Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The blank-check boom of 2020 is sapping the 2021 IPO market of prospective issuers.

Driving the news: SPAC godfather Alec Gores this morning announced the market's largest-ever deal, with Gores Holdings IV (Nasdaq: GHIV) agreeing to buy wholesale mortgage lender UWM at an enterprise value of approximately $16.1 billon.

What they're saying: Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of UWM, tells Axios that his company began preparing to go public about a year ago, and over time began to find the SPAC process "more efficient" than the IPO process.

  • "We first met with Alec and [Gores Group's] Mark Stone in March or April, and they made the decision easy," he says. "You only go public once and [we] want to ride shotgun with someone who's done it before."
  • Gores Group was formed as a buyout firm in 1987, but took Hostess Brands public via a SPAC in 2016. Since then it's raised several more, including the one buying UWM and another that last month raised $474 million.

The big picture: Several other companies that have agreed to SPAC deals this year would have otherwise attempted IPOs in 2021. Examples include DraftKings, Desktop Metal, and Opendoor.

  • One SPAC banker estimates that around half of the year's 42 announced deals are for 2021 IPO candidates.
  • There are currently 138 SPACs actively seeking targets, and another 49 that have filed to go public, per SPAC Research.
  • "SPACs are seductive, because they offer the benefits of going public without all the hassles of IPOs," explains an IPO adviser. "You basically trade off more dilution for speed, price certainty, and not having to interface much with Wall Street bankers."

One big question is at what point might new SPAC formation outpace attractive targets, particularly as IPOs themselves are becoming more flexible (direct listings, hybrid listings, etc.).

  • Some sources also speculate that the SPAC formation boom is driven, at least in part, by pandemic-driven difficulties in traditional fundraising. Unclear on what happens if business travel were to return to normal, or if this is a "toothpaste out of the tube" situation.

🎧 Coming attractions: Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus, who recently raised $600 million for a SPAC called Reinvent Technology Partners, will join today's "Axios Re:Cap" podcast.

Go deeper

SEC finally approves NYSE's direct listings with capital raise

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission finally approved on Tuesday a rule change that will allow companies doing direct listings on the New York Stock Exchange to simultaneously raise primary capital.

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."