The SEC has published clarifying guidance and information on defining “voting equity securities” for purposes of the application of the bad actor rules under Rule 506 of Regulation D of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). The clarifying language was contained within the SEC’s March 25, 2015 release of the final rules amending and adopting Regulation A+.
Rules 262 and 505 of the Securities Act disqualify the use of offerings under Regulation A and Rule 505 of Regulation D if an issuer, its predecessor, or an affiliate of the issuer is considered a “bad actor” as defined by such rules. In particular, the rules disqualify the issuer if the specified covered person is subject to certain administrative orders, industry bars, an injunction involving certain securities law violations or certain specified criminal convictions. “Covered persons” under the rules extends to the issuer, predecessor, affiliate, directors, officers, general partners, 20% or greater beneficial owners, promoters, underwriters, persons
For at least the last twelve months, I have received calls daily from companies wanting to go public. This interest in going public transactions signifies a big change from the few years prior.
Beginning in 2009, the small-cap and reverse merger, initial public offering (IPO) and direct public offering (DPO) markets diminished greatly. I can identify at least seven main reasons for the downfall of the going public transactions. Briefly, those reasons are: (1) the general state of the economy, plainly stated, was not good; (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 clearing penny stock with broker dealers and FINRA’s enforcement of broker-dealer and clearing house due diligence requirements related to penny stocks; (5) DTC scrutiny and difficulty in obtaining clearance following