Regulation A For Publicly Reporting Companies, Economic Growth and Regulatory Relief
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | July 3, 2018 Tags: ,

Regulation A+ will soon be available for publicly reporting companies. On May 24, 2018, President Trump signed the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (the “Act”) into law. Although the Act largely focuses on the banking industry and is being called the Dodd-Frank Rollback Act by many, it also contained much-needed provisions amending Regulation A+ and Rule 701 of the Securities Act.

The Act also amends Section 3(c)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 to create a new category of pooled fund called a “qualifying venture capital fund,” which is a fund with less than $10,000,000 in aggregate capital contributions. A qualifying venture capital fund is exempt from the registration requirements under the 1940 Act as long as it has fewer than 250 investors. Section 3(c)(1) previously only exempted funds with fewer than 100 investors. The amendment is effective immediately and does not require rulemaking by the SEC, although I’m sure it will be followed by conforming amendments.

Giving strength to the annual Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation (the “Forum”), the Act amends Section 503 of the Small Business Investment Incentive Act of 1980 to require the SEC to review the findings and recommendations of the Forum and to promptly issue a public statement assessing the finding or recommendation and disclosing the action, if any, the SEC intends to take with respect to the finding or recommendation. For a review of the finding and recommendation of the 2017 Forum, see HERE. This provision is effective immediately without the requirement of further action.

Regulation A

Section 508 of the Act directs the SEC to amend Regulation A+ to remove the provision making companies subject to the SEC Securities Exchange Act reporting requirements ineligible to use Regulation A/A+ and to add a provision such that a company’s Exchange Act reporting obligations will satisfy Regulation A+ reporting requirements.

I have often blogged about this peculiar eligibility standard. Although Regulation A is unavailable to Exchange Act reporting companies, a company that voluntarily files reports under the Exchange Act is not “subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements” and therefore is eligible to use Regulation A. Moreover, a company that was once subject to the Exchange Act reporting obligations but suspended such reporting obligations by filing a Form 15 is eligible to utilize Regulation A. A wholly owned subsidiary of an Exchange Act reporting company parent is eligible to complete a Regulation A offering as long as the parent reporting company is not a guarantor or co-issuer of the securities being issued. It just didn’t make sense to preclude Exchange Act reporting issuers, and the marketplace has been vocal on this.

In September 2017 the House passed the Improving Access to Capital Act, which would allow companies subject to the reporting requirements under the Exchange Act to use Regulation A/A+. See HERE. OTC Markets also petitioned the SEC to eliminate this eligibility criterion, and pretty well everyone in the industry supports the change. For more information on the OTC Markets’ petition and discussion of the reasons that a change is needed in this regard, see my blog HERE.

As noted, the Act directs the SEC to amend Regulation A to enact the changes; however, the timing remains unclear. Whereas many provisions in the Act have specific timing requirements, including a requirement that the changes to Rule 701 be completed within 60 days, Section 508 has no timing provisions at all.

For a recent comprehensive review of Regulation A/A+, see HERE.

Rule 701

Rule 701 of the Securities Act provides an exemption from the registration requirements for the issuance of securities under written compensatory benefit plans. Rule 701 is a specialized exemption for private or non-reporting entities and may not be relied upon by companies that are subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (“Exchange Act”). The Rule 701 exemption is only available to the issuing company and may not be relied upon for the resale of securities, whether by an affiliate or non-affiliate.

Section 507 of the Act directs the SEC to increase Rule 701’s threshold for providing additional disclosures to employees from aggregate sales of $5,000,000 during any 12-month period to $10,000,000. In addition, the threshold is to be inflation-adjusted every five years. The amendment must be completed within 60 days.

For a review of Rule 701, including recent guidance, see HERE.

The Author

Laura Anthony, Esq.
Founding Partner
Legal & Compliance, LLC
Corporate, Securities and Going Public Attorneys
330 Clematis Street, Suite 217
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: 800-341-2684 – 561-514-0936
Fax: 561-514-0832
LAnthony@LegalAndCompliance.com
www.LegalAndCompliance.com
www.LawCast.com

Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded issuers as well as private companies going public on the NASDAQ, NYSE MKT or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For nearly two decades Legal & Compliance, LLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-8 and S-4; compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; Regulation A/A+ offerings; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers, ; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including NASDAQ and NYSE MKT; crowdfunding; corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Moreover, Ms. Anthony and her firm represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. Ms. Anthony’s legal team prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA and DTC for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the OTC Market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host of LawCast.com, the securities law network. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.

Contact Legal & Compliance LLC. Technical inquiries are always encouraged.

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Legal & Compliance, LLC makes this general information available for educational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the use of this information, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us via this information in any form will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

This information is not intended to be advertising, and Legal & Compliance, LLC does not desire to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this information in a jurisdiction where this information fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that jurisdiction. This information may only be reproduced in its entirety (without modification) for the individual reader’s personal and/or educational use and must include this notice.

© Legal & Compliance, LLC 2018

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Recommendations Of SEC Government-Business Forum On Small Business Capital Formation
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | May 23, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

In early April, the SEC Office of Small Business Policy published the 2016 Final Report on the SEC Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation, a forum I had the honor of attending and participating in. As required by the Small Business Investment Incentive Act of 1980, each year the SEC holds a forum focused on small business capital formation. The goal of the forum is to develop recommendations for government and private action to eliminate or reduce impediments to small business capital formation.

The forum is taken seriously by the SEC and its participants, including the NASAA, and leading small business and professional organizations. The forum began with short speeches by each of the SEC commissioners and a panel discussion, following which attendees, including myself, worked in breakout sessions to drill down on specific issues and suggest changes to rules and regulations to help support small business capital formation, as well as the related, secondary trading markets. In particular, the three breakout groups were on exempt securities offerings; smaller reporting companies; and the secondary market for securities of small businesses.

Each breakout group is given the opportunity to make recommendations. The recommendations were refined and voted upon by the forum participants in the few months following the forum and have now been released by the SEC in a report containing all 15 final recommendations. In the process, the participants ranked the recommendations by whether it is likely the SEC will give high, medium, low or no priority to each recommendation.

Recommendations often gain traction. For example, the forum first recommended reducing the Rule 144 holding period for Exchange Act reporting companies to six months, a rule which was passed in 2008. Last year the forum recommended increasing the financial thresholds for the smaller reporting company definition, and the SEC did indeed propose a change following that recommendation. See my blog HERE for more information on the proposed change. Also last year the forum recommended changes to Rule 147 and 504, which recommendations were considered in the SEC’s rule changes that followed. See my blog HERE for information on the new Rule 147A and Rule 147 and 504 changes.

Forum Recommendations

The following is a list of the recommendations listed in order or priority. The priority was determined by a poll of all participants and is intended to provide guidance to the SEC as to the importance and urgency assigned to each recommendation. I have included my comments and commentary with the recommendations.

  1. As recommended by the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies, the SEC should (a) maintain the monetary thresholds for accredited investors; and (b) expand the categories of qualification for accredited investor status based on various types of sophistication, such as education, experience or training, including, but not limited to, persons with FINRA licenses, CPA or CFA designations, or management positions with issuers. My blog on the Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies’ recommendations can be read HERE. Also, to read on the SEC’s report on the accredited investor definition, see HERE.
  2. The definition of smaller reporting company and non-accelerated filer should be revised to include an issuer with a public float of less than $250 million or with annual revenues of less than $100 million, excluding large accelerated filers; and to extend the period of exemption from Sarbanes 404(b) for an additional five years for pre- or low-revenue companies after they cease to be emerging-growth companies. See my blog HERE for more information on the current proposed change to the definition of smaller reporting company and HERE related to the distinctions between a smaller reporting company and an emerging-growth company.
  3. Lead a joint effort with NASAA and FINRA to implement a private placement broker category including developing a workable timeline and plan to regulate and allow for “finders” and limited intermediary registration, regulation and exemptions. I think this topic is vitally important. The issue of finders has been at the forefront of small business capital formation during the 20+ years I have been practicing securities law. The topic is often explored by regulators; see, for example, the SEC Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies recommendations HERE and a more comprehensive review of the topic HERE which includes a summary of the American Bar Association’s recommendations.

