A year following the Delaware Chancery Court’s decision in Multiplan Corp. Stockholders Litigation (f/k/a Churchill Capital Corp III), the court again issued an opinion supporting a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action against SPAC directors and sponsors and confirming that a de-SPAC transaction should be reviewed using the “entire fairness” standard. In the January 2023 case of Delman v. Gigacquisitions3, LLC, et al. the Delaware Court denied a motion to dismiss by SPAC sponsors and directors, upholding their potential liability. Interestingly, the Delman motion was in front of the same vice-chancellor as was Multiplan. My blog on the Multiplan Corp. Stockholders Litigation (f/k/a Churchill Capital Corp III) case and its ramifications can be read HERE.
In addition to confirming the inherent conflict of interest of SPAC sponsors and directors, the cases will undoubtedly cause practitioners and market participants to implement new policies and procedures related to proxy statement disclosures, diligence, board discussions, financial valuations, capital raising
On June 22, 2022, the SEC published its semiannual regulatory agenda and plans for rulemaking. The Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions contains the Regulatory Plans of 28 federal agencies and 68 federal agency regulatory agendas. As expected, the Spring 2022 Agenda (“Agenda”) met with criticism from Commissioner Hester M. Peirce. Commissioner Peirce rips the newest Agenda as being disconnected with the SEC’s core mission and as being focused on special interest groups instead of a broad range of market participants. I’ll include her comments throughout this blog. The Agenda is published twice a year, and for several years I have blogged about each publication.
The Agenda is broken down by (i) “Pre-rule Stage”; (ii) Proposed Rule Stage; (iii) Final Rule Stage; and (iv) Long-term Actions. The Proposed and Final Rule Stages are intended to be completed within the next 12 months and Long-term Actions are anything beyond that. The number of items to be completed in a
On March 30, 2022, the SEC proposed rules related to SPAC and de-SPAC transactions including significantly enhanced disclosure obligations including related to financial projections, 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, the SEC has proposed a new safe harbor under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (‘40 Act’) that would provide that a SPAC that satisfies the conditions of the proposed rule would not be an investment company and therefore would not be subject to regulation under the
Since I wrote about the SPAC IPO boom in June 2020 (HERE), the trend has not waned. However, as soon as celebrities like Jay-Z, Shaquille O’Neal, A-Rod and astronaut Scott Kelly jumped in, I knew the tide was shifting, and recent SEC alerts bring that to light. To be clear, SPACs have been used as a method for going public for years and will continue to do so in the future. In fact, I firmly believe that going public through a SPAC will continue and should continue to rival the traditional IPO. With so much SPAC money available in the market right now (an estimated $88 billion raised in 2021 so far already exceeding the estimated $83.4 billion raised in all of 2020) and the Dow and S&P beating historical records, SPACs are an excellent option as an IPO alternative.
However, SPACs should not be viewed as the trendy investment of the day and both investors and