SEC Adopts Final Rules On SPACS, Shell Companies And The Use Of Projections – Part 1

On January 24, 2024, the SEC adopted final rules enhancing disclosure obligations for SPAC IPOs and subsequent de-SPAC business combination transactions.  The rules are designed to more closely align the required disclosures and legal liabilities that may be incurred in de-SPAC transactions with those in traditional IPOs.  The new rules spread beyond SPACs to shell companies and blank check companies in general.

The SEC is specifically requiring enhanced disclosures with respect to compensation paid to sponsors, conflicts of interest, dilution, and the determination, if any, of the board of directors (or similar governing body) of a SPAC regarding whether a de-SPAC transaction is advisable and in the best interests of the SPAC and its shareholders.  The SEC has also adopted rules that deem any business combination transaction involving a reporting shell company, including a SPAC, to involve a sale of securities to the reporting shell company’s shareholders, and has amended several financial statement requirements applicable to transactions involving

The 211 Rules And Shell Companies

In September 2020, the SEC adopted a complete overhaul of the 15c2-11 rules, the new rules of which went into effect on September 28, 2021.  From a very high level, the new 211 rules: (i) require that information about the company and the security be current and publicly available in order to initiate or continue to quote a security; (ii) limit certain exceptions to the rule including the piggyback exception where a company’s information becomes unavailable to the public or is no longer current; (iii) limit certain exceptions to the rule including the piggyback exception where a company becomes and remains a shell company for a period of 18 months; (iv) reduce regulatory burdens to quote securities that may be less susceptible to potential fraud and manipulation; (v) allow OTC Markets itself to evaluate and confirm eligibility to rely on the rule; and (vi) streamline the rule and eliminate obsolete provisions.  For an in-depth discussion on the 15c2-11 rules,

SEC Suspends Trading On 61 Shell Companies

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today suspended the trading in 61 dormant shell companies.  The trading suspensions are part of an SEC initiative tabbed Operation Shell-Expel by the SEC’s Microcap Fraud Working Group.  In May 2012, the SEC suspended the trading on 379 shell companies as part of the initiative.  Each of the companies were dormant shells that were not current in public disclosures.  Each of the companies failed to have adequate current public information available either through the news service on OTC Markets or filed with the SEC via EDGAR.

The federal securities laws allow the SEC to suspend trading in any stock for up to 10 business days. Once a company is suspended from trading, it cannot be quoted again until it provides updated information including complete disclosure of its business and accurate financial statements.  In addition to providing the necessary information, to begin to trade again, a company must enlist a market maker to file a

Why Rule 419 Companies May Revitalize the Small-Cap Market

Are Rule 419 Companies poised to be the next big thing in the small-cap sector?

Recently, the small-cap and reverse merger market has diminished substantially. Operating businesses are wary of completing reverse mergers, and PIPE investors are harder to come by. The reasons for this are easily identifiable.

 

First – The General State of the Economy

 

Simply stated, it’s not good.

 

Second – The Backlash from a Series of Fraud Allegations, SEC Enforcement Actions, and Trading Suspensions of Chinese Company’s Following Reverse Mergers

Chinese company reverse mergers dominated the shell company business for years; now there are none.  Moreover, it is unlikely that this area will recover any time soon. The Chinese government and US regulators must reach agreement and a mutual understanding regarding PCAOB review of Chinese audits.  Even then, it may take years for the stigma to fade.

 

Third – The Rule 144 Changes Enacted in 2008

As discussed in previous blogs Rule 144(i),