Date of Award

Fall 2022

Degree Type



Moore School of Business

Director of Thesis

Donghang Zhang

First Reader

Siwen Zhang

Second Reader

Siwen Zhang


Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) surged in popularity in 2020 and 2021. For the first time in U.S. history, more SPAC IPOs occurred in a particular year than traditional IPOs and direct listings. Amidst the increase in SPAC IPOs, an expanding number of celebrities became involved with these investment vehicles. This thesis investigates the trend of celebrity backed SPACs by examining how celebrity involvement or association with a SPAC may affect the performance of these equities in the market.

This study examines the SPAC period returns, deSPAC period returns, IPO sizes, deal lengths, and PIPE financing amounts of 339 SPAC deals that closed between November 30, 2017, to March 17, 2022. SPAC period returns are annualized and measured as of the date of business combination. The deSPAC period returns are measured at the following intervals: one day, three months, and one year following a business combination. I find that there is not a significant difference in the common share performance between celebrity-backed and non-celebrity-backed SPACs at the 90% confidence level at any of the four intervals analyzed. Moreover, IPO sizes, PIPE financing amounts, and deal length are not found to have a significant effect on SPAC or deSPAC period performance. Given that the celebrity-backing of SPACs is a recent phenomenon, future studies should investigate whether there is a celebrity effect on common share performance past the one-year deSPAC interval.

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© 2022, John Boyar