Shake Shack’s IPO
You can tell a lot about different companies from their initial public offerings and private placement offerings. Just ask the nation’s corporate securities law firms, and IPO attorneys. Though it’s unclear whether it worked with a securities law firm or not, fast food chain Shake Shack recently filed their own plans for a $100 million initial public offering, which, as you might have guessed, revealed some interesting facts about the company. Here are just a few.
According to its filings, Shake Shack plans to open 10 new company owned domestic locations per year, expanding to at least 450 outlets long-term. Maybe there will be a new Shake Shack coming to a town near you.
Shake Shack is shaking off its fast casual brand for a “fine casual” one. It plans to source premium, sustainable ingredients, like all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free beef.
Shake Shacks that aren’t located in Manhattan typically need about 3.2 years to recoup the original investment, while any new Shake Shacks opened in Manhattan only need 1.2 years to earn enough money to pay back its original investment. This might sound like a long time, but it’s really quite fast.
As the nation’s leading securities law firms can tell you, IPOs, such as Shake Shack’s, are an important part of the nation’s economy. In 2014, securities law firms were able to help companies complete an astounding 275 IPOs, topping 2013’s total of 222 by over 23% and shattering its high-water mark of $55 billion with a whopping $85 billion in proceeds. This is quite the impressive feat, as seven of the IPOs securities law firms were able to help complete were in excess of a billion dollars.
SEC Cracking Down on Illegal Finders
The Securities and Exchange Commission charged two men with pocketing investor money they raised for limited liability companies they owned and controlled that purportedly held warrants to purchase the common stock of a technology startup company.
The SEC alleges that James R. Trolice and Lee P. Vaccaro raised approximately $6 million from more than 100 investors by creating a false sense of urgency and exclusivity around the offering, claiming that only a limited amount of warrants were available and that they eventually could be exercised at a very profitable price. Trolice further lured investors by showcasing his apparent wealth and hosting elaborate investor parties at his multi-million-dollar home. He also touted his purported track record of bringing startup companies public and obtaining high returns for investors.
Meanwhile, Trolice allegedly used investor funds to pay his mortgage along with other bills for a credit card, car lease, college tuition, and landscaping. Vaccaro allegedly spent at least a quarter-million dollars in investor funds at Utah casinos.
The SEC further alleges that neither Trolice nor Vaccaro was registered with the SEC or any state regulator. Investors can quickly and easily check whether people selling investments are registered by using the SEC’s investor.gov website.
“We allege that Trolice and Vaccaro lied to investors about the nature of the investment, created a phony aura of success, and ultimately funded their own lifestyles rather than investing all the money as promised,” said Andrew M. Calamari. “The SEC continues to pursue and investors should continue to be aware of unregistered brokers selling investments.”
The SEC’s complaint, filed today in federal court in Newark, N.J., also charges former stockbroker Patrick G. Mackaronis, who received commissions for bringing prospective investors to Trolice and Vaccaro so they could close the sales. Mackaronis ignored fraud risks and blindly touted the opportunity to family members, friends, and brokerage clients while knowing very little about the investments themselves. Mackaronis has agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by disgorging the $85,000 in commissions he received plus paying $8,486.91 in interest and a $50,000 penalty. Mackaronis also agreed to a three-year bar from the securities industry. The settlement is subject to court approval.
In parallel actions, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah today announced criminal charges against Vaccaro, and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities announced civil charges against Trolice, Vaccaro, and Mackaronis.
The SEC’s complaint charges Trolice and Vaccaro with violations of Sections 5(a), 5(c), and 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, Sections 10(b) and 15(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5. Vaccaro is additionally charged with violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
SEC Votes to Renew Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that the Commission voted to renew the Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee’s charter until August 2017 with the current membership. The committee’s charter was originally scheduled to expire in February 2017.
The committee provides a formal mechanism through which the Commission can receive advice and recommendations specifically related to equity market structure issues. The committee has met seven times since it was established in February 2015.
“The Equity Market Structure Advisory Committee’s renewal enables the next Chair and the next Commission to benefit seamlessly from this vital resource for our ongoing assessment of equity market structure issues and potential enhancements,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White.
Since its inception, the committee has considered a range of issues, including Regulation NMS and a structure for an access fee pilot, the governance framework for national market system plans, transparency for investors of broker-dealer order handling practices, and market-wide volatility moderators. The Commission-approved committee members come from different sectors of the financial services industry, academia, and from public interest groups.
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