September 22, 2020
SPACs: New CDI Clarifies Form S-3 Eligibility
As John blogged last week on DealLawyers, SPACs have been having a “moment” due to this year’s market volatility. Yesterday afternoon, Corp Fin issued a new “Securities Act Forms” CDI #115.18 to address the Form S-3 eligibility of companies that go public via merger into a SPAC.
Question: Following the merger of a private operating company or companies with or into a reporting shell company (for example, a special purpose acquisition company), may the resulting combined entity rely on the reporting shell company’s pre-combination reporting history to satisfy the eligibility requirements of Form S-3 during the 12 calendar months following the business combination?
Answer: If the registrant is a new entity following the business combination transaction with a shell company, the registrant would need 12 calendar months of Exchange Act reporting history following the business combination transaction in order to satisfy General Instruction I.A.3 before Form S-3 would become available. If the registrant is a “successor registrant,” General Instruction I.A.6(a) would not be available because the succession was not primarily for the purpose of changing the state of incorporation of the predecessor or forming a holding company. General Instruction I.A.6(b) also would not be available because the private operating company or companies would not have met the registrant requirements to use Form S-3 prior to the succession.
Where the registrant is not a new entity or a “successor registrant,” the combined entity would have less than 12 calendar months of post-combination Exchange Act reporting history. Form S-3 is premised on the widespread dissemination to the marketplace of an issuer’s Exchange Act reports over at least a 12-month period. Accordingly, in situations where the combined entity lacks a 12-month history of Exchange Act reporting, the staff is unlikely to be able to accelerate effectiveness under Section 8(a) of the Securities Act, which requires the staff, among other things, to give “due regard to the adequacy of the information respecting the issuer theretofore available to the public,…and to the public interest and the protection of investors.” [September 21, 2020]
Perks: New CDI Addresses COVID-19 “Benefits”
Yesterday, mere hours after Alan Dye & Mark Borges covered the complexities of evaluating “perks” in a COVID-19 environment at the first day of our “Proxy Disclosure Conference,” Corp Fin issued new “Regulation S-K” CDI #219.05:
219.05 In reporting compensation for periods affected by COVID-19, questions may arise whether benefits provided to executive officers because of the COVID-19 pandemic constitute perquisites or personal benefits for purposes of the disclosure required by Item 402(c)(2)(ix)(A) and determining which executive officers are “named executive officers” under Item 402(a)(3)(iii) and (iv). The two-step analysis articulated by the Commission in Release 33-8732A continues to apply when determining whether an item provided because of the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a perquisite or personal benefit.
– An item is not a perquisite or personal benefit if it is integrally and directly related to the performance of the executive’s duties.
– Otherwise, an item that confers a direct or indirect benefit and that has a personal aspect, without regard to whether it may be provided for some business reason or for the convenience of the company, is a perquisite or personal benefit unless it is generally available on a non-discriminatory basis to all employees.
Whether an item is “integrally and directly related to the performance of the executive’s duties” depends on the particular facts. In some cases, an item considered a perquisite or personal benefit when provided in the past may not be considered as such when provided as a result of COVID-19. For example, enhanced technology needed to make the NEO’s home his or her primary workplace upon imposition of local stay-at-home orders would generally not be a perquisite or personal benefit because of the integral and direct relationship to the performance of the executive’s duties. On the other hand, items such as new health-related or personal transportation benefits provided to address new risks arising because of COVID-19, if they are not integrally and directly related to the performance of the executive’s duties, may be perquisites or personal benefits even if the company would not have provided the benefit but for the COVID-19 pandemic, unless they are generally available to all employees.
Today: “Proxy Disclosure Conference – Part 2”
Today is the second day of our “Proxy Disclosure Conference” – tomorrow is our “17th Annual Executive Compensation Conference.” You can still register online to get immediate access to these virtual events! Both conferences are paired together and they’ll also be archived for attendees until next August. That’s a huge value.
– How to Attend: Once you register, you’ll receive a Registration Confirmation email from email@example.com. Use that email to complete your signup for the conference platform, then follow the agenda tab to enter sessions. All sessions are shown in Eastern Time – so you will need to adjust accordingly if you’re in a different time zone. Here’s today’s agenda. If you have any questions about accessing the conference, please contact Victoria Newton at VNewton@CCRcorp.com.
– How to Watch Archives: Members of TheCorporateCounsel.net or CompensationStandards.com who register for the Conferences will be able to access the conference archives until July 31, 2021 by using their existing login credentials. Or if you’ve registered for the Conferences but aren’t a member, we will send login information to access the conference footage on TheCorporateCounsel.net or CompensationStandards.com.
– How to Earn CLE Online: Please read these “CLE FAQs” carefully to confirm that your jurisdiction allows CLE credit for online programs. You will need to respond to periodic prompts every 15-20 minutes during the conference to attest that you are present. After the conference, you will receive an email with a link. Please complete the link with your state license information. Our CLE provider will process CLE credits to your state bar and also send a CLE certificate to your attention within 30 days of the conference.
– Liz Dunshee