Despite all these efforts, it has been very hard to gain any traction in this area. Part of the reason is that it would take a joint effort by FINRA, the NASAA and both the Divisions of Corporation Finance and Trading and Markets within the SEC. This area needs attention. The fact is that thousands of people act as unlicensed finders—an activity that, although it remains illegal, is commonplace in the industry. In other words, by failing to address and regulate finders in a workable and meaningful fashion, the SEC and regulators perpetuate an unregulated fringe industry that attracts bad actors equally with the good and results in improper activity such as misrepresentations in the fundraising process equally with the honest efforts. However, practitioners, including myself, remain committed to affecting changes, including by providing regulators with reasoned recommendations.

  1. The SEC should adopt rules that pre-empt state registration for all primary and secondary trading of securities qualified under Regulation A/Tier 2, and all other securities registered with the SEC. I have been a vocal proponent of state blue sky pre-emption, including related to the secondary trading of securities. Currently, such secondary trading is usually achieved through the Manual’s Exemption, which is not recognized by all states. There is a lack of uniformity in the secondary trading market that continues to negatively impact small business issuers. For more on this topic, see my two-part blog HERE and HERE.
  2. Regulation A should be amended to: (i) pre-empt state blue sky regulation for all secondary sales of Tier 2 securities (included in the 4th recommendation above); (ii) allow companies registered under the Exchange Act, including at least business development companies, emerging-growth companies and smaller reporting companies, to utilize Regulation A (see my blog on this topic, including a discussion of a proposed rule change submitted by OTC Markets, HERE ); and (iii) provide a clearer definition of what constitutes “testing-the-waters materials” and permissible media activities.
  3. Simplify disclosure requirements and costs for smaller reporting companies and emerging-growth companies with a principles-based approach to Regulation S-K, eliminating information that is not material, reducing or eliminating non-securities-related disclosures with a political or social purpose (such as pay ratio, conflict minerals, etc.), making XBRL compliance optional and harmonizing rules for emerging-growth companies with smaller reporting companies. For more on the ongoing efforts to revise Regulation S-K, including in manners addressed in this recommendation, see HERE and for more information on the differences between emerging-growth companies and smaller reporting companies, see HERE.
  4. Mandate comparable disclosure by short sellers or market makers holding short positions that apply to long investors, such as through the use of a short selling report on Schedule 13D.
  5. The SEC should provide scaled public disclosure requirements, including the use of non-GAAP accounting standards that would constitute adequate current information for entities whose securities will be traded on secondary markets. This recommendation came from the secondary market for securities of small businesses breakout group. I was part of the smaller reporting companies breakout group, so I did not hear the specific discussion on this recommendation.  However, I do note that Rule 144 does provide for a definition of adequate current public information for companies that are not subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements.  In particular, Rule 144 provides that adequate current public information would include the information required by SEC Rule 15c2-11 and OTC Markets specifically models its alternative reporting disclosure requirements to satisfy the disclosures required by Rule 15c2-11.
  6. The eligibility requirements for the use of Form S-3 should be revised to include all reporting companies. For more on the use of Form S-3, see my blog HERE
  7. The SEC should clarify the relationship of exempt offerings in which general solicitation is not permitted, such as in Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 506(b) offerings, with Rule 506(c) offerings involving general solicitation in the following ways: (i) the facts and circumstances analysis regarding whether general solicitation is attributable to purchasers in an exempt offering should apply equally to offerings that allow general solicitation as to those that do not (such that even if an offering is labeled 506(c), if in fact no general solicitation is used, it can be treated as a 506(b); and (ii) to clarify that Rule 152 applies to Rule 506(c) so that an issuer using Rule 506(c) may subsequently engage in a registered public offering without adversely affecting the Rule 506(c) exemption. I note that within days of the forum, the SEC did indeed issue guidance on the use of Rule 152 as applies to Rule 506(c) offerings, at least as relates to an lternative trading systemintegration analysis between 506(b) and 506(c) offerings. See my blog HERE.
  8. The SEC should amend Regulation ATS to allow for the resale of unregistered securities including those traded pursuant to Rule 144 and 144A and issued pursuant to Sections 4(a)(2), 4(a)(6) and 4(a)(7) and Rules 504 and 506.
  9. The SEC should permit an ATS to file a 15c2-11 with FINRA and review the FINRA process to make sure that there is no undue burden on applicants and issuers. An ATS is an “alternative trading system.” The OTC Markets’ trading platform is an ATS. This recommendation would allow OTC Markets to directly file 15c2-11 applications on behalf of companies. A 15c2-11 application is the application submitted to FINRA to obtain a trading symbol and allow market makers to quote the securities of companies that trade on an ATS, such as the OTC Markets. Today, only market makers seeking to quote the trading in securities can submit the application. Also today, the application process can be difficult and lack clear guidance or timelines for the market makers and companies involved. This process definitely needs attention and this recommendation would be an excellent start.
  10. Regulation CF should be amended to (i) permit the usage of special-purpose vehicles so that many small investors may be grouped together into one entity which then makes a single investment in a company raising capital under Regulation CF; and (ii) harmonize the Regulation CF advertising rules to avoid traps in situations where an issuer advertises or engages in general solicitations under Regulation A or Rule 506(c) and then converts to or from a Regulation CF offering.
  11. The SEC should provide greater clarity on when trading activities require ATS registration, and when an entity or technology platform needs to a funding portal, broker-dealer, ATS and/or exchange in order to “be engaged in the business” of secondary trading transactions.
  12. Reduce the Rule 144 holding period to 3 months for reporting companies. I fully support this recommendation.

The Author

Laura Anthony, Esq.
Founding Partner
Legal & Compliance, LLC
Corporate, Securities and Going Public Attorneys
330 Clematis Street, Suite 217
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone: 800-341-2684 – 561-514-0936
Fax: 561-514-0832
LAnthony@LegalAndCompliance.com
www.LegalAndCompliance.com
www.LawCast.com

Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded issuers as well as private companies going public on the NASDAQ, NYSE MKT or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For nearly two decades Legal & Compliance, LLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-8 and S-4; compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; Regulation A/A+ offerings; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers, ; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including NASDAQ and NYSE MKT; crowdfunding; corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Moreover, Ms. Anthony and her firm represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. Ms. Anthony’s legal team prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA and DTC for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the OTC Market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host of LawCast.com, the securities law network. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.

Contact Legal & Compliance LLC. Technical inquiries are always encouraged.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

Legal & Compliance, LLC makes this general information available for educational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the use of this information, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us via this information in any form will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

This information is not intended to be advertising, and Legal & Compliance, LLC does not desire to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this information in a jurisdiction where this information fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that jurisdiction. This information may only be reproduced in its entirety (without modification) for the individual reader’s personal and/or educational use and must include this notice.

© Legal & Compliance, LLC 2017

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Testing The Waters; Regulation A+ And S-1 Public Offerings – Part 2
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | July 26, 2016 Tags: , , ,

The JOBS Act enacted in 2012 made the most dramatic changes to the landscape for the marketing and selling of both private and public offerings since the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933.  These significant changes include: (i) the creation of Rule 506(c), which came into effect on September 23, 2013, and allows for general solicitation and advertising in private offerings where the purchasers are limited to accredited investors; (ii) the overhaul of Regulation A, creating two tiers of offerings which came into effect on June 19, 2015, and allows for both pre-filing and post-filing marketing of an offering, called “testing the waters”; (iii) the addition of Section 5(d) of the Securities Act, which came into effect in April 2012, permitting emerging growth companies to test the waters by engaging in pre- and post-filing communications with qualified institutional buyers or institutions that are accredited investors; and (iv) Title III crowdfunding, which came into effect May 19, 2016, and allows for the use of Internet-based marketing and sales of securities offerings.

This is the second in a two-part blog on testing the waters.  In the first in the series, I discussed test-the-waters marketing of Regulation A/A+ offerings.  That blog can be read HERE. In this second part, I am discussing testing the waters in the standard IPO process including under Section 5(d) for public offerings by emerging growth companies.

Test The Waters– Transactions Using S-1

Historically all offers to sell registered securities prior to the effectiveness of the filed registration statement have been strictly regulated and restricted.  The public offering process is divided into three periods: (1) the pre-filing period, (2) the waiting or pre-effective period, and (3) the post-effective period.  Communications made by the company during any of these three periods may, depending on the mode and content, result in violations of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”).  Communication-related violations of Section 5 during the pre-filing and pre-effectiveness periods are often referred to as “gun jumping.”

