In July Nasdaq filed a proposed rule change with the SEC to establish listing standards related to notification and disclosure requirements of reverse splits. As of the writing of this blog, the proposed rule change has received only a single comment, which supported the change.
After the market highs of the second half of 2020 and all of 2021, we have all witnessed the general decline, including noticeably depressed valuations and market price, especially in the small cap space. In 2022, Nasdaq processed 196 reverse stock splits, compared to 31 in 2021 and 94 in 2020. As of June 23, 2023, Nasdaq has processed 164 reverse stock splits, and projects significantly more throughout 2023. In its rule proposal, Nasdaq notes that the majority of reverse splits are effectuated by smaller companies that do not have broad media or research coverage. These companies generally trade on the Nasdaq Capital Market tier of the exchange and are completing reverse splits
In addition to the rules and regulations governing the numerous mandatory disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws, the SEC also has several rules governing a company’s obligations vis-a-vis voluntary disclosures. I have written several times about the use of non-GAAP financial measures (see HERE and the imbedded links therein), but it has been several years (10!) since I wrote about the rules and regulations that form a part of Regulation Fair Disclosure (“Regulation FD”).
Regulation FD, comprised of Exchange Act Rules 100-103, was first adopted in the year 2000 in response to concerns about selective disclosure to certain market participants, including a practice of having private calls with analysts, institutional shareholders and traders. Regulation FD requires a company to make public disclosure in advance of an intentional disclosure of material non-public information or immediately following an inadvertent disclosure of such material information.
Regulation FD Rules
Over the years I’ve noted that information required pursuant to various disclosure obligations, or new or amended rules, may be “furnished” versus “filed” with the SEC, but I realize in a “let’s get back to basics” moment, I have not yet (until now) provided a detailed explanation of what that means. In summary, information that is “filed” with the SEC carries Section 18 liability, only “filed” information can be incorporated by reference into other filings, such as an S-3 registration statement, and only “filed” SEC reports affect S-3 eligibility.
Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) imposes liability on any person that makes or causes to be made any statement in any application, report or document “filed” pursuant to the Exchange Act or any rule thereunder which statement was at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it was made false or misleading with
On July 13, 2022, the SEC proposed amendments to Rule 14a-8 governing the process for including shareholder proposals in a company’s proxy statement. The proposed amendment would narrow three of the provisions that a company can rely upon to exclude a shareholder proposal from its proxy statement including: (i) substantial implementation – i.e., the elements of the proposal have already been substantially implemented; (ii) duplication – the proposal substantially duplicates another proposal already submitted for the same meeting; and (iii) resubmission – the proposal substantially duplicates another proposal previously submitted for the same company’s prior shareholder meetings.
Background – Rule 14a-8
The regulation of corporate law rests primarily within the power and authority of the states. However, for public companies, the federal government imposes various corporate law mandates including those related to matters of corporate governance. While state law may dictate that shareholders have the right to elect directors, the minimum and maximum time allowed for notice of shareholder
Although many aspects of an IPO are unaffected by a pandemic, assuming the capital markets continue to have an appetite for public offerings, the grueling road show has gone virtual, and it may be here to stay. An old-fashioned road show involved an intense travel schedule and expensive setup. The new virtual road show can be completed in half the time and a fraction of the price, and interestingly, the IPO’s that have been completed since March 2020, have all priced their deals at the midpoint or higher of their ranges. The lack of face-to-face presentations is not hurting the deals.
I tend to believe the world has changed forever. However, fluidity of memory and a capacity to adapt are fundamental human traits and we have and will adapt our business style to adjust to a world where germs are a real enemy and getting sick doesn’t just mean a day or two out of the office. There has been
On February 20, 2018, the SEC issued new interpretative guidance on public company disclosures related to cybersecurity risks and incidents. In addition to addressing public company disclosures, the new guidance reminds companies of the importance of maintaining disclosure controls and procedures to address cyber-risks and incidents and reminds insiders that trading while having non-public information related to cyber-matters could violate federal insider-trading laws.
The prior SEC guidance on the topic was dated, having been issued on October 13, 2011. For a review of this prior guidance, see HERE. The new guidance is not dramatically different from the 2011 guidance.
The topic of cybersecurity has been in the forefront in recent years, with the SEC issuing a series of statements and creating two new cyber-based enforcement initiatives targeting the protection of retail investors, including protection related to distributed ledger technology (DLT) and initial coin or cryptocurrency offerings (ICO’s). Moreover, the SEC has asked the House Committee on Financial
We often hear the words “road show” associated with a securities offering. A road show is simply a series of presentations made by company management to key members of buy-side market participants such as broker-dealers that may participate in the syndication of an offering, and institutional investor groups and money managers that may invest into an offering. A road show is designed to provide these market participants with more information about the issuer and the offering and a chance to meet and assess management, including their presentation skills and competence in a Q&A setting. Investors often place a high level of importance on road show meetings and as such, a well-run road show can make the difference as to the level of success of an offering.
A road show usually involves an intensive period of multiple meetings and presentations in a number of different cities over a one-to-two-week period. Although road shows are generally live, they
Introduction and Background
On September 26, 2016, and again on the 27th, the SEC brought enforcement actions against issuers for the failure to file 8-K’s associated with corporate finance transactions and in particular PIPE transactions involving the issuance of convertible debt, preferred equity, warrants and similar instruments. Prior to the release of these two actions, I have been hearing rumors in the industry that the SEC has issued “hundreds” of subpoenas (likely an exaggeration) to issuers related to PIPE transactions and in particular to determine 8-K filing deficiencies. Using this as a backdrop, this blog will also address Form 8-K filing requirements in general.
Back in August 2014, the SEC did a similar sweep related to 8-K filing failures associated with 3(a)(10) transactions. See my blog HERE for a discussion of those actions and 3(a)(10) proceedings in general. The 8-K filing deficiency actions were a precursor to a larger SEC investigation on 3(a)(10) transactions themselves which culminated in two well-known
Changes In India’s Laws Related To Foreign Direct Investments- A U.S. Opportunity; Brief Overview For Foreign Private Issuers
In June 2016, the Indian government announced new rules allowing for foreign direct investments into Indian owned and domiciled companies. The new rules continue a trend in laws supporting India as an open world economy. A large portion of the U.S. public marketplace is actually the trading of securities of foreign owned or held businesses. Foreign businesses may register and trade directly on U.S. public markets as foreign private issuers, or they may operate as partial or wholly owned subsidiaries of U.S. parent companies that in turn quote and trade on either the OTC Markets or a U.S. exchange.
Brief Overview for Foreign Private Issuers
Definition of Foreign Private Issuer
Both the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”) contain definitions of a “foreign private issuer.” Generally, if a company does not meet the definition of a foreign private issuer, it is subject to the same registration and
Not surprisingly, I read the trades including all the basics, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, The Street, The PIPEs Report, etc. A few years ago I started seeing the term “confidentially marketed public offerings” or “CMPO” on a regular basis. The weekly PIPEs Report breaks down offerings using a variety of metrics and in the past few years, the weekly number of completed CMPOs has grown in significance. CMPOs count for billions of dollars in capital raised each year.
A CMPO is a type of shelf offering registered on a Form S-3 that involves speedy takedowns when market opportunities present themselves (for example, on heavy volume). A CMPO is very flexible as each takedown is on negotiated terms with the particular investor or investor group. In particular, an effective S-3 shelf registration statement allows for takedowns at a discount to market price and other flexibility in the parameters of the offering such