Our recently updated Quick Guide to REIT IPOs provides an overview of the path to an initial public offering for a REIT. The guide also addresses regulatory, tax and accounting considerations relevant to sponsors considering forming a REIT.

To download a copy of the guide, click here.

Wednesday, February 7, 14 and 21, 2018
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST

Morrison & Foerster and Wolters Kluwer Webinar Series

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (H.R.1), signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, is the most sweeping change to the U.S. tax code in decades. This historic bill impacts every taxpayer, and calls for lowering the individual and corporate tax rates, repealing the ACA’s shared responsibility requirement, enhancing the child tax credit, and more.

Morrison & Foerster and Wolters Kluwer will host a complimentary three-part webinar series focusing on three of the most impactful areas within the tax overhaul:

Session 1: Tax Changes Affecting Holders of Pass-Through Vehicles
Wednesday, February 7, 2018; 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. EST

Session 2: Corporate Taxation — Domestic Tax Law Changes
Wednesday, February 14, 2018; 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. EST

Session 3: Corporate Taxation — International Tax Changes
Wednesday, February 21, 2018; 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. EST

Speakers:

Wolters Kluwer will provide CLE credit.

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

The Staff of the Office of the Chief Accountant and of the Division of Corporation Finance issued SAB 118 (see: https://www.sec.gov/interps/account/staff-accounting-bulletin-118.htm) in order to provide guidance for issuers as they prepare their financial statements. The staff guidance provides a “measurement period” for issuers to evaluate the impacts of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act on the their financial statements and sets forth staff expectations for disclosure to investors during the measurement period. The Staff also issued a Compliance and Disclosure Interpretation 110.02, which we set out below:

Question 110.02

Question: Does the re-measurement of a deferred tax asset (“DTA”) to incorporate the effects of newly enacted tax rates or other provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Act”) trigger an obligation to file under Item 2.06 of Form 8-K?

Answer: No, the re-measurement of a DTA to reflect the impact of a change in tax rate or tax laws is not an impairment under ASC Topic 740. However, the enactment of new tax rates or tax laws could have implications for a registrant’s financial statements, including whether it is more likely than not that the DTA will be realized. As discussed in Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 118 (Dec. 22, 2017), a registrant that has not yet completed its accounting for certain income tax effects of the Act by the time the registrant issues its financial statements for the period that includes December 22, 2017 (the date of the Act’s enactment) may apply a “measurement period” approach to complying with ASC Topic 740. Registrants employing the “measurement period” approach as contemplated by SAB 118 that conclude that an impairment has occurred due to changes resulting from the enactment of the Act may rely on the Instruction to Item 2.06 and disclose the impairment, or a provisional amount with respect to that possible impairment, in its next periodic report.

See our more detailed client alert here.

Monday, November 20, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The Fairmont Royal York
100 Front Street West
Toronto, ON M5J 1E3
Canada

Please join us for one (or both) of our sessions.

During the first session, our speakers will provide an overview of debt capital market trends in 2017 and what to expect in the months ahead. We will discuss some of the regulatory developments that are, and will continue to, impact issuances by financial institutions, including the Canadian banks. In particular, we will discuss issuance trends for financial institutions in the United States, the prospects for regulatory burden relief and tax reform, and related matters. We will also discuss the bail-in regime in Canada and the proposed TLAC requirement. Lastly, we will discuss recent NVCC issuances in the United States by Canadian banks, as well as other funding activity, including covered bonds.

During the second session, our speakers will discuss the application of blockchain in financial services, payments and financial products with a focus on use cases. In particular, we will discuss the applicable regulatory and tax considerations in the United States and conclude with some tips to assist the audience in navigating these regimes.

Session 1: Debt Capital Markets, Regulatory Developments & Market Outlook
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

  • Overview of the debt capital markets;
  • Issuance levels and trends;
  • What to expect in the months ahead;
  • U.S. regulatory developments;
  • Canadian regulatory developments;
  • NVCC issuances; and
  • Modifying issuance programs for the bail-in regime.

