Tag Archives: go public attorney

How Does a Foreign Private Issuer Go Public in the United States?

Foreign Issuers File F-1 Registration Statements to Go Public in the US

A Foreign Private Issuer (“FPI”) that wants to raise capital in the United States publicly for the first time must register its shares on SEC Form F‐1. An F-1 Registration Statement is similar to a Form S‐1 filed by US domestic Issuers in that it requires detailed disclosures about the FPI’s business operations and financials.

An experienced US securities attorney can help a Foreign Issuer draft an F-1 and respond to all SEC comments efficiently under a flat fee.  Once the F-1 is declared Effective by the SEC, a securities attorney can recommend a Market Maker to sponsor the Foreign Issuer for a FINRA ticker symbol so that its securities can be quoted on the OTCMarkets OTCQB or OTC Bulletin Board (“OTCBB”).

What Types of Securities Can a Foreign Company Register in the United States?

A Foreign Issuer may offer any type of securities that a US domestic Issuer is allowed to offer. In addition, an FPI may choose to offer its securities using American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”). Most Foreign Issuers will choose to register their Common Stock in an F-1 Registration Statement, just like a US domestic Issuer.

Securities Lawyer for Foreign Companies Going Public in the United States

Management of Non US domiciled companies seeking to become publicly traded in the United States can contact OTC securities lawyer Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. to discuss the time frame and costs involved with going public on the OTC Markets or OTC Bulletin Board via F-1 Registration Statement.

Qualified Foreign Issuers can later uplist to the OTCQX, NASDAQ or NYSE MKT when appropriate.  Matt Stout can be reached at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com for a free consultation.

What is SEC Form 20-F?

A Form 20‐F is filed by non-United States domiciled companies known as foreign issuers and serves many purposes, from registration statement to annual report.

Why Do Foreign Companies File SEC Form 20-F?

Form 20-F Subjects a Foreign Issuer to Exchange Act Reporting Requirements

Foreign companies file SEC Form 20-F  in order to become subject to the reporting requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 in the same way that a domestic US issuer could file the Form 10.

Form 20-F is Mandatory When the Threshold Number of Shareholders is Reached

In some instances, the foreign issuer is required to file the 20-F, such as when it reaches the holder of record threshold under Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act, and there is no other exemption available.

Foreign Companies Can File Form 20-F After an F-1 is Declared Effective

In other instances, the foreign issuer will choose to file the Form 20-F in order to become a “fully reporting SEC filer” such as after its F-1 Registration Statement is declared Effective.   An F-1 is similar to the S-1 Registration Statement filed by US domestic companies going public in the United States.   In that respect, when filed after an F-1 becomes Effective, the Form 20-F serves essentially the same purposes as a Form 8A for a domestic US issuer.

Form 20-F is also the Annual Report for Foreign Issuers

A Form 20-F is also the Annual Report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, and thus also serves essentially the same purpose as a 10-K would for a US domestic issuer.

Securities Attorney for Foreign Issuers Going Public in the United States

OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets securities lawyer Matt Stout represents foreign private issuers seeking going public in the United States by filing F-1 Registration Statements.

Likewise, foreign management of US domiciled companies work with Matt Stout to go public via S-1 Registration Statement following private placements under Regulation S.

Foreign companies which are planning to “go public” on the OTC Markets or OTC Bulletin Board in the US by filing an F-1 Registration Statement can also work with an experienced securities attorney such as Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. in order to prepare the SEC Form 20-F for filing once the F-1 is declared Effective.  Matt Stout can be reach at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Resale S-1 Registration Statement?

In a Resale S-1 Registration Statement, securities previously acquired privately are registered for resale to the general public.

Who are the Selling Shareholders in a Resale S-1?

In a typical example, investors in a company’s Private Placement (“PPM”) are told that their shares will be “registered for resale” at a later date.  In a Resale S-1, these investors are referred to as “Selling Shareholders”, and their names are listed in a table, along with the number of shares, and an explanatory note detailing the method and date of purchase.  The PPM Offering Documents, including a Subscription Agreement, are usually included in the Resale S-1 as Exhibits.

In another example, shares previously awarded to consultants, founders or employees for services can also be registered for sale in a Resale S-1.  The supporting documentation showing the origin and history of those shares would likewise be included as Exhibits.

All of this Selling Shareholder documentation is reviewed by the company’s PCAOB auditor so that the cost basis, and value of consideration is included in the audit.

What Makes a Resale S-1 Different?

The main difference in a Resale S-1 is when the Selling Shareholders sell their shares, they keep all of the money from the sale,  and the company does not receive any funds.   Even so, the company typically pays for the cost of the Resale S-1 Registration Statement, including the audit.

