Nasdaq Amends Its 20% Dilution Shareholder Approval Rule

Effective September 26, 2018, Nasdaq amended Rule 5635(d) to provide greater flexibility and certainty for companies to determine when a shareholder vote is necessary to approve a transaction that would result in the issuance of 20% or more of the outstanding common stock or 20% or more of outstanding voting power in a PIPE or similar private placement financing transaction. The amendment did not change the remainder of Rule 5635, which requires shareholder approval for transactions such as issuances involving an acquisition of stock or assets of another company, a change of control, or equity compensation that result in a 20% or greater dilution.

Generally, Rule 5635(d) requires Nasdaq-listed companies to obtain shareholder approval in private placement transactions involving the issuance of (i) common stock or securities convertible into or exercisable for common stock at a price less than the greater of book or market value which, together with sales by officers, directors or substantial shareholders of the company,