Category: OTC Markets

OTC Markets: OTC Markets divide issuers into three (3) levels of quotation marketplaces: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink. The OTC Pink, which involves the highest-risk, highly speculative securities, is further divided into three tiers: Current Information, Limited Information and No Information. This page provides a summary of the listing requirements for each level of quotation on OTC Markets…

Jul222014

Completing A Name Change Without Shareholder Approval

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Generally a name change is completed through an amendment to a company’s articles of incorporation.  Moreover, amendments to articles of incorporation generally require shareholder consent, which can be time-consuming and expensive and become even more so if the company is subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

All companies with securities registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (i.e., through the filing of a Form 10 or Form 8-A) are subject to the Exchange Act proxy requirements found in Section 14 and the rules promulgated thereunder.  The proxy rules govern the disclosure in materials used to solicit shareholders’ votes in annual or special meetings held for the approval of any corporate action requiring shareholder approval.  The information contained in proxy materials must be filed with the SEC in advance of any solicitation to ensure compliance with the disclosure

Apr222014

OTCQX Listing and Quotation Eligibility and Requirements for U.S. Companies

On February 13, 2014, OTC Markets Group, Inc., published its OTCQX Rules For U.S. Companies version 6.5.  This blog summarizes those rules.  A complete copy of the rules are available on the OTC Link website, otcmarkets.com.

Background

The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.

The OTCQX has two tiers of quotation for U.S. companies: (i) OTCQX U.S. Premier (also eligible to quote on a national exchange); and (ii) OTCQX U.S. issuers on the OTCQX must meet specified eligibility requirements, which interestingly do not include a requirement as to being subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) for OTCQX U.S.  Moreover, OTC Markets has the discretionary authority to allow quotation to substantially capitalized acquisition entities that are analogous to SPAC’s.

Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their SEC reporting obligations, meet minimum price standards, file annual reports and pay annual fees, but do

Apr012014

OTC Markets has Modified its OTCQB Eligibility Criteria Effective May 1, 2014

 OTC Markets has unveiled changes to be quoted on the OTCQB, which changes become effective May 1, 2014.  The OTC Markets changes are designed to attract venture investors to provide more information to investors and to improve such information with Real-Time Level 2 quotes.  The OTC Markets press and informational releases related to the change concentrate on the push to create a successful venture-stage marketplace by removing underperforming companies.

Background

The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.  Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting

Jan212014

Direct Public Offering or Reverse Merger; Know Your Best Option for Going Public

Introduction

For at least the last twelve months, I have received calls daily from companies wanting to go public.  This interest in going public transactions signifies a big change from the few years prior.

Beginning in 2009, the small-cap and reverse merger, initial public offering (IPO) and direct public offering (DPO) markets diminished greatly.  I can identify at least seven main reasons for the downfall of the going public transactions.  Briefly, those reasons are:  (1) the general state of the economy, plainly stated, was not good; (2) backlash from a series of fraud allegations, SEC enforcement actions, and trading suspensions of Chinese companies following reverse mergers; (3) the 2008 Rule 144 amendments including the prohibition of use of the rule for shell company and former shell company shareholders; (4) problems clearing penny stock with broker dealers and FINRA’s enforcement of broker-dealer and clearing house due diligence requirements related to penny stocks; (5) DTC scrutiny and difficulty in obtaining clearance following

Aug132013

SEC Updates May Benefit Equity Line Financing Providers and Issuers

On May 16, 2013, the SEC updated their Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations addressing the point at which an equity line agreement can be determined to be a completed transaction for purposes of filing a resale registration statement. 

Background

Equity line financings are transactions where a company has a long-term contract to put shares to an investor (the equity line provider) at a price, generally determined by a formula based on a discount to market price.  That is, the Issuer has the right to tell the investor when to buy securities from the Issuer over a set period of time and the investor has no right to decline to purchase the securities (or a limited right to decline).  Generally, the dollar value of the

Jun112013

OTC Market Group Has Modified Its Alternative Reporting Standard

Background

Over the past few years, the historical Pink Sheets has undergone some major changes, starting with the creation of certain “tiers” of issuers and culminating in its refurbished website and new URL, otcmarkets.com.Otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and Pink Sheets.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC but do not undergo additional quality review.

