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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

Are SPACs the new IPO?

When: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - Wednesday, July 14, 2021, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Where: Online,

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Dates

  • 13 July 2021, 13.00 to 15.00 (BST)
  • 14 July, 13.00 to 15.00 (BST)

The use of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies’ (SPACs) — “special purpose” cash-shell companies that are listed on stock exchanges for a limited period until their time-limited specific purpose has been fulfilled —has surged to a new high in 2021 surpassing all previous records. Since the start of 2021, SPACs had already raised $98.1 billion, surpassing the entire of 2020 in just one quarter despite the fact that 2020 has been defined in the U.S. by many as the ‘Year of the SPAC’.

Nowadays, SPACs are listed in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. SPACs are setting the foundations for what seems to be the new legal order and establishing a novel governance model in the financial markets, where soft law and self-regulation supersede the old paradigm of the Westphalian State in financial regulation. Nonetheless, SPACs are still characterised by economic issues such as information asymmetry, agency costs and moral hazard. Furthermore, there are issues of concern regarding their soundness, transparency, the need for enhanced corporate governance mechanisms as well as “sweeteners” to solve the issue of minority shareholders’ rights at the time of the business combination in SPACs (de-SPACing).

Considering the importance of SPACs and the growing role that they are playing in the functioning of the financial markets, particularly in raising new financing, the existing literature on SPACs is relatively underdeveloped, and this half day conference organized over two-day webinars in the so-called “prime time” of the internet (aiming at allowing the participation of professionals from all continents) will advance the understanding of this phenomena and the research agenda of this underexplored area of law, to plug the existing gap in the literature, and to assist practitioners, regulators and judiciary in this field.

Organiser: Dr Daniele D’Alvia (Associate Research Fellow in Financial Regulation at IALS, and Teaching Fellow in Banking and Finance Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. A pioneer in SPAC’s studies in law, award-winner of the Colin B. Picker Prize, and author of the first SPAC book ever).

Agenda

Day 1 (13 July 2021) - Analysing SPAC’s IPOs

13:00 – 13.15 Opening remarks: Boon or bane - A new paradigm?

Professor Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal (Queen Mary University of London)

13:15 – 13.35 Session I: The SPAC IPO

Professor Milos Vulanovic (EDHEC Business School)

13.35 – 13.55 Session II: Key transactional aspects in recent SPAC deals

Mr Carlos Lobo (Partner at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, New York Office)

13.55 – 14.15 Session III: SPACs between Legal Standardised Regulation and Standardisation of Market Practices

Dr Daniele D’Alvia (Queen Mary University of London)

14:15 – 15.00 Q&As and Closing remarks

moderated by Professor Rodrigo Olivares-Caminal (Queen Mary University of London)

Day 2 (14 July 2021) - SPACs between American Rules and European Supervision: forward-looking pointers

13:00 – 13.15 Opening remarks:

Professor Iris Chiu (University College London)

13:15 – 13.55 Session I: Euronext and the SPAC

Mr Rene van Vlerken (Head of Listing Euronext – Amsterdam)

13.55 – 14.15 Session II: Are SPACs here to stay?

Professor Tim Jenkinson (University of Oxford)

14:15 – 15.00 Roundtable

moderated by Mr Alex Katsomitros (World Finance)

Speakers:

  • Mr Ferdinand Mason (Partner at White & Case – London Office)
  • Professor Filippo Annunziata (Bocconi University)
  • Professor Tim Jenkinson (University of Oxford)

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