All forms of communication could create “gun-jumping” issues (e.g., press releases, interviews, and use of social media).  “Gun jumping” refers to written or oral offers of securities made before the filing of the registration statement and written offers made after the filing of the registration statement other than by means of a prospectus that meet the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act, a free writing prospectus or a communication falling within one of the several safe harbors from the gun-jumping provisions.

“Offers” of securities are very broadly defined.  Section 2(a)(3) of the Securities Act define “offer to sell,” “offer for sale,” or “offer” to include “every attempt or offer to dispose of, or solicitation of an offer to buy, a security or interest in a security, for value.”  The definition specifically excludes discussions and negotiations between a company and an underwriter or underwriters.  The Section 2(a)(3) definition of an offer also specifically excludes research reports by broker-dealers, which provision was added by the JOBS Act and is touched on below.

In 2005, in order to modernize the offering process, the SEC adopted the “Securities Offering Reform,” which included adding a number of communication safe harbors from enforcement of Section 5, as discussed in more detail below. The JOBS Act added additional provisions allowing for test-the-waters communications by emerging growth companies during the offering process.

Test-the-waters communications involve solicitations of indications of interest for an offering prior to the effectiveness of a registration statement.  Where Regulation A freely allows, and even encourages, test-the-waters communications, the standard IPO process using a Form S-1 still strictly limits pre-effectiveness solicitations of interest and offering communications overall. As with Regulation A, indications of interest as a result of test-the-waters communications are non-binding.  Section 5(a) of the Securities Act prohibits the sale of securities before the registration statement is deemed effective.

Test The Waters communications during the pre-filing period

The pre-filing period is that time frame between the decision to proceed with a public offering and the actual filing of a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  During this period, a potential registrant is in the “quiet period” and is subject to restrictions on public disclosure relating to the offering.  The pre-filing period begins when the company, and the underwriters where applicable, agree to proceed with a public offering.

Statements made within 30 days of filing a registration statement that could be considered an attempt to pre-sell the public offering may be considered an illegal prospectus, resulting in a Section 5 “gun-jumping” violation, if no exception or safe harbor applies. This might result in liability for violating securities laws, the SEC’s delaying of the public offering, and/or requiring prospectus disclosures of these potential securities law violations. Press interviews, participation in investment banker-sponsored conferences, and new advertising campaigns are generally discouraged during this period.

Section 5(c) of the Securities Act generally prohibits oral and written offers of a security before a registration statement is filed, which encompasses the quiet and pre-filing period.  There are, however, many exceptions and safe harbor rules to this general prohibition.

Section 105(c) of the JOBS Act – “Test The Waters” by an Emerging Growth Company:

In April 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”) was enacted, which, in part, established a new process and disclosures for public offerings by a new class of companies referred to as “emerging growth companies” or “EGCs.”  An EGC is defined as a company with total annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion during its most recently completed fiscal year that first sells equity in a registered offering after December 8, 2011.

Section 105(c) of the JOBS Act provides an EGC with the flexibility to “test the waters” by engaging in oral or written communications with qualified institutional buyers (“QIBs”) and institutional accredited investors (“IAIs”) in order to gauge their interest in a proposed offering, whether prior to (irrespective of the 30-day safe harbor) or following the first filing of any registration statement, subject to the requirement that no security may be sold unless accompanied or preceded by a Section 10(a) prospectus.  Generally, in order to be considered a QIB, you must own and invest $100 million of securities, and in order to be considered an IAI, you must have a minimum of $5 million in assets.

As an EGC would not have filed any documents or requests with the SEC at this stage, it will be up to the EGC to determine whether it qualifies as an EGC prior to commencing test-the-waters communications.  Under the rules, “well-known seasoned issuers,” or WKSIs, can engage in similar test-the-waters communications, but smaller reporting companies that do not otherwise qualify as an EGC cannot.

An EGC may utilize the testing-the-waters provision with respect to any registered offerings that it conducts while qualifying for EGC status.  Test-the-waters communications can be oral or written.  An EGC may also engage in test-the-waters communications with QIBs and institutional accredited investors in connection with exchange offers and mergers.  When doing so, an EGC would still be required to make filings under Sections 13 and 14 of the Exchange Act for pre-commencement tender offer communications and proxy soliciting materials in connection with a business combination transaction.

There are no form or content restrictions on these communications, and there is no requirement to file written communications with the SEC.  During the first year or two following enactment of the JOBS Act, the SEC staff regularly asked to see any written test-the-waters materials during the course of the registration statement review process, but eventually these requests ceased.  The SEC staff maintains the right to ask to review test-the-waters, or any, communications made by a company during the S-1 review process.  For more information on the SEC review process and responding the SEC comments in general, see my blog HERE.

In practice the marketing of an IPO offering generally begins during the waiting period after the filing of the S-1 with the SEC and generally not until the two to three weeks prior to the effectiveness of the registration and launching of the offering itself. However, an EGC can make test-the-waters communications even before filing the registration statement.  It is important to note that anti-fraud provisions, such as Section 12(a)(2) and 10(b), still apply to such communications.

Exception for Research Reports

Section 105(a) of the JOBS Act amended Section 2(a)(3) of the Securities Act to eliminate restrictions on publishing analyst research and communications while IPOs are under way.  Under prior law, research reports by analysts, especially those participating in an underwriting of securities of the subject company, could be deemed to be “offers” of those securities under the Securities Act and, as result, could not be issued prior to completion of an offering. Section 2(a)(3) of the Securities Act as amended by Section 105(a) of the JOBS Act provides that publication or distribution by a broker or dealer of a research report about an EGC that is the subject of a proposed public offering of its securities does not constitute an offer of securities, even if the broker or dealer that publishes the research is participating or will participate as an underwriter in the offering.  Moreover, the term “research” is defined broadly as any information, opinion or recommendation about a company and includes oral as well as written and electronic communications. This research need not be accompanied by a full prospectus and need not provide information “reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision.” The research need not even be consistent with the prospectus, if there is one. In other words, research providers are free to say just about anything they wish about an IPO candidate, limited only by the general anti-fraud rules.

Section 105(b) of the JOBS Act eliminates existing restrictions on publishing research following an IPO or around the time the IPO lockup period expires or is released. Currently, under SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) rules, underwriters of an IPO cannot publish research for 25 days after the offering (40 days if they served as a manager or co-manager), and managers or co-managers cannot publish research within 15 days prior to or after the release or expiration of the IPO lockup agreements (so-called “booster shot” reports). The Act requires FINRA and the SEC to eliminate these restrictions with respect to EGCs. As a result, any research analyst will be able to publish at any time after an EGC IPO, including immediately after the offering.  On October 11, 2012, FINRA amended its rules to conform with the requirements under Section 105(b) of the JOBS Act.  In particular, it amended NASD Rule 2711 to eliminate all quiet periods.

Rule 135 Safe Harbor

Rule 135 allows for the publication of a limited announcement of a proposed public offering before the filing of the registration statement.  The Rule 135 notice is often referred to as a “tombstone” ad.  Such tombstone notice is limited to: (i) the name of the company; (ii) the title, amount, and basic terms of the securities; (iii) the amount to be offered by any selling shareholders; (iv) the anticipated timing of the offering; (v) a brief statement of the manner and purpose of offering, without naming the underwriters; (vi) whether the offering is directed to a particular class of purchaser (such as accredited only); and (vii) state and federal legends as required by law (including that it is not an “offer”).  If the “tombstone” notice complies with the above Rule 135 requirements, the notice will not be treated as an “offer.”

A Rule 135 communication must contain a disclaimer/legend “to the effect that it does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.”  Sample legends include:

This announcement is being made pursuant to and in accordance with Rule 135 under the Securities Act of 1933. As required by Rule 135, this press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy securities, and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of that jurisdiction.

Rule 135 can be effective as a test-the-waters tool.  Responses to a publication, or lack thereof, can provide valuable information regarding the public interest in a particular planned public offering.  A Rule 135announcement can only be made before a registration statement is filed.  Following the filing, the appropriate announcement would be under Rule 134 as discussed below.

Test The Waters Communications during the Post-filing, Pre-effectiveness Period

The waiting or pre-effective period is that time frame between the filing date and the effective date of the registration statement.  During this period, the company may generally make oral offers, but may not enter into binding agreements to sell the offered security.

The pre-effective period is the period during which, among other things, the company begins marketing the offering, through real-time oral offers, including calls to potential investors. Section 5(b)(1) of the Securities Act prohibits written offers other than by means of a prospectus that meets the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act. An S-1 meets such requirements.  Such bans are designed to prohibit inappropriate marketing, conditioning or “hyping” of the security before all investors have access to publicly available information about the company so that they can make informed investment decisions.

