A Hard Look at SPAC Projections
Management Science, 68 (6), 4742-4753.
26 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2021 Last revised: 21 Jun 2022
Date Written: February 1, 2022
Firms’ use of SPACs to go public has increased dramatically, leading to market and regulatory debate about their use of projections. Examining SPAC mergers from 2004 through 2021, we find that 80% of firms provide projections for four years ahead on average, with approximately one-quarter of recent projections extending more than five years. For the sample of SPAC mergers with observable post-merger revenue, we find that only 35% of firms meet or beat their projections. This proportion declines for forecasts that are longer horizon, and non-serial SPAC sponsors miss forecasts by greater percentages. When we compare SPAC projected revenue growth to benchmark samples of IPO firms and matched firms, the SPAC projections are approximately 3 times larger on average than benchmark firms’ actual revenue growth, with even greater differences for long-term projections. After the merger, firms reduce their use of projections, providing them at statistically similar rates as benchmark firms. Overall, the evidence supports concerns that the SPAC merger includes highly optimistic projections.
Keywords: SPAC, Projections, Forecasts
JEL Classification: G34, G17, M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation