It’s not too often we see Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest mentioned in SEC comments, so this recent SEC comment letter issued to Planet Fitness caught our attention.  The Staff’s letter to Planet Fitness indicates that it performed a full review on the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, which included its definitive proxy statement incorporated by reference.

(You can tell it was a full review (legal and accounting) because the first sentence of the letter says, “We have reviewed your filing and have the following comments.”  In contrast, a limited review (or monitor) would have said something like “We have limited our review of your filing to the financial statements and related disclosures and have the following comments.”)

Continue Reading “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” Gets a Billion TV Viewers? SEC Staff Says Prove It

Yesterday, the SEC charged TherapeuticsMD Inc., a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, with violations of Regulation FD based on its sharing of material, nonpublic information with sell-side research analysts without also disclosing the same information to the public.  The SEC’s order finds that on two separate occasions in 2017, TherapeuticsMD selectively shared material information with analysts about the company’s interactions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As detailed in the SEC’s order, on June 15, 2017, one day after a publicly-announced meeting with the FDA about a new drug approval, TherapeuticsMD sent private messages to sell-side analysts describing the meeting as “very positive and productive.”  TherapeuticsMD’s stock price closed up 19.4% on heavy trading volume the next day.  At that time, the company had not issued a press release or made any other market-wide disclosure about the meeting.

Continue Reading Recent SEC Enforcement Action Drives Home the Importance of Regulation FD Policies and Training

On August 20, 2019, the SEC staff published new interpretations in the form of Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations regarding Inline XBRL, which affirmed the guidance we previously posted about the new exhibit 104 cover page tagging requirements.

The new interpretations are numbered as Questions 101.01 through 101.09 at this link.

Continue Reading SEC Publishes Interpretations about Inline XBRL and Exhibit 104 (Cover Page Interactive Data File)

Don't miss Jay Knight discussing the new SEC FAST Act requirements for cover page tagging in an upcoming webinar. Large Accelerated Filers are now beginning to comply with the SEC’s new FAST Act requirements for cover page tagging using Inline XBRL. During the implementation process, questions have arisen regarding exhibits, and other aspects of technical and rule compliance.

I am excited to be co-presenting in an upcoming free webinar on this topic titled, “SEC Fast Act Cover Page Tagging Update,” which is being sponsored by XBRL US, a leading non-profit organization supporting the implementation of digital business reporting standards. Bryan Castrantas, Senior Manager, Richey May & Co. LLP is co-presenting with me, and he will provide a technical review of the XBRL requirements and lessons learned from submissions to date.  Attend this session to get further clarification on the rule requirements for issuers, plus a technical review of the preparation and submission process for cover page tagging.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, August 29, 2019, from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. EST. For more information and registration, please go to XBRL.US.

Advance Notice Bylaw Provisions

A recent Delaware case, Saba Capital Master Fund, Ltd. v. Blackrock Credit Allocation Income Trust, highlights the importance of advance notice bylaws and the careful application of the terms of such bylaws by public companies who may be subject to activist campaigns.

As backdrop, following Delaware cases in 2008 (Jana Master Fund Ltd. vs. CNET Networks, Inc. and Levitt Corp. vs. Office Depot, Inc.) which interpreted ambiguous advance notice bylaw provisions in favor of insurgent shareholders attempting to nominate their own slate of director nominees, a large number of public companies (particularly large-cap companies and public companies incorporated in Delaware) amended their advance notice bylaw provisions to eliminate perceived vulnerabilities in their advance notice bylaws and expand the information required to be provided by shareholder proponents (known as second generation advance notice bylaw provisions).

While the focus on advance notice bylaw provisions (including the law firm commentary on this subject) has waned over the last decade, advance notice bylaws remain an important aspect of a public company’s preparedness for shareholder activism.

Continue Reading Revisiting Advance Notice Bylaw Provisions and Proxy Access

Note: We updated this post (originally posted last week) to add new frequently asked questions about when to reference Exhibit 104 in Form 8-Ks and about the phase-in schedule for all companies. 

Question:  In a Form 8-K, are you required to explicitly reference Exhibit 104 in the Exhibit Index?

Answer: In discussions with SEC Staff within the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, we received the following guidance related to a registrant’s Exhibit 104 reference obligation in 8-Ks:

The Bass, Berry & Sims Corporate & Securities Practice Group recently hosted its first in a series of complimentary webinars exploring various public company-related securities law issues.

The first webinar, Key Insights into Financial Reporting Considerations: MD&A, Earnings Releases & Regulation FD, was held on July 18 and shared guidance on the preparation of the Management Discussion & Analysis (MD&A), key disclosure issues regarding earnings releases and calls, and important considerations for public companies under Regulation FD.

Continue Reading 5 Key Takeaways from Our Public Company Financial Reporting Webinar

In an article for The D&O Diary published on July 16, 2019, Jay Knight unpacked some practical tips that outside parties may want to employ when responding to comments by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with the standard filing review in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. I was pleased to submit a guest post for The D&O Diary unpacking some practical tips that outside parties may want to employ when responding to comments by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in connection with the standard filing review in the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance. These practice tips include:

On May 3, 2019, the SEC proposed amendments to its rules and forms which would revise the disclosure requirements for financial statements relating to acquisitions and dispositions of businesses. We believe that most aspects of the proposed amendments, if adopted in current form, are thoughtful revisions to existing rules and will be beneficial to public companies, although we believe that a couple of aspects of the proposed amendments noted below may bear reconsideration by the SEC.

Key aspects of the proposed amendments include the following:

  • Updating the significance tests by:
    • increasing the significance threshold for a disposed business (triggering the requirement to file pro forma financials) from 10% to 20% (mirroring the existing percentage threshold for acquired businesses).
    • revising the “income test” in the definition of “significant subsidiary” under Regulation S-X, particularly to include a revenue as well as (after-tax) income component to such test, which will eliminate anomalies existing under the current rules (which do not include a revenue component) when a registrant has net income close to zero and a filing may be triggered even where a registrant is much larger than an acquired or disposed company.
    • revising the “investment test” in the definition of “significant subsidiary” under Regulation S-X, including to provide that the purchase price in an acquisition or disposition (which is the numerator in such test) will be compared to the equity value of the registrant rather than (as under the current rules) to the book value of the total assets of the registrant.
    • expanding the use of pro forma financial information in measuring significance, which may provide added flexibility to registrants in determining significance under certain circumstances.

Continue Reading SEC Proposes Rule Amendments to Revise Financial Statement Requirements for Acquisitions and Dispositions

The Staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the Staff) issued a Public Statement regarding the probable transition away from the London Inter-bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) after December 31, 2021, as a result of the expectation that a number of private-sector banks currently reporting information used to establish LIBOR will cease to do so after 2021 when their reporting commitment ends.

As a result, the publication of LIBOR may cease immediately following the end of 2021 or may result in LIBOR’s regulator determining that the quality of the LIBOR metric has diminished such that it is no longer representative of its underlying market.

Continue Reading Managing LIBOR Transition – SEC Considerations