SEC Expands Confidential Regulation Filings To All Companies
Posted by Laura Anthony, Esq. on July 11, 2017
SEC Expands Confidential Regulation Filings To All Companies- JOBS Act, initially enacted on April 5, 2012, created a new category of issuer called an “emerging growth company” (“EGC”). The primary benefits of an EGC include scaled-down disclosure requirements both in an IPO and periodic reporting, confidential filings of registration statements, certain test-the-waters rights in IPO’s, and an ease on analyst communications and reports during the EGC IPO process. Although EGC disclosures and rights are similar to smaller reporting companies, they are not exactly the same.
As a reminder, the definition of an EGC as first enacted on April 5, 2012, was 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. An EGC loses its EGC status on the earlier of (i) the last day of the fiscal year in which it exceeds $1 billion in revenues; (ii) the last day of the fiscal year following the fifth year after its IPO (for example, if the issuer has a December 31 fiscal year-end and sells equity securities pursuant to an effective registration statement on May 2, 2016, it will cease to be an EGC on December 31, 2021); (iii) the date on which it has issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period; or (iv) the date it becomes a large accelerated filer (i.e., its non-affiliated public float is valued at $700 million or more). EGC status is not available to asset-backed securities issuers (“ABS”) reporting under Regulation AB or investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. However, business development companies (BDC’s) do qualify.
On March 31, 2017, the SEC made inflationary adjustments to the definition of an EGC by increasing the definition by $70,000. Accordingly, an EGC is now defined as a company with total gross revenues of less than $1,070,000,000.
Regulation A+ as enacted on June 19, 2015, also allows for confidential submissions of an offering circular by companies completing their first Regulation A+ offering. Confidential submissions under Regulation A allow an issuer to get the process under way while soliciting interest of investors using the “test-the-waters” provisions without negative publicity risk if it alters or withdraws the offering before qualification by the SEC. However, the confidential filing, SEC comments, and all amendments must be publicly filed as exhibits to the offering statement at least 15 calendar days before qualification.