Issuers on the Pink Sheets are not required to be reporting with the SEC.However, such issuers are then further qualified based on the level of voluntary information provided to the otcmarkets.com.Issuers with no information are denoted by a skull and crossbones, Issuers with limited financial and business information are classified as “limited information,” and Issuers that provide information as set forth in the OTC

Jun032013

SEC Suspends Trading On 61 Shell Companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today suspended the trading in 61 dormant shell companies.  The trading suspensions are part of an SEC initiative tabbed Operation Shell-Expel by the SEC’s Microcap Fraud Working Group.  In May 2012, the SEC suspended the trading on 379 shell companies as part of the initiative.  Each of the companies were dormant shells that were not current in public disclosures.  Each of the companies failed to have adequate current public information available either through the news service on OTC Markets or filed with the SEC via EDGAR.

The federal securities laws allow the SEC to suspend trading in any stock for up to 10 business days. Once a company is suspended from trading, it cannot be quoted again until it provides updated information including complete disclosure of its business and accurate financial statements.  In addition to providing the necessary information, to begin to trade again, a company must enlist a market maker to file a

May292013

The OTCQX And OTCQB Are Finally Recognized As “Established Public Markets” By The SEC

Back in October 2010 I wrote a blog titled “Has the OTCBB been replaced by the OTCQX and OTCQB”; at the time and up until May 16, 2013, my opinion was “yes” with one big caveat.  Prior to May 16, 2013, all three tiers of the OTC Link were considered “pinksheets” by the SEC staff.  Prior to May 16, 2013, the OTC Link was not considered a market and therefore: (1) there could be no at-the-market pricing of securities registered for resale by an Issuer on behalf of its selling shareholders; and (2) there could be no equity lines or similar financing transactions and no registration of underlying convertible equities which are priced based on a formula tied to the trading price (usually a discount to market), for OTC Link quoted securities.

On May 16, 2013, the SEC updated their Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations confirming that the OTCQB and OTCQX marketplaces are now considered public marketplaces for purposes of establishing

Jan042013

OTC Market Groups Has Modified Its Alternative Reporting Standard Effective January 3, 2013

Background

Over the past few years, the historical “pinksheets” has undergone some major changes, starting with the creation of certain “tiers” of issuers and culminating in its refurbished website and new url “www.otcmarkets.com”.  The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX; OTCQB and pinksheets.

Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals.  Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC but do not undergo additional quality review.

Issuers on the pinksheets are not required to be reporting with the SEC.  However, such issuers are then further qualified based on the level of voluntary information provided to the www.otcmarkets.com.  Issuers with no information are denoted by a skull and crossbones, Issuers with limited financial  and business information are classified as “limited information and Issuers which provide information as set forth in the

Dec062012

An Update On Dealing With The DTC Following The SEC’s Ruling On International Power Group, Ltd.

Background

Back in October and November of 2011, I wrote a series of blogs regarding DTC eligibility for OTC (over-the-counter) Issuers.  OTC Issuers include all companies, whose securities trade on the over-the-counter market, including the OTCBB, OTCQB and pinksheets.  Many OTC Issuers have faced a “DTC chill” without understanding what it is, let alone how to correct the problem.  In technical terms, a DTC chill is the suspension of certain DTC services with respect to an Issuer’s securities.  Those services can be book-entry clearing and settlement services, deposit services or withdrawal services.  A chill can pertain to one or all of these services.  In the case of a chill on all services, the term of art is a “global lock.”

I have previously blogged on how to become DTC-eligible.  From the DTC perspective, a chill does not change the eligibility status of an Issuer’s securities, just what services the DTC will offer for those securities.  So while