Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly all SPACs based in California have at least one woman on their boards, complying with a new state law.

Why it matters: Access to opportunities for wealth generation can help close the gender gap.

The big picture: SPACs are publicly-traded shell companies that acquire a business for the purpose of taking them public. They've been around for years, but have proliferated in 2020.

By the numbers: Only five out of 26 California-based SPACs trading on the market do not currently have a woman on their board.

  • Sixteen have just one women on their boards, four of them have two, and one (Panacea Acquisition Corp.) has three.
  • A number of newly-formed SPACs are still missing women directors, per SEC filings, although they haven't yet hit the public markets.

The law does not have transition provisions for companies planning to go public, but it only requires a female director "for at least a portion of the year." Enforcement is based on 10-K forms, giving companies more wiggle room to fulfill the requirement.

  • "A lot of these deals go from the organization meeting to closing in eight to 10 weeks," points out lawyer Jocelyn Arel, a partner Goodwin who specializes in SPACs, adding that often new board members are added subsequently.
  • The law is also facing a couple of ongoing lawsuits.

The bigger picture: Other states are already following suit, with Washington passing a bill earlier this year and Massachusetts considering similar legislation.

  • California lawmakers also recently passed a bill that would require publicly-held companies to add board members from other underrepresented groups, such as Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, and LGBTQ. Gov. Newson has until Sept. 30 to make a decision.

Go deeper: California's "woman quota" law seems to be working

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Oct 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Cerberus gets back on the SPAC horse

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cerberus Capital Management on Friday became the latest private equity firm to form a SPAC, a sort of blank-check company that goes public and then acquires a private company.

Why it matters: Cerberus first dipped its toe into SPACs well before the current boom, forming Iron Horse Acquisition in early 2018, but later decreased that SPAC's size and ultimately withdrew its IPO registration.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.

AOC: "Extremely important" that Biden offer Bernie Sanders a Cabinet position

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that she believes it's "extremely important" that Joe Biden offer Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressive leaders Cabinet positions if he's elected president.

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez was pressed repeatedly on policy differences between her and the more moderate Biden, including her opposition to fracking and support for Medicare for All. She responded that it would be a "privilege" and a "luxury" to be able to lobby a Biden administration on progressive issues, insisting that the focus right now should be on winning the White House.