Stock Market

Post-SPAC Spotlight: 3 Stocks Set to Thrive, 4 Set to Dive

SPAC Mania is firmly in the past. 2021 saw a record 199 SPAC deals closed before nearly halving, marking just 102 last year. And 2023? Only 84 thus far, but with only a few weeks left, we won’t be seeing double digits this year.

What happened?

In a nutshell, SPAC exuberance was a wholly ZIRP-era phenomenon tailor-made for companies looking to capture massive equity inflows without the structural framework to survive on a stock exchange. With a few exceptions, like companies with unique governance structures or working in grey market industries, many companies that went public via SPAC merger didn’t have the financial strength or operational viability to pass underwriter due diligence via traditional IPO processes.

Of course, some post-SPAC stocks are thriving today – but many aren’t. Don’t get caught holding the bag on these post-SPAC losers – instead, these SPAC stocks to buy are worth investing in.

Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE)

Source: Dima Zel /

From the jump, Virgin Galactic Holdings (NYSE:SPCE) was clearly a Richard Branson pet project with limited commercial appeal or productization opportunity. While its theoretical underpinning – commercial hypersonic flight – is appealing, investors didn’t need to look further than the company’s focus on irrelevant minutiae rather than engineering excellence to see this post-SPAC stock was a dud.

Today, SPCE trades firmly in penny stock territory, even as seemingly good news can’t send the stock past $5. Is the final blow bringing Virgin Galactic down to Earth permanently? Branson pulled out of his own venture.

Earlier this month, in an interview, Branson said that he still loved the company, but he wouldn’t infuse SPCE with additional cash. Worse yet, Virgin Group slashed its stake to just below 8% of the total enterprise, indicating Branson is moving on permanently. In his interview, Branson said that Virgin Galactic “[had] sufficient funds to do its job on its own.” How does that statement hold up?

The company holds $270 million in cash and another $766 million in short-term investments, so we’ll say they have $1 billion on hand to fuel operations without further capital. Their current burn rate is slightly below $500 million annually – giving them two years to start turning a profit.

Palantir (PLTR)

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Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) is one of the few success stories coming from the SPAC craze. Unlike other firms, Palantir’s motivation for a SPAC merger listing came (presumably) from a unique governance structure that effectively prevents any external shareholder from investor activism or guiding its direction via voting shares. The structure would have made standard IPO burdensome.

But three years later, Palantir is an undeniable winner. While shares are down by about half compared to their mid-pandemic highs, Palantir settled into a comfortable growth channel that’s both sustainable and rapidly compounding. The company just posted its fourth consecutive profitable quarter, dampening bearish cries that Palantir’s government and corporate contracts wouldn’t offset its high operating expenses.

Better yet, Palantir is made for the current artificial intelligence era. The company was one of the first to leverage machine learning and AI in earnest, kickstarting the current gold rush more than two decades ago. As the industry realizes AI’s potential, expect to see more AI-focused contracts in this post-SPAC stock’s future.

Bark (BARK)

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This post-SPAC stock is a real dog. Bark (NYSE:BARK) a subscription-based pet toy and treat service, was a perfect fit for the pandemic era. Stuck at home, many doted on their dogs or expanded their furry family. BARK’s offerings were an easy sell, and its sales revenue consistently hit 50%+ growth stats.

But, just as BARK was perfect for the pandemic, it’s terrible for today’s economy. Consumers are tightening their belts, and household discretionary income is drying up. Likewise, luxury niceties are the first thing to fall from a budget plan, and few companies embody “luxury niceties” as much as BARK. True to form, BARK’s order volume is tanking at the same time marketing and acquisition costs soar.

I’s current strategy is to push into traditional retail as quickly as possible. BARK has a bevy of partnerships, including Target (NYSE:TGT), that serve as a sales stream for their toys. But CEO Matt Meeker wants to penetrate brick-and-mortar retail further, telling investors, “Just imagine how much bigger this can be when we take treats and all of our consumable products to 40,000 retail doors where we sell toys.”

The problem, of course, is that BARK’s core value proposition is home-delivered, curated boxes. Likewise, its operational model depends on recurring revenue from subscriptions. Forcing its way into retail is a recipe for disaster, as competition is steep and margins are slim.