How Does a Company Benefit from a Resale S-1?

One way a company benefits from a Resale S-1 is by demonstrating to future PPM investors that the company keeps its promise to later register shares.   It also benefits the company by creating a “Float.”  The Float is the block of non-affiliate, free trading shares available to trade “on the market.”

In order to justify the expense of preparing a Resale S-1, a company will typically also register a certain number of new S-1 shares itself.  When the company sells these newly registered S-1 shares to the public, the company keeps those funds.

Private Placement followed by IPO and Resale S-1 Combination

One of the most common strategies for going public on the OTC Bulletin Board or OTC Markets via S-1 Initial Public Offering (“IPO”) is to file a new S-1 Registration Statement following a Private Placement Offering.  This S-1 registers both new shares for the company to sell, and also includes Selling Shareholders who bought stock in the Private Placement (“PPM”).

Many companies use the strategy of filing a quick PPM for friends and family before filing an S-1 Registration Statement as way of obtaining some of the 35 non-affiliate shareholders Market Makers are looking for prior to sponsoring the company for a ticker symbol under 15c211.  This also helps to defray some of the administrative costs associated with going public.

In order for this strategy to be effective, the PPM documents and consideration needs to be in order so that the company’s PCAOB auditor can efficiently include the Selling Shareholders into the S-1 audit.  An experienced OTC securities attorney can help companies do both a PPM and a Resale S-1 from start to finish.

Securities Attorney for Private Placements and S-1 Resale Registrations

Matt Stout is a securities attorney focused on taking companies public on the OTC Bulletin Board and OTC Markets.   When companies engage Matt Stout as securities counsel, the PPM to S-1 process is handled efficiently and all representation is under an agreed-upon flat fee, which includes responding to all SEC Comment Letters.

Companies interested in learning more about Private Placement Offerings and S-1 Registration Statements can contact Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. for a no cost consultation at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com.

Do I Need 35 Shareholders Before Filing an S-1 Registration Statement?

No.  There is no minimum shareholder requirement to file an S-1.  Many startup companies with just one founding shareholder file S-1 Registration Statements as the first step to go public. So only one shareholder is required, along with audited financial statements, in order to file the S-1.

When are the 35 Shareholders Needed to Go Public?

The 35 shareholder requirement only applies at the time of the Company’s 15(c)211 application for a FINRA trading symbol, which a Market Maker does not sponsor until all SEC comments are cleared, and after the S-1 is declared Effective by the SEC.

Should a Company Acquire 35 Shareholders via Private Placement or After the S-1 is Effective?

While it is true that many companies acquire these 35 shareholders via Private Placement Memorandum (“PPM”) before the S-1 is filed, it is just as common for companies to sell free trading S-1 shares to friends, family and to the public as soon as the S-1 is declared Effective, in order to meet FINRA’s 35 shareholder threshold.

In many cases, it might be easier for the company to sell the S-1 shares after the Effective Date, since they are free trading and the investors may perceive less of a risk than buying restricted shares in the same company through a Pre-S-1 PPM.

The key is that those 35 shareholders are not required until sometimes months after the S-1 process is started, since the Market Maker cannot even sponsor the Form 15(c)211 application for the FINRA trading symbol until the S-1 is declared Effective.

Should We Delay our S-1 to Do a Larger Private Placement?

With that timing in mind, it makes little sense for private companies to wait forever to file their S-1 under the guise of attempting to sell more shares in a PPM.  Instead, some savvy companies considering an IPO via S-1 Registration Statement will use a Private Placement only to attract some already interested friends and family investors as shareholders so that they do not delay their S-1 audit.

Doing so allows those PPM friends and family shareholders to be listed in the S-1 as “Selling Shareholders” but also allows the S-1 audit to be completed without wasting a lot of time.   Since the audit is typically the most time-consuming part of the S-1, the sooner the PCAOB audited financials are ready, the sooner the company can go public.

OTC Markets Securities Lawyer for Companies Going Public

Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. is securities lawyer with a practice focused on taking microcap companies public on the OTB Bulletin Board and OTC Markets OTCQB.  Entrepreneurs with questions about taking a company public via S-1 can contact Matt Stout at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com for a no-cost consultation.

 

 

 

Can a Start Up Go Public via S-1 as a Shell Company?

Filing an IPO via S-1 Registration Statement gives any private US corporation the opportunity to go public on the OTC Bulletin Board or OTC Markets.   Contrary to popular belief, the SEC does not require companies going public to exceed any minimum asset or revenue criteria.  Any US domiciled corporation can go public using Form S-1 even if it is a brand-new start up with very few assets and zero revenue.

