Tagged: SEC

Ninth Circuit Rejects Decisions of Five Other Circuits: Exchange Act Section 14(e) Does Not Require Scienter

Thomas O. Gorman

Scienter has been a critical element of a claim based on Exchange Act Section 10(b) in an SEC enforcement action since the Supreme Court’s decision in Aaron v. SEC, 446 U.S. 680 (1980). It has also been a key element in private damage actions based on the cause of action implied under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 since Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder, 425 U.S....

Recent Developments in Auditor Tenure and Independence

Nicole H. Strydom

Last month, over 35% of General Electric Co.’s shareholders voted against ratification of KPMG LLC as GE’s auditor. This high level of opposition (for some context, last year’s votes against KPMG were at a mere 5.7%) comes in the wake of GE’s recent accounting issues and criticism from proxy-advisory firms. More specifically, the SEC is currently investigating some of GE’s accounting practices, including its need...

Failure to Disclose Leads to $35 Million Penalty in the Yahoo! Cybersecurity Breach

Cam C. Hoang

The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) announced Tuesday that Altaba, the entity formerly known as Yahoo! Inc., has agreed to pay a $35 million penalty to settle charges that it misled investors by failing to disclose one of the world’s largest data breaches in which hackers stole personal data relating to hundreds of millions of user accounts. According to the SEC’s order, within days...

NYSE Rule Change Requires Ten Minutes Advance Notice of Public Announcement of Dividends or Stock Distributions

Jason Brenkert

On August 14, 2017, the SEC approved an NYSE rule change that requires listed companies to give notice to the NYSE at least 10 minutes before any public announcement of dividends or stock distributions, even if such announcements occur outside the hours of the Exchange’s current immediate release policy. The rule change was effective immediately. The Exchange’s immediate release policy (Sections 202.05 and 202.06 of...

SEC Warns That ICOs and Other Internet Token Sales May Be Securities Offerings Subject to Federal Securities Laws

Whitney Holmes

On Tuesday, July 25, as many practitioners probably expected, the SEC issued a warning that offers and sales of digital assets (virtual coins or tokens) by organizations using blockchain or distributed ledger technology (often referred to, among other things, as Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) or Token Sales) are subject to the requirements of the federal securities laws. Depending on the offering, investors may use an...

All Issuers Eligible to Confidentially Submit Draft IPO Registration Statements

Steven Khadavi

One of the more utilized provisions of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) has been the confidential submission of IPO registration statements by Emerging Growth Companies (EGCs) to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The nonpublic nature of the SEC review process has allowed EGCs to submit IPO registration statements and respond to SEC comments outside the public eye and without having to alert...

SEC Charges CEO with Failing to Disclose Perks to Shareholders

Cam C. Hoang

Companies frequently wrestle with perks in their proxy executive compensation disclosure. Whether an item constitutes a perk often requires judgment based on the facts and circumstances,¹ and disclosure may elicit intense, public scrutiny over what amounts to a relatively small percentage of an executive’s total compensation package.² From time to time, the SEC issues a cautionary tale that perks need to be accounted for and reported...

The House Financial Services Committee to Hold a Hearing on Financial CHOICE Act 2.0 this Wednesday – Here’s a Summary of Governance and Executive Compensation Provisions

Cam C. Hoang

While passage in the House seems likely, the Financial Choice Act may undergo significant changes before it may pass in the Senate. Here is a summary of certain governance and executive compensation provisions that are included in the discussion draft: Prohibit Universal Proxy Ballots. Currently, companies are not required to use a universal proxy ballot in the event of a proxy contest, so shareholders receive...

Compensation to Newsletter Writers Must Be Disclosed

Kenneth G. Sam

On April 10, 2017, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement brought enforcement actions against 27 individuals and entities behind various alleged stock promotion schemes. These actions arose when public companies, through promoters or communications firms, hired newsletter writers to generate publicity for their securities without publicly disclosing that the writers were being paid. While it is not illegal to hire newsletter writers, Section 17(b) of the...

SEC Issues Final Rules to Make JOBS Act Inflation Adjustments and Amendments to Forms and Rules to Accommodate Emerging Growth Companies

Jason Brenkert

On March 31, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued final rules regarding inflation adjustments and other technical amendments under Title I and III of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Under the inflation adjustments, the SEC adjusted the gross revenue threshold for an issuer to lose its status as an Emerging Growth Company (EGC) from $1.0 billion to $1.07 billion, a $70...