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 recent amendments to Items 101, 103 and 105 of Regulation S-K (see HERE) went into effect on November 9, 2020, raising many questions as to the transition to the new requirements. In response to what I am sure were many inquiries to the Division of Corporation Finance, the SEC has issued three transitional FAQs.
The amendments made changes to Item 101 – description of business, Item 103 – legal proceedings, and Item 105 – Risk Factors of Regulation S-K.
FAQ – Form S-3 Prospectus Supplement
The first question relates to the impact on Form S-3 and in particular the current use of prospectus supplements for an S-3 that went into effect prior to November 9, 2020. In general, a Form S-3 is used as a shelf registration statement and a company files a prospectus supplement each time it takes shares down off that shelf (see HERE).
The prospectus supplement must meet the requirements of Securities Act Rule
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)