Oral communications are allowed following the filing of a registration statement, subject to the anti-fraud provisions.

Other than a free writing prospectus for qualified companies and test-the-waters communications by an EGC satisfying the requirements of Section 5(d) of the Securities Act (i.e., Rule 105(c) of the JOBS Act), the only written sales material that may be distributed by the company during this period is the preliminary prospectus, which must satisfy specified SEC requirements. While binding commitments cannot be made during this period, the underwriters will receive indications of interest from potential purchasers, indicating the price they would be willing to pay and the number of shares they would purchase.

During this period, key management personnel generally will make a series of presentations covering the company’s business and industry, market opportunities and financial matters to the investment community.  The underwriters will use these presentations as an opportunity to ask questions and establish their due diligence.  This presentation period is commonly referred to as the “road show” and generally is conducted in the two-to-three-week period immediately prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement and ability to complete sales of the securities.

As with other offering periods, many exemptions and safe harbors exist to allow for communications during the pre-effective waiting period.

Section 105(c) of the JOBS Act – “Test The Waters” by an EGC:

Section 105 of the JOBS Act is also available during the post-filing, pre-effective waiting period.

Rule 134 Written Solicitation of Interest:

Rule 134 permits the company to communicate limited factual information about the offering after the Section 10 prospectus is filed (i.e., an S-1).  Rule 134 communications are not deemed to be either prospectuses or free writing prospectuses.  Rule 134 communications may only be made after a registration statement has been filed with the SEC.  The allowable content of a Rule 134 communication is similar to that of a Rule 135 communication; however, a Rule 135 communication is just a notice of a proposed registered offering, whereas a Rule 134 communication relates to a filed registration statement for a particular offering.

A Rule 134 communication may include one or more of the following information: (i) factual information about the legal identity and business location of the company including name, address, phone number, web address, e-mail address, principal office location, investor relations contact information, country or state of location or organization and similar information; (ii) the title and amount of securities offered, which can include a designation such as “preferred,” “convertible” or “secured”; (iii) a brief statement of the general type of business of the company; (iv) the price of the security, if known; (v) a brief description of the intended use of proceeds; (vi) the type of underwriting (self, firm commitment or best efforts); (vii) names of underwriters and other offering participants; (viii) schedule and timing of the offering, including road show dates, times and locations; (ix) legal opinions as to specified tax treatment; (x) the names of selling security holders; (xi) names of exchanges or other markets where the security currently trades, and (x) the ticker symbol.

The communications must contain the prescribed legend, be preceded or accompanied by a Section 10 prospectus, and state where the statutory prospectus can be obtained.  The required legend is as follows:

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective.  These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.

Subject to limited exceptions, the following should also be included:

No offer to buy the securities can be accepted and no part of the purchase price can be received until the registration statement has become effective, and any such offer may be withdrawn or revoked, without obligation or commitment of any kind, at any time prior to notice of its acceptance given after the effective date.

Free Writing Prospectus

A free writing prospectus would include any written communication that could constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy securities subject to a registration statement that is used after the filing of a registration statement and before its effectiveness.  A free writing prospectus is a supplemental writing that is not part of the filed registration statement.  If the writing is simply a repetition of information contained in the filed registration statement, it may be used without regard to the separate free writing prospectus rule.

For purposes of rules related to free writing prospectuses, all communications that can be reduced to writing are considered a written communication.  Accordingly, radio and TV interviews, other than those published or given to unaffiliated and uncompensated media, would be considered a free writing prospectus and subject to the SEC use and filing rules.

All free writing prospectuses must contain a specific notice legend as set forth in Rule 433 of the Securities Act.  A free writing prospectus must be filed with the SEC, using Form 8-K, no later than the date of first use.  An after-hours filing will satisfy this requirement as long as it is the same calendar day.  Moreover, all free writing prospectuses must be filed with the SEC, whether distributed by the registrant or another offering participant and whether such distribution was intentional or unintentional.

A free writing prospectus may not be used by any issuer that is “ineligible” for such use.  The following entities are ineligible to use a free writing prospectus: (i) companies that are or were in the past three years a blank check company; (ii) companies that are or were in the past three years a shell company; (iii) penny stock issuers; (iv) companies that conducted a penny stock offering within the past three years; (v) business development companies; (vi) companies that are delinquent in their Exchange Act reporting requirements; (vii) limited partnerships that are engaged in an offering that is not a firm commitment offering; and (viii) companies that have filed or have been forced into bankruptcy in the last three years.

Small- and micro-cap issuers will rarely be eligible to use a free writing prospectus.

Live Road Shows

A road show is regulated under Rule 433 of the Securities Act and the free writing prospectus rules.  Written road show materials may be considered free writing prospectus and must be filed with the SEC, and may only be used by companies eligible to use a free writing prospectus.  As mentioned, if the writing is simply a repetition of the information contained in the filed registration statement, it is not considered a free writing prospectus and may be used by all companies that have filed a registration statement with the SEC.  Accordingly, written materials used in a road show by any company that is not eligible to use a free writing prospectus (such as most small- and micro-cap companies) are strictly limited to the contents of the registration statement itself.

Oral communications in a live road show are exempt from the free writing prospectus requirements under Rule 433 and accordingly may be used by all companies with a filed registration statement (not before).

“Live road shows” include: (i) a live, in-person presentation to a live, in-person audience; (ii) a live, real-time presentation to a live audience transmitted electronically; (iii) a concurrent live and presentation and real-time electronic transmittal of such presentation; (iv) a webcast or video conference that originates live and is transmitted in real time; and (v) the slide deck or other presentation materials used during the road show as unless investors are allowed to print or take copies of the information.

Smaller Reporting Company Dilemma

The opportunities for a smaller reporting company to engage in marketing, test-the-waters, and other pre-effective communications related to a public offering are limited.  A “smaller reporting company” is defined as one that, among other things, has a public float of less than $75 million in common equity, or if unable to calculate the public float, has less than $50 million in annual revenues.  As described above, an “emerging growth company” is one with total annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion during its most recently completed fiscal year that first sells equity in a registered offering after December 8, 2011.  At times a company will qualify as both a smaller reporting company and an emerging growth company, but not always.

A smaller “reporting” company is, by definition, a company subject to the “reporting” requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”).  Companies that are subject to the Exchange Act do not qualify to use Regulation A.  Accordingly, a smaller reporting company cannot avail itself of the broad allowable pre-offering test-the-waters communications allowed in a Regulation A public offering.  I do note that some smaller reporting companies are voluntary filers.  That is, they voluntarily file reports with the SEC and are not actually subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements.  These companies can complete a Regulation A public offering.

Where a smaller reporting company is not also an EGC, it cannot engage in Section 105(c) test-the-waters communications made available under the JOBS Act.  This is clearly a legislative miss.  The JOBS Act is intended to create capital raising opportunities for small companies.  Although I understand that the thought was to assist EGC’s in the IPO process, the fact is that many smaller reporting companies engage in a series of follow-on public offerings before reaching a size and level of maturity where they no longer need the assistance of rules and laws designed to encourage capital in smaller companies.  Ironically, by that point, these companies will be able to engage in additional communications only available to eligible larger issues, such as free writing prospectus and Rule 163 communications.  Rule 163 communications are only available to well-known, seasoned issuers (big companies) and have not been addressed in this blog.

Many of these smaller reporting companies trade on the OTC Markets, which, despite continued and ongoing best efforts, face liquidity issues and need extra legislative support in conducting offerings just as the legislature clearly realizes an EGC’s needs.  For a good refresher on liquidity issues for small companies, see my blog HERE.

That leaves a copy of the actual filed registration statement, Rules 134 and 135 for written communications and live road shows for smaller reporting companies engaging in initial and follow-on public offerings.

Smaller reporting companies are usually better off engaging in a Rule 506(c) advertised private offering than a registered public offering from a marketing perspective.  This likely unintended consequence seems a dichotomy to the SEC objective of preferring registration and its accompanying complete disclosure in the issuance of securities.

