Stock Market

Did you happen to see Barron’s recent article that discussed Bill Ackman’s desire to take X (formerly Twitter) public through his SPARC (special purpose acquisition rights company), a newer twist to SPACs (special purpose acquisition company)?

The traditional SPAC raises money in an IPO (initial public offering) and then takes 12-24 months to find a target to merge with. The SPARC first finds the target, and then investors decide if they want to exercise or sell their rights

Ackman believes that Twitter’s high level of debt should make Elon Musk at least a little curious about the SPARC. 

As Barron’s points out, large-sized SPACs are very risky. According to data from University of Florida finance professor Jay Ritter—an IPO specialist—almost 200 SPACs went public in 2021, with the average IPO trading 64% lower a year later. In 2022, out of 101 SPACs, the average IPO was 59% lower one year later. 

While much of 2022’s SPAC IPO market was garbage, I’ve uncovered three SPACs to buy from the class of 2022.

Symbiotic (SYM)

Source: shutterstock.com/Tex vector

Symbiotic (NASDAQ:SYM) is the largest of the three SPACs, with a market capitalization of nearly $23 billion. The company provides some of the largest consumer goods companies with an end-to-end, AI-powered robotic and software platform enabling them to achieve next-level distribution to their end users.

The company merged with SVF Investment Corp. 3, a SPAC sponsored by SoftBank Investment Advisers, on June 7, 2022. It started trading a day later. 

“Over the past 15 years, Symbotic has developed the next generation of robotics technology,” stated its press release announcing the merger. 

Founded in 2008, the company’s mission has always been to provide an end-to-end robotics solution using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to meet its customers’ needs. 

The SPAC did its IPO in March 2021, raising more than $280 million from investors. The SPAC’s sponsor is the investment manager to the SoftBank Vision Funds, made famous by its founder, Masayoshi Son, who’s had some spectacular venture capital successes and failures in the past decade.

SVF announced the merger in December 2021 after just nine months of looking for a suitable merger partner. The merger was completed less than six months later. When Symbiotic went public, it did so with a healthy cash balance and more than $11 billion in orders in the pipeline. 

Its shares are up 285% since it went public 16 months ago. It’s definitely an example of a successful SPAC.

Waldencast (WALD)

Source: Paolo Bona / Shutterstock.com

Waldencast (NASDAQ:WALD) is the second-largest of the three SPACs, with a market cap of $1.1 billion. The company is a pure play in the beauty industry. It’s building a diversified group of scalable brands for accelerated growth. Its two current brands are Obagi and Milk Makeup.

The company has delayed filing its 2022 annual 20-F report due to an ongoing review of specific accounting issues related to its Obagi Cosmeceuticals LLC products for the Vietnam market. These things are much less problematic once all the financials are restated. 

Interestingly, the accounting review hasn’t affected the stock’s share price. Since it announced the delay in April, the shares have moved sideways. 

Its most recently reported earnings were last November with its Q3 2022 results. It had sales of $79 million and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $15 million, or 19.4% of its revenue. At least from a non-GAAP perspective, business is relatively healthy. 

Waldencast Acquisition Corp. went public on March 15, 2021, raising $300 million from investors at $10 a unit. Led by Michel Brousset, a veteran of both Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and L’Oréal (OTCMKTS:LRLCY). 

Waldencast completed its qualifying acquisition 16 months later, in July 2022. The three-way merger with Obagi Skincare and Milk Makeup are the first two of what Brousset intends to be a multi-brand company in the same vein as Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL).

Forafric Global (AFRI)

Source: Shutterstock

Forafric Global (NASDAQ:AFRI) is the smallest of the three SPACs with a $284 million market cap, which puts it squarely at the bottom end of small-cap stocks.

Based in Gibraltar, Forafric announced in December 2021 that it would merge with Globis Acquisition Corp. to go public. The company is an African-focused, vertically integrated agribusiness with operations from sourcing to processing to selling and distributing branded products.

The two companies completed their merger on June 9, 2022. Globis completed its qualifying transaction approximately 18 months after it went public, selling $100 million in units at $10 to investors.

On July 31, the company announced that it acquired 90% of Société Industrielle de Minoterie du Sud, a soft wheat milling company operating in Marrakesh, that increases its crushing capacity—the wheat is crushed into refined grains for shipment—by more than 300 tons per day. It is part of the company’s plan to double its crushing capacity throughout the next two years in Morocco. 

While no dollar amounts were released, it did say that it would acquire debt that would be paid off in eight equal yearly installments. 

The company’s revenues in 2022 were $290 million, 11% higher than a year earlier and 47% higher than 2020. Unfortunately, it lost $2.12 million on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis due to higher costs and foreign exchange

As it continues to scale its business in the African continent, I expect that profitability will come. That said, there is risk attached to investing in such a small business. 

On the date of publication, Will Ashworth did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

      

Will Ashworth has written about investments full-time since 2008. Publications where he’s appeared include InvestorPlace, The Motley Fool Canada, Investopedia, Kiplinger, and several others in both the U.S. and Canada. He particularly enjoys creating model portfolios that stand the test of time. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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