On March 30, 2022, the SEC proposed rules related to SPAC and de-SPAC transactions including significantly enhanced disclosure obligations, expanding the scope of deemed public offerings in these transactions, making a target company a co-registrant when a SPAC files an S-4 or F-4 registration statement associated with a business combination, and aligning de-SPAC transactions with initial public offering rules. In addition, the SEC has also proposed rules that would deem any business combination transaction involving a reporting shell company, including but not limited to a SPAC, to involve a sale of securities to the reporting shell company’s shareholders. The new rules would amend a number of financial statement requirements applicable to transactions involving shell companies.
In addition to proposing new rules for SPAC and de-SPAC transactions, the SEC is proposing new Securities Act Rule 145a that would deem all business combinations with an Exchange Act reporting shell to involve the sale of securities to the reporting shell company’s
On June 1, 2021, SEC Chair Gary Gensler and the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued statements making it clear that the SEC would not be enforcing the 2020 amendments to certain rules governing proxy advisory firms or the SEC guidance on the new rules.
In particular, in July 2020 the SEC adopted amendments to change the definition of “solicitation” in Exchange Act Rule 14a-1(l) to specifically include proxy advice subject to certain exceptions, provide additional examples for compliance with the anti-fraud provisions in Rule 14a-9 and amended Rule 14a-2(b) to specifically exempt proxy voting advice businesses from the filing and information requirements of the federal proxy rules. On the same day, the SEC issued updated guidance on the new rules. See HERE for a discussion on the new rules and related guidance.
Like all rules and guidance related to the proxy process, the amendments were controversial with views generally falling along partisan lines. On June 1, 2021, Chair