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Private Offerings

SEC Proposed Rule Changes For Exempt Offerings – Part 5

On March 4, 2020, the SEC published proposed rule changes to harmonize, simplify and improve the exempt offering framework.  The SEC had originally issued a concept release and request for public comment on the subject in June 2019 (see HERE).  The proposed rule changes indicate that the SEC has been listening to capital markets participants and is supporting increased access to private offerings for both businesses and a larger class of investors.  Together with the proposed amendments to the accredited investor definition (see HERE), the new rules could have as much of an impact on the capital markets as the JOBS Act has had since its enactment in 2012.

The 341-page rule release provides a comprehensive overhaul to the exempt offering and integration rules worthy of in-depth discussion.  I have been breaking the information down into a series of blogs, with this fifth and final blog focusing on amendments to Regulation Crowdfunding.

To review the first blog

SEC Proposed Rule Changes For Exempt Offerings – Part 1

On March 4, 2020, the SEC published proposed rule changes to harmonize, simplify and improve the exempt offering framework.  The SEC had originally issued a concept release and request for public comment on the subject in June 2019 (see HERE).  The proposed rule changes indicate that the SEC has been listening to capital markets participants and is supporting increased access to private offerings for both businesses and a larger class of investors.  Together with the proposed amendments to the accredited investor definition (see HERE), the new rules could have as much of an impact on the capital markets as the JOBS Act has had since its enactment in 2012.

The June concept release sought public comments on: (i) whether the exemptive framework as a whole is effective for both companies and investors; (ii) ways to improve, harmonize and streamline the exemptions; (iii) whether there are gaps in the regulations making it difficult for smaller companies to raise capital;

SEC Small Business Advocate Releases First Annual Report

The SEC’s Office of Small Business Advocate launched in January 2019 after being created by Congress pursuant to the Small Business Advocate Act of 2016 (see HERE).  One of the core tenants of the Office is recognizing that small businesses are job creators, generators of economic opportunity and fundamental to the growth of the country, a drum I often beat.  The Office recently issued its first annual report (“Annual Report”).

The Office has the following functions: (i) assist small businesses (privately held or public with a market cap of less than $250 million) and their investors in resolving problems with the SEC or self-regulatory organizations; (ii) identify and propose regulatory changes that would benefit small businesses and their investors; (iii) identify problems small businesses have in securing capital; (iv) analyzing the potential impact of regulatory changes on small businesses and their investors; (v) conducting outreach programs; (vi) identify unique challenges for minority-owned businesses; and (vii) consult with the Investor

SEC Concept Release On Private Offerings

On June 18, 2019, the SEC issued a 211-page concept release and request for public comment on ways to simplify, harmonize, and improve the exempt (private) offering framework.  The concept release seeks input on whether changes should be made to improve the consistency, accessibility, and effectiveness of the SEC’s exemptions for both companies and investors, including identifying potential overlap or gaps within the framework.

From a high level the SEC is seeking public comment on (i) whether the exemptive framework as a whole is effective for both companies and investors; (ii) ways to improve, harmonize and streamline the exemptions; (iii) whether there are gaps in the regulations making it difficult for smaller companies to raise capital; (iv) whether the limitations on who can invest and amounts that can be invested (i.e., accredited investor status) pose enough investor protection and conversely create undue obstacles to capital formation; (v) integration and transitioning from one offering exemption to another; (vi) the use of

Structuring The Private Placement Or Venture Deal – Part 2

Back in 2013 I wrote a series of blogs about preparing for and then structuring a private placement or venture deal.  In today’s world where public markets are more difficult to access for smaller companies, it is a topic worth revisiting.  There are three primary aspects to the private placement or venture capital arena.  The first is getting dressed for the ball – i.e., preparing a company to be viewed and assessed by investors including the due diligence process; the second is determining valuation or deciding to avoid a determination through convertible instruments; and the third is structuring the deal itself.

In this two-part blog series I am discussing each of these aspects.  This first part addressed pre-deal considerations including valuation considerations and can be read HERE. This part two discusses structuring and documenting the deal.

Structuring The Deal

Although structuring a private placement and negotiating with a venture capital group are very different, the underlying mechanics of investments

Structuring The Private Placement Or Venture Deal – Part 1

Back in 2013 I wrote a series of blogs about preparing for and then structuring a private placement or venture deal.  In today’s world where public markets are more difficult to access for smaller companies, it is a topic worth revisiting.  There are three primary aspects to the private placement or venture capital arena.  The first is getting dressed for the ball – i.e., preparing a company to be viewed and assessed by investors including the due diligence process; the second is determining valuation or deciding to avoid a determination through convertible instruments; and the third is structuring and documenting the deal itself.

In this two-part blog series I will discuss each of these aspects.  This first part addresses pre-deal considerations including valuation considerations.  Part two will address structuring and documenting the deal.

Although structuring a private placement and negotiating with a venture capital group are very different, the underlying mechanics of investments are universal.  In a venture capital

The 20% Rule – Private Placements

Nasdaq and the NYSE American both have rules requiring listed companies to receive shareholder approval prior to issuing twenty percent (20%) or more of the outstanding securities in a transaction other than a public offering at a price less than the Minimum Price, as defined in the rule. Nasdaq Rule 5635 sets forth the circumstances under which shareholder approval is required prior to an issuance of securities in connection with: (i) the acquisition of the stock or assets of another company (see HERE); (ii) equity-based compensation of officers, directors, employees or consultants (see HERE); (iii) a change of control (see HERE); and (iv) transactions other than public offerings. NYSE American Company Guide Sections 711, 712 a 713 have substantially similar provisions.

Nasdaq and the NYSE recently amended their rules related to issuances in a private placement to provide greater flexibility and certainty for companies to determine when a shareholder vote is necessary to approve a transaction that

SEC Advisory Committee On Small And Emerging Companies Reviews Capital Formation

On February 25, 2016, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies (the “Advisory Committee”) met and listened to three presentations on access to capital and private offerings. The three presentations were by Jeffrey E. Sohl, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Decision Science Director, Center For Venture Research at University of New Hampshire; Brian Knight, Associate Director of Financial Policy, Center for Financial Markets at the Milken Institute; and Scott Bauguess, Deputy Director, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis at the SEC. The presentations expound upon the recent SEC study on unregistered offerings (see blog HERE).

The presentations were designed to provide information to the Advisory Committee as they continue to explore recommendations to the SEC on various capital formation topics. This blog summarizes the 3 presentations.

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

Private Offering Rule Changes Since JOBS Act

ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100

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As the end of 2014 approaches, I find myself reflecting on the significant successes and failures in the private offering arena since the enactment of the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act (“JOBS Act”) on April 5, 2012.  Some provisions under the JOBS Act became law without further rule-making action on the part of the SEC; others took time to pass; and significantly, Title III Crowdfunding, the most anticipated change in capital market access, has completely stalled.  This blog is a summary of the in-depth detailed blogs I’ve previously written on each of these topics with some added commentary.

506(c) – The Elimination of the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and Advertising in Private Offerings to Accredited Investors; Broker-Dealer Exemption for 506(c) Funding Websites

The enactment of new 506(c) resulting in the elimination of the prohibition against general solicitation and advertising in private offerings to accredited investors has been a slow but sure success.  Trailblazers

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