DraftKings (DKNG)

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DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG) had a bumpy beginning as regulatory uncertainty swirled around online gambling expansion but, like Palantir, the company has settled into a comfortable channel that supports continued growth. Shares surged this year, jumping 230% since January, but there’s continued upside for this sports betting stock.

Online sports betting is on track to hit $15.75 billion in net revenue by 2028. The industry is already competitive and will likely become more so over time. While startup and compliance costs are high for new entrants, spinning off digital betting is simple for existing brands, and there are basically no consumer switching costs. But, despite a narrow moat, DraftKings enjoys the first-mover advantage that makes it the name in online gambling. At the same time, it’s sufficiently ahead of the competition to be able to react rapidly to changing regulatory guidance and grow faster than new upstarts.

The company still has financial issues to address, but management expects 2024 to be a great year for DKNG. In an earnings call, CEO Jason Robins called for substantial revenue, EBITDA, and free cash flow improvements. If Robins meets his lofty goals, DKNG is in for a wild run next year.

Digital World Acquisition (DWAC)

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Digital World Acquisition (NASDAQ:DWAC) is a current SPAC stock that hasn’t yet completed its merger, but it’s undeniably dead in the water. The company has yet to merge with the Trump Media and Technology Group despite an initial 2021 target. Since then, the SPAC has been hit with a slew of legal concerns and political drama – none of which are worth covering, as they’ve been beaten to death.

TMTG’s inherent lack of viable monetization signals this SPAC stock’s end. There are two paths moving forward: DWAC/TMTG can’t successfully close, hanging DWAC bagholders out to dry. Or, somehow, the deal closes. Now, DWAC investors hold stock in a company with basically zero market share and rapidly declining downloads. TMTG simply can’t monetize effectively, and this company is destined for the dustbin.

DWAC is already returning capital to shareholders, clamoring for the exit. That means there isn’t much upside left for this SPAC stock.

Bridger Aerospace (BAER)

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Bridger Aerospace (NASDAQ:BAER) is a newer entrant in the post-SPAC stock space, having completed its merger earlier this year. Though shares slipped about 30% since listing, this small-cap SPAC stock has a solid future ahead.

BAER is at the cutting edge of aerial firefighting, offering a range of aircraft to support rural wilderness firefighting efforts. The firefighting industry is expansive and diverse. Still, investors can look to California for an idea of BAER’s total addressable market. For the 2022 – 2023 budget year, California allocated $3.3 billion to direct firefighting efforts that include aerial suppression and control. And, since fires are omnipresent and aren’t going anywhere, that budget will continue expanding.

The company’s profits are slim thus far, but BAER posted record quarterly revenue and income in its most recent filing. At the same time, its fleet saw record utilization levels as more national and international government agencies clamored for BAER’s services. This post-SPAC stock is small, to be sure, but has solid financial footing and a very viable value proposition.

Westrock Coffee (WEST)

Source: Evgeny Karandaev/

Westrock Coffee (NASDAQ:WEST) is another new post-SPAC stock, completing its merger in late 2022. Shares trade around half what they are listed for, though, and the company’s financials don’t support long-term viability. Coffee is a steeply competitive industry, and without a unique differentiator, Westrock struggles to stand apart from more established retailers.

CEO Scott Ford told investors in its most recent earnings call that Westrock saw a “rapid fall off in volume demand.” That doesn’t bode well for the stock, considering other coffee retailers like Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) posted solid sales growth over the same period. The company’s sales slipped 4.6% year-over-year, though net income admittedly improved substantially.

Still, WEST’s revenue costs are steep, and coffee is a low-margin product with limited opportunity for differentiation. At the same time, WEST has substantial debt and stands at a 2.12 debt-to-equity ratio. As interest costs rise, WEST will likely struggle to maintain its debt service obligations, which, combined with slipping sales, spells trouble for the post-SPAC stock.

On the date of publication, Jeremy Flint held no positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Jeremy Flint, an MBA graduate and skilled finance writer, excels in content strategy for wealth managers and investment funds. Passionate about simplifying complex market concepts, he focuses on fixed-income investing, alternative investments, economic analysis, and the oil, gas, and utilities sectors. Jeremy’s work can also be found at