SPAC Merger under IFRS 3

SPAC Merger

Private operating companies seeking a ‘fast track’ stock exchange listing sometimes arrange to be acquired by a smaller listed company (sometimes described as a ‘shell’ company or Special Purpose Acquisition Company or SPAC that is also a ‘shell’ company, especially incorporated (and listed) to serve a reverse acquisition/SPAC Merger). This usually involves the listed company issuing its shares to the private company shareholders in exchange for their shares.

The listed company becomes the ‘legal parent’ of the operating company, which in turn becomes the ‘legal subsidiary’.

A transaction in which a company with substantial operations (‘operating company’) arranges to be acquired by a listed shell company should be analysed to determine if it is a business combination within the scope of IFRS 3.

US GAAP comparison

The registering of securities that are issued by a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) — A Form S-1 may be used for the initial registration and sale of shares of a SPAC, a newly formed company that will use the proceeds from the IPO to acquire a private operating company (which generally has not been identified at the time of the IPO). To complete the acquisition of a private operating company, the SPAC may file a proxy or registration statement. Within four days of the closing of the acquisition of the private operating company, the SPAC must file a “super Form 8-K” that includes all of the information required in a Form 10 registration statement of the private operating company.

Is the transaction a business combination?

Answering this question involves determining:

  • which company is the ‘accounting acquirer’ under IFRS 3, ie the company that obtains effective control over the other
  • whether or not the acquired company (ie the ‘accounting acquiree’ under IFRS 3) is a business.

In these transactions, the pre-combination shareholders of the operating company typically obtain a majority (controlling) interest, with the pre-combination shareholders of the listed shell company retaining a minority (non-controlling) interest (i.e. a SPAC Merger). This usually indicates that the operating company is the accounting acquirer.

If the listed company is the accounting acquiree, the next step is to determine whether it is a ‘business’ as defined in IFRS 3. In general, the listed company is not a business if its activities are limited to managing cash balances and filing obligations. Further analysis will be needed if the listed company undertakes other activities and holds other assets and liabilities. Determining whether the listed company is a business in these more complex situations typically requires judgement.

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M and A

M and A or Mergers and Acquisitions

in IFRS language Business Combinations.

1 Identifying a business combination

IFRS 3 refers to a ‘business combination’ rather than more commonly used phrases such as takeover, acquisition or merger because the objective is to encompass all the transactions in which an acquirer obtains control over an acquiree no matter how the transaction is structured. A business combination is defined as a transaction or other event in which an acquirer (an investor entity) obtains control of one or more businesses.

An entity’s purchase of a controlling interest in another unrelated operating entity will usually be a business combination (see Simple case – Straightforward business combination below). However, a business combination (M and A) may be structured, and an entity may obtain control of that structure, in a variety of ways.

Examples of business combinations structurings

Examples of ways an entity may obtain control

A business becomes the subsidiary of an acquirer

The entity transfers cash, cash equivalents or other assets(including net assets that constitute a business)

Net assets of one or more businesses are legally merged with an acquirer

The entity incurs liabilities

One combining entity transfers its net assets, or its owners transfer their equity interests, to another combining entity or its owners

The entity issues shares

The entity transfers more than one type of consideration, or

Two or more entities transfer their net assets, or the owners of those entities transfer their equity interests to a newly created entity, which in exchange issues shares, or

The entity does not transfer consideration and obtains control for example by contract alone Some examples of this:

  • ‘dual listed companies’ or ‘stapled entity structures’
  • acquiree repurchases a sufficient number of its own shares for an existing shareholder to obtain control
  • a condition in the shareholder agreement that prevents the majority shareholder exercising control of the entity has expired, or
  • a call option over a controlling interest that becomes exercisable.

A group of former owners of one of the combining entities obtains control of the combined entity, i.e. former owners, as a group, retain control of the entity they previously owned.

Therefore, identifying a business combination transaction requires the determination of whether:

  • what is acquired constitutes a ‘business’ as defined in IFRS3, and
  • control has been obtained.

