Disclosure Requirements

Below, a continuation of our bibliography of thought-provoking articles on issues related to right-sizing regulation, staying private versus going public, and related topics:

JOBS Act and Information Uncertainty

A recent paper titled “The JOBS Act and Information Uncertainty in IPO Firms,” published by Mary E. Barth, Wayne R. Landsman, and Daniel J. Taylor, has garnered quite a bit of attention.  The paper examines the extent to which omission of certain information by emerging growth companies (EGCs) can be tied to IPO underpricing.  According to the paper, EGCs that present compensation information for fewer than five top executives and present fewer than three years of audited financial statements are associated with higher levels of underpricing.  It is difficult to conclude whether there really is a correlation since, in our experience, many of the EGCs that choose to rely on the accommodations and omit this information are concentrated in particular sectors and those are usually associated with underpricing.  Similarly, in our experience, many companies in those sectors have concentrated ownership and existing investors participating in the IPOs.  The paper also concludes that EGCs have higher levels of institutional ownership than non-EGCs. This may not be all that surprising given trends in private capital raising over the last eight to ten years.  The authors suggest that this information should be considered in connection with additional regulatory reforms that might reduce disclosure burdens.  Without more detail comparing the sectors of the companies that are or are not EGCs, and of the EGCs that choose to omit disclosures, and the pricing issues specific to IPOs of companies in such sectors, as well as of companies by age or maturity, it would seem difficult to draw any conclusions.

Thursday, December 14, 2017
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. EST
5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. GMT

With companies remaining private longer, their stockholder base often becomes more widely dispersed. More and more privately held companies are facing interesting challenges in communicating effectively with various stakeholders, without violating securities laws. Companies contemplating or undertaking an initial public offering face particularly acute issues as they try to establish effective communications approaches. Finally, public companies face Regulation FD and other regulatory requirements that may require that they map out a careful communications approach. During this session, we will address the following:

  • Trends and developments in capital markets communications;
  • New modes of communication and engagement (e.g., social, digital);
  • Non-GAAP financial measures;
  • Navigating disclosure risks and requirements, including Regulation FD;
  • Assessing materiality and whether there is an obligation to disclose (and when);
  • Forward-looking statements, financial guidance and communicating with investment professionals, including analysts and rating agencies;
  • Competitive benchmarking and key metrics;
  • Optimizing value in an exit strategy, whether it is an IPO or an M&A exit; and
  • Best practices in public debt communications (as a private company).

Speakers:

  • Jeff Grossman
    Co-CEO, Solebury Communications Group
  • Scott Lesmes
    Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Anna Pinedo
    Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP

Additional speakers to be announced.

CLE credit is pending for California and New York.

For more information, or to register, please click here.

Now offered as a webinar

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Eastern

Our speakers will review and discuss SEC and FASB developments that registrants and directors should consider as they prepare their Forms 10-K, including the following:

  • Use of Non-GAAP financial measures;
  • Comment letter trends;
  • Updating your MD&A;
  • New revenue recognition standard;
  • Developments in derivatives/hedge accounting;
  • New lease accounting rules; and
  • New credit impairment rules.

Speakers:

NY and CA CLE credit is pending.

To register, please click here.

Yesterday, the Staff of the Division of Corporation Finance provided additional guidance on Rule 701 by issuing this new Compliance and Disclosure Interpretation, Question 271.25, reprinted below:

Question:

To protect against the unauthorized disclosure of Rule 701(e) information, may companies that are using electronic delivery to satisfy Rule 701(e) disclosure requirements implement safeguards with respect to electronic access to Rule 701(e) information?

Answer:

We understand that some companies satisfying their Rule 701(e) delivery obligations electronically have concerns about the potential disclosure of sensitive company information. Standard electronic safeguards, such as user-specific login requirements and related measures, are permissible. The use of a particular electronic disclosure medium either alone or in combination with other safeguards, such as the use of dedicated physical disclosure rooms that house the medium used to convey the information required to be disclosed, should not be so burdensome that intended recipients cannot effectively access the required disclosures. For example, we would expect that physical disclosure rooms would be accessible during ordinary business hours upon reasonable notice. Once access to the required information has been granted, however, the medium used to communicate the required disclosure should provide the opportunity to retain the information or have ongoing access substantially equivalent to personal retention. [November 6, 2017]

The use of non-GAAP financial measures by US public companies continues to attract scrutiny. As concern grows that non-GAAP measures are being employed in company disclosures to distort actual performance numbers and, in some cases, mislead the investing public, the SEC has stepped in.

In this exclusive report by Morrison & Foerster, and co-published with the International Financial Law Review, we examine the regulations relating to the use of non-GAAP financial measures, commonly used non-GAAP financial measures, the SEC’s guidance relating to the use of non-GAAP measures, comments issued by the SEC Staff on this subject, and what companies can do to revise their disclosures, earnings calls and other communications.

