Amidst all of the ambient horrors and immiseration and the howling incompetence and venality that, if they didn’t bring them about have certainly exacerbated them by several orders of magnitude, as well as the indisputable shrinking of the economy it is at least nominally alleged to track, it is inarguably true that the stock market keeps going up, hitting new records in tandem with those being set in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. And so it is no surprise that records are also being set in getting companies onto the stock market.

The frenzy is perhaps best reflected in the frothily bubbling blank-check company market, which has achieved a new and ominous milestone.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Highbridge Capital Management is in talks to raise $1 billion or more for a strategy dedicated to investing in special purpose acquisition companies and related financial instruments…. Including leverage, Highbridge expects to amass $2 billion to $3 billion, for which it may hold a first close as soon as the first quarter of 2021…. “We believe that 2020’s record SPAC issuance represents the potential for more than $100 billion of near-term transactional value,” the firm said in a presentation discussing the vehicle, known as the Highbridge SPAC Opportunities Fund, seen by Bloomberg. “This activity level has created multiple asymmetric trading opportunities.”

That's right, a fund of SPACs! And, wouldn’t you know, here’s another asymmetric trading opportunity for it.

A blank-check company backed by former Allergan PLC Chief Executive Brent Saunders is set to merge with a private equity-backed health and beauty company in a deal valued at $1.1 billion…. As part of the deal, a group of institutional investors that includes Fidelity Management & Research Co., Redmile Group LLC, Principal Global Investors LLC, Camber Capital Management LP and Woodline Partners Ltd. are contributing $350 million in the form of a private common stock purchase.

But just because Jamie Dimon has cancelled Christmas for those of his bankers drowning under SPAC prospectuses doesn’t mean the old-school way of raising money has been put into quarantine. Far from it: Even with all of the attendant pains-in-the-ass that come with a traditional IPO, and which makes a reverse-merger with a SPAC so appealing to those uninterested in withstanding investor scrutiny before going public, the old-fashioned way of doing things is setting records of its own, even with companies whose fundamentals might have made them a better fit for a SPAC marriage.

DoorDash, the food delivery provider that’s seen a surge in demand during the coronavirus pandemic, sold shares in its IPO at $102 a piece, pricing above its range, according to people familiar with the matter…. The company previously said it expected to sell shares at between $90 and $95.

It could be one of the largest US tech IPOs of the year, though [New Constructs CEO David] Trainer branded it "the most ridiculous IPO of 2020…."

"We think this proposed public equity offering holds no value, $0, beyond bailing out private investors before unsuspecting public investors realize the business is not viable in its current form," he said in an email.

Still, it goes on

Airbnb Inc. is expected to price its shares above its already increased targeted range…. Earlier this week, it boosted the targeted range to between $56 and $60 a share as investors express enthusiasm for the stock at a price above that range and as the stock market continues its march upward. The San Francisco home-rental startup is expected to set a price for its IPO Wednesday ahead of a trading debut Thursday.

And on

Stock trading app Robinhood Markets Inc has picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc to lead preparations for an initial public offering (IPO) which could come next year and value it at more than $20 billion…

The app’s popularity is often cited by market pundits as a driver for the volatility seen in stock trading this year, from large-cap companies to the shares of companies in bankruptcy… Appetite for new stocks has been fueled by a combination of low interest rates, the printing of money by the U.S. Federal Reserve, and an acceleration of tech trends due to the pandemic.

Well, isn’t that just almost as incestuous as Dyal Capital’s plan to merge with its own SPAC and also parts of itself simultaneously? I guess if you can’t join them, you might as well book run for them, and help them get the money they need to avoid further embarrassment.

JPMorgan’s Highbridge Capital Seeks $1 Billion to Bet on SPACs [Bloomberg]
Former Allergan CEO’s SPAC Agrees to $1.1 Billion Merger With Beauty Products Company [WSJ]
DoorDash sells shares at $102 in IPO, pricing above range [CNBC]
DoorDash is the ‘most ridiculous IPO of 2020’ and holds no value beyond bailout out private investors, a veteran equities analyst says [BI]
Airbnb Expected to Price IPO Above $56 to $60 a Share Range [WSJ]
Trading app Robinhood hires Goldman Sachs to lead IPO –sources [Reuters]

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