Last week was a very busy regulatory week for the SEC, including issuing six new compliance and disclosure interpretations (C&DI) for merger and acquisition transactions, most of which directly impact SPAC business organization transactions; proposed rules on SPACs’ shell companies and the use of financial projections; proposed rules to modify the definition of “dealer” for purposes of broker-dealer registration requirements; and a new accounting bulletin impacting the accounting treatment of cryptocurrencies by exchanges. This blog will discuss the new C&DI.
The rules related to disclosure obligations, including in Forms 8-K, S-4 registration statements and proxy materials, and the filing of exhibits associated with a material contract, including merger agreements, have evolved over the past few years (see here related to confidential treatment of material contracts – HERE). In March 2021, the SEC issued a statement discussing certain legal specifics associated with a SPAC, including expressing concerns regarding disclosures associated with a de-SPAC transaction (i.e., a business
The public offering process is divided into three periods: (1) the quiet or pre-filing period, (2) the waiting or pre-effective period, and (3) the post-effective period. Communications made by the company during any of these three periods may, depending on the mode and content, result in violations of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”). Communication related violations of Section 5 are often referred to as “gun jumping.” All forms of communication could create “gun jumping” issues (e.g., press releases, interviews, and use of social media). “Gun jumping” refers to written or oral offers of securities made before the filing of the registration statement and written offers made after the filing of the registration statement other than by means of a prospectus that meet the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act, a free writing prospectus or a communication falling within one of the several safe harbors from the gun-jumping provisions.
Section 5(a) of
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As I’ve written about previously, recently (albeit not officially) the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has materially altered its position on offerings by shell companies that are not blank check companies. In particular, over the past year, numerous shell companies that are not also blank check companies have completed direct public offerings using a S-1 registration statement and successfully obtained market maker support and a ticker symbol from FINRA and are trading.
Rule 419 and Blank Check Companies
The provisions of Rule 419 apply to every registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, by a blank check company. Rule 419 requires that the