SEC Adopts New Rule To Expand Testing The Waters For All Companies
The SEC has adopted final rules allowing all issuers to test the waters prior to the effectiveness of a registration statement in a public offering. The proposed rules were published in February of this year (see HERE). The final rules are largely the same as proposed. The rule change is designed to encourage more companies to go public. Although it will help in this regard, a much larger expansion of testing the waters, allowing unlimited testing the waters (subject to anti-fraud of course) for all registered offerings under $50 million, would go far to improve the floundering small cap IPO market.
Prior to the rule change, only emerging growth companies (“EGCs”) (or companies engaging in a Regulation A offering) could test the waters in advance of a public offering of securities. The proposal implements a new Securities Act Rule 163B. For an in-depth analysis of testing the waters and communications during an offering process, see my two-part blog HERE