Last Friday, Nasdaq filed a proposed rule with the SEC that would establish listing standards related to notification and disclosure of reverse stock splits. According to the filing, Nasdaq has seen a significant increase in reverse splits over the past two years, most of which involve small cap issuers trying to maintain the $1.00 minimum bid price required to keep their stock listed. These issuers typically don’t receive a lot of media or analyst coverage, and that seems to be driving Nasdaq’s push for notification & disclosure requirements. This excerpt from the rule proposal explains the reasons for it & provides a general overview of what would be required:
Nasdaq believes that the increase in companies effecting reverse stock splits warrants amendments to the listing rules to enhance the ability for market participants to accurately process these events, and thereby maintain fair and orderly markets. As such, Nasdaq is proposing amendments to its rules regarding notification and disclosure of reverse stock splits and regulatory halts.
Specifically, Nasdaq is proposing to adopt additional listing rules requiring a company conducting a reverse stock split to notify Nasdaq about certain details of the reverse stock split at least five (5) business days (no later than 12:00 p.m. ET) prior to the anticipated market effective date, and make public disclosure about the reverse stock split at least two (2) business days (no later than 12:00 p.m. ET) prior to the anticipated market effective date.
As part of the rule proposal, references to a reverse stock split currently contained in Listing Rule 5005(a)(44) would be deleted and new provisions added to set forth the timeframe and requirements for the new notification and disclosure requirements. The comment period for the proposal will expire 21 days after publication in the Federal Register, which hasn’t happened yet. Check out Cydney Posner’s blog for more details on the proposal.
– John Jenkins