The Author

Laura Anthony, Esq.
Founding Partner
Legal & Compliance, LLC
Corporate, Securities and Going Public Attorneys
LAnthony@LegalAndCompliance.com

Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded issuers as well as private companies going public on the NASDAQ, NYSE MKT or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For nearly two decades Legal & Compliance, LLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-8 and S-4; compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; Regulation A/A+ offerings; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers, ; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including NASDAQ and NYSE MKT; crowdfunding; corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Moreover, Ms. Anthony and her firm represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. Ms. Anthony’s legal team prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA and DTC for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the OTC Market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host ofLawCast.com, the securities law network. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.

Contact Legal & Compliance LLC. Technical inquiries are always encouraged.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

Download our mobile app at iTunes.

Legal & Compliance, LLC makes this general information available for educational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the use of this information, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us via this information in any form will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

This information is not intended to be advertising, and Legal & Compliance, LLC does not desire to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this information in a jurisdiction where this information fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that jurisdiction. This information may only be reproduced in its entirety (without modification) for the individual reader’s personal and/or educational use and must include this notice.

© Legal & Compliance, LLC 2016


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Testing The Waters; Regulation A+ And S-1 Public Offerings – Part 1
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | July 19, 2016 Tags: , , , , , ,

The JOBS Act enacted in 2012 made the most dramatic changes to the landscape for the marketing and selling of both private and public offerings since the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933.  These significant changes include: (i) the creation of Rule 506(c), which came into effect on September 23, 2013 and allows for general solicitation and advertising in private offerings where the purchasers are limited to accredited investors; (ii) the overhaul of Regulation A creating two tiers of offerings, which came into effect on June 19, 2015 and allows for both pre-filing and post-filing marketing of an offering, called “testing the waters”; (iii) the addition of Section 5(d) of the Securities Act, which came into effect in April 2012, permitting emerging growth companies to test the waters by engaging in pre- and post-filing communications with qualified institutional buyers or institutions that are accredited investors; and (iv) Title III crowdfunding, which came into effect May 19, 2016 and allows for the use of Internet-based marketing and sales of securities offerings.

This two-part blog series focuses on test-the-waters marketing of Regulation A/A+ offerings and Section 5(d) for public offerings by emerging growth companies. Part I discussed Regulation A/A+ and Part II discusses Section 5(d) for IPO’s by emerging growth companies.

Test The Waters In Regulation A/A+ Offerings

On June 19, 2015 the new rules for Regulation A/A+ came into effect.  Regulation A was divided into two tiers: Tier I Regulation A, which does not preempt state law, allows offerings of up to $20 million in any 12-month period and Tier 2, which does preempt state law, allows offerings of up to $50 million in any 12-month period.  Issuers may elect to proceed under either Tier I or Tier 2 for offerings up to $20 million.  Since enactment of the rules, the SEC has issued guidance via Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) and industry participants have guided each other, communicating about experiences, successes and frustrations.

Regulation A+ allows for prequalification solicitations of interest in an offering, commonly referred to as “testing the waters.”  As mentioned above, Tier 1 offerings do not preempt state law and accordingly, any issues intending to test the waters for a Tier 1 offering must comply with the individual state law(s) in which they intend to qualify the offering.  This process can be expensive and tricky and as such, the vast majority of Regulation A+ offerings have been filed under Tier 2 and almost all, if not all, test-the-waters campaigns are for Tier 2 offerings.  This initial discussion assumes a Tier 2 offering, though I will touch on Tier 1 below as well.

Issuers can use “test-the-waters” solicitation materials both before and after the initial filing of the Form 1-A registration statement.  In the event that materials are issued after the filing of the Form 1-A, the materials must include Form 1-A itself or information on where one can be obtained.  This requirement is satisfied by providing a link to the Form 1-A filing on the EDGAR database.

Moreover, solicitation material used before qualification of the Form 1-A must contain a legend stating that no money or consideration is being solicited and none will be accepted, no offer to buy securities can be accepted and any offer can be withdrawn before qualification, and a person’s indication of interest does not create a commitment to purchase securities.

Generally a test-the-waters legend appears on the bottom of a webpage or on the first page of a PowerPoint or other investor deck.  An example of a disclosure utilized prior to the filing of a Form 1-A would be:

No money or other consideration is being solicited for our Regulation A+ offering at this time and if sent in to Acme, Inc. will not be accepted.  No offer to buy securities in a Regulation A+ offering of Acme can be accepted and no part of the purchase price can be received until Acme’s offering statement is qualified with the SEC.  Any such offer to buy securities may be withdrawn or revoked, without obligation or commitment of any kind, at any time before notice of its acceptance given after the qualification date.  Any indications of interest in Acme’s offering involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.

In addition to the above pre-filing disclosure, I often see and use an added disclosure similar to the following:

Acme Inc. is testing the waters under Regulation A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.  This process allows companies to determine whether there may be interest in an eventual offering of its securities.  Acme is not under any obligation to make an offering under Regulation A.  Acme may choose to make an offering to some, but not all, of the people who indicate an interest in investing, and that offering may not be made under Regulation A.  For example, Acme may determine to proceed with an offering under Rule 506(c) of Regulation D, in which case we will only offer our securities to accredited investors as defined by Rule 501(a) of Regulation D.  If Acme does go ahead with an offering under Regulation A, it will only be able to make sales after it has filed an offering statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and only after the SEC has qualified such offering statement.  The information in the offering statement will be more complete than the test-the-waters materials and could differ in important ways.  You must read the offering statement filed with the SEC.

The disclaimer legend for testing-the-waters materials utilized following the filing of a Form 1-A with the SEC will be substantially the same, but will contain a link to the filed preliminary Form 1-A on the SEC EDGAR database.

“Test-the-waters” solicitations may be made both orally and in writing.

All solicitation material must be submitted to the SEC as an Exhibit under Part III of Form 1-A.  This is a significant difference from S-1 filers, who are not required to file “test-the-waters” communications with the SEC.

Unlike the “testing of the waters” by emerging growth companies that are limited to QIBs and accredited investors, a Regulation A+ company could reach out to retail and non-accredited investors.  After the public filing but before SEC qualification, a company may use its preliminary offering circular to make written offers.

Of course, all “test-the-waters” materials are subject to the antifraud provisions of federal securities laws.

Like registered offerings, ongoing regularly released factual business communications, not including information related to the offering of securities, will be allowed and will not be considered solicitation materials.

On June 23, 2015, the SEC updated its Division of Corporation Finance C&DI to provide guidance related to Regulation A/A+ including guidance on testing the waters.  In particular, the SEC provided the following guidance related to testing the waters using social media:

A company can use Twitter and other social media that limit the number of characters in a communication, to test the waters as long as the company provides a hyperlink to the required disclaimers.  In particular, a company can use a hyperlink to satisfy the disclosure and disclaimer requirements in Rule 255 as long as (i) the electronic communication is distributed through a platform that has technological limitations on the number of characters or amount of text that may be included in the communication; (ii) including the entire disclaimer and other required disclosures would exceed the character limit on that particular platform; and (iii) the communication has an active hyperlink to the required disclaimers and disclosures and, where possible, prominently conveys, through introductory language or otherwise, that important or required information is provided through the hyperlink.

Practical Considerations

In addition to the legal aspects of testing the waters, a company needs to consider the practical business aspects as well, including whether they should test the waters at all.  I’ve engaged in quite a bit of healthy discussion on the topic, and read just as much.

Testing the waters can be very helpful in determining whether proceeding with a Regulation A offering is the right course for a company.   A Regulation A offering is not inexpensive.  A company needs to complete an audit, incur legal fees and incur direct and indirect marketing and offering expenses.  In addition to the direct offering expenses, management will need to focus an inordinate amount of time on the offering itself, which time will detract from business operations.

Testing the waters can also help to build up investor interest and excitement for an offering prior to its actual launch or “going live,” thus making the selling process exponentially quicker and easier.  It takes time to educate the public about a company and an offering, and through testing the waters, this process can be completed concurrently with the SEC review of the Form 1-A rather than after.  Moreover, testing the waters may have the secondary effect of increasing product sales, customer acquisition and brand awareness.

Keep in mind that a successful test-the-waters process does not ensure a successful offering.  Although the process is still new, so far less than 50% of potential investors that indicate interest in an offering actually follow through with an investment.  That figure may actually be far lower.  I’ve read at least one credible source who believes that the conversion from a test-the-waters indication of interest to an actual investment is closer to 5%.

