Apr 3, 2023 - Economy & Business

Online retailer Boxed is latest SPAC tie-up to file for bankruptcy

Illustration of green tape making the shape of a dollar sign on a stack of boxes.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

On Sunday, online retailer Boxed became the latest company that's gone public via merging with a special purpose acquisition company to file for bankruptcy.

Why it matters: At least nine such companies have now filed for bankruptcy — a rather dramatic outcome for companies that took part in the pandemic-era market boom.

Details: Boxed, founded in 2013 as an online bulk retailer, said on Sunday that it's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will execute a sale of its Spresso software business to its first-lien secured lenders.

The big picture: Other companies that have filed for bankruptcy include Starry Group, Quanergy, Enjoy Technology, Electric Last Mile, Rockley Photonics, Clarus Therapeutics, Core Scientific and Fast Radius.

  • Of these, all but Rockley Photonics filed for bankruptcy within a year after their public market debut, according to Bloomberg.

Between the lines: While the SPAC mania attempted to reverse the two-decade-long trend of companies taking longer to go public, it's now shown that not all companies are fit to be public.

  • In addition to bankruptcies, a number of companies that merged with SPACs have since been taken private, often at prices smaller than what they were worth when first listed.

The bottom line: The SPAC ascent back down to Earth is not over yet.

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