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
Unlike a Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) registration statement, a Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) Section 12(g) registration statement does not register securities for sale or result in any particular securities becoming freely tradeable. Rather, an Exchange Act registration has the general effect of making a company subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements under Section 13 of that Act. Registration also subjects the company to the tender offer and proxy rules under Section 14 of the Act, its officers, directors and 10%-or-greater shareholders to the reporting requirements and short-term profit prohibitions under Section 16 of the Act and its 5%-or-greater shareholders to the reporting requirements under Sections 13(d) and 13(g) of the Act.
A company may voluntarily register under Section 12(g) at any time and, under certain circumstances, may also terminate such registration (see HERE).
The SEC has issued FAQ on Covid-19 issues, including the impact on S-3 shelf registration statements. The SEC issued 4 questions and answers consisting of one question related to disclosure and three questions related to S-3 shelf registrations.
Confirming prior guidance, the SEC FAQ sets forth the required disclosures in the Form 8-K or 6-K filed by a company to take advantage of a Covid-19 extension for the filing of periodic reports. In particular, in the Form 8-K or Form 6-K, the company must disclose (i) that it is relying on the COVID-19 Order (for more information on the Order, see HERE); (ii) a brief description of the reasons why the company could not file the subject report, schedule or form on a timely basis; (iii) the estimated date by which the report, schedule or form is expected to be filed; and (iv) a company-specific risk factor or factors explaining the impact, if material, of
The ability to use an S-3 registration statement is significant for exchange traded companies. An S-3 allows forward incorporation by reference and can be used for a shelf registration among other benefits. S-3 eligibility is comprised of both registrant or company requirements and transaction requirements. In this blog I will discuss the general company and transaction requirements for a Form S-3. In a separate blog I will drill down on shelf offerings.
Companies that meet the following requirements are eligible to use a Form S-3 for a transaction that meets one of the transaction requirements:
(1) The company must be organized under the laws of the United States and must have its principal business operations in the United States or its territories;
(2) The company has a class of securities registered pursuant to either Section 12(b) or 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) or is required to file reports pursuant to Section 15(d)
SEC Issues New C&DI Clarifying The Use Of Form S-3 By Smaller Reporting Companies; The Baby Shelf Rule
The SEC has been issuing a slew of new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (“C&DI”) on numerous topics in the past few months. I will cover each of these new C&DI in a series of blogs starting with one C&DI that clarifies the availability of Form S-3 for the registration of securities by companies with a public float of less than $75 million, known as the “baby shelf rule.”
The Baby Shelf Rule
Among other requirements, to qualify to use an S-3 registration statement a company must have filed all Exchange Act reports in a timely manner, including Form 8-K, within the prior 12 months and trade on a national exchange. An S-3 also contains certain limitations on the value of securities that can be offered. Companies that have an aggregate market value of voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of $75 million or more, may offer the full amount of securities under an S-3 registration. For companies