The Decision to Declare Shell Company Status in an S-1

If a start up company’s S-1 Registration Statement shows few assets and operations, the SEC staff member reviewing the S-1 may request that the start up either declare itself to be a shell company as defined in Securities Act Rule 405, or provide a legal analysis in support of its belief that it should not be considered a shell.

Under Rule 405, in order to meet the definition of a “shell company” the Issuer must have

  1. No or nominal assets; or
  2. Assets consisting solely of cash or cash equivalents; and
  3. No or nominal operations.

What Happens if an Issuer Declares Shell Status in an S-1?

For those Issuers which truly are “shells” (such as those with no business model other than to find an operating company to merge into or acquire), declaring shell company status will require the Issuer to revise its prospectus, including the cover page and prospectus summary, to disclose that the Issuer is a shell company.

A shell company Issuer will also need to disclose in the Risk Factors section, the consequences of “shell status” including restrictions on the Issuer’s ability to use registration statements on Form S-8, the limitations on the ability of its shareholders to use Rule 144 and potential illiquidity of its securities.

Declaring shell status in an S-1 when the company is actually a shell does not prevent the S-1 from being declared Effective.  However, according to the “Evergreen Rule” it does have lasting implications (forever) for shareholders looking to deposit and clear restricted stock in the future under Rule 144.

Is a Startup Company Considered a Shell Company Under Rule 144?

No, a start-up company was specifically not intended to be classified as a shell company under Rule 144, and if the S-1 is documented properly, a startup will not need to declare itself a “shell company.”

According to Footnote 172 to SEC Release No. 33-8869 (which was the release that accompanied the final amendments to Rule 144), the amendments to Rule 144 were not intended to capture a “start-up” company or a company with limited operating history that was in the early stages of development.

This footnote was intended to address the concerns of several comments to Release No. 3-8869 that defined a shell company, and the primary concern was that the definition of a shell company was too broad as it would capture and include almost every business in its early stages of development, and specifically those in the start-up phase of operations.

Footnote 172 addressed these concerns in providing that a “start-up company” is excluded from the definition of a shell company since “such a company doesn’t not meet the condition of having no or nominal operations”.

Securities Lawyer for Start Up Companies Going Public via S-1 Registration Statement

Startup entrepreneurs seeking an IPO on the OTC Bulletin Board (“OTCBB”) or the OTC Markets OTCQB can contact securities attorney Matt Stout for a free consultation at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com.

 

S-1 Registration under the Securities Act of 1933

An S-1 Registration Statement is the most common way for a microcap company to “go public.” The S-1 is filed under the Securities Act of 1933, which has two primary goals:

  1. To require that companies provide the public with financial and other significant information concerning securities offered for sale; and
  2. To prohibit “deceit, misrepresentations, and other fraud” in the sale of securities to the public.

The SEC accomplishes these goals by requiring companies to disclose important financial information through the registration of securities following a specific format, such as the S-1.

S-1 Registration Statements for Companies Going Public

More microcap companies have success “going public” on the OTC Bulletin Board and OTC Markets by filing an S-1 Registration Statement than by any other method.

The SEC reviews S-1 Registration Statements to make sure they provide transparent disclosure of important facts and audited financials so that the public is informed of all risks involved in investing in an S-1.

The process of preparing, filing and amending an S-1 based on SEC comments is well known by experienced microcap securities lawyers, like Matt Stout.

What Information Does an S-1 Registration Statement Include?

A properly documented S-1 Registration Statement will provide the SEC with all of the necessary facts, including:

  1. A description of the company’s assets, operations and business model;
  2. A description of the security, such as common stock, to be offered for sale;
  3. Information about management, including the officers and directors of the company; and
  4. Financial statements certified by a PCAOB auditor.

It is important to note that the SEC does not have minimum asset or operations requirements for a company to go public via S-1.   Even start up companies with no revenue and few assets are eligible to file an S-1 Registration Statement.  The only requirement is that the company’s audited financials and disclosures accurately reflect the truth.

SEC Comments and Amendments to an S-1 Registration Statement

An S-1 Registration Statement, including its disclosures, audited financials, and prospectus, becomes visible to the public on SEC.gov as soon as it is posted via the SEC’s EDGAR filing system.

The SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance reviews the S-1 within 30 days of filing and provides SEC Comments, which are requests for clarification and further information.   The company then revises its S-1 Registration Statement to answer the SEC’s questions by filing an S-1/A amendment on SEC.gov.   The SEC Comments, along with a company’s responses, are also made available to the public on SEC.gov after an S-1 is declared Effective.

