On March 30, 2022, the SEC proposed rules related to SPAC and de-SPAC transactions including significantly enhanced disclosure obligations, expanding the scope of deemed public offerings in these transactions, making a target company a co-registrant when a SPAC files an S-4 or F-4 registration statement associated with a business combination, and aligning de-SPAC transactions with initial public offering rules. In addition, the SEC has also proposed rules that would deem any business combination transaction involving a reporting shell company, including but not limited to a SPAC, to involve a sale of securities to the reporting shell company’s shareholders. The new rules would amend a number of financial statement requirements applicable to transactions involving shell companies.
In addition to proposing new rules for SPAC and de-SPAC transactions, the SEC is proposing new Securities Act Rule 145a that would deem all business combinations with an Exchange Act reporting shell to involve the sale of securities to the reporting shell company’s
During lulls in the very active rule changes and blog-worthy news coming from the SEC and related regulators, it is great to step back and write about basics that affect SEC attorneys and market participants on a daily basis. In the realm of securities laws, the concept of “incorporation by reference” is simple enough – information from another document, registration statement or filing is included in a current document, registration statement or filing by referring to the other without repeating its contents. Similarly, “forward incorporation by reference” means that a document is automatically updated with information contained in a future SEC filing.
Although the concepts are relatively straight forward, their application is complex with differing rules for different classes of companies (such as an emerging growth company, smaller reporting company, or well-known seasoned issuer) and different filings such as a registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) or a periodic report filed under the Securities
On August 17, 2017, the SEC issued guidance on financial statement requirements for confidential and public registration statement filings by both emerging growth companies (EGC) and non-emerging growth companies. The new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI’s) follow the SEC’s decision to permit all companies to submit draft registration statements, on a confidential basis (see HERE). The newest guidance is in accord with the SEC’s announced policy to take active measures to promote the U.S. IPO market and small business capital-raise initiatives.
Earlier in the summer, the SEC expanded the JOBS Act benefit available to emerging growth companies, to be able to file confidential draft registration statements, to all companies. Confidential draft submissions are now available for all Section 12(b) Exchange Act registration statements, initial public offerings (IPO’s) and for secondary or follow-on offerings made in the first year after a company becomes publicly reporting.
The topic of reporting requirements and distinctions between various categories of reporting companies has been prevalent over the past couple of years as regulators and industry insiders examine changes to the reporting requirements for all companies, and qualifications for the various categories of scaled disclosure requirements. As I’ve written about these developments, I have noticed inconsistencies in the treatment of smaller reporting companies and emerging growth companies in ways that are likely the result of poor drafting or unintended consequences. This blog summarizes two of these inconsistencies.
As a reminder, a smaller reporting company is currently defined as a company that has a public float of less than $75 million in common equity as of the last business day of its most recently completed second fiscal quarter, or if a public float of zero, has less than $50 million in annual revenues as of its most recently completed fiscal year-end. I note that on June 27, 2016, the SEC issued
On June 6, OTC Markets filed a petition for rulemaking with the SEC requesting that the SEC amend Regulation A to expand the eligibility criteria to include all small issuers, including those that are subject to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) reporting requirements and to allow “at-the-market offerings.”
On March 25, 2015, the SEC released final rules amending Regulation A. The new Regulation A creates two tiers of offerings. Tier I of Regulation A, which does not preempt state law, allows offerings of up to $20 million in a twelve-month period. Due to difficult blue sky compliance, Tier 1 is rarely used. Tier 2, which does preempt state law, allows a raise of up to $50 million. Issuers may elect to proceed under either Tier I or Tier 2 for offerings up to $20 million. The new rules went into effect on June 19, 2015 and have been gaining traction ever since. Since that time, the
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”) into law, which included many capital markets/securities-related bills. The FAST Act is being dubbed the JOBS Act 2.0 by many industry insiders. The FAST Act has an aggressive rulemaking timetable and some of its provisions became effective immediately upon signing the bill into law on December 4, 2015. Accordingly there has been a steady flow of new SEC guidance, and now implementing rules.
On January 13, 2016, the SEC issued interim final rules memorializing two provisions of the FAST Act. In particular, the SEC revised the instructions to Forms S-1 and F-1 to allow the omission of historical financial information and to allow smaller reporting companies to use forward incorporation by reference to update an effective S-1. This blog summarizes these rules.
On December 10, 2015, the SEC Division of Corporate Finance addressed the FAST Act by making an announcement with guidance and issuing
On December 4, 2015, President Obama signed the Fixing American’s Surface Transportation Act (the “FAST Act”) into law, which included many capital markets/securities-related bills. The FAST Act is being dubbed the JOBS Act 2.0 by many industry insiders. The FAST Act has an aggressive rulemaking timetable and some of its provisions became effective immediately upon signing the bill into law on December 4, 2015.
In July 2015, the Improving Access to Capital for Emerging Growth Companies Act (the “Improving EGC Act”) was approved by the House and referred to the Senate for further action. Since that time, this Act was bundled with several other securities-related bills into a transportation bill (really!) – i.e., the FAST Act.
In addition to the Improving EGC Act, the FAST Act incorporated the following securities-related acts: (i) the Disclosure Modernization and Simplifications Act (see my blog HERE ); (ii) the SBIC Advisers Relief Act; (iii) the Reforming Access for Investments in Startup Enterprises Act; (iv)
ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100
The first issuer has completed the NASAA coordinated review process to qualify to sell securities in multiple states under Regulation A. As the first and only issuer to complete this process, the issuer (Groundfloor Finance, Inc.) took the time to write a comment letter to the SEC with respect to its Regulation A+ rulemaking and in particular to discuss its experience with the NASAA coordinated review process. The issuer’s comment letter was followed by a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White from the House Financial Services Committee requesting that the SEC study the NASAA Coordinated Review Program.
The Coordinated Review Process
The NASAA coordinated review process is well put together and seems to have a focus on both investor protection and supportive assistance for the issuer. An issuer elects to complete the coordinated review process by completing a Form CR-3b and submitting the application together with a copy of the completed Form
On December 18, 2013, the SEC published proposed rules to implement Title IV of the JOBS Act, commonly referred to as Regulation A+. The proposed rules both add the new Section 3(b)(2) (i.e., Regulation A+) provisions and modify the existing Regulation A. This blog is limited to a discussion of the new Regulation A+.
Title IV of the JOBS Act technically amends Section 3(b) of the Securities Act, which up to now has been a general provision allowing the SEC to fashion exemptions from registration, up to a total offering amount of $5,000,000. Regulation A is and has historically been an exemption created under the powers afforded the SEC by Section 3(b).
Technically speaking, Regulation D, Rule 504 and 505 offerings and Regulation A offerings are promulgated under Section 3(b), and Rule 506 is promulgated under Section 4(a)(2). This is important because federal law does not pre-empt state law for Section 3(b) offerings, but it does so for Section
One of the methods of going public is directly through a public offering. In today’s financial environment, many Issuers are choosing to self-underwrite their public offerings, commonly referred to as a Direct Public Offering (DPO). Management of companies considering a going public transaction have a desire to understand the required disclosures and content of a registration statement. This blog provides that information.
Pursuant to Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”), it is unlawful to “offer” or “sell” securities without a valid effective registration statement unless an exemption is available. Companies desiring to offer and sell securities to the public with the intention of creating a public market or going public must file with the SEC and provide prospective investors with a registration statement containing all material information concerning the company and the securities offered. Currently all domestic Issuers must use either form S-1 or S-3. Form S-3 is limited to larger filers with