As with all matters, there is a counter to the positive.  An ill-prepared or poorly executed test-the-waters campaign may prove extremely detrimental to what may otherwise have been a successful offering process.  I have seen some companies attempt to test the waters without any legal or other guidance whatsoever, through social media or their own websites.  These campaigns generally are not only unsuccessful but present a poor public image of the company.  In this case, a company may need to pull all offering plans for a “cooling-off period” before launching again with better guidance.

As with all public offering matters, a company must also consider the public availability of test-the-waters materials, and education for competitors, including knowledge of the offering itself.  To me this is less of a consideration; if a company does not want a competitor to learn of their business and offering plans, a Regulation A public offering is probably not the right choice in the first place.  That company may be better suited filing a confidential registration statement on Form S-1 or sticking with private offerings.

Once a company determines to proceed with testing the waters, preparation is key.  A company and its advisors need to prepare materials that are not only creatively compelling from a general marketing standpoint but that are also compelling to a reasonably sophisticated investor.  That requires researching recent deal flow from the same and similar industry groups, as well as knowing what deal parameters have been successful and what have not and understanding the constantly changing investor appetite.

A company must also consider who it is directing its campaign towards.  A different approach may be used when soliciting a long-standing customer or fan base with prior knowledge of a business, than for a list of broker-dealer clients that have never heard of the company before.

State Law Concerns

Tier 1 offerings do not preempt state law and accordingly, any issues intending to test the waters for a Tier 1 offering must comply with the individual state law(s) in which they intend to qualify the offering.  This process can be expensive and tricky and as such, the vast majority of Regulation A+ offerings have been filed under Tier 2 and almost all, if not all, test-the-waters campaigns are for Tier 2 offerings.

Although a Tier 2 offering does not require state registration and review, the individual states specifically maintain the right and jurisdiction to investigate and bring enforcement actions with respect to fraud or deceit, or unlawful conduct by an issuer, related party or any broker, dealer or funding portal in any transaction.  Moreover, the states can require a notice filing requirement.  The law specifically allows the states to require a copy of any document filed with the SEC, together with annual or periodic reports of the value of securities sold or offered to be sold to persons located in the state (if not already included in the SEC filing) as long as such filing is solely for notice purposes and for the assessment or calculation of a fee.  States may also require the filing of consent to service of process.

States may also require the payment of a fee in connection with a notice filing, except when fees are specifically prohibited in connection with securities that are listed or authorized for listing on a national securities exchange such as the NYSE or NASDAQ.  No Regulation A offerings have been completed resulting in a security trading on a national exchange as of the date of this blog, but it is legally possible and I suspect will happen.  Although a state may not condition the federal preemption granted by the federal law upon the payment of a fee, it can suspend an otherwise covered offering in its state for the failure to file a notice filing and pay the fee.

The timing and fees associated with blue sky notice filings vary.  Accordingly, even for covered securities, a review of state blue sky laws is necessary.

As a result of potential blue sky issues when testing the waters under Tier 2, for prequalification test-the-waters materials, I often use an added disclaimer as follows:

No offer to sell securities or solicitation of an offer to buy securities is being made in any state where such offer or sale is not permitted under the blue sky or state securities laws thereof.  No offering is being made to individual investors unless and until the offering has been registered in that state or an exemption from registration exists.  Acme, Inc. intends to complete an offering under Tier 2 of Regulation A and as such intends to be exempted from state registration pursuant to federal law. Although an exemption from registration under state law may be available, Acme may still be required to provide a notice filing and pay a fee in individual states.

For a review of federal preemption of state securities laws, see my two-part blog on the National Markets Improvement Act of 1996 (NSMIA) HERE and HERE.  Note that these blogs were written prior to the adoption of the new Regulation A rules and do not take into account the addition of Regulation A Tier 2 offerings as a “covered security.”

Also, as I have previously written about, even when an offering is preempted from state blue sky laws, the ability to sell the offering may not be.  In particular, the NSMIA offering preemption law does not preempt broker-dealer registration requirements associated with such offering.  At least two states, Florida and New York, do not provide exemptions for issuers who self-underwrite or self-place public offerings.  A Regulation A offering is a public offering.  For more information on these issues and Florida and New York in particular, please see my blog HERE.  Note that following the publication of that blog, Florida has passed an exemption from the broker-dealer registration requirements for merger and acquisition brokers similar to the federal exemption.  I will be writing about Florida’s new broker-dealer exemption in an upcoming blog.

The Author

Laura Anthony, Esq.
Founding Partner
Legal & Compliance, LLC
Corporate, Securities and Going Public Attorneys
LAnthony@LegalAndCompliance.com

Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded issuers as well as private companies going public on the NASDAQ, NYSE MKT or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For nearly two decades Legal & Compliance, LLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-8 and S-4; compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; Regulation A/A+ offerings; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers, ; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including NASDAQ and NYSE MKT; crowdfunding; corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Moreover, Ms. Anthony and her firm represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. Ms. Anthony’s legal team prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA and DTC for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the OTC Market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host of LawCast.com, the securities law network. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.

Contact Legal & Compliance LLC. Technical inquiries are always encouraged.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter.

Download our mobile app at iTunes.

Legal & Compliance, LLC makes this general information available for educational purposes only. The information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the use of this information, and the sending or receipt of this information, does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between us. Therefore, your communication with us via this information in any form will not be considered as privileged or confidential.

This information is not intended to be advertising, and Legal & Compliance, LLC does not desire to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this information in a jurisdiction where this information fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that jurisdiction. This information may only be reproduced in its entirety (without modification) for the individual reader’s personal and/or educational use and must include this notice.

© Legal & Compliance, LLC 2016


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OTC Markets Petitions The SEC To Expand Regulation A To Include SEC Reporting Companies
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | June 28, 2016 Tags: , , , , , , , ,

On June 6, OTC Markets filed a petition for rulemaking with the SEC requesting that the SEC amend Regulation A to expand the eligibility criteria to include all small issuers, including those that are subject to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) reporting requirements and to allow “at-the-market offerings.”

Background

On March 25, 2015, the SEC released final rules amending Regulation A. The new Regulation A creates two tiers of offerings.  Tier I of Regulation A, which does not preempt state law, allows offerings of up to $20 million in a twelve-month period.  Due to difficult blue sky compliance, Tier 1 is rarely used.  Tier 2, which does preempt state law, allows a raise of up to $50 million.  Issuers may elect to proceed under either Tier I or Tier 2 for offerings up to $20 million.  The new rules went into effect on June 19, 2015 and have been gaining traction ever since.  Since that time, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance has issued periodic Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DI) to provide guidance related to Regulation A.  I have previously written several articles on Regulation A and the C&DI.  For a good review and summary, please see my blog HERE.

From inception, a Regulation A company could apply for a listing on the OTC Markets OTCQX Tier assuming it meets the qualifications.  Elio Motors trades on the OTCQX.  For a review of such qualifications, see my blog HERE.  Unlike the OTCQX, generally a company that is not subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements did not qualify for the OTCQB; however, effective July 10, the OTCQB has amended their rules to allow a Tier 2 reporting entity to qualify to apply for and trade on the OTCQB.  My blog on the OTCQB rules related to Regulation A can be read HERE.

Whether trading on the OTCQX or OTCQB, keep in mind that unless the issuer has filed a Form 8-A or Form 10, they will not be considered “subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements” for purposes of benefiting from the shorter 6-month Rule 144 holding period.   For a short overview of Rule 144, see HERE.

Regulation A Eligibility – Reporting Issuers

As enacted, Regulation A is available to companies organized and operating in the United States and Canada.  The following issuers are not be eligible for a Regulation A+ offering:

  • Companies currently subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act;
  • Investment companies registered or required to be registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, including BDC’s;
  • Blank check companies, which are companies that have no specific business plan or purpose or whose business plan and purpose is to engage in a merger or acquisition with an unidentified target; however, shell companies are not prohibited, unless such shell company is also a blank check company. A shell company is a company that has no or nominal operations; and either no or nominal assets, assets consisting of cash and cash equivalents, or assets consisting of any amount of cash and cash equivalents and nominal other assets.  Accordingly, a start-up business or minimally operating business may utilize Regulation A+;
  • Issuers seeking to offer and sell asset-backed securities or fractional undivided interests in oil, gas or other mineral rights;
  • Issuers that have been subject to any order of the SEC under Exchange Act Section 12(j) denying, suspending or revoking registration, entered within the past five years;
  • Issuers that became subject to Exchange Act reporting requirements, such as through a Tier 2 offering, and did not file required ongoing reports during the preceding two years; and
  • Issuers that are disqualified under the “bad actor” rules and, in particular, Rule 262 of Regulation A+.

