I’ve written quite a bit about SPAC’s recently, but the last time I wrote about SPAC Nasdaq listing requirements, or any attempted changes thereto, was back in 2018 (see HERE). Since that time, Nasdaq has a win and recently a loss in its ongoing efforts to attract SPAC listings.
Background on SPACs
Without reiterating my lengthy blogs on SPACs and SPAC structures (see, for example, HERE and HERE), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is a blank check company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, share exchange, asset acquisition, or other business combination transaction with an unidentified target. Generally, SPACs are formed by sponsors who believe that their experience and reputation will facilitate a successful business combination and public company.
The provisions of Rule 419 apply to every registration statement filed under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, by a blank check company that is issuing securities which fall within the definition of
ABA Journal’s 10th Annual Blawg 100
On May 23, 2014, OTC Markets Group, Inc., published its updated OTCQX Rules for International Companies version 6.7. This blog summarizes those rules. A complete copy of the rules is available on the OTC Link website, otcmarkets.com.
The www.otcmarkets.com divides issuers into three (3) levels: OTCQX, OTCQB and OTC Pink.
The OTCQX has two tiers of quotation for U.S. companies: (i) OTCQX International Premier; and (ii) OTCQX International. International issuers on the OTCQX must meet specified eligibility requirements. Quotation is available for American Depository Receipts (ADR’s) or foreign ordinary securities of companies traded on a Qualifying Foreign Stock Exchange.
International issuers on the OTCQB must either be fully reporting and current in their SEC reporting obligations or qualify for the Rule 12g3-2(b) exemption from SEC registration for foreign private issuers. In addition, OTCQB entities must meet minimum price standards, file annual reports and pay annual fees, but do not undergo additional quality
A. S-1 Proceedings
On February 3, 2014, the SEC initiated administrative proceedings against 19 companies that had filed S-1 registration statements. The 19 registration statements were all filed with an approximate 2-month period around January 2013. Each of the companies claimed to be an exploration-stage entity in the mining business without known reserves, and each claimed they had not yet begun actual mining. The 19 entities used the same attorney, who is the subject of a separate SEC action filed in August 2013 alleging involvement in a pump-and-dump scheme. Each of the entities was incorporated at around the same time using the same registered agent service. The 19 S-1’s read substantially the same.
Importantly, each of the 19 S-1’s lists a separate officer, director and sole shareholder, and each claims that this person is the sole control person. The SEC complains that contrary to the representations in the S-1, a separate single individual is the actual control person behind each
Recently, albeit not officially, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has materially altered its position on offerings by shell companies that are not blank-check companies. In particular, over the past year, numerous shell companies that are not also blank-check companies have completed offerings using an S-1 registration statement and successfully obtained market maker support and a ticker symbol from FINRA and are trading. As recently as 18 months ago, this was not possible.
Rule 419 and 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