What Is A Confidential Private Placement Memorandum?

What Is A Confidential Private Placement Memorandum

A Confidential Private Placement Memorandum is a document used in mergers and acquisitions to convey important information about a business that’s for sale including its operations, financial statements, management team, and other data to a prospective buyer.

Who prepares the Offering Memorandum?

When any company goes through a sale process, it hires an investment banker. The first step of the banker is to understand the company and gather as much information as possible from top management to come up with a profile the company. The banker prepares the CIM and uses it as a marketing document, which is intended to make the company look attractive as the objective is “not just to sell, but to sell for maximum value.” The reason an investment banker tries to sell a company at the maximum value is because they represent the best interest of their client (the seller), and that their commission is based on the sale price.
Contents of a Confidential Private Placement Memorandum
An example table of contents for an offering memorandum:
• Executive Summary
• Investment Thesis
• Overview of the Market
• Overview of the Target Company
• Products and Services
• Revenue Profile
• Employee Profile
• Customer Profile
• Financials – Historical and Projections
• Management Structure
Below a detailed analysis of each section.

Executive Summary

This is a 1-2 page summary of the entire memorandum. It contains at least the following:
• Key Business Products and Service Offerings of the Company
• Financial Overview – Revenue, EBITDA Margins, Cash Flow, profitability
• The Nature of the Transaction
• Investment Rationale

Investment Thesis

This section of the CIM contains the investment rationale in detail, i.e. why would the “target company” be a great fit for the acquirer. Typically, it may include the following (as hypothetical examples):
• The company acts as a platform for market entry and growth
• The kind of partnerships it has with leading players, providing best-in-class services and the opportunity to build on them for the acquirer
• Upside opportunity from process optimization, cross-selling, cost optimization, automation, etc.
• Blue chip clients and longstanding relationship with them
• Strong Order Book
• Experience of the management and strong capabilities in business expansion
• Strong position locally with an international foothold
• Potential for synergies

Overview of the Market

It is imperative for the acquirer to know the market size and current market trends. It is the duty of the banker to give an overview of the market and make the company’s case stronger. The investment banker prepares the market overview from credible data sources, such as World Bank, Gartner, IDC, Forrester, Bloomberg, Reuters, etc. Credible sources provide reliability to the data points and help the acquirer to better understand the market and formulate the right strategy.
The overview of the market contains elements like:
• Market size
• Top players in various business segments
• The trend of various product lines
• Growth trends in the market and the driving factors behind them
• Mapping of the competitors with the “target’s ranking”
Overview of the Company
It contains basic details of the company such as:
• Year of establishment
• Company description
• Business segments and its capabilities
• Revenue, EBITDA and net income
• Employee details
• Customers, clients and users
• Place of headquarters with different office locations
• Recent news about the company

Products and Services

This section contains a detailed analysis of the products and services offered by the company in its day to day business operations.For the product categories, the company will include a list of the products it offers under various segments, the differentiating factors of the products, the target segment of each product, etc.
From a service perspective, it shows the company’s various service offerings, the capability of the company, the end-to-end process of the services it offers, revenue models such as Fixed Price projects or those based on Time and Material, etc.

Revenue Profile

It shows the revenue profile of the company from different aspects, which is very important for the acquirer. It shows the revenue mix according to Geo, Product, Business Segments, etc. By showing the information in this manner, buyers can see where the major revenue comes from and if it is aligned with their business strategy.

Employee Profile

Segregation of the employees is shown so that buyer has a fair idea of existing personnel mix and can plan changes that will help them achieve cost optimization, or whatever strategy they plan to execute.An employee profile can be shown in several ways, including by Function, Qualifications, Geography, Pyramid, etc.It’s important to have full profiles on all the key employees.

Customer Profile

For any acquirer, it would be important to know what kind of customers the company would be serving in future. Some of the popular questions the acquiring company would be interested in includes: Will the customers be large enterprise customers or too many small customers, years of relationship with the customers, revenue contribution from Top 5 or 10 customers, etc.

Financials – Historical & Projections

This is perhaps the most important section from a valuation perspective, as it gives a detailed analysis of the profit and loss account. It contains actual financial information from previous years, as well as financial projections by the management of the target company. The assumptions of such projections are also written so that the buyer understands the rationale for such projections.Since the target company is preparing the projections, it will try to show the company in a very positive position and make it attractive in order to achieve a higher valuation.

Management Structure

A brief profile about key personnel of the company, highlighting their role(s) in the company, years of experience, previous work experience, etc.This section is extremely important, and also one of the most matter-of-fact sections. It typically includes each person’s photograph, name, title, and a multi-paragraph description of what they do, their background and their claim to fame.An organizational chart may also be useful in this section to illustrate the hierarchy and reporting structure.

What a Confidential Private Placement Memorandum is Not

As discussed above, a typical Confidential Private Placement Memorandum will include all of the above information.
But what is also important is to know what it is not about. Confidential Private Placement Memorandum is NOT:
• It’s NOT a Pitch Book. A Pitch Book contains the credentials of the banker (rather than Target) and is used by bankers as marketing material to solicit business.
• It is NOT a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller.
• It doesn’t contain any specific information on the exact valuation. The investment bankers don’t set the sale price at the CIM stage. Instead, they look for potential buyers to place bids and try to achieve the maximum valuation for the company.