Although companies subject to the reporting requirement have been disqualified from day one, the SEC quickly issued guidance clarifying that Regulation A may be used by many existing “reporting entities” either because they voluntarily report (generally because they never filed a Form 8-A or Form 10 after an S-1 registration statement and the initial required reporting period has passed) or through a wholly owned subsidiary resulting in a complete or partial spin-off.

The SEC specifically provided that a company that was once subject to the Exchange Act reporting obligations but suspended such reporting obligations by filing a Form 15 is eligible to utilize Regulation A.  The determination of eligibility is made at the time of the offering.  Moreover, a company that voluntarily files reports under the Exchange Act is not “subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements” and therefore is eligible to rely on Regulation A.  In addition, a wholly owned subsidiary of an Exchange Act reporting company parent is eligible to complete a Regulation A+ offering as long as the parent reporting company is not a guarantor or co-issuer of the securities being issued.

Related to small business issuers, the current rules create an unfair distinction.  A company trading on the OTC Markets that voluntarily reports to the SEC would be eligible, whereas a company that may be substantially similar but is required to file reports would be ineligible to utilize Regulation A+.

On June 6, 2016, OTC Markets filed a petition for rulemaking with the SEC requesting that the SEC amend Regulation A+ to expand the eligibility criteria to include all small issuers, including those that are subject to the Exchange Act reporting requirements and to allow “at-the-market offerings.”

The OTC Markets petition is concise and to the point.  When Congress passed the JOBS Act, it left the particulars of Regulation A+ rulemaking to the SEC with only the following mandates:

  • The aggregate offering amount of all securities sold within a 12-month period shall not exceed $50,000,000;
  • The securities may be offered and sold publicly;
  • The securities shall not be restricted securities within the meaning of the federal securities laws;
  • The civil liability provisions under Section 12(a)(2) of the Securities Act shall apply to any person offering or selling Regulation A securities;
  • The issuer may solicit interest in the offering prior to filing any offering statement, on such terms and condition as the SEC may prescribe in the public interest and protecting investors;
  • The SEC shall require the issuer to file annual audited financial statements; and
  • Such other terms and conditions as the SEC shall determine are necessary in the public interest and protecting investors.

The JOBS Act itself did not prohibit or limit the use of Regulation A+ for reporting companies, and accordingly, that decision is within the SEC rulemaking discretion.  In fact, throughout the JOBS Act and in particular in Title IV related to Regulation A+, Congress refers to expanding capital formation for “small issues” under $50 million with the goal of increasing capital to all small companies.

The SEC reasoning for excluding reporting companies in the first place is weak at best.  In particular, the SEC excluded reporting issuers because the prior Regulation A rules, which were admittedly rarely used and ineffective at assisting in small business capital formation, contained the exclusion.  That is, when revamping Regulation A+ as mandated by the JOBS Act, the SEC just didn’t change that provision.

The OTC Markets points out that the Regulation A+ rules as enacted offer more protections for non-accredited investors than a fully registered S-1 or S-3 offering.  In particular, there are no investor limitations for unaccredited purchasers in an S-1 or S-3 offering, whereas a Regulation A+ offering limits investments by unaccredited investors to no more than 10% of the greater of the investor’s annual income or net worth.  In addition, a traditional S-1 or S-3 does not have any limitations or prohibitions related to bad actor disqualifications, whereas Regulation A+ does prohibit use by “bad actors.”

The OTC Markets petition also contains a good discussion on the costs associated with an S-1 or S-3 offering, including added costs of state blue sky law compliance.  State blue sky preemption is one of the cornerstones of Tier 2 Regulation A+ offerings that benefit issuers.  Moreover, generally only much larger issuers are S-3 eligible and thus S-3 is not considered a “small company” capital formation tool.  Similarly, private offerings under Regulation D are not registered and so do not offer the same level of investor protections.  These offerings also result in restricted securities and thus less investor incentive to participate.

In addition to the obvious benefit to small and emerging company capital formation of allowing small reporting companies to utilize Regulation A+, there is also an added potential benefit to the capital markets as a whole.  OTC Markets opines that the flow of freely tradable securities into the marketplace for existing public companies could have a positive uptick on the liquidity and overall growth and vitality of venture markets.  Regulation A+ could have the benefit of pushing forward the much needed venture market for the secondary trading of securities of early-stage, small and emerging growth companies.  OTC Markets points out that it could and should be that venture market.

The OTC Markets petition contains a pointed discussion on the market benefits, including noting that “Regulation A+ allows smaller companies, traditionally lacking the backing of bulge bracket investment banks and the large base of institutional ownership needed to fund ongoing research coverage, to reach out to a broader pool of potential investors through ‘testing the waters’ provisions and the efficient economical reach of the Internet and social media.  Emerging companies can use Regulation A+ online offerings to tap into large numbers of individual investors and efficiently target smaller institutions.  Allowing fully SEC reporting companies the same ability to leverage technology and transparency to reach potential investors would be expected to provide a ready source of growth capital, and, equally important, an increase in liquidity in the secondary market.”

Interestingly, OTC argues that opening up Regulation A+ to small reporting companies may reduce or minimize the use of toxic financing options which carry substantial dilution and downward pricing pressure on company stock.  Moreover, allowing small reporting companies to utilize Regulation A+ may raise the interest in these offerings for investment banks.

Finally, in order to make Regulation A+ the most useful for reporting companies, OTC Markets requests that the SEC also amend the rules to allow “at-the-market” offerings.  Currently all Regulation A+ offerings must be priced.  In the case of a security that is already trading, the ability to price accurately is difficult and the inability to adjust such pricing in response to fluctuating market conditions can impede the success of the offering.

Further Thoughts

From my perspective, Regulation A has become the most popular method of fundraising and private-to-public transactions for small business issuers.  Although as of the date of this blog, only one issuer, Elio Motors, Inc., has received a trading symbol and actively trades, many others are in the works and I think we will see an opening of the floodgates.  As Tier 2 requires audited financial statements, the preparation process can take months and the placement of an offering can also take months.

A traditional IPO is completed using an underwriter on a “firm commitment” basis where the underwriter buys all the company’s securities on the first day of the IPO and proceeds to resell them.  No Regulation A offerings have yet been completed in a firm commitment underwritten offering.  To the contrary, current Regulation A offerings are either self-placed by the issuing company, or completed with the assistance of a broker-dealer placement agent on a best efforts basis.  This placement process can take several months to complete.  Accordingly, many issuers have not closed out their offerings as of yet and therefore have not reached the point of eligibility to apply for a trade symbol.   My office alone has over half a dozen Regulation A offerings in the works.

Tier 2 offerings in particular present a much-needed opportunity for smaller companies to go public without the added time and expense of state blue sky compliance but with added investor qualifications.  Tier 2 offerings preempt state blue sky laws.  To compromise with opponents to the state blue sky preemption, the SEC included investor qualifications for Tier 2 offerings.  In particular, Tier 2 offerings have a limitation on the amount of securities non-accredited investors can purchase of no more than 10% of the greater of the investor’s annual income or net worth.  It is the obligation of the issuer to notify investors of these limitations.  Issuers may rely on the investors’ representations as to accreditation and investment limits with no added verification.

Tier 2 issuers that have used the S-1 format for their Form 1-A filing will be permitted to file a Form 8-A to register under the Exchange Act and become subject to its reporting requirements.  A Form 8-A is a simple registration form used instead of a Form 10 for issuers that have already filed the substantive Form 10 information with the SEC.  Upon filing a Form 8-A, the issuer will become subject to the full Exchange Act reporting obligations, and the scaled-down Regulation A+ reporting will automatically be suspended.  With the filing of a Form 8-A, the issuer can apply to trade on a national exchange.

This marks a huge change and opportunity for companies that wish to go public directly and raise less than $50 million.  An initial or direct public offering on Form S-1 does not preempt state law.  By choosing a Tier 2 Regulation A+ offering followed by a Form 8-A, the issuer can achieve the same result – i.e., become a fully reporting trading public company, without the added time and expense of complying with state blue sky laws.  The other consideration would be the added investor qualifications, but if the issuer meets the requirements for and lists on a national exchange, the added investor qualifications no longer apply.

