Late last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to modernize the description of business, legal proceedings, and risk factor disclosures that registrants are required to make according to Regulation S-K.  An important component of these updates was the new requirement in Item 101 (Description of Business) of Regulation S-K to require registrants to make certain human capital disclosures to the extent material to an understanding of its business as a whole.

The new rule amended Item 101(c) to require registrants to provide “a description of the registrant’s human capital resources, including the number of persons employed by the registrant, and any human capital measures or objectives that the registrant focuses on in managing the business.” The disclosure is only required to the extent such information is material to the registrant’s business as a whole, and the SEC in the adopting release stated that each registrant’s disclosure “must be tailored to its unique business, workforce, and facts and circumstances.”

As a result of these amendments, along with disclosing the number of employees, companies must also consider how to comply with the new principle-based rule. The SEC intentionally did not define “human capital,” reasoning that the term “may evolve over time and may be defined by different companies in ways that are industry specific.” The adopted rule states that the required disclosures may include “measures or objectives that address the development, attraction and retention of personnel.” But the SEC made clear that these are just “examples of potentially relevant subjects, not mandates.” Thus, companies have broad discretion in deciding which human capital measures to disclose.


Continue Reading A Survey of Recent SEC Comment Letters on Human Capital Disclosures

Usually this blog is reserved for matters involving corporate and securities law rather than updates in the accounting standards, but the email alert from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that I received yesterday is definitely an exception. The FASB email alert first mentions that FASB yesterday issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2019-02, Entertainment—Films—Other Assets—Film

Although the life of a securities lawyer can be routine and mechanical at times, it doesn’t always have to be this way!  Last year, around this time, my wife Missy saw on Facebook that the Property Brothers: Buying and Selling television show (an HGTV show for those not familiar) was going to be filming in Nashville during the summer, and the post invited those interested in being on the show to submit an application.  Our family had watched the show before and liked the renovations they did, and we thought it would be a fun experience for our family, so we decided to go for it and submit an application to see what might happen.  Well, after some interviews and waiting, we learned in the spring that we had been selected to be on the show.

Continue Reading A Completely Non-Securities Law Post: My Family Did The Property Brothers Show!

As equity valuations of public companies remain high in comparison to recent historical norms, the use of public company stock as an acquisition currency by SEC registrants in acquisitions of private companies will continue, particularly if interest rates continue to rise, thus increasing the costs associated with leveraged transactions. This blog explores legal considerations associated with the issuance of stock by a public company in connection with its acquisition of a private company.
Continue Reading Complexities of Issuing Public Company Stock in Acquisitions of Private Companies