Yesterday, the Staff issued four FAQs addressing issues arising under the SEC’s exemptive order extending filing deadlines for companies impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The FAQs offer guidance on the disclosures required by companies seeking to avail themselves of the relief provided by the order, as well as the implications of reliance on the order for S-3 issuers. Here’s one that deals with a company’s eligibility to file a new Form S-3 during the extension period:
Question: Is a registrant relying on the COVID-19 Order to delay a required filing eligible to file a new Form S-3 registration statement between the original due date of a filing and the extended due date, and will the staff accelerate the effectiveness of registration statements that do not contain all required information?
Answer: Between the original due date of a required filing and the due date as extended by the COVID-19 Order, a registrant may file a new Form S-3 registration statement even if the registrant has not filed the required periodic report prior to the filing of the registration statement. The staff will consider the registrant to be current and timely in its Exchange Act reporting if the Form 8-K disclosing reliance on the COVID-19 Order is properly furnished. The registrant will no longer be considered current and timely, and will lose eligibility to file new registration statements on Form S-3, if it fails to file the required report by the due date as extended by the COVID-19 Order. Registrants with compelling and well-documented facts may contact the staff to discuss their specific capital raising needs. However, registrants relying on the COVID-19 Order should note that the staff will be unlikely to accelerate the effective date of a Form S-3 until such time as any information required to be included in the Form S-3 is filed. [May 4, 2020]
If you’re wondering why the Staff issued this guidance in the form of “FAQs” instead of the more customary C&DIs, the FAQs say that it has to do with the “unique circumstances” of the COVID-19 crisis that prompted the issuance of the exemptive order in the first place.
-John Jenkins, TheCorporateCounsel.net May 5, 2020
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