A blank-check company is a development-stage company that either does not have an established business plan or its business plan is based around a merger or acquisition with another company or companies.

Blank-check companies generally are speculative and often fall under what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines as "penny stocks", or speculative securities that trade for fewer than $5 per share.

A popular type of blank-check company is a special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC). The founder of a SPAC pools money from investors and he or she may contribute to the SPAC to form a blank-check company with the sole purpose of acquiring another company or companies.

Investors do not have knowledge of how their money will be spent, so they issue blank checks to the SPAC. In turn, the SPAC must receive shareholder approval for all acquisitions and 80% of investor funds must be used in any single deal. If the SPAC fails to find a shareholder-approved deal within two years of creation, it is liquidated and the SPAC's founder loses the investment. Blank-check companies present investors with an alternative similar to private equity.

For more on this topic, read SPACs Raise Corporate Capital, Mergers and Acquisitions: Introduction and The Lowdown on Penny Stocks.

This question was answered by Richard C. Wilson.

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