The abysmal performance of businesses that have gone public by merging with special purpose acquisition companies has emboldened the US Securities and Exchange Commission to beef up investor protections and disclosure requirements.
SPACs were touted as a shortcut to a stock-market listing and a way for retail investors to gain access to promising start-ups. But the hype and haste have often sidetracked due diligence and financial controls. The promise has given way to losses and, in some cases, lawsuits. An index of 25 companies that became public by combining with a SPAC has plummeted more than 75% from its peak in February last year.