The SEC has a well published mission of “protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly and efficient markets and facilitating capital formation.”  Regulation A+ offers significant investor protections in that a form of registration statement is filed with the SEC and subject to a review and comment process.  In addition, Regulation A+ allows for pre- and post-filing marketing using the Internet, social media, presentations and the like, provided all such materials are filed with the SEC and subject to review and comment.  This process provides significant investor protections, including a permanent record of disclosures made during the offering process.  Regulation A+ also provides a streamlined, affordable registration process with access to an expanded pool of investors, thus facilitating capital formation.

To the contrary, private offering documents are not filed or reviewed with the SEC and the process and level of disclosure are far less regulated.  Public offerings using Form S-1 limit offering communications, and those communications are not necessarily filed or reviewed by the SEC.  The Form S-1 process does not allow for broad Internet, crowd or social media marketing.  A Form S-1 process also does not preempt state law and accordingly has significant added costs for a company.  A Form S-1 works best for larger issuers with strong underwriter and institutional support.  Regulation A+ provides the best method of registered capital formation for small companies, including those that are already subject to the SEC reporting requirements.

As was understood in passing the JOBS Act in 2012, the transparent Regulation A+ process is a preferred method of capital raising for small businesses, especially companies already subject to the reporting requirements who have audited financial statements readily available and processes in place for meeting SEC reporting and review requirements.

When the SEC issued the Regulation A+ rules on March 25, 2015, it issued a press release in which SEC Chair Mary Jo White was quoted as saying, “These new rules provide an effective, workable path to raising capital that also provides strong investor protections.  It is important for the Commission to continue to look for ways that our rules can facilitate capital raising by smaller companies.”   Allowing small reporting companies to partake in Regulation A+ meets all the mandates of the JOBS Act while concurrently satisfying the SEC goal of providing investor protections, and I am a strong advocate in support of a rule change in that regard.

The Author

Laura Anthony, Esq.
Founding Partner
Legal & Compliance, LLC
Corporate, Securities and Going Public Attorneys
LAnthony@LegalAndCompliance.com

Securities attorney Laura Anthony and her experienced legal team provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size private companies, OTC and exchange traded issuers as well as private companies going public on the NASDAQ, NYSE MKT or over-the-counter market, such as the OTCQB and OTCQX. For nearly two decades Legal & Compliance, LLC has served clients providing fast, personalized, cutting-edge legal service. The firm’s reputation and relationships provide invaluable resources to clients including introductions to investment bankers, broker dealers, institutional investors and other strategic alliances. The firm’s focus includes, but is not limited to, compliance with the Securities Act of 1933 offer sale and registration requirements, including private placement transactions under Regulation D and Regulation S and PIPE Transactions as well as registration statements on Forms S-1, S-8 and S-4; compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including registration on Form 10, reporting on Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K, and 14C Information and 14A Proxy Statements; Regulation A/A+ offerings; all forms of going public transactions; mergers and acquisitions including both reverse mergers and forward mergers, ; applications to and compliance with the corporate governance requirements of securities exchanges including NASDAQ and NYSE MKT; crowdfunding; corporate; and general contract and business transactions. Moreover, Ms. Anthony and her firm represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse mergers and forward mergers, including the preparation of transaction documents such as merger agreements, share exchange agreements, stock purchase agreements, asset purchase agreements and reorganization agreements. Ms. Anthony’s legal team prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of federal and state securities laws and SROs such as FINRA and DTC for 15c2-11 applications, corporate name changes, reverse and forward splits and changes of domicile. Ms. Anthony is also the author of SecuritiesLawBlog.com, the OTC Market’s top source for industry news, and the producer and host of LawCast.com, the securities law network. In addition to many other major metropolitan areas, the firm currently represents clients in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Denver, Tampa, Detroit and Dallas.

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Alternatives To Going Public – Private Company Financing Options
Posted by Securities Attorney Laura Anthony | March 21, 2011 Tags: , , , , , ,

Many companies seek to go public as a source of obtaining capital financing. In order to make the most intelligent decision private financing options should also be considered.

Private Placements

Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act) provides a broad based exemption for “transactions not involving any public offering.” The SEC has promulgated several Safe Harbor rules under Section 4(2) the most well known being Regulation D. The three private placement exemptions in Regulation D are Rule 504, 505 and 506, the difference being based on the size of the offering, the number and qualification of investors and restrictions on advertising and resale of the securities. Other than in certain instances under Rule 504, securities issued in a private placement are restricted and may not be resold unless they are registered or an exemption exists (such as Rule 144).

Rule 504

Briefly, Rule 504 allows a non-reporting public or private company to raise up to $1,000,000 from any number of individuals, which individuals do not need to be accredited. Rule 504 requires that the Issuer comply with applicable state law regarding the exemption. Each states rules and regulation vary widely and accordingly, relying on this exemption is only cost effective if the offering is limited to one or a small number of states.

Rule 505

Rule 505 allows an Issuer to raise up to $5,000,000 in a 12 month period, from up to 35 unaccredited investors and an unlimited number of accredited investors. Like Rule 504, an Issuer must comply with a complex and varying set of different state laws when relying on this exemption. Over the years this exemption has been used rarely.

Rule 506

Rule 506 allows an Issuer to raise an unlimited amount of capital form any number of accredited investors and no more than 35 unaccredited “sophisticated” investors. Sophisticated, in this case, means that the investor must have adequate experience in financial and business matters to understand the investment being made and the risk involved. Rule 506 offerings are guided by federal law which federal law pre-empts individual state requirements. However, individual states can require that an Issuer make minimal filings (a copy of the Form D filed with the SEC and a consent to service of process) and can require the payment of a fee.

Intrastate Offerings

Section 3(1)(11) of the Securities Act and Rule 147 promulgated thereunder provides an exemption from registration of securities as long as the Issuer is incorporated in the state where it offers the securities; conducts a significant amount of its business in that state; and makes offers and sales only to residents of that state. Federal law imposes no limits on the size of the offering, or the number or qualification of the investors, however, an Issuer must abide by the laws of the particular state it is making the offering in, which laws may impose such restrictions.

Regulation A – Small Public Offerings

Regulation A is promulgated under Section 3(b) of the Securities Act, which Section allows the SEC to formulate exemptions for small public offerings under $5,000,000. Like a larger public offering, the Issuer must file a prospectus with the SEC and clear comments prior to embarking on the offering. However, unlike a larger public offering, following the effectiveness of the registration statement, the Issuer is not subject to any ongoing reporting requirements. Moreover, the Issuer has the option of remaining “private” or seeking to have their securities traded on the over the counter market.

Venture Capital and Strategic Partners

There are many venture capital firms, angel investors, and private investor groups looking for ground floor opportunities with new business ventures. However, generally these investors seek large equity positions with a Company and often participate in management and operations of the Company.

Asset Leveraging and Accounts Receivable Factoring

This type of financing is more typical and similar to bank financing with higher costs and interest rates.

The Author

Attorney Laura Anthony,
Founding Partner, Legal & Compliance, LLC
Securities, Reverse Mergers, Corporate Transactions

Securities attorney Laura Anthony provides ongoing corporate counsel to small and mid-size public Companies as well as private Companies intending to go public on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB), now known as the OTCQB. For more than a decade Ms. Anthony has dedicated her securities law practice towards being “the big firm alternative.” Clients receive fast and efficient cutting-edge legal service without the inherent delays and unnecessary expense of “partner-heavy” securities law firms.

Ms. Anthony’s focus includes but is not limited to compliance with the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (“Exchange Act”) including Forms 10-Q, 10-K and 8-K and the proxy requirements of Section 14. In addition, Ms. Anthony prepares private placement memorandums, registration statements under both the Exchange Act and Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). Moreover, Ms. Anthony represents both target and acquiring companies in reverse and forward mergers, including preparation of deal documents such as Merger Agreements, Stock Purchase Agreements, Asset Purchase Agreements and Reorganization Agreements. Ms. Anthony prepares the necessary documentation and assists in completing the requirements of the Exchange Act, state law and FINRA for corporate changes such as name changes, reverse and forward splits and change of domicile.

Contact Legal & Compliance, LLC for a free initial consultation or second opinion on an existing matter.


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  • Contact Information

    Laura Anthony, Attorney
    Legal & Compliance, LLC
    330 Clematis Street, Ste. 217
    West Palm Beach, FL 33401

    Toll Free: 1.800.341.2684
    Phone: 561.514.0936
    Fax: 561.514.0832