Category: Form 8-K

Form 8-K: Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has been taking action against public reporting companies for the failure to file a Form 8-K upon the completion of a transaction exempt under Section 3(a)(10) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). The SEC has served a Wells notice on numerous companies for the failure to file such Form 8-K without any prior communication with such companies. Since enforcement actions for the failure to file a Form 8-K are very rare, it is my view that the SEC is concerned with the 3(a)(10) transaction itself…

Oct032017

SEC Provides Regulatory Relief To Hurricane Victims

On September 28, 2017, the SEC announced interim final temporary rules (“Exemptive Order”) to provide relief to publicly trading companies, investment companies, accountants, transfer agents, municipal advisors and others affected the Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.  In addition to the interim rules, the SEC urges others not covered by the relief but affected in their ability to provide information to the SEC or shareholders to contact the SEC to seek relief on a case-by-case basis.

Interim Final Temporary Rules

Generally the due date for Exchange Act reports for companies relying on the Exemptive Order shall be October 10, 2017 for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, October 19, 2017 for those affected by Hurricane Irma, and November 2, 2017 for those affected by Hurricane Irma.  As such, companies with such extended due dates may also file an additional extension on Form 12b-25 on those dates, and benefit from an additional five days for a Form 10-Q and 15 days for a

Feb142017

What Does The SEC Do And What Is Its Purpose?

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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As I write about the myriad of constantly changing and progressing securities law-related policies, rules, regulations, guidance and issues, I am reminded that sometimes it is important to go back and explain certain key facts to lay a proper foundation for an understanding of the topics which layer on this foundation. In this blog, I am doing just that by explaining what the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is and its purpose. Most of information in this blog comes from the SEC website, which is an extremely useful resource for practitioners, issuers, investors and all market participants.

Introduction

The mission of the SEC is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitate capital formation.  Although each mission should be a priority, the reality is that the focus of the SEC changes based on its Chair and Commissioners and political pressure. Outgoing Chair Mary Jo White viewed the SEC enforcement division

Jan172017

SEC Issues New C&DI Clarifying The Use Of Form S-3 By Smaller Reporting Companies; The Baby Shelf Rule

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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The SEC has been issuing a slew of new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (“C&DI”) on numerous topics in the past few months. I will cover each of these new C&DI in a series of blogs starting with one C&DI that clarifies the availability of Form S-3 for the registration of securities by companies with a public float of less than $75 million, known as the “baby shelf rule.”

The Baby Shelf Rule

Among other requirements, to qualify to use an S-3 registration statement a company must have filed all Exchange Act reports in a timely manner, including Form 8-K, within the prior 12 months and trade on a national exchange. An S-3 also contains certain limitations on the value of securities that can be offered. Companies that have an aggregate market value of voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of $75 million or more, may offer the full amount of

Dec132016

SEC Cracks Down On Failure To File 8-K For Financing Activities; An Overview Of Form 8-K

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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Introduction and Background

On September 26, 2016, and again on the 27th, the SEC brought enforcement actions against issuers for the failure to file 8-K’s associated with corporate finance transactions and in particular PIPE transactions involving the issuance of convertible debt, preferred equity, warrants and similar instruments. Prior to the release of these two actions, I have been hearing rumors in the industry that the SEC has issued “hundreds” of subpoenas (likely an exaggeration) to issuers related to PIPE transactions and in particular to determine 8-K filing deficiencies. Using this as a backdrop, this blog will also address Form 8-K filing requirements in general.

Back in August 2014, the SEC did a similar sweep related to 8-K filing failures associated with 3(a)(10) transactions. See my blog HERE for a discussion of those actions and 3(a)(10) proceedings in general. The 8-K filing deficiency actions were a precursor to a larger SEC investigation on 3(a)(10)

Mar292016

Responding To SEC Comments

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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Background

The SEC Division of Corporation Finance (CorpFin) reviews and comments upon filings made under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). The purpose of a review by CorpFin is to ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements under the federal securities laws, including Regulation S-K and Regulation S-X, and to enhance such disclosures as to each particular issuer. CorpFin will also be cognizant of the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws and may refer a matter to the Division of Enforcement where material concerns arise over the adequacy and accuracy of reported information or other securities law violations, including violations of the Section 5 registration requirements. CorpFin has an Office of Enforcement Liason in that regard.

