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As accounting guidance changes complicate corporate transactions involving special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, executive compensation attorneys say there are ways to smoothly navigate at least one aspect of these deals: assembling pay packages for new higher-ups.

When granting executives stock options and other forms of equity compensation in connection with a SPAC transaction, corporate decision-makers should ensure they're relying on an up-to-date valuation of their company.

At certain points during the transaction, the valuation is liable to change significantly, so using outdated paperwork to calculate stock awards could be disastrous, said Robert James, a principal at Pearl Meyer. To guarantee updated information is being used, James recommended having valuations done weekly or monthly, particularly around certain stages of the transaction: the signing of the letter of intent and the finalization of the merger agreement.

"You need to be careful in this period that you're sizing awards and setting the exercise price on stock options in accordance with the current fair market value of the stock," James said.

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