One of the largest areas of my firms practice involves going public transactions. I have written extensively on the various going public methods, including IPO/DPOs and reverse mergers. The topic never loses relevancy, and those considering a transaction always ask about the differences between, and advantages and disadvantages of, both reverse mergers and direct and initial public offerings. This blog is an updated new edition of past articles on the topic.
Over the past decade the small-cap reverse merger, initial public offering (IPO) and direct public offering (DPO) markets diminished greatly. The decline was a result of both regulatory changes and economic changes. In particular, briefly, those reasons were: (1) the recent Great Recession; (2) backlash from a series of fraud allegations, SEC enforcement actions, and trading suspensions of Chinese companies following reverse mergers; (3) the 2008 Rule 144 amendments, including the prohibition of use of the rule for shell company and former shell company shareholders; (4) problems
In today’s financial environment, many Issuers are choosing to self underwrite their public offerings, commonly referred to as a Direct Public Offering (DPO). Moreover, as almost all potential investors have computers, many Issuers are choosing to utilize the Internet for such DPO’s. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published rules for utilizing the Internet for an offering.
To comply with the SEC rules for electronic use, an Issuer must comply with the following minimum rules, among others:
- An electronic prospectus must provide the same information as a paper written prospectus;
- The Investor must elect to receive electronic delivery of the prospectus and must be provided with personal access codes to access electronic materials over the Internet;
- The Investor must pre-qualify to receive the offering materials (such as being in a particular state, being accredited, etc.) prior to receiving access codes;
- The Investor must be immediately notified of any amendments or changes in the offering documents; and
- The Issuer must