A spin-off is when a parent company distributes shares of a subsidiary to the parent company’s shareholders such that the subsidiary separates from the parent and is no longer a subsidiary. The distribution normally takes the form of a dividend by the parent corporation. In Staff Legal Bulletin No. 4, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explains how and under what circumstances a spin-off can be completed without the necessity of filing a registration statement.
In particular, the subsidiary shares (the shares distributed to the parent company shareholders) do not need to be registered if the following five conditions are met: (i) the parent shareholders do not provide consideration for the spun-off shares; (ii) the spin-off is pro-rata to the parent shareholders; (iii)