Securities & Going Public Blog
A Private Placement Memorandum (“PPM”) is also referred to as a confidential offering circular or memorandum. PPM’s are used by private companies in going public transactions and by existing public companies to raise capital by selling either debt or equity in an exempt offering. Most exempt offerings are private placements.
Q. What Disclosures Are Required in Private Placement Memorandums?
A. PPM disclosures vary depending on a couple of factors, including whether the investor is accredited or non-accredited and whether the Company is subject to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) reporting requirements, and a few other factors. Read More
On March 25, 2015, the SEC adopted Regulation A+ which amends former Regulation A. Regulation A+ adopts new ongoing reporting requirements that are based upon two Regulation A+ offering tiers. Tier 1 provides an exemption from SEC registration for offerings of up to $20 million. Tier 2 exempts offerings up to $50 million. One of the most notable differences between the two Regulation A+ tiers is that issuers that conduct a Tier 2 offering will become subject to ongoing SEC reporting obligations, though such obligations are significantly less burdensome than those to that apply to SEC reporting issuers.
Presently, issuers that conduct a Regulation A offering must file a Form 2-A with the SEC every six months to report sales in the offering, and submit a final filing to the SEC within 30 days after the offering is complete. Regulation A+ eliminates Form 2-A and creates Form 1-Z. Read More
The Massachusetts Division of Securities has adopted an emergency intrastate crowdfunding exemption. The new exemption was developed to stimulate job growth for small Massachusetts companies by removing restrictions and allowing greater access to capital with fewer restrictions.
The Massachusetts Emergency Crowdfunding Exemption
The new exemption is available to entities formed and operating in Massachusetts, and allows the issuers to: Read More
FINRA is proposing new rules that will impact algorithic trading strategies. If an individual performs a trade on another person’s behalf, that associated person is required to register with FINRA as an equity trader. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) believes that certain associated persons who are involved in creating automated systems should also be registered. FINRA recently issued Regulatory Notice 15-06 requesting comments on a new proposal that would require associated persons involved in the design, development or modification of algorithmic trading strategies to register with FINRA. This, says FINRA, will help ensure that trading programs comply with applicable securities laws.
The proposals are designed to increase the scope of trading information FINRA receives, provide market participants and investors with more transparency into trading activities, and require employees at firms engaged in electronic trading to be trained, educated, and accountable for their role in algorithmic trading strategies. Read More
On March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted amendments to Regulation A pursuant to the mandate of Section 401(a) of the JOBS Act. These amendments included revamping Form 1-A for Regulation A offerings.
The amended rules known as Amended A+ were adopted to facilitate capital-raising by smaller companies. Regulation A+ expands existing Regulation A. Regulation A+ offerings can be used in combination with direct public offerings and initial public offerings as part of a going public transaction. The exemption simplifies the process of obtaining the seed stockholders required by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) while allowing the issuer to raise initial capital. Read More
On March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted amendments to Regulation A known as Regulation A+. Regulation A+ was adopted to facilitate capital-raising by smaller companies. Regulation A+ offerings cannot be undertaken by all companies or used to offer and sell all types of securities. This blog post addresses eligibility requirements of Regulation A+ offerings.
Securities Eligible For Regulation A+ Offerings
Only equity securities, including warrants, options, debt securities and debt securities convertible into or exchangeable for equity interests, can be offered and sold in Regulation A+ offerings. Read More
On April 14, 2015, the operator of a website at Cashflowbot.com was charged in a ponzi scheme. According to the SEC charges, the perpetrator of the ponzi scheme raised money from more than 3,000 investors between January 2012 and April 2014. According to the SEC’s complaint, James A. Evans, Jr.,operated a website at “Cashflowbot.com,” and operated under the business name “DollarMonster”. According to the SEC action, Evans falsely promoted DollarMonster as a “private fund” with an “opaque investment strategy” where investors could make “big profits.” Read More
In May of 2014, the OTC Markets Group approved new listing requirements for companies seeking quotation of their securities on the OTCQB® Venture Stage Marketplace. To be quoted on the OTCQB® issuers must have an initial and ongoing $0.01 per share minimum bid price, submit an initial OTCQB application, pay annual fees, and submit annual certifications to the OTC Markets. Companies that do not meet all of these requirements are demoted to the OTC Markets Pink® Marketplace. While the number of issuers listing on the OTCQB will decrease, there will be an increase in the number of issuers quoted with the OTC Pink listing tier. Read More
On March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted amendments to Regulation A pursuant to the mandate of Section 401(a) of the JOBS Act. Amended Regulation A known as “Regulation A+”, expands and modernizes former Regulation A, creating a manageable capital raising solution for small businesses. Prior to the amendments, Regulation A, offerings by an issuer could not exceed $5 million in any 12-month period. Unlike shares offered and/or sold in offerings exempt under Rule 506 of Regulation D, securities issued in Regulation A offerings were not “covered securities” under the National Securities Markets Improvement Act (“NSMIA”). Read More
On April 9, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a lower court’s ruling in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Big Apple Consulting USA Inc., MJMM Investments, LLC, Marc Jablon and Mark Kaley, case number 13-11976.
The appellate panel affirmed the district court’s ruling in its entirety.
