Q4 & Full-Year 2018 SPAC IPO Underwriting League Tables

Underwriting-League-Tables

Q4 & Full-Year 2018 SPAC IPO Underwriting League Tables

Below are the recently released Q4 & FY 2018 SPAC IPO Underwriting League Tables

Methodology:
In addition to the traditional methodology used whereby any bookrunner or lead manager gets full credit for IPO size to calculate deal volume, starting last quarter we added two new columns to the rankings – volume by number of units sold and volume sold % market shares (highlighted in green). For example, if SPAC-XYZ raised $500 million at IPO, and underwriter A sold $400 million of the same deal and underwriter B sold only $100 million, that’s how they will be credited.  This methodology gives a more accurate window into the actual deal volume.


Q4 2018

Ranked by Volume

(All data is sort-able using the arrow keys (Δ/∇) located in the header cells)

RankUnderwriterVolume
($mm)
Volume
% Mkt Share
Volume
Sold
($mm)
Volume
Sold
% Mkt Share
Deal
Count
Avg. Size
($mm)
1Cantor840.018.3%660.031.6%3280.0
2BofA Merrill Lynch640.014.1%167.58.0%2320.0
3Chardan611.913.4%267.212.8%5122.4
4Citigroup440.09.7%190.09.1%1440.0
5Credit Suisse440.09.7%110.05.3%1440.0
6EarlyBirdCapital
429.49.4%208.810.0%3143.1
7Jefferies364.38.0%260.012.4%2182.1
8UBS220.54.8%40.01.9%1220.5
9Macquarie200.04.4%59.02.8%1200.0
10Morgan Stanley200.04.4%67.53.2%1200.0
11BTIG130.02.9%32.51.6%1130.0
12I-Bankers Securities63.31.4%27.51.3%163.3

Source: SPACInsider, Ranked by volume

Cantor Fitzgerald had a big fourth quarter leading by a commanding margin on both deal volume (traditional method) and by volume sold (new method). Cantor has consistently ground out deals every quarter, but Q4 was the first time they’ve lead the underwriting group and notably, not just from the traditional method. They put an exclamation point on the “#1” title by also leading in volume of units sold.

Also highly notable is Chardan, which managed to pull off five SPAC IPOs in the fourth quarter.  As a result of that high deal count, Chardan placed third for total deal volume and second for volume sold. However, their average deal size was considerably smaller, hence, they did not place first in either of the volume categories.

Rounding out the top five for total deal volume are BofA Merrill Lynch in the number two spot and Citigroup and Credit Suisse placing numbers four and five, respectively.  Citigroup and Credit Suisse are unsurprising since they consistently place high by executing big, tier-1 deals, but BofA has been on our radar all year as one of the newer SPAC underwriters to watch.  BofA was the bookrunner for Boxwood Merger Corp. and a lead in Collier Creek, which was the biggest SPAC of the quarter.  Expect to see more of BofA going forward in 2019.

Furthermore, surprising in their absence this quarter was Deutsche Bank.  However, DB seems to be making up for it by already filing two, new, large, high-profile SPACs for January – Gores Metropoulos and RMG Acquisition. Plus, it’s highly doubtful those will be the only two from DB for Q1, so we expect them to make a credible run for the top spot in the next quarter.

However, where things get really interesting are the Full Year 2018 tables….read below.


Full-Year 2018

Ranked by Volume

(All data is sort-able using the arrow keys located in the header cells)

