SEC Adopts Amendments To Rules Governing Proxy Advisory Firms

On July 13, 2022, the SEC adopted amendments to the rules governing proxy voting advice, in essence undoing material provisions in the new rules that had been adopted in July 2020.  The newest rules were proposed in November 2021 but had effectively been in place since June 2021 when SEC Chair Gary Gensler issued a statement making it clear that the SEC would not be enforcing the 2020 amendments to certain rules governing proxy advisory firms or the SEC guidance on those new rules.

The final rules rescind two of the rules adopted in 2020 and specifically, the conditions to the availability of two exemptions from the proxy rules’ information and filing requirements on which proxy voting advice businesses may rely. Those conditions require that: (i) companies that are the subject of proxy voting advice have such advice made available to them in a timely manner; and (ii) clients of proxy voting advice businesses are provided with a means of

Subsidiary Spin-Offs

A subsidiary spin-off is a transaction where a parent corporation’s stock ownership of a subsidiary is distributed to the parent corporation’s shareholders giving the shareholders direct ownership of the former subsidiary. Typically, the subsidiary shares are distributed to the shareholders pro rata as a dividend. In fact, two of the requirements for an unregistered spin-off, as set forth in Staff Legal Bulletin No. 4 issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission, are that the distribution be pro rata and that no consideration be paid by the shareholders (i.e. a dividend).

A more complex form of a spin-off is commonly referred to as a Reorganized (“D”/355) which is where the parent corporation forms a shell subsidiary, transfers the stock to the shell subsidiary, which in turn distributes the stock to the parent shareholders.

Reasons for Spin-Offs

There are many reasons a company may choose to complete a spin-off, however, the most common reasons include: (i) to separate profit centers to increase