A subsidiary spin-off is a transaction where a parent corporation’s stock ownership of a subsidiary is distributed to the parent corporation’s shareholders giving the shareholders direct ownership of the former subsidiary. Typically, the subsidiary shares are distributed to the shareholders pro rata as a dividend. In fact, two of the requirements for an unregistered spin-off, as set forth in Staff Legal Bulletin No. 4 issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, are that the distribution be pro rata and that no consideration be paid by the shareholders (i.e. a dividend).
A more complex form of a spin-off is commonly referred to as a Reorganized (“D”/355) which is where the parent corporation forms a shell subsidiary, transfers the stock to the shell subsidiary, which in turn distributes the stock to the parent shareholders.
Reasons for Spin-Offs
There are many reasons a company may choose to complete a spin-off, however, the most common reasons include: (i) to separate profit centers to increase