Concurrent Public and Private Offerings
Conducting concurrent private and public offerings has historically been very tricky and limited, mainly as a result of the SEC’s position that the filing of an S-1 registration statement and unlimited ability to view such registration statement on the SEC EDGAR database in and of itself acted as a general solicitation and advertisement negating the availability of most private placement exemptions. In addition to the impediment of finding a private exemption to rely on, concurrent private and public offerings raised concerns of gun jumping by offering securities for sale prior to the filing of a registration statement, as prohibited by Section 5(c) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. However, with the enactment of the JOBS Act including its Rule 506(c) allowing general solicitation and advertising in an exempt offering, rules allowing the confidential submittal of registration statements for emerging growth companies (EGC) and rules permitting testing the waters communications prior to and after the filing of a
The DPO Process Including Form S-1 Registration Statement Requirements
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
SEC Suspends Trading On 61 Shell Companies
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today suspended the trading in 61 dormant shell companies. The trading suspensions are part of an SEC initiative tabbed Operation Shell-Expel by the SEC’s Microcap Fraud Working Group. In May 2012, the SEC suspended the trading on 379 shell companies as part of the initiative. Each of the companies were dormant shells that were not current in public disclosures. Each of the companies failed to have adequate current public information available either through the news service on OTC Markets or filed with the SEC via EDGAR.
The federal securities laws allow the SEC to suspend trading in any stock for up to 10 business days. Once a company is suspended from trading, it cannot be quoted again until it provides updated information including complete disclosure of its business and accurate financial statements. In addition to providing the necessary information, to begin to trade again, a company must enlist a market maker to file a
The OTCQX And OTCQB Are Finally Recognized As “Established Public Markets” By The SEC
Back in October 2010 I wrote a blog titled “Has the OTCBB been replaced by the OTCQX and OTCQB”; at the time and up until May 16, 2013, my opinion was “yes” with one big caveat. Prior to May 16, 2013, all three tiers of the OTC Link were considered “pinksheets” by the SEC staff. Prior to May 16, 2013, the OTC Link was not considered a market and therefore: (1) there could be no at-the-market pricing of securities registered for resale by an Issuer on behalf of its selling shareholders; and (2) there could be no equity lines or similar financing transactions and no registration of underlying convertible equities which are priced based on a formula tied to the trading price (usually a discount to market), for OTC Link quoted securities.
On May 16, 2013, the SEC updated their Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations confirming that the OTCQB and OTCQX marketplaces are now considered public marketplaces for purposes of establishing
SEC Guidance On Social Media And Websites For Company Announcements And Communications- Part III
On April 2, 2013, in response to a Facebook post made by Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, the Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued a report confirming that companies can use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to make company announcements in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure (Regulation FD) as long as investors are alerted as to which social media outlet is being used by the company. In the report the SEC stated that previously published guidance on the use of Company websites was applicable to the use of social media. Accordingly, in a series of blogs I am reviewing the SEC guidance on the use of company websites. This blog is Part III in the series.
Regulation FD requires that companies take steps to ensure that material information is disclosed to the general public in a fair and fully accessible manner such that the public as a whole has simultaneous access to the information. Regulation ended the era
OTC Market Groups Has Modified Its Alternative Reporting Standard Effective January 3, 2013
Over the past few years, the historical “pinksheets” has undergone some major changes, starting with the creation of certain “tiers” of issuers and culminating in its refurbished website and new url “www.otcmarkets.com”. The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX; OTCQB and pinksheets.
Issuers on the OTCQX must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC and also undergo a quality review by industry professionals. Issuers on the OTCQB must be fully reporting and current in their reporting obligations with the SEC but do not undergo additional quality review.
Issuers on the pinksheets are not required to be reporting with the SEC. However, such issuers are then further qualified based on the level of voluntary information provided to the www.otcmarkets.com. Issuers with no information are denoted by a skull and crossbones, Issuers with limited financial and business information are classified as “limited information and Issuers which provide information as set forth in the
SEC Issues Guidance on Registration and Deregistration Under Jobs Act
On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law. Some of the rules went into effect immediately, such as the ability of an Emerging Growth Company to file a registration statement and seek confidential treatment during the review process. For this process the EGC would avail itself of the new Securities Act Section 6(e). The SEC issued, albeit limited, guidance on this process for EGC’s yesterday, April 10, 2012.
SEC Guidance on the JOBS Act
On April 11, 2012, the SEC issued guidance on the JOBS Act amendments to Section 12(g) and Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (Exchange Act). The full text of this guidance, and the guidance issued on new Section 6(e) is available on the SEC website.
The JOBS Act amends Section 12(g) and Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act as to threshold shareholder requirements and registration and deregistration requirements for banks and bank holding companies. This blog
Equity Line Financing Examined
In a typical “equity line” financing arrangement, an investor and an Issuer enter into a written agreement whereby the Issuer has the right to “put” its securities to the investor. That is, the Issuer has the right to tell the investor when to buy securities from the Issuer over a set period of time and the investor has no right to decline to purchase the securities (or a limited right to decline). Generally the dollar value of the equity line is set in the written agreement, but the number of securities varies based on a formula tied to the market price of the securities at the time of each “put”.
Similar to PIPE Transactions
Most equity line financing arrangements are similar to a PIPE (private investment into public entity) transaction such that the Issuer relies on the private placement exemption from registration to sell the securities under the equity line and then files a registration statement for the re-sale of
Rule 419 and Offerings by Shell or Blank Check Companies
The provisions of Rule 419 apply to every registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, by a blank check company. Rule 419 requires that the blank check company filing such registration statement deposit the securities being offered and proceeds of the offering into an escrow or trust account pending the execution of an agreement for an acquisition or merger.
In addition, the registrant is required to file a post effective amendment to the registration statement containing the same information as found in a Form 10 registration statement, upon the execution of an agreement for such acquisition or merger. The rule provides procedures for the release of the offering funds in conjunction with the post effective acquisition or merger. The obligations to file post effective amendments are in addition to the obligations to file Forms 8-K to report both the entry into a material non-ordinary course agreement and the completion of the transaction. Rule 419 applies to
A Comprehensive Analysis of Section 5
Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, contains the basic registration requirements for all offerings and rules of securities. Section 5(a) provides that “unless a registration statement is in effect as to a security, it shall be unlawful for any person, directly or indirectly:
- …to sell such security through the use or medium of any prospectus or otherwise; or
- …to transmit through the mails or in interstate commerce any such security for the purpose of sale or for delivery after sale”
Section 5(b) provides that “it shall be unlawful for any person directly or indirectly:
- …to transmit through the mails or in interstate commerce, any prospectus relating to a security with respect to which a registration has been filed…., unless such prospectus meets the requirements of Section 10; or
- …to transmit through the mails or in interstate commerce any such security for the purpose of sale or for delivery after sale, unless accompanied or preceded by a