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SPACInsider 2023 Awards and SPAC Deal of the Year

spacinsider 2023 awards

SPACInsider 2023 Awards and SPAC Deal of the Year

SPACInsider 2023 Awards

2023 was clearly a challenging year for deal-making, but, it wasn’t all doom and gloom.  Within the SPAC ecosystem there were some noteworthy standouts that are worth highlighting.  As such, this is the fourth annual SPACInsider Awards where we honor the players and participants that stood out in an impressive field.

As always, it’s challenging narrowing the categories down to just one winner each.  Nonetheless, the below highlights deals, teams, sponsors, bankers and lawyers we have chosen as standouts in the 2023 SPAC market.


BEST COMBINATION (De-SPAC Deal of the Year)

hammerhead logo

Hammerhead Resources (Nasdaq: HHRS)

The Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp. IV/Hammerhead Resources combination, unanimously wins the Deal of the Year award as best SPAC combination of 2023.  The Decarb Plus IV team priced their IPO in August of 2021, which was a very different SPAC market compared to today. However, they announced their deal with Hammerhead Resources 12 months later in September of 2022 and managed to close this combination in February of 2023.  That’s 18 months in a year rife with teams needing to extend their timelines. The Calgary, Canada-based Hammerhead, which produces natural gas and oil from the Montney basin, consistently traded above $12.00 before it was subsequently acquired for C$21.00 per share by Crescent Point Energy Corp. (NYSE: CPG). For those reasons, the Decarb Plus IV/Hammerhead Resources combination is 2023’s Deal of the Year. Well Done.


BEST IPO

IPO-Pricing

SilverBox Corp. III (NYSE: SBXC)

If SPACs thought 2022 was a challenging IPO environment, 2023 upped the ante. As a result, IPO issuance took a back seat and kept many sponsors on the sidelines, including the all-important repeat sponsor category.  However, the SilverBox team was the first big, repeat sponsor team to take a chance on a 2023 IPO, pricing SilverBox Corp. III in February.  Effectively, they were the team that ran into the burning building. It’s too soon to say if they’ll reappear as hero or toast (we’ll have to wait for their deal announcement), but their offering was the first big IPO from a big bank in almost a year’s time. Plus, it was extremely well received and rumors were that the book was many times oversold. It took a certain amount of courage to IPO at that time and for that, they are 2023’s Best IPO of the year.


BEST SPONSOR TEAM

Screaming-eagle-logoThe Eagle Team

The Eagle team managed to get their most recent deal announced just under the wire for 2023, but it was the kind of deal that got investors (and the media) talking again. Screaming Eagle Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SCRM) debuted their combination with Lionsgate Studios, for $4.6 billion just before Christmas on December 22nd. It’s still early days, but this is a marquee named target company coming from sponsor team that has been working on SPACs for over a decade. The Eagle team has previously closed seven combinations, including DraftKings (Nasdaq: DKNG) and WillScot (Nasdaq: WSC). In summary, this team has seen good markets, bad markets, and everything in between, but throughout have demonstrated a wealth of experience completing SPAC combinations. For this, they receive the Best SPAC Sponsor award for 2023.


BEST BANK

citi-logo

Citigroup

One of the more difficult categories to evaluate is Best Bank. How best to do that? A league table can measure volume, but it doesn’t measure quality. Citigroup, which in 2021 priced a tremendous volume of SPACs IPOs, found itself having priced just three IPOs in 2023. However, those three were the biggest sized deals to come to market this year and from quality sponsors to boot. Those were Ares Acquisition Corp. II, Agriculture & Natural Solutions Acquisition Corp., and Nabors Energy Transition Corp. II. All three of these SPACs are backed by well-known, repeat sponsors. More importantly, Citigroup has a long history working of working on SPACs going back to 2004.  As such, they have shown a commitment to the SPAC vehicle in a difficult capital markets environment and for those reasons, Citigroup receives the Best Bank award for 2023.


BEST LAW FIRM

2023 awards

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Similar to the banks, Best Law Firm is also a difficult category. With so many good choices to choose from, we have to look at both IPO legal engagements as well as De-SPAC advisory engagements to come up with an “overall” best law firm. For this year, we chose Kirkland & Ellis, since they have consistently provided counsel to a number of IPOs and De-SPACs in 2023. In fact, Kirkland & Ellis led both the IPO Legal League Tables as well as the De-SPAC legal Advisory League Tables this year and for those reasons, K&E receives the Best SPAC Law Firm in 2023 award.