Law Blog Category: Regulation D
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.
On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act). After many revisions, the final Dodd-Frank Act has only minor effects on securities Issuers and their investors. The primary change, which takes effect immediately, is a modification to the definition of “accredited investor” contained in the Securities Act of 1933. In particular: (i) as it relates to natural persons, the $1,000,000 net worth standard must now be calculated excluding the value of the primary residence of such natural person; and (2) the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been mandated to review the entire accredited investor definition within four (4) years and make appropriate changes within that time, without additional act of Congress.
In today’s financial environment, many Issuers are choosing to self underwrite their public offerings, commonly referred to as a Direct Public Offering (DPO). Moreover, as almost all potential investors have computers, many Issuers are choosing to utilize the Internet for such DPO’s. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published rules for utilizing the internet for an offering.
The Securities Act of 1933 recognizes two broad types of exemptions to the registration requirements of Section 5, exempt securities and exempt transactions.
The Exempt securities are set forth in Sections 3(a)(1) – (8), (13) and (14) of the Securities Act. Exempt securities are continuously exempt from the registration requirements regardless of the nature of the transaction in which they may be offered, issued, sold or resold. Examples of exempt securities which may be publicly offered, issued, sold and resold by their issuers or any other person without registration include…
There are many questions regarding the application of Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) Rule 144 for the resale of securities. Section 4(1) of the Securities Act provides an exemption for a transaction “by a person other than an issuer, underwriter, or dealer.” Therefore, an understanding of the term “underwriter” is important in determining whether or not the Section 4(1) exemption from registration is available for the sale of the securities. Rule 144 provides a safe harbor from the definition of “underwriter”. If all the requirements for Rule 144 are met, the seller will not be deemed an underwriter and the purchaser will receive unrestricted securities.