I'd have to say SoFi [Social Capital Hedosophia V (IPOE)] is the number one. I could tell you the ones that I like.
Over 200 SPACs went public last year, and most of them should be ignored by retail investors, in my opinion. It's all about management with a great track record management that is aligned with your interests, and management whose investing style is what you want. I mentioned Starboard Value [Acquisition] (SVAC). They're arguably the best activist investors of all time, and they're just great value investors. They just really resonated with me, so I decided to pull the trigger on that one.
Bill Ackman's SPAC, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings (PSTH), PSTH, is another one. They're the largest SPAC in history. They haven't found a deal yet, but they are targeting a so-called mature unicorn. There's a lot of speculation they're going to take Stripe public, the fintech giant. There have been a bunch of names thrown around, but that's one that I've heard.
Chamath's two SPACs I really like. I don't want to put my money into a ton of them, because I want to bet on the three or four managers I like the best.
On a similar note, let me quickly just pull this up again, because I found where they put their target business. Tell me how vague this sounds. This could be almost any company that uses technology in its business. "We intend to seek to acquire one or more businesses that we believe are in the technology industry and getting benefits from the extensive networks that we built, are ready to operate in the scrutiny of public markets." Duh. You're not going to take public a company that doesn't want to be public.
"Likely to be well received by public investors," meaning they're going to do their best to try to make investors money. "Are at an inflection point," meaning that they could get advantages from this influx of capital and expertise. "Have significant embedded or underexploited expansion opportunities. Experience... "Exhibit unrecognized value or other characteristics that we believe..."
This could be almost any company, is the point. I can't name one private technology company that's in the target, that's worth a couple of billion dollars, that doesn't really fit into this. I'm sure I could if I really thought about it. But you will see that, but don't put too much stock in. That's why didn't put that as one of my big points to look at. The actual management team and their experience is much more important, if you're looking for clues as to what they might acquire.
Withers: Yeah, I think that's a great point to underline. I like Joey K's comment. He says, "Investing in a premerger SPAC is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get."
Frankel: [laughs] I love that.
Withers: He says Forrest Gump, Jr. as an investor in 2021.
Frankel: I would amend that. It's like a box of chocolates, but you get to pick who is making the chocolate.
Withers: Right. You get the name on the box, so you know what's in it is hopefully a good selection.
Frankel: Yeah, and I want to buy the Godivas, not the stuff you find at the dollar store.