The SEC Comment and S-1 Amendment process continues for as many rounds as necessary until the SEC is satisfied that the company’s disclosures and financials are clear and understandable to the public.  Once the SEC has approved the last S-1/A, the company files a Request for Acceleration and their S-1 is made Effective.

After the S-1 is Effective, the company’s securities lawyer works with a Market Maker who sponsors the company under 15c211 to obtain its FINRA trading symbol or “ticker.”

S-1 Lawyer Helps Microcap Companies Go Public on the OTC Markets

S1 attorney Matt Stout drafts and amends S-1 Registration Statements for microcap companies and start up entrepreneurs seeking to go public on the OTC Bulletin Board (OTCBB) or OTC Markets (OTCQB).  The S-1 process is handled under an agreed upon flat legal fee, that includes responding to all SEC comments and as many S-1/A amendments as are necessary for the S-1 to be declared Effective.

As part of the S-1 process, companies are introduced to all other service providers needed, including a PCAOB auditor, Transfer Agent, EDGAR filer, and Market Maker who sponsors the company for its FINRA trading symbol after the S-1 is declared Effective.

Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about going public via S-1 Registration Statement can contact OTC securities attorney Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com for a free consultation.

 

 

 

Initial Public Offerings on the OTC Markets

What is an IPO on the OTC Markets?

The term “initial public offering” or IPO, refers to the first time a company sells stock to the general public.  To register an IPO, a microcap company seeking to become quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board or OTC Markets files an S-1 Registration Statement.

SEC Comments and Amendments to an S-1

S-1 Registration Statements for IPOs are reviewed by the SEC to monitor compliance. When reviewing an S-1, the SEC staff concentrates on disclosures that may conflict with SEC rules or need further explanation to make them clear. The SEC then issues comments, which the company uses to revise and amend its S-1 Registration Statement.  The amendments are marked S-1/A.

When an S-1 Registration Statement is Declared Effective

After all SEC staff comments have been addressed by the Issuer, the SEC will issue an order declaring the S-1 Registration Statement Effective.  This is shown as EFFECT on SEC.gov, and means the Issuer may sell stock under the S-1 to any investor.

After an S-1 is declared Effective, all of the SEC’s comments and the Issuer’s replies are also made visible on SEC.gov under CORRESP, which is short for “correspondence.”

How do I invest in an OTC Markets IPO?

Microcap companies filing an S-1 Registration Statement to go public usually do not have underwriters.  Instead, the Issuer’s Officers and Directors communicate directly with investors and the stock is sold via Subscription Agreement after the S-1 is declared Effective. S-1 stock purchased soon after the Effective date is free trading, and can be deposited by the Investor into a brokerage account and sold “on the market.”

In order to invest in a microcap OTC Markets IPO, a prospective Investor will need to contact the Issuer or its securities attorney, using the information on the first page of an S-1 to indicate their interest in purchasing stock once the S-1 is declared Effective.

OTC Securities Lawyer Files S-1 Registration Statements for Microcap Companies

Private companies seeking to go public on the OTC Markets can contact securities lawyer Matt Stout for a free consultation at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com.  All S-1 Registration Statements are prepared under an agreed-upon flat fee.   Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. can provide introductions to an entire team of S-1 professionals including PCAOB auditors, Transfer Agents, EDGAR filers, Market Makers and DTC Eligibility specialists.

 

Anatomy of an S-1 Registration Statement

All US companies seeking to go public on the OTC Markets may use SEC Form S-1 to conduct an initial public offering (“IPO”).  S-1 Registration Statements can be filed efficiently by an experienced OTC securities attorney and if the S-1 follows a standard procedure using best practices, this helps the SEC review and approve an S-1 in a timely fashion.

S-1 Registration Statements have Two Main Parts

  1. Part I is the Prospectus.  The Prospectus is the legal “selling” document. In the Prospectus, the Issuer of the securities must describe, in easy to understand plain English, important facts about its business operations , financial condition, results of operations, risk factors, and management. It must also include audited financials. The Prospectus must be delivered to everyone who buys securities, and everyone who is offered the securities.
  2. Part II contains additional information that the Issuer is not obligated to deliver to Investors but must still file with the SEC, such as copies of material contracts and agreements.

Specific Disclosures About the Company Required in an S-1 Prospectus

All successful S-1 Registration Statements must include specified disclosures about the Issuer in the Prospectus, including:

  1. A description of the Issuer’s business, properties, and competition;
  2. A description of the risks of investing in the Company;
  3. A discussion and analysis of the Issuer’s financial results and financial condition as seen through the eyes of management (Management Discussion & Analysis or “MD&A”);
  4. The identity of the Issuer’s Officers and Directors, including their compensation;
  5. A description of material transactions between the Issuer and its Officers, Directors, and Affiliates;
  6. A description of material legal proceedings (litigation) involving the Issuer and/or its Officers and Directors; and
  7. A description of the Issuer’s material contracts and agreements, if any.