Read our report here.

November 8-10, 2017

The Roosevelt Hotel
45 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

PLI’s 49th Annual Institute on Securities Regulation will be composed of seasoned individuals from private practice, investment banking, accounting firms, corporations, and government agencies. These experts will put the developments of the past year into proper perspective, and prepare you for 2018 and beyond.

Partner Anna Pinedo will participate in a panel discussion entitled “Private Offerings and Public Offerings by Smaller Reporting Companies” on day one of the program. Topics will include:

  • General solicitation and private offerings under Rule 506;
  • Integration of private to private and private to public offerings – what will it take to fix the uncertainty?;
  • Regulation A and Crowdfunding – are they working and where do they work the best?; and
  • Public capital raising by smaller reporting companies – what’s on the reform agenda?

Senior Of Counsel Marty Dunn will participate in a panel discussion entitled “Securities Law Grab Bag: Your Frequent Questions Answered” on day two of the program. Topics will include:

  • Our answers and analysis for important securities and compliance questions;
  • Avoiding the pitfalls in the offering process;
  • Making the right disclosure decisions under common (and not so common) scenarios;
  • Approaching the compliance function: our best practice answers;
  • Frequent governance considerations and the best ways to handle them; and
  • Do we have to close the trading window?

PLI will provide CLE credit.

For more information, or to register, please click here.

On October 17, 2017, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance issued two new compliance and disclosure interpretations (“C&DIs”) on the use of non-GAAP financial measures in forecasts for business combination transactions. In the first C&DI, the Staff clarified that financial measures provided to a financial advisor, including financial measures included in forecasts used in connection with a business combination transaction, would be excluded from the definition of non-GAAP financial measures, and therefore not subject to Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K and Regulation G, if and to the extent:

  • the financial measures are included in forecasts provided to the financial advisor for the purpose of rendering an opinion that is materially related to the business combination transaction; and
  • the forecasts are being disclosed in order to comply with Item 1015 of Regulation M-A or requirements under state or foreign law, including case law, regarding disclosure of the financial advisor’s analyses or substantive work.

Therefore, assuming these two conditions are satisfied, the guidance should provide comfort to M&A deal participants that the disclosure of management forecasts in merger registration statements, proxy statements and tender offer statements would not be subject to Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K and Regulation G. In the second C&DI, the Staff clarified that the exemption from Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K and Regulation G for non-GAAP financial measures disclosed in communications relating to a business combination transaction does not extend to the same non-GAAP financial measures disclosed in registration statements, proxy statements and tender offer statements.

The new C&DIs are available here.

In recent months, there has been an active dialogue regarding the regulatory burdens for public companies and whether these burdens have contributed to the decline in the number of U.S. initial public offerings (“IPOs”) and companies listed on U.S. securities exchanges. One of the burdens cited by commentators relates to the extensive disclosures required under the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission” or the “SEC”) for companies seeking to register IPOs under the Securities Act of 1933 and also for public-reporting companies in their filings made pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). Long before the days of the recent presidential order seeking to limit new regulations and eliminate existing regulations, the Commission had already embarked on its own disclosure effectiveness initiative; however, in recent months, the “push” for regulatory burden relief has become a shove.

Yesterday’s release by the Commission of proposed amendments to certain Regulation S-K requirements, which we summarize in this alert, are likely just the first of several disclosure-related amendments to be issued.

Read our client alert.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practising Law Institute’s Exempt and Hybrid Securities Offerings is the first practical, accessible resource to provide you with comprehensive legal, regulatory, and procedural guidance regarding these increasingly popular offering methodologies.

Authored by Morrison & Foerster Partners Anna Pinedo and James Tanenbaum, the third edition of Exempt and Hybrid Securities Offerings gives you a useful understanding of the applicable regulations and legal framework for these transactions, as well as the implications of these regulations for structuring transactions.

The treatise provides a detailed analysis of the regulations and guidance affecting exempt and hybrid securities offerings, as well as offers market context and practical structuring advice. Packed with checklists, transactional timelines, SEC guidance, and a wealth of labor-saving sample documents, Exempt and Hybrid Securities Offerings offers the relative advantages and drawbacks of the most commonly used forms of exempt and hybrid offerings. It clearly explains:

  • conducting venture private placements;
  • traditional and structured PIPE transactions;
  • institutional (debt) private placements;
  • Rule 144A offerings;
  • Regulation S offerings;
  • Regulation A offerings and crowdfunding;
  • shelf takedowns;
  • registered direct and ATM offerings;
  • confidentially marketed public offerings; and
  • continuous issuance programs, including MTN and CP programs.

This comprehensive three-volume treatise, with useful forms, has been updated to reflect changes brought about by the Dodd-Frank Act, the JOBS Act, the FAST Act, and other recent regulatory changes.

For more information, please click here.