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Monday, 27 September 2021

SPACs are losing their appeal + Women are burnt out more than men

With a significant rise in investor redemptions, SPACs are losing their appeal, according to the Financial Times. Listed SPACs are usually placed on a trust that pools investor funding ahead of a merger. Those investors appear to be pulling out, with 52.4% of investors redeeming their funding in 3Q2021, up from only 10% in 1Q2021 and 21.9% in the second quarter, according to Dealogic data cited by the salmon-colored paper. Earlier this year, about USD 100 bn worth of SPACs were listed, something we’ll likely never see again, according to an unnamed Wall Street banker.

Why the retreat? The companies choosing to merge with SPACs are not getting what they thought they would. Startup eFFECTOR Therapeutics, for example, which raised USD 175 mn ended up with USD 5.2 mn after 97% of shareholders decided to redeem their shares.

This declining popularity comes as a number of EMs (including Egypt) want to codify the use of SPACs. EGX boss Mohamed Farid suggested amendments to listing rules that would allow for SPACs. Dubai-based Shuaa Capital had plans to establish three SPACs worth USD 200 mn, Bloomberg noted earlier this summer. Meanwhile, the Singapore Stock Exchange amended its listing framework earlier this month to allow listings through SPACs.

Working women are experiencing more burnout than their male counterparts, according to an annual Women in the Workplace study by McKinsey and LeanIn. Around 42% said they felt burnt out often or always, compared to 35% of men. The exhaustion felt by women lessened as they climbed the ranks, with entry level employees feeling the sting more acutely than C-suite executives. One third of women considered abandoning or downshifting their career in the past year while 27% of men said the same. Parents had it harder, with the US seeing a 4.6% decline in working mothers with children under the age of 18.

This has paved the way for more women to find alternative career routes: A silver lining is apparent, with women rushing to launch businesses during the pandemic as they decided to funnel their creativity and motivation in something they were more passionate about. Around 50% of new businesses opened in the US during 2020 were female-run, compared to 27% in recent years, according to a study by Gusto. Of those, 47% were owned by minorities.

The study found that the desire for work from home is strong: Post-pandemic, two-thirds of women said they want to work remotely at least three days a week.

The sentiment is just as great in Egypt: An Enterprise and Bupa Egypt Insurance poll that looked at women’s health in the workplace found that 77% of respondents would like for work from home policies to extend beyond the pandemic. WFH continued to be one of the main benefits that could be offered at a workplace, with 67% suggesting that having the option of remote work when needed would help retain employees.

Even Apple can’t get workers to jump back into the office willingly: A fight is brewing inside Apple as the tech giant orders its workers back to the office for three days a week, a Vox Recode piece details. The normally heads-down Apple employees pushed back at the requirement with petitions and, in some cases, resignations. Over 7k Apple employees participate in an internal “remote work advocacy,” corporate Slack group where they air out their frustrations with management work from the office, and how other companies are offering more flexible arrangements.

Apple won’t lose much, but other companies will: The company’s hard-to-beat pay, benefits, and prestige will likely see it retain most of its workforce, or at least easily replace the dropouts. However, other companies who follow in Apple’s footsteps around the remote work policy won’t be as lucky.

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