Other Disclosure Requirements in an S-1 Registration Statement

The S-1 must also disclose certain information about the offering, including:

  1. A description of the securities being offered;
  2. The plan for distributing the securities, including whether or non an underwriter is involved or commissions will be paid; and
  3. The planned use of the proceeds of the securities offering.

Regulation S-K Provides Guidelines for Non-Financial S-1 Disclosure

Regulation S-K provides guidance to Issuer’s on both the form and content rules for non-financial portions of S-1 Registration Statements.

Regulation S-X Provides Guidelines for Financial S-1 Disclosure

S-1 Registration Statements also must include financial statements that comply with the form and content requirements of Regulation S-X. For US domiciled companies seeking to go public on the OTC Bulletin Board or OTCMarkets OTCQB, these financial statements must be prepared according to GAAP.

S-1 Audited Financials Must Be Signed Off by a PCAOB Auditor

All S-1 Registration Statements also must include financial statements audited by a PCAOB Auditor, which an independent certified public accountant registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Securities Attorney for Going Public via S-1

Matheau J. W. Stout helps microcap companies go public on the OTC Bulletin Board and OTC Markets OTCQB via S-1 Registration Statement.  All legal work necessary is covered by an agreed upon flat fee.  We can introduce you to PCAOB auditors, Transfer Agents, EDGAR filers, and Market Makers as part of the S-1 process.  Contact securities lawyer Matt Stout for a free consultation at (410) 429-7076 or mstout@otclawyers.com.

How to Update the Prospectus for a Continuous Offering on Form S-1

If a microcap company files an S-1 Registration Statement for a continuous securities offering, how should its prospectus be updated to reflect new information in subsequent 10-Q and 10-K reports?

When SEC Form S-1 is used for a continuous offering, the prospectus may should be revised periodically to reflect new information because unlike Form S-3, the S-1 does not provide for incorporation by reference of subsequently filed periodic reports.

Post Effective Amendments to Form S-1

For example, in a continuous offering on a Form S-1 pursuant to Rule 415(a)(1)(ix), an OTCQB company wants to update the prospectus to include Exchange Act reports filed after the effective date of the Form S-1.

In that case, if the company files a post-effective amendment, it could incorporate by reference previously filed Exchange Act reports like the 10-K and 10-Q if it satisfied the conditions in Form S-1 allowing incorporation by reference.

Item 512(a)(1) of Regulation S-K also requires some changes, including a Section 10(a)(3) update, to be reflected in a post-effective amendment.

Rule 424(b) Prospectus Supplement

Other changes can be made in a prospectus supplement filed pursuant to the various categories under Rule 424(b) of the Securities Act of 1933.

S-1 Registration Statement Attorney Free Consultation

Matheau J. W. Stout, Esq. answers questions regarding S-1 Registration Statements and going public via S-1 at mstout@otclawyers.com or (410) 429-7076.  There is no cost for an initial consultation to explain the mechanics of filing an IPO via S-1 in order to become a publicly traded company on the OTC Bulletin Board or OTC Markets.

 

When Does the 90-Day Reporting Period Required by Rule 144(c)(1) Begin?

Companies that go public via S-1 Registration Statement can later file an 8-A12(g) or an 8-A12(b) in order to become “subject to” the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”).

Filing the SEC Form 8-A makes the company a “mandatory SEC filer” rather than a “voluntary filer” and allows shareholders to clear restricted stock under a Rule 144 holding period of six months rather than one year.

In order to qualify for the six month holding period under Rule 144, the public company must have been subject to the SEC reporting requirements for 90 days.  The question arises as to when the 90 Day Reporting Period begins.

The Effective Date of the S-1 Starts the 90 Day Reporting Period

When a company goes public via S-1 Registration Statement, and then files a registration statement pursuant to Exchange Act Section 12(g), the 90-day reporting period required by Rule 144(c)(1) begins on the Effective date of the S-1.

Contact Securities Attorney Matt Stout to Discuss Going Public via S-1

Microcap companies seeking to go public on the OTC Bulletin Board and OTC Markets OTCQB via S-1 Registration Statement or to become subject to the Exchange Act can contact S-1 Lawyer Matt Stout at no cost to discuss the process at mstout@otclawyers.com or (410) 429-7076.