RankUnderwriterVolume
($mm)
Volume
% Mkt Share
Volume
Sold
($mm)
Volume
Sold
% Mkt Share
Deal
Count
Average
Deal Size
1Credit Suisse2,212.012.2%913.910.2%5442.4
2Chardan2,205.412.2%766.48.6%15147.0
3BofA1,897.510.5%643.07.2%5379.5
4Citigroup1,882.010.4%1,133.412.7%4470.5
5Cantor1,668.09.2%1,204.013.5%8208.5
6Earlybird1,527.98.5%843.59.4%9169.8
7Deutsche Bank1,250.06.9%751.88.4%4312.5
8Goldman Sachs1,215.06.7%711.38.0%3405.0
9Oppenheimer657.83.6%235.42.6%2328.9
10B. Riley FBR625.33.5%515.55.8%3208.4
11Jefferies564.33.1%420.04.7%3188.1
12UBS508.02.8%137.51.5%2254.0
13BTIG299.31.7%55.00.6%2149.6
14CLSA258.01.4%50.00.6%1258.0
15Cowen230.01.3%165.01.8%1230.0
16Macquarie200.01.1%59.00.7%1200.0
17Morgan Stanley200.01.1%67.50.8%1200.0
18Dowling & Partners172.51.0%42.00.5%1172.5
19Raymond James155.30.9%44.60.5%1155.3
20Ladenburg115.00.6%92.51.0%1115.0
21CIM Securities115.00.6%0.50.0%1115.0
22Maxim63.30.4%55.00.6%163.3
23I-bankers63.30.4%27.50.3%163.3

Source: SPACInsider, Ranked by volume

Looking at the Full-Year (FY) rankings for 2018, we see Credit Suisse topping the list based on deal volume (traditional method) with over $2.212 billion in SPAC IPOs.  Plus, if we sort based on the new method (volume sold) they’re still right up near the top at #3.  This is not surprising since Credit Suisse is a consistent leader and led the 2017 Underwriting League Tables as well (and were the winner of the 2018 SPACInsider Underwriting League Tournament).  You can pretty much count on Credit Suisse ranking near the top of the tables the same way you can count on the sun rising in the East.  They are the team to beat.

However, what was surprising was Chardan. Chardan managed to pull off a jaw-dropping 15 SPAC IPOs in 2018.  That’s six more than their nearest competitor, EarlyBirdCapital, with nine IPOs.  Furthermore, Chardan still managed to rank #2 in total deal volume (traditional) with $2.205 billion which is only $7 million short of tying Credit Suisse (which would have been a huge upset). Chardan was, without a doubt, the most active SPAC underwriter of 2018.

Yet, what is really interesting about the 2018 underwriter rankings is Cantor.  Cantor ranked #5 in deal volume (traditional), but they ranked #1 in volume sold (new method).  To be more specific, Cantor’s total underwriting deal volume for the year was $1.67 billion, yet managed to sell $1.2 billion of that volume themselves (~75%, and likely more if we had access to over-allotments in the underwriting section of the final prospectus), more than any other underwriter and beating out Citigroup ($1.1 billion sold) and Credit Suisse ($914 million sold).  This is mostly because Cantor always functions as bookrunner in their IPOs and in all of 2018 NEVER went to the right of any underwriter AND they were the sole underwriter in three of their deals.  Clearly, this is a bank that is comfortable in their abilities.

Rounding out the top three for total deal volume (traditional) is BofA Merrill Lynch with $1.898 billion, just a hair’s breadth ahead of Citigroup at $1.882 billion at #4.  However, BofA edged out Citigroup by completing five SPACs this year, one more than Citi’s four. Interestingly, BofA completed only one SPAC in all of 2017, but has managed to leap to the top three by the end of 2018.   A noteworthy effort.

However, there are a number of additional up and comers that could change the landscape in 2019. Specifically, Jefferies, UBS and BTIG.  None of these three completed any SPACs in 2017, but have planted their feet and look to be attempting a serious run at the league table flag. Additionally, Morgan Stanley, RBC and Macquarie remain wild cards as well.  All of which have prior SPAC experience, but it should be interesting to see if they get involved in SPACs in a meaningful way in 2019.  If all six of these names do make a run at it, look for one of the more interesting SPAC years in a very long time.

2019 is already shaping up to be another big year with six IPOs already on file.  If you thought it was competitive in 2018, hang on to your hats because that’s going to be child’s play compared to 2019.  We fully expect to see some surprises in next quarter’s league table round-up so stay tuned…we’re in for a wild ride.

You can find all the League Tables by clicking here.

 

2 Comments
  1. If you are referring to the light blue columns (labeled “Volume $mm”), yes. The “Volume Sold” columns (green) are taken from the underwriting section of the final prospectus and unfortunately do not include over-allotments. I wish that was filed, but it’s not.

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