Speakers:

  • Tom Connell
    Managing Director, Standard & Poor’s
  • Bryan Farris
    Associate Director, UBS Investment Bank
  • Peter Hamilton
    Partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP
  • Ahmet Yetis
    Americas Head of Capital Solutions, UBS Investment Bank
  • Oliver Ireland
    Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Anna Pinedo
    Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP

Lunch: 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Session 2: Blocked? Navigating the U.S. Regulatory and Tax Regimes Applicable to Blockchain
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

  • What is blockchain and how does it work?;
  • Which laws apply?;
  • Timing, finality, and enforceability;
  • System accountability and responsibility;
  • Use cases;
  • Digital tokens, token sales, and U.S. regulation;
  • IRS Notice 2014-21;
  • Case study: Department of Justice Coinbase summons; and
  • Interesting issues relating to taxation of financial instruments and crypto.

Speakers:

To register for this program, or for more information, please click here.

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:

The Decline in IPOs and the Private Equity Market

In their piece, “The Evolution of the Private Equity Market and the Decline in IPOs,” Michael Ewens and Joan Farre-Mensa discuss the decline in the number of initial public offerings in the United States in recent years and how it has impacted the ability of startups to finance.  The authors focus on venture-backed startups.  Interestingly, the paper notes that the percentage of M&A exits has remained fairly constant since the early 1990s.  Many commentators in the popular press have suggested that the number of M&A exits had increased, therefore negatively affecting the number of U.S. IPOs.  Prior to 1997, approximately 87% of startups with over 200 employees went public and of those with over $40 million in sales 67% undertook IPOs.  Since 2000, the fractions have declined to 29% and 30% respectively.  Private capital has filled the breach and as a result the decline in the number of IPOs has not negatively affected the ability of companies to raise capital.  In part, the authors attribute the change to a reduction in the costs associated with remaining a private company.  The authors also discuss changes in the private markets.  For example, the paper shows that VCs have changed how they deploy their capital, with a greater percentage of their investments being devoted to late-stage investments (as opposed to earlier stage companies).  Non-VC investors have provided a very significant percentage of financing in late-stage rounds.  These investors include private equity funds, corporations making minority investments, mutual funds and hedge funds and investment banks.

Up-C IPOs

A blog reader recently shared with us a paper titled “Private Benefits in Public Offerings:  Tax Receivable Agreements in IPOs,” written by Gladriel Shobe.  The paper considers some of the criticisms of up-C IPOs as a result of the tax receivable agreements put in place in these transactions.  For background on up-C IPOs, see our Practice Pointers.  The paper notes that in recent years, 5% of IPOs included use of tax receivable agreements (“TRAs”).  The author identifies three “generations” of TRAs.  The first generation from the early to mid-1990s involved companies that were taking additional steps in connection with their IPOs to create additional tax assets, or new basis.  The second generation TRAs appeared in 2007 with a Duff & Phelps IPO.  The paper identifies a third generation TRA that came about in 2010.  Finally, the paper notes some recent up-C IPOs that have not used TRAs.  After analyzing the various types of TRAs and the rationales for their use, the paper considers whether in the case of TRAs in up-C IPOs pre-IPO owners receive benefits that may not be properly valued or understood by IPO participants.

Dual-Class Structures

In his paper, “Sunrise, Sunset:  An Empirical and Theoretical Assessment of Dual-Class Stock Structures,” author Andrew Winden presents an analysis of initial and sunset dual-stock provisions based on over 100 companies, including pre-2000 and post-2000 structures excluding up-C IPOs.  The paper notes that among the sample set there are many different sunset provisions and provides very useful analysis of these.  The types of sunset provisions include passage of a specified period of time, dilution of high vote shares or controller ownership of such shares down to a low percentage of the aggregate number of outstanding shares, a reduction in the number of high vote shares or the number of high vote shares held by the controller as a percentage of the controller’s original ownership, death or incapacity of certain control persons or the departure of the founder, or conversion upon transfers of the high vote shares to persons that are not permitted holders.  Of course, a significant percentage of companies with dual-class structures, approximately 39% of those that went public after 2000, did not have sunset provisions.  The paper then offers an assessment of the utility of each of the particular approaches to implementing a sunset provision.

