Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs)
A SPAC is a company organized to purchase one or more operating businesses and which generally intends to raise capital through an initial public offering (IPO), direct public offering (DPO) or private offering.
IPO’s, DPO’s and Rule 419
SPAC’s that engage in either an IPO or DPO are subject to Rule 419 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. The provisions of Rule 419 apply to every registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933, by a blank check company. Rule 419 requires that the blank check company filing such registration statement deposit the securities being offered and proceeds of the offering, less reasonable offering expenses, into an escrow or trust account pending the execution of an agreement for an acquisition or merger. In addition, the registrant is required to file a post effective amendment to the registration statement containing the same information as found in a Form 10 registration statement, upon the execution of an agreement for such acquisition or merger. The rule provides procedures for the release of the offering funds in conjunction with the post effective acquisition or merger.
However, if an acquisition or other business combination is not completed within 18-24 months, the investor funds must be returned. Moreover, the SEC generally takes the position that the fair market value of the acquisition must be at least 60%-80% of the escrowed funds from the raise. Proposed business combinations must be approved by the shareholders as well and dissenting shareholders can convert their shares into a pro-rata portion of the escrow balance.
If the post IPO SPAC shares are listed on an exchange, they are “federally covered” and the Issuer is not subject to state blue sky laws. However, if the SPAC shares are listed on the over the counter bulletin board, they are not federally covered and the Issuer must comply with individual state blue sky laws, which can be cumbersome.
Securities attorney Laura Anthony provides expert legal advice and ongoing corporate counsel to small public Companies as well as private Companies seeking to go public on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board Exchange (OTCBB). Ms. Anthony counsels private and small public Companies nationwide regarding reverse mergers, due diligence on public shells, corporate transactions and all aspects of securities law.
Ms. Anthony is the Founding Partner of Legal & Compliance, LLC, a national corporate, securities and civil litigation law firm based in West Palm Beach, Florida. The firm’s corporate and securities attorneys provide technical legal services to small and mid-size private and public (OTCBB) Companies, entrepreneurs, and business professionals nationwide. Contact us today for a FREE consultation!