WASHINGTON—Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler took aim Thursday at blank-check companies known as special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, saying they provide ordinary investors with incomplete information and insufficient protection against conflicts of interest and fraud.

Mr. Gensler said he wants to level the playing field between traditional initial public offerings and SPACs, which have exploded in popularity in recent years and now account for more than three-fifths of all U.S. IPOs.

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