As I have noted in prior posts (most recently here), many of the SPACs that completed IPOs during the SPAC frenzy in 2020 and 2021 are nearing the end of their two-year search period. Many of these SPACs have not identified suitable merger partners and the SPACs are liquidating. One question I have been asking as these SPACs liquidate is whether there might be litigation. One the one hand, in the liquidation, the investors get their money back. On the other hand, in our litigious society litigation is always possible when plans don’t work out. In the latest example of how litigation might arise in the SPAC liquidation context, investors in SPAC which has announced its plan to liquidate have brought an action against the SPAC, its directors and officers, and the SPAC sponsor, in a fight about how assets the SPAC holds beyond the IPO trust funds are to be distributed.Continue Reading Liquidating SPAC Hit With Investor Suit Over Planned Asset Distribution
As 2022 came to an end, many SPAC sponsors and executives, concerned about the possible onset on January 1, 2023, of an excise tax on amounts to be returned to investors, moved to liquidate their SPACs. As discussed further below, concerns about the possible applicability of the tax have now been alleviated, but given the general marketplace conditions for SPAC merger transactions, it seems likely that there will be further SPAC liquidations ahead in the new year. The possibility of a SPAC liquidation raises a number of considerations, including also important considerations with respect to D&O insurance.
Continue Reading SPAC Liquidations and D&O Insurance
As I noted in my recent round-up of D&O insurance issues, one of the consequences of the end of the SPAC IPO boom is that many of the SPACs from the IPO classes of 2020 and 2021 have given up trying to find a merger target and instead have opted to liquidate – which raises the question whether liquidation could lead to litigation. On the one hand, where’s the harm, since the investors get their money back. On the other hand, in our litigious society, litigation often follows after disappointed expectations. A December 30, 2022, lawsuit brought by SPAC investors against the SPAC, its sponsors, and its directors and officers, may provide an example of how litigation can arise in the wake of a SPAC liquidation.
Continue Reading Liquidating SPAC Hit With Suit Over Proposed Asset Distribution
The financial press is already reporting that many of the nearly 600 SPACs currently searching for merger targets may be unable to find suitable merger targets. Indeed, famous investor Bill Ackerman, unable to find a suitable merger target for his largest-ever SPAC, Pershing Square Tontine Holdings, has already thrown in the towel and liquidated the $4 billion SPAC. With hundreds of SPACs facing the end of their search period in this and the next two quarters, there are likely to be many other SPACs that choose to liquidate in the coming months.
One question I have had about this likelihood is whether or not there is a risk of litigation as SPACs redeem investors’ shares. On the one hand, litigation seemingly should be unlikely as investors are getting their money back. Where’s the harm? On the other hand, in our litigious society, the possibility of litigation always seems to be lurking whenever things don’t work out as planned. While the circumstances involved are very case-specific, a lawsuit filed last week in the Delaware Chancery Court, provides of an example of the kind of end-game squabble that could arise as more SPACs liquidate in the coming months.
Continue Reading SPAC Unable to Find Merger Target Caught Up in Pre-Liquidation Litigation
In a post published last month, I wrote about an interesting U.K. case in which a claim had been asserted post-bankruptcy against a director of a private company. In the following guest post, Francis Kean, a partner in the financial lines team at McGill and Partners, takes another look at the case and considers its implications. A version of Francis’s article previously was published on LinkedIn. I would like to thank Francis for allowing me to publish his article as a guest post on my site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly of you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Francis’s article.
Continue Reading Guest Post: Do D&O Policies Need to be Amended to Cover Post Insolvency Claims?
A recent judicial ruling out of the U.K. provides an interesting perspective on directors’ duties under applicable law when a bankrupt company is in liquidation. As discussed below, the Court held that a director’s duties continue in relevant respects even if the director’s powers cease as of the date of the bankruptcy filing. The circumstances of the case provide an interesting example of a claim that arose against a former director post-liquidation. As discussed below, the circumstances also provide an illustration of why the purchase of post-liquidation run-off coverage is advisable. Though the circumstances arose under U.K. law, the situation bears enough similarities to what might arise under equivalent U.S. law that the liability and insurance lessons are instructive even in the U.S. context.
Continue Reading Directors’ Duties in Insolvency and the D&O Insurance Implications