Questions surrounding the use of virtual currencies and other digital tokens (“tokens”) as compensation came to the forefront last month following formal guidance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on token offerings. This alert discusses the U.S. federal income tax consequences to employees (and other service providers, including directors, consultants and other advisers) who receive compensation in the form of tokens.

Read our client alert.

The Nasdaq recently published a report, titled “The Promise of Market Reform,” which sets out proposed structural changes that are intended to relieve some of the burdens associated with being a public company.  The report notes the decline in the number of U.S. public companies and notes the trend in U.S. IPOs and the increased reliance on private placements.  The report suggests reform of the proxy process, by, among other things, raising the minimum ownership amount and holding period to introduce a proxy proposal and addressing proxy advisory firms.  The report suggests various measures that would streamline corporate disclosures by eliminating quarterly reporting requirements, providing additional accommodations for smaller reporting companies, and reducing politically motivated disclosure obligations.  The report notes that litigation reform also is needed.  Various tax reform measures also are discussed as possible incentives to encourage investment.  Finally, the report discusses possible market structure changes.  Finally, the report addresses measures that are intended to promote long-termism.

The report can be accessed here:  https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2017/05/04/978502/0/en/U-S-Financial-Markets-Require-Comprehensive-Market-Reform-to-Reignite-Job-Growth-and-Create-a-Healthier-Economic-Ecosystem.html

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. EST

Traditionally, most public companies in the US were organized as C-corporations. However, tax developments in recent years have given corporate planners a wide range of new tools to structure a public company. For example, tax pass-through MLP and REIT structures are spreading into new asset classes. Also, traditional double taxed ‘C’ corporations are using tax pass-through entities, including partnerships, to reduce or eliminate entity-level taxes as well as optimize their internal structures with tax ‘disregarded entities’. These new tools lead to a variety of tax choices in deciding how to structure a public company.

During this briefing, which is intended for a general audience, the speakers will explain the structures, restrictions and pitfalls in this evolving hybrid world of C-corporations mixed with tax pass-throughs. Specifically, they will discuss:

  • Master limited partnerships;
  • REITs and alternative assets that may qualify as ‘real estate’;
  • Business development companies;
  • Consolidated groups of corporations and disregarded entities; and
  • Up-C structures.

Speakers:

CLE credit is pending for California and New York.

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

In a structure commonly referred to as an “up‑C,” an existing LLC or other partnership form undertakes a public offering through a newly formed corporation, which is structured as a holding company that owns an interest in the LLC.  Traditionally, if the owners wanted to undertake a public offering of the entity’s securities, the owners would re-organize the LLC or partnership as a corporation and offer and sell that company’s common stock to the public in the offering.  Increasingly, owners are employing the up‑C structure as an alternative.  Use of the up‑C approach allows the LLC or other entity to undertake a public offering, albeit through a holding company, while maintaining the partnership status for the LLC, where the principal assets and operations of the business remain.  This structure is particularly attractive to private equity-backed companies because it maintains many of the tax benefits of a partnership, offers an ongoing exit strategy, and enables the sponsors to preserve some control over the business.

For more information, see our “Practice Pointers on the Up-C Structure” available at: http://www.mofo.com/~/media/Files/Articles/2016/05/160500PracticePointersUpCStructure.pdf

On October 20, 2015, at 12:00 pm EST, Morrison & Foerster Partners Thomas Humphreys and Remmelt Reigersman will lead a teleconference on the Tax Considerations of Up-C IPOs. The IPO market is humming along and so is the use of “Up-C” structures. Under the right circumstances, an Up-C structure has the potential to deliver significant economic and tax benefits to financial sponsors and other selling shareholders. In this teleconference, we explain when an “Up-C” structure might be appropriate for an IPO candidate and how such structures are most commonly implemented. We also explain the various economic and tax benefits associated with such structures, including an explanation of the key terms of the “Tax Receivable Agreement” that is typically entered into by the selling shareholders and the public company.

CLE Credit is Pending.

To register for this session, or for more information, please click here.