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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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 2 Fair value of equity instruments granted

IFRS 2 Fair value of equity instruments granted – Share-based payment transactions with employees are measured with reference to the fair value of the equity instruments granted (IFRS 2.11).

The fair value of a equity instrument granted is determined as follows (IFRS 2.16-17):

  • If market prices are available for the actual equity instruments granted – i.e. shares or share options with the same terms and conditions – then the estimate of fair value is based on these market prices. IFRS 2 Fair value of equity instruments granted
  • If market prices are not available for the equity instruments granted, then the fair value of equity instruments granted is estimated using a valuation technique.

IFRS 2 (IFRS Read more

Leases explained along defined terms

Lease - a contract, or part of a contract, that conveys the right to use an asset (the underlying asset) for a period of time in exchange for consideration.

What can happen to a contract with a customer?

What can happen to a contract with a customer? – IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (contents page is here) introduced a single and comprehensive framework which sets out how much revenue is to be recognised, and when. The core principle is that a vendor should recognise revenue to depict the transfer of promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the vendor expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. See a summary of IFRS 15 here.

In step 1 Identify the contract there are some specifically identified circumstances to capture the day-to-day complexities of selling products and services to customers into useful financial reporting:

  1. Combination
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Identify the contract with the customer – Engineering & Construction industry

Identify the contract with the customer – This part relates to a complete explanation of IFRS 15 Revenue from contracts with customers in respect of Engineering & Construction contracts, see Revenue from Engineering & Construction contracts. Identify the contract with the customer


The model in IFRS 15 applies to each contract with a customer. Contracts may be written, oral or implied by an entity’s customary business practices, but must be legally enforceable and meet specified attributes. To apply the five-step model in IFRS 15, an entity must first identify the contract, or contracts, to provide goods or services to customers.

Attributes of a contract Identify the contract with the customer

To help entities determine whether (and when) their arrangements … Read more

Creating a new contract or not?

Creating a new contract or not

What is a modification of a contract and what is a new contract?

The way chosen in IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers is that the general rule is that a modification is a continuation of an existing contract with some changes. To account for a change (modification) in a contract as being a new contract some hurdles have to be taken. Creating a new contract or not

So, an entity must determine whether the modification creates a separate contract or whether it will be accounted for as part of the existing contract. Creating a new contract or not

Two criteria must be met for a modification to be treated as a separate Read more

IFRS 3 Identify a business

IFRS 3 Identify a business – An entity shall determine whether a transaction or other event is a business combination by applying the definition in IFRS 3, which requires that the assets acquired and liabilities assumed constitute a business. If the assets acquired are not a business, the reporting entity shall account for the transaction or other event as an asset acquisitionSee also the accounting treatment acquisition of a business or asset(s) 

Guidance on identifying a business combination and the definition of a business are as follows:

The definition of a business: An integrated set of activities and assets that is capable of being conducted and managed for the purpose of providing goods or services to customers, generating investment income (such as dividends or interest) or generating other income from ordinary activities.

Identifying a business combination [IFRS 3 B5 – B6] IFRS 3 Identify a business

IFRS 3 defines a business combination as a transaction or other event in which an acquirer obtains control of one or more businesses. An acquirer might obtain control of an acquiree in a variety IFRS 3 Identify a businessof ways, for example:

  1. by transferring cash, cash equivalents or other assets (including net assets that constitute a business);
  2. by incurring liabilities; IFRS 3 Identify a business
  3. by issuing equity interests; IFRS 3 Identify a business
  4. by providing more than one type of consideration; or
  5. without transferring consideration, including by contract alone.

A business combination may be structured in a variety of ways for legal, taxation or other reasons, which include but are not limited to:

  1. one or more businesses become subsidiaries of an acquirer or the net assets of one or more businesses are legally merged into the acquirer;
  2. one combining entity transfers its net assets, or its owners transfer their equity interests, to another combining entity or its owners;
  3. all of the combining entities transfer their net assets, or the owners of those entities transfer their equity interests, to a newly formed entity (sometimes referred to as a roll-up or put-together transaction); or
  4. a group of former owners of one of the combining entities obtains control of the combined entity.

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IFRS 3 Acquired process is substantive?

IFRS 3 Acquired process is substantive? – IFRS 3 requires a business to include, as a minimum, an input and a substantive process that together significantly contribute to the ability to create output. Because all asset include inputs, the existence of a substantive process is what distinguishes an asset or … Read more

Investments in Joint Ventures Overview

Investments in Joint Ventures Overview that is what this is……

An entity with joint control of an investee shall account for its investment in a joint venture using the equity method except when that investment qualifies for exemption in IAS 28. Investments in Joint Ventures Overview

The exemptions include:Investments in Joint Ventures Overview

  • if the entity is a parent that is exempt from preparing consolidated financial statements by the scope exception in paragraphs 4(a) of IFRS 10 Consolidated Financial Statements; or Investments in Joint Ventures Overview
  • all of the following apply: Investments in Joint Ventures Overview
    1. the entity is a wholly-owned subsidiary, or is a partially-owned subsidiary of another entity and its other owners, including those not otherwise entitled
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