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High level overview IFRS 3 Business Combinations

HIGH LEVEL OVERVIEW IFRS 3 BUSINESS COMBINATIONS

A summary on one page and more detail for reference

The overview

Scope & Identifying a business combination
A business combination is:
Transaction or event in which acquirer obtains control over a business (e.g. of shares or net assets, legal Read more

Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting

Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting – In corporate finance, a leveraged buyout (LBO) is a transaction where a company is acquired using debt as the main source of consideration. These transactions typically occur when a private equity (PE) firm borrows as much as they can from a variety of lenders (up to 70 or 80 percent of the purchase price) and funds the balance with their own equity. Leveraged buyout IFRS 3 best reporting

1 The process and business reason

The use of leverage (debt) enhances expected returns to the private equity firm. By putting in as little of their own money as possible, PE firms can achieve a large return on equity (ROE) and internal rate of return … Read more

IAS 1 Common control transactions v Newco formation

Common control transactions v Newco formation

are two different events, that sometimes interactCommon control transactions v Newco formation

  • Common control transactions represent the transfer of assets or an exchange of equity interests among entities under the same parent’s control. “Control” can be established through a majority voting interest, as well as variable interests and contractual arrangements. Entities that are consolidated by the same parent—or that would be consolidated, if consolidated financial statements were required to be prepared by the parent or controlling party—are considered to be under common control.Determining whether common control exists requires judgment and could have broad implications for financial reporting, deals and tax. Just a few examples are:
    • A reporting entity charters a newly formed entity to effect a transaction.
    • A ‘Never-Neverland‘-domiciled company transfers assets to a subsidiary domiciled in a different jurisdiction.
    • Two companies under common control combine to form one legal entity.
    • Prior to spin-off of a subsidiary by a parent entity, another wholly owned subsidiary transfers net assets to the “SpinCo.”
    • As part of a reorganization, a parent entity merges with and into a wholly owned subsidiary.
  • Newco formations may be used in Business Combinations or businesses controlled by the same party (or parties). Just a few examples are: Common control transactions v Newco formation
    • A Newco can be formed by the controlling party (for example, to facilitate subsequent disposal of the newly created group through an initial public offering (IPO) or a spin-off or by a third-party acquirer (for example to raise funds to effect the acquisition); Common control transactions v Newco formation
    • A Newco can pay cash or shares to effect an acquisition; and
    • A Newco can be formed to acquire just one business or more than one business.

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IFRS 3 Measurement period complete explanations

IFRS 3 Definition: Measurement period after the acquisition date during which the acquirer may adjust the provisional amounts recognized for an acquisition

IFRS 3 What are the different classifications of software?

IFRS 3 What are the different classifications of software, well off course it depends.

Computer software can be classified as either a tangible asset, i.e. property, plant and equipment or an intangible asset, depending on the level of integration with the related hardware.

Software integrated in hardware

In cases where software is an integral part of the related hardware, i.e. the hardware cannot operate without the software, the software will be treated as property, plant and equipment together with the related hardware already recognised, which will normally be computer equipment, a laboratory computer equipment (e.g. computer hardware and related operating systems are recognised under PPE). In such a case, the Accounting Policy on Property, Plant and Equipment shall apply. IFRS Read more

Acquisition of investment properties – How 2 best account it

of investment properties – When should a purchase of investment property (or properties) be accounted for as a business combination, and when as a simple asset purchase? This is an important issue because the IFRS accounting requirements for a business combination are very different from asset purchases. Read more

Legal titles and secrets as assets

In a Business Combinations, these –by definition– are intangible assets and are therefore recognised separately from goodwill, provided that their fair values can be measured reliably. These intangible assets meet the definition of an intangible asset because they again –by definition– arise from contractual or other legal rights. Legal titles and secrets as assets

Patented technology

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. While it is certainly true that not all enterprises develop patentable inventions, it is a wrong to believe that patents only apply to complex physical or chemical processes and products or that they are only useful to large corporations. Patents can be obtained for any area of technology from paper clips … Read more