What do former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, one-time Trump chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, and Oakland A’s executive vice president Billy Beane have in common?

The three have all recently taken leadership roles in SPACs, also known as “blank check” companies. Similar to traditional initial public offerings, these “special purpose acquisition companies” raise capital, but they do so specifically for the purpose of acquiring another business, whose identity is unknown at the time of formation.

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