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
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
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