Tag Archives: SEC

2020: The Year of the SPAC

2020 has been a banner year for IPOs by special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Over 100 SPAC IPOs have closed so far in 2020, with aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $42.1 billion and an average IPO size of $382.4 million.[1] This represents a dramatic increase from 2019, in which 59 SPAC IPOs closed, with aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $13.6 billion and an average IPO size of $230.5 million.… More

SEC Amends “Accredited Investor” Definition

On August 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) amended the definition of “accredited investor,” one of the principal tests for determining eligibility for participation in private placements of securities. The amendments are designed to identify more effectively the institutional and individual investors that have the knowledge and expertise to participate in private placements, not only based on measures of income or net worth, but also based on defined measures of professional knowledge,… More

SEC Focus on Executive Perk Disclosure Continues

In June 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled charges with insurance company Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. for failing to disclose perks and benefits received by its former chief executive officer.  Per the SEC order, Argo failed to report over $5.3 million in perks that its CEO received between 2014 and 2018 in violation of federal securities law. These benefits included personal use of corporate aircraft, helicopter trips,… More

SEC Proposes Amendments to Offering Exemptions

On March 4, 2020, the SEC proposed amendments to existing exemptions from the registration requirements under the Securities Act of 1933 to simplify, harmonize, and improve the existing regulatory framework and to promote capital formation while preserving or enhancing important investor protections.  Promoting capital formation continues to be a primary object of the SEC, as evidenced by the previously proposed amendments to the “accredited investor” definition. (See our IPO,… More

SEC Division of Enforcement Issues 2019 Annual Report

On November 6, 2019, the SEC Division of Enforcement published its annual report for fiscal year 2019. The report provides valuable insight, not only as to the Division’s performance over the past year, but also about its current priorities and where it will be focused in the near-term future. Overall, Enforcement’s program since 2017, when SEC Chairman Jay Clayton assumed leadership of the agency, has been shaped by five “core principles”: (1) focus on the retail investor;… More

Let’s talk about gun jumping . . .

WeWork, rebranded as The We Company earlier this year, officially withdrew its IPO registration statement on September 30, 2019.  The company has had an unusually rocky ride from its August 14, 2019 public filing to an outcome that few, if any, would have predicted from one of the most high profile unicorns to seek capital in the public market.  As the company moves forward with new co-CEOs, the abandoned (or delayed) IPO serves as a case study of the issues that private companies face under the scrutiny of regulators and public investors. … More

Possible expansion of “Testing the Waters” for Securities Offerings

In apparent recognition of the popularity of “testing the waters” by Emerging Growth Companies (EGCs) before proceeding with an IPO, the Securities and Exchange Commission recently voted to propose an expansion of this accommodation to all companies.[1]  Currently, EGCs and any person authorized to act on behalf of an EGC may engage in oral or written communications with potential investors that are qualified institutional buyers or institutional accredited investors to determine whether these investors might have an interest in a contemplated securities offering without violating the SEC’s prohibition on gun-jumping.… More

Cybersecurity 2019 — The Year in Preview: Cryptocurrency and SEC Enforcement

In our 2018 SEC year in preview post, we called attention to an expected increase in SEC cybersecurity enforcement action.  The SEC has certainly lived up to the billing throughout 2018, which was the first full year in existence for the SEC’s new Cyber Unit.  In particular, the Cyber Unit and the SEC’s Enforcement Division focused on three types of enforcement actions:  (1) stopping unregistered and/or fraudulent trading of digital assets,… 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