Category Archives: Disclosures

SEC proposes rule changes intended to streamline disclosures of business operations, risk factors and legal proceedings

The SEC recently proposed revisions to Regulation S-K to streamline public companies’ disclosures of their business operations, risk factors and legal proceedings.  The proposed revisions affect Items 101(a) and (c), 103 and 105 of Regulation S-K.

Among other changes, the proposed rules would revise the requirements related to the general business description by adopting:

  • a more principles-based approach that will require each company to address matters material to its business,…
  • More

SEC staff issues additional guidance on exhibit redactions

The SEC staff has issued supplemental guidance regarding its new rules for the redaction of confidential information from certain exhibits, which take effect today. See our blog post here for more detail on the new rules.

Consistent with prior practice, a company redacting information from a material contract must:

  • note in the exhibit list that portions of the exhibit have been omitted;…
  • More

SEC continues its disclosure simplification initiative

On March 20, 2019, the SEC amended its disclosure requirements to ease reporting burdens for most public companies. While no individual change is particularly noteworthy, the aggregate impact of the changes should generally simplify the reporting process. A few changes will require modest additional disclosures. The most significant changes are:

  • Confidential treatment requests – Very helpfully, the SEC is dispensing with the need to obtain the staff’s prior approval of a confidential treatment request before redacting information from certain exhibits when the information is not material and its disclosure would likely cause competitive harm.…
  • More

Yes, they really mean it: the SEC brings another enforcement action relating to the presentation of non-GAAP financial measures

This past Boxing Day, the SEC delivered another reminder that it remains intensely focused on public companies’ disclosure of non-GAAP financial measures.  In an agreed cease-and-desist order released on December 26, 2018, ADT Inc. (ADT) agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to settle an accusation that it failed to comply with Item 10(e) of Regulation S-K.  Item 10(e) requires, among other things, that any disclosure of a non-GAAP financial measure in an SEC filing must be accompanied by disclosure of the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure with equal or greater prominence. … More

Better late than never? New Disclosure Requirements for Hedging Policies

The Securities and Exchange Commission has finally adopted new rules that will require public companies to include in proxy statements for their annual meetings a description of their hedging policies and practices applicable to employees and directors.  These rules were called for by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010  but weren’t proposed until February 2015. The new rules will apply to proxy and information statements with respect to the election of directors during fiscal years beginning on or after July 1,… More

SEC staff clarifies cross-border exemptions

Last week, the SEC staff published new compliance and disclosure interpretations clarifying some of the inner workings of exemptions for certain cross-border business combinations, exchange offers and rights offerings. These exemptions are available for specified transactions involving foreign companies whose US ownership falls below 40% or 10% of total ownership, with the latter group being afforded significantly greater relief. When the SEC originally adopting these exemptions, it sought to induce parties to include US investors in transactions where they would typically be excluded in order to avoid the burdens of complying with US securities laws.… More

SEC staff clarifies new Form 10-Q requirement

Yesterday the SEC staff issued CD&I 105.09, which clarifies the date by which issuers must comply with the new requirement to present changes in stockholders’ equity in their interim financial statements.  Initially, there was concern that the requirement would be effective shortly before many companies would ordinarily file their Forms 10-Q for the quarter ending on September 30.  The new CD&I clarifies that the staff will not object if issuers comply with the new requirement for the first quarter that begins after the effective date of the new rule,… More

Related-party transaction disclosures aren’t always obvious

Related-party transactions are often easy to spot:  the company is on one side of a contract, and a director or officer, or a company they control, is on the other side. But some transactions are less obvious.

The SEC recently brought a settled proceeding against John D. Schiller, Jr., the former CEO of Energy XXI Ltd., a now-defunct Nasdaq-listed issuer, for failing to disclose millions in personal loans from companies that did business with EXXI or the owners of those companies.… More

The SEC amends rules to simplify some disclosures

On August 17, the SEC adopted amendments to its rules and regulations to simplify public company disclosures by eliminating duplicative, outdated or overlapping requirements. Most of the changes are highly technical, and in many cases SEC rules will still require substantially the same disclosure, although perhaps in a new location. Some of the minor but helpful changes for most companies include:

  • in the company’s description of its business,…
  • More

SEC approves higher thresholds for smaller reporting companies

  Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved changes to the definition of a “smaller reporting company,” or SRC, that will significantly increase the availability of the less burdensome, scaled disclosure requirements applicable to companies qualifying as SRCs .  The amendments increase the public float threshold for qualification as an SRC from less than $75 million to less than $250 million, in each case regardless of the company’s revenues.  In addition,… More

Most executives are probably underpaid

Every day it seems there is another outcry over excessive executive compensation at public companies.  This year, for the first time, public companies are disclosing ratios of CEO compensation to median employee compensation, and both the media and politicians are quick to highlight pay ratios in excess of 1,000-to-one as evidence of everything that is wrong with executive compensation.

Yet these complaints have a certain air of unreality to them,… More

SEC Staff Expands Non-GAAP Relief for Business Combinations

This week the SEC staff expanded relief for the disclosure of non-GAAP financial forecasts used in business combinations.

In these transactions, public companies routinely obtain fairness opinions from an investment bank regarding the value of the consideration to be paid to shareholders, and the fairness opinions normally rely on financial projections provided by the company.  These projections are often prepared in a way that varies from GAAP and,… More

Pre-IPO companies can have disclosure obligations, too.

A recent SEC enforcement action should serve as a potent reminder to pre-IPO and other private companies that SEC rules sometimes impose affirmative disclosure obligations on private companies that offer and sell securities to their employees.

Most well-advised start-ups and other emerging companies know that they need an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 in order to grant options or issue other equity awards to their employees.… More