Law Blog Category: Private Placement
As I discussed in a recent blog, the attraction of the small cap and reverse merger market has diminished greatly in the past two years. The Over the Counter market has become an expensive place to conduct business; the antithesis of the very reason small companies sought to list there to begin with. Accessing capital markets for microcap companies is not as simple as it once was.
Are Rule 419 Companies poised to be the next big thing in the small-cap sector?
Recently, the small-cap and reverse merger market has diminished substantially. Operating businesses are wary of completing reverse mergers, and PIPE investors are harder to come by. The reasons for this are easily identifiable.
Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as Amended (“Securities Act”) provides the statutory basis for private placement offerings. In particular, Section 4(2) exempts “transactions by an issuer not involving any public offering.” The key components of this statutory exemption are that the offering must be by the Issuer, not an affiliate, agent or third party, and that the transactions must not involve a public offering. In order to determine if there is a public offering, practitioners must consider Section 2(11) of the Securities Act which defines an underwriter. The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and courts limit the scope of Section 4(2) by preventing indirect public offerings by issuers and control persons through third parties. Accordingly, if an investor acts as a link in the chain of transactions resulting in securities being distributed to the public, they are an underwriter, and the exemption under Section 4(2) is not available.
The integration doctrine prevents issuers from circumventing the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1934 by determining whether two or more securities offerings are really one offering that does not qualify as an exempt offering, or an exempt offering is really part of a registered public offering.