As anticipated, on February 19, 2019 the SEC voted to propose an expansion of the ability to “test the waters” prior to the effectiveness of a registration statement in a public offering, to all companies. Currently only emerging growth companies (“EGCs”) (or companies engaging in a Regulation A offering) can test the waters in advance of a public offering of securities. The proposal would implement 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 and HERE. The SEC proposal is open for public comment for a sixty (60)-day period.
Historically all offers to sell registered securities prior to the effectiveness of the filed registration statement have been strictly regulated and restricted. The public offering process is divided into three periods: (1) the pre-filing period, (2) the waiting or pre-effective period, and (3) the post-effective period. Communications made by the company during