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The special-purpose acquisition company thing was fun for a while, wasn’t it? Totally insane and ridiculous, and like all fads fundamentally pointless at their heart. But, like all fads, also fundamentally cool in some hard-to-define way. And, also like all fads, destined to burn out rather rapidly.

The signs that SPACs were losing their hip edge have been around for some time. There was the growing interest from the definitively uncool, like Paul Ryan and Gary Cohn and Dan Och and Donald Trump and the Chinese Communist Party. There was that unmistakable end-of-the-party vibe that even Bill Ackman could pick up on. And whatever joy remained, the fun police over at the Securities and Exchange Commission were pledged to snuff out.

And now comes the growing realization that blank-check companies are not only simply not cool anymore, but are actually that least cool thing of all: bonds. They aren’t quick, slapdash ways for sponsors and lawyers to get rich and leave everyone else holding the bag, but a stable and steady source of returns for retirement accounts.

The traditional SPAC pitch to investors is that, when electric self-driving air taxis fill the skies, they will make enough cash to fill an entire rocket headed to colonize Mars. The new ETF, launched last week by hedge fund Morgan Creek Capital Management and financial-technology company Exos Financial, completely shifts the focus: Now SPACs are all about making small returns for almost no risk, like a bank deposit or a money-market fund…. In a goldilocks scenario, “our experience tells us we can add a few basis points over Treasury yields,” said Mark Yusko, Morgan Creek’s chief executive, of his new Active SPAC Arbitrage ETF, which tellingly is trading under the “CSH” ticker.

It’s Official: SPACs Are the New Money-Market Funds [WSJ]

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