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Editor’s note: Special purpose acquisition companies are in the news as some investors pile into them, while others warn against them. Here’s a primer published at our sister site, Thinkadvisor, in the fall of last year that might shed some light on the subject.

One-hundred sixty five companies listed initial public offerings on U.S. exchanges in the third quarter, a 126% increase versus Q2. This surge was largely driven by special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which represented 47% of all IPOs in the third quarter.

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