Navigating the Fast Track to Public Company
As soon as our client received a proposal to be acquired and go public via a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) transaction, the countdown clock started ticking. And since the path to public company is faster—but no less challenging—they reached out to RGP to help them prepare the required SX-compliant financial statements.
That was only the first step.
There are more than a dozen different work streams involved in becoming a thriving public company, from accounting and financial reporting to SOX compliance and internal controls to equity administration and taxes. You also have to stand up the investor relations function, board of directors—even a new public company website. And there are intersections and interdependencies across all of them.
Unlike a traditional IPO, where you set your own deadlines and typically have 12 to 18 months to work through this process, a SPAC timeline is drastically accelerated to only six months.
Turbo-Charging the Public Readiness Timeline
As SPAC activity surged in early 2021, RGP assembled a “tiger team” of public readiness, program management and digital innovation experts, customizing our digital Project Management Framework to ensure a smooth and rapid execution. So we had all the elements in place to move quickly when our client reached out.
Dave Christensen, VP Finance and Accounting, and Ken Taylor, VP Program and Project Management, took the helm, bringing intuitive executive leadership skills as well as deep mastery of complex regulatory and financial reporting standards.
When executing a SPAC, there are a lot of different moving parts and competing interests involved. In addition to all the stakeholders in our client’s company, we were working with the acquiring company management, CFO and CEO, as well as two sets of lawyers and two sets of bankers. So we needed a holistic view of all the workstreams and project plans with the ability to easily drill down into the details of each one.
Can we make this simpler by putting a digital wrapper around it?
RGP’s Project Management Framework provided the blueprint for a project dashboard that was robust enough to track and manage the multi-threaded complexity and details of the transaction. Then, we customized our cloud-based Smartsheet solution to create a “digital wrapper,” enabling us to provide a consolidated view of all the workstreams.
This digital layer also provided secure access to third parties, so they could see aspects of the plan that they were responsible for, and PMs could assign tasks to them while keeping the rest hidden.
“‘How did they only get one set of comments from the SEC, how did they do this so fast?’” Dave recalls people asking. “It was because there was a fully cooperative working group composed of all the lawyers, the auditors and the accountants who met three times a week to track progress on the big project plan and keep everyone up to date.”
Successful execution also requires incredible stamina and almost single-minded dedication.
“SPAC transactions are intense. They go fast, and it’s not a 40-hour work week for anybody,” Dave says. “Auditors, lawyers, accountants—anybody and everybody works extremely hard.”
Humans Driving a Well-Oiled Digital Machine
Our clients depend on us, not just to execute the project plan, but to act as a strategic partner with the experience and agility to quickly course-correct for bumps in the road. “Even with this digital framework customized to orchestrate the myriad SPAC workstreams, you still need human intelligence to throw the switches and pull the lever at the right time,” Ken says. “You need a really good domain expert to recognize and navigate the inevitable ‘oops’ moments.”
Ultimately, this combination of digital capabilities and domain expertise enabled our client to successfully become a public company—and ring the closing NYSE bell—just six months after they received the SPAC proposal.
RGP has supported more than 100 companies on their public readiness journey, from full-lifecycle assessment through execution to ad hoc needs. Learn how RGP can help you prepare for going public, whether through a SPAC or traditional IPO transaction.