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Stephen Blake, litigation partner with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s Palo Alto office. Stephen Blake, litigation partner with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s Palo Alto office.

Securities and M&A lawyers are all talking about SPACs, and with good reason. According to the SEC, “IPOs by special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) dramatically increased in 2020 as an alternative to the traditional IPO, constituting approximately 45% of the number of and proceeds raised in IPOs in 2020 through Q3.” This trend appears to have only accelerated, with the SPACInsider website reporting over 190 SPAC IPOs thus far in 2021, already over 75% of all SPAC IPOs in 2020.

SPACs are no longer exotic investment vehicles of former executives with well-heeled backers. Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently filed for his own SPAC called Mission Advancement Corporation, which according to its Feb. 22 S-1/A, is looking to combine with a target company that “seek[s] to address principles related to environmental, social and governance concerns, which may include diversity, equity and inclusion (‘DEI’), accessibility, climate and sustainability, or a form of giving back to the community.” Former House Speaker Paul Ryan is the chairman of Executive Network Partnering Corporation, which according to its S-1/A is looking broadly for a target amongst “any company in any industry.”

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