CorpFin’s review and responsibilities can be described with one word: disclosure!

CorpFin selectively reviews filings, although generally all first-time filings, such as an S-1 for an initial

Oct272015

SEC Small Business Advisory Committee Public Company Disclosure Recommendations

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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On September 23, 2015, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and finalized its recommendation to the SEC regarding changes to the disclosure requirements for smaller publicly traded companies.    

By way of reminder, the Committee was organized by the SEC to provide advice on SEC rules, regulations and policies regarding “its mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation” as related to “(i) capital raising by emerging privately held small businesses and publicly traded companies with less than $250 million in public market capitalization; (ii) trading in the securities of such businesses and companies; and (iii) public reporting and corporate governance requirements to which such businesses and companies are subject.”

The topic of disclosure requirements for smaller public companies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) has come to the forefront over the past year.  In early December

Dec232014

Will the Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2014 Simplify Reporting Requirements for ECG’s and Smaller Reporting Companies?

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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In early December the House passed the Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2014, which will now go to the Senate for action—or inaction, as the case may be.

The bill joins a string of legislative and political pressure on the SEC to review and modernize Regulation S-K to eliminate burdensome, unnecessary disclosure with the dual purpose of reducing the costs to the disclosing issuer and ensure readable, material information for the investing public.

The Disclosure Modernization and Simplification Act of 2014, if passed, would require the SEC to adopt or amend rules to: (i) allow issuers to include a summary page to Form 10-K; and (ii) scale or eliminate duplicative, antiquated or unnecessary requirements in Regulation S-K.  In addition, the SEC would be required to conduct yet another study on all Regulation S-K disclosure requirements to determine how best to amend and modernize the rules to reduce costs and burdens while

Aug262014

CEO and CFO Certifications for Forms 10-Q and 10-K

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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A public company with a class of securities registered under Section 12 or which is subject to Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) must file reports with the SEC.  The underlying basis of the reporting requirements is to keep shareholders and the markets informed on a regular basis in a transparent manner.   Reports filed with the SEC can be viewed by the public on the SEC EDGAR website.  The required reports include an annual Form 10-K, quarterly Form 10Q’s and current periodic Form 8-K as well as proxy reports and certain shareholder and affiliate reporting requirements.

These reports are signed by company officers and directors.  Moreover, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”) implemented a requirement that the company principal executive officer or officers and principal financial officer or officers execute certain personal certifications included with each Form 10-Q and 10-K.  Certifications are not required on a

Aug052014

The Sale of Unregistered Securities Must Satisfy Form 8-K Filing Requirements In a 3(a)(10) Transaction

Introduction and Background

Recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has been taking action against public reporting companies for the failure to file a Form 8-K upon the completion of a transaction exempt under Section 3(a)(10) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”).  The SEC has served a Wells notice on numerous companies for the failure to file such Form 8-K without any prior communication with such companies. Since enforcement actions for the failure to file a Form 8-K are very rare, it is my view that the SEC is concerned with the 3(a)(10) transaction itself.

A Wells notice, often referred to as a Wells letter, is a notice delivered by the SEC to persons and entities under investigation providing the opportunity to such persons and entities to present their position to the SEC prior to the commencement of an enforcement proceeding.  A Wells letter gives notice of the SEC’s intended charges and enforcement recommendation and

May062014

Say-On-Pay for Smaller Reporting Companies

Effective April 4, 2011, the SEC adopted final rules implementing shareholder advisory votes on executive compensation as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”).  Upon enactment smaller reporting companies were given a two-year exemption from the compliance requirements.  Smaller reporting companies are defined as entities which, as of the last business day of their second fiscal quarter, have a public float of less than $75 million.  Beginning in 2013, that exemption expired and now these smaller reporting companies are required to include say-on-pay voting.  Although smaller reporting companies have been subject to the rules for a year now, I still encounter questions from the entities as to their obligations and requirements under the rules.

The say-on-pay rules were implemented by adding Section 14A, which requires companies to conduct a separate shareholder advisory vote to approve the compensation of executives, which pay is disclosed pursuant to Item 402 (the “say-on-pay” vote).