On April 12, 2021, when John Coates, the acting director of the SEC Division of Corporate Finance, and Paul Munter, the SEC’s acting chief accountant, issued a statement noting their concerns about the way that SPACs were accounting for warrants issued in connection with SPAC IPOs, they also noted that some entities may need to reclassify the warrants from equity to liabilities, and that the change in accounting treatment might require some entities to restate prior financial statements. As it has turned out, many SPACs have in fact reclassified their warrants and many have in fact restated their financials, as discussed below. In at least one case, discussed in earlier post on this site (here), a SPAC-acquired company that restated its financial based on the warrant accounting issue has been hit with a securities class action lawsuit – which raises the question whether other restatements by other SPACs and de-SPACs will trigger further securities class action litigation.

That is the question asked in a June 22, 2021 Law360 article by Elaine Harwood, Steven McBridge and Laura Simmons of Cornerstone Research entitled “Will SPAC Restatement Wave Trigger Shareholder Litigation?” (here). As discussed below, the authors’ article addresses several interesting and important questions about the warrant accounting issue and the possibility for further litigation.
Continue Reading Will SPAC Warrant Accounting Restatements Result in Further Securities Class Action Litigation?

The threat of cyberscams in the form of what has been called “social engineering fraud” or “payment instruction fraud” has become pervasive. In these swindles, imposters posing as senior corporate executives or company vendors direct company personnel to transfer funds to accounts that the imposters control. Losses from these frauds can be substantial, and, as I have noted on prior posts on this site, the insurance coverage questions these losses present can be challenging. Earlier this week, the SEC released an investigative report taking a look at what the agency called “business email compromises” at nine different public companies. The report underscores the need for companies to take cyber threats into account when implementing internal accounting controls. The report has some interesting insurance underwriting implications as well. The SEC’s October 16, 2018 press release about the report can be found here.
Continue Reading SEC Warns of Need for Internal Controls to Prevent Cyberscams

financial statementsFinancial restatements among U.S public companies hit their lowest level in years in 2016, according to the updated annual report of Audit Analytics. As a result of heightened standards as well as the decreased numbers of listed companies, the share U.S. companies restating their prior financial statements hit their lowest level since 2010 and the number of companies restating their financials is at its lowest level since at least 2002. The findings are summarized in a June 12, 2017 Audit Analytics blog post (here). The full report can be found here (subscription or purchase required).
Continue Reading Financial Restatements Continue to Decline for U.S. Reporting Companies

beijing olympicsThe dramatic pre-dawn arrest in Zurich of nine FIFA officials on bribery-related charges dominated the headlines last week. The FIFA corruption investigation news last week also overshadowed the resolution of an FCPA enforcement action involving different sports-related events – BHP Billiton’s sponsorship-related activities at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Though the SEC’s enforcement action