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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

Trump appoints more loyalists to board seats

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday included some of his most loyal defenders in more than three dozen appointments to federal board seats, including former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell and former National Security Council staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

Why it matters: The president is still refusing to publicly acknowledge his election loss but such appointments are a typical means for outgoing presidents to extend their legacy. The positions are usually unpaid, have little political power and do not require Senate confirmations.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.