A Resolution For SPAC Warrant Accounting

On April 12, 2021, the SEC effectively chilled SPAC activity by announcing that it had examined warrant accounting in several SPACs and found that the warrants were being erroneously classified as an asset.  The SEC identified two accounting issues, one related to the private placement warrants and the other related to both the private placement and public warrants.  These companies were required to restate previously issued financial statements to reclassify warrants as liabilities, and the ripple effect began.  Overnight SPAC management teams, accountants and auditors were scrambling to determine if a restatement was required (in most cases it was) and in-process SPACs were put on hold or at least delayed while market participants tried to figure out the meaning of the SEC guidance and how to address it.

The timing of the statement was interesting as well; most calendar year end SPACs had just filed their Form 10-K for FYE 2020 requiring a slew of 8-Ks to disclose non-reliance on