The purpose of this notice is to publish for comment a proposed new Part X to the Toronto Stock Exchange Manual (the Manual), which would result in the introduction of Part X -- Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations (referred to as "SPACs”) to the Manual.
The TSX has decided to propose rules for the listing of SPACs, having observed the popularity of the use of SPACs in the United States, with a growing number of issuers going public with the intention to later complete a qualifying acquisition by merging with or acquiring an operating company with the proceeds of such offering. While similar to reverse takeovers, the TSX notice observes that unlike reverse takeovers, SPACs generally offer: i) a clean public company shell; ii) more experienced management teams; iii) greater certainty of financing; and iv) a readily available retail and institutional securityholder base.
The TSX notice also observes that while SPACs bear some similarity to capital pool companies (CPCs) in that both involve the creation of publicly-traded shell companies that later acquire an operating business using the initial proceeds raised, the proposed SPAC rules differ from the CPC rules, particularly because SPACs are much larger than CPCs and, therefore, involve more stringent investor protections. The proposed SPAC rules take into account SPAC rules recently adopted by the New York Stock Exchange and currently proposed by NASDAQ, while also attempting to incorporate best commercial practices observed in the SPAC market in the United States.
As a result of the growing market acceptance of SPACs in the United States, and building on the CPC concept, the TSX is proposing Part X to provide a framework for the listing of SPACs on TSX. The proposed Part X of the TSX Manual sets out: i) the original listing requirements that must be met by the SPAC; ii) the continued listing requirements that a SPAC must meet prior to the completion of a qualifying acquisition; and iii) the process relating to the completion of a qualifying acquisition, or failing that, liquidation distribution of the SPAC.
Part X will be effective upon approval by the Ontario Securities Commission following public notice and comment and is open for comments until Monday, September 15, 2008.