In 2009, the SEC filed suit against Big Apple, MJMM, a Big Apple subsidiary, Marc Jablon, Mark Kaley, Keith Jablon, and Matthew Maguire, alleging fraud, registration violations, and, with respect to Big Apple and MJMM, acting as unregistered broker-dealers. The agency further charged Marc Jablon, Maguire, and Kaley, an attorney, with aiding and abetting the two entities’ violations. Read More
The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced that on April 7, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered a final judgment against Jonathan E. Bryant which ordered him to pay $3,168,184.70 in connection with his role as the Chief Executive Officer of 8000, Inc., a defunct former penny stock issuer. The SEC Action alleges that, in 2009 and 2010, Bryant directed a scheme to inflate 8000, Inc.’s stock price while secretly controlling a majority of the company’s shares and directing its operations.
In addition to Bryant, the SEC action also charged 8000, Inc’s former Chief Executive Officer, Thomas Kelly, and its securities attorney, Carl N. Duncan. The SEC action alleged that Jonathan Bryant, Carl Duncan and Thomas Kelly took part in a scheme to manipulate the trading volume and price of 8000 Inc.’s common stock by disseminating false information about the company and simultaneously selling or facilitating the sale of its securities which were not supposed to be for sale to the general public. Read More
On March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted amendments to Regulation A pursuant to the mandate of Section 401(a) of the JOBS Act. The amended rules known as Amended A+ were adopted to facilitate capital-raising by smaller companies. Regulation A+ expands existing Regulation A. Regulation A+ offerings can be used in combination with direct public offerings and initial public offerings as part of a going public transaction. The exemption simplifies the process of obtaining the seed stockholders required by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) while allowing the issuer to raise initial capital.
Both public and private companies can use Regulation A+ but the exemption cannot be used by companies that are subject to the SEC’s reporting requirements. Regulation A+ may prove to be a popular exemption for private companies in going public transactions where the issuer seeks to ease into the public company reporting process. Issuers should also remember that Regulation A+ imposes a ban against certain “bad actors” and expanded Regulation D’s disqualification criteria. Read More
On April 10, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Mieka Energy Corporation, and its founder and president Daro Ray Blankenship, with fraudulently offering oil and gas investments. Two of Mieka’s salesmen, Robert William Myers, Jr. and Stephen Romo, were charged with acting as unregistered brokers.
The SEC action also charged Mieka’s publicly traded parent company, Vadda Energy Corporation, with fraud and reporting violations for deceptively touting the success of Mieka’s investments. The SEC action alleges that, between September 2010 and October 2011, Blankenship and Mieka raised $4.4 million from approximately 60 investors by selling interests in joint ventures that were to drill and complete two gas wells. Read More
On March 6, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced that the United States District Court of New Jersey entered a judgment against Michael M. Cohen. Cohen received a lifetime officer-director bar, lifetime penny stock bar and an injunction prohibiting him from violating certain provisions of the federal securities laws.
The District Court’s judgment, which was entered by consent, permanently enjoined Cohen from violating Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933; Sections 10(b) and 13(b)(5) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”); Rules 10b-5, 13a-14, and 13b2-1 thereunder; and from aiding and abetting violations of Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Exchange Act, and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, and 13a-13 thereunder. Read More
On April 10, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced the trading suspension, pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”), of trading in the securities of Triumph Ventures Corp. (“Triumph Ventures”) of Jerusalem, Israel, at 9:30 a.m. EDT on April 10, 2015 and terminating at 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 23, 2015.
Triumph Ventures’ securities are quoted under the trading symbol “TRVX” quoted on OTC Link operated by OTC Markets Group, Inc. The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities of Triumph Ventures due to a lack of current and accurate information concerning, the company’s control persons, officers, directors, and the ownership of its stock. Read More
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently approved Rule 2040 proposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) which applies to the payment of transaction based compensation to unregistered persons by member firms. Rule 2040 will allow member firms to pay fees, concessions, discounts, commissions or other allowances to unregistered persons if the member firm determines the unregistered person’s activities do not require registration as a broker-dealer.
Support for the determination of whether registration is required can be derived by reasonably relying on previously published releases, no-action letters or SEC staff interpretations, seeking a no-action letter from the SEC, or obtaining a legal opinion from an independent securities attorney. Read More
On April 8, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced the temporary trading suspension of eCareer Holdings, Inc. of Boca Raton Florida. The trading suspension was issued pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). The trading suspension will terminate at 11:59 p.m. EDT on April 21, 2015.
The trading suspension in the securities of eCareer was issued because of concerns about the accuracy and adequacy of publicly disseminated information concerning its SEC filings, among other things. This order was entered pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act). Read More
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Division of Enforcement filed suit against GC Resources, LLC and Brian J. Polito for oil and gas fraud. According to the allegations, Polito defrauded investors through the sale of interests in oil and gas wells in a company he did not own. Through GC Resources, Polito solicited investors using cold calls and sent potential investors a package that included an accredited investor survey, joint venture agreement, operating agreement, and limited power of attorney. Despite using accredited investor questionnaires borrowed from another entity, GC Resources still sold investments to approximately thirty-five non-accredited investors. According to the allegations, Brian J. Polito had a falling out with his former colleagues, and then bought out their interests in GC Resources. GC Resources continued to conduct legitimate business until December 2011, selling interests in approximately twenty-five wells, some of which are still producing.