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Time's up for the blank-cheque spacs gravy train

Assif Shameen
Assif Shameen6/9/2022 08:57 PM GMT+08  • 10 min read
Time's up for the blank-cheque spacs gravy train
Grab Holdings, which teamed up with Altimeter Growth last December in a US$40 billion spac merger, now has a value of US$11.7 billion after a recent rebound of its shares / Photo: Bloomberg
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Exactly two years ago, just three months into the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, I wrote in this column about Why Wall Street is gaga over blank-cheque spacs — or special purpose acquisition companies.

The tale about yet another controversial financial instrument was clearly a sign of times. Money had become too cheap as major central banks had cut interest rates to near zero, capital was abundant and investors were chasing growth in every nook and corner of the market.

At that point, you might recall the market had still not recovered fully from the 34% plunge in early 2020. The milestone of the market barometer touching pre-pandemic levels was still several weeks away. With the lockdowns in force, investment bankers who help list private companies on global exchanges or help raise money for cash-strapped companies, could not use conventional methods to raise funds.

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