Private Placement

The private placement definition is the process of raising capital directly from institutional investors. A company that does not have access to or does not wish to make use of public capital markets can issue stocks, bonds, or other financial instruments directly to institutional investors. Private placement occurs when a company makes an offering of securities to an individual or a small group of investors. Since such an offering does not qualify as a public sale of securities, it does not need to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is exempt from the usual reporting requirements. Private placements are generally considered a cost-effective way for small businesses to raise capital without going public through an initial public offering (IPO). Institutional investors include the following:
• Mutual funds,
• Pension funds
• Insurance companies
• Large banks
You do not have to register private placement issuances with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, you do not have to provide a detailed prospectus. The issuing company and the purchasing investors negotiates the terms and conditions are negotiated. You cannot trade private placement securities on public markets, but they can be traded privately among institutional investors after they have been issued by the issuing company. A private placement is in contrast to a public offering, which is issued in public capital markets, requires a detailed prospectus, must be registered with the SEC, and can be traded by the investing public in the secondary markets.

Restrictions Affecting Private Placement

The SEC formerly placed many restrictions on private placement transactions. For example, such offerings could only be made to a limited number of investors, and the company was required to establish strict criteria for each investor to meet. Furthermore, the SEC required private placement of securities to be made only to “sophisticated” investors—those capable of evaluating the merits and understanding the risks associated with the investment. Finally, stock sold through private offerings could not be advertised to the public and could only be resold under certain circumstances. In 1992, however, the SEC eliminated many of these restrictions in order to make it easier for small companies to raise capital through private placements of securities. The rules now allow companies to promote their private placement offerings more broadly and to sell the stock to a greater number of buyers. It is also easier for investors to resell such securities. Although the SEC restrictions on private placements were relaxed, it is nonetheless important for small business owners to understand the various federal and state laws affecting such transactions and to take the appropriate procedural steps. It may be helpful to assemble a team of qualified legal and accounting professionals before attempting to undertake a private placement.

Many of the rules affecting private placements are covered under Section 4(2) of the federal securities law. This section provides an exemption for companies wishing to sell up to $5 million in securities to a small number of accredited investors. Companies conducting an offering under Section 4(2) cannot solicit investors publicly, and the majority of investors are expected to be either insiders (company management) or sophisticated outsiders with a preexisting relationship with the company (professionals, suppliers, customers, etc.). At a minimum, the companies are expected to provide potential investors with recent financial statements, a list of risk factors associated with the investment, and an invitation to inspect their facilities. In most respects, the preparation and disclosure requirements for offerings under Section 4(2) are similar to Regulation D filings. Regulation D—which was adopted in 1982 and has been revised several times since—consists of a set of rules numbered 501 through 508. Rules 504, 505, and 506 describe three different types of exempt offerings and set forth guidelines covering the amount of stock that can be sold and the number and type of investors that are allowed under each one.

Rule 504 covers the Small Corporate Offering Registration, or SCOR. SCOR gives an exemption to private companies that raise no more than $1 million in any 12-month period through the sale of stock. There are no restrictions on the number or types of investors, and the stock may be freely traded. The SCOR process is easy enough for a small business owner to complete with the assistance of a knowledgeable accountant and attorney. It is available in all states except Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, and Nebraska.
Rule 505 enables a small business to sell up to $5 million in stock during a 12-month period to an unlimited number of investors, provided that no more than 35 of them are non-accredited. To be accredited, an investor must have sufficient assets or income to make such an investment. According to the SEC rules, individual investors must have either $1 million in assets (other than their home and car) or $200,000 in net annual personal income, while institutions must hold $5 million in assets. Finally, Rule 506 allows a company to sell unlimited securities to an unlimited number of investors, provided that no more than 35 of them are non-accredited. Under Rule 506, investors must be sophisticated. In both of these options, the securities cannot be freely traded.

Private Placement Memorandums

A Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) provides critical details about the offering. This differs from a business plan, which does not provide information about the technical structure of an offering. A PPM is used to raise capital from a number of investors instead of trying to find one with the entire amount of required capital.
The PPM outlines information such as:
• Purchase price per note
• Number of shares or notes being sold
• Maturity date
• Rate of return
• Risk factors
Additional Private Placement Documents
• Subscription Agreement sets forth the terms and conditions of the investment. This is the document that the investor executes, and to which he or she attaches a check.
• Promissory Note Agreement (for debt only) is the actual loan agreement between the investor and the company.
• Form D SEC Filing is the notification filing that is sent to the SEC in Washington, DC. It notifies the SEC that the issuer is using the Regulation D program and provides basic information on the company and the offering. It is not an approval document. It is merely a filing that notifies the SEC that the offeror has a Reg D offering in place.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

Negligent Torts

Utah Estate Probate Forms

Tips For Surviving Divorce Settlement Talks

Get Your Employees CPR and First Aid Certified

How A Child’s Preference Affects Custody

Utah Real Estate Code 57-1-3

Are Private Placements Exempt Transactions?

Are Private Placements Exempt Transactions?

An exempt transaction is a type of securities transaction where a business does not need to file registrations with any regulatory bodies, provided the number of securities involved is relatively minor compared to the scope of the issuer’s operations and that no new securities are being issued. Exempt securities are the instruments used that the government backs, which have tax-exempt status. An exempt transaction is a securities exchange that would otherwise have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) but does not because of the nature of the transaction in question.

How an Exempt Transaction Works

Exempt transactions cut down the amount of paperwork needed for relatively minor transactions. For example, it would be a big hassle to perform a filing with the SEC every time a non-executive employee wanted to sell back some of the company’s common shares he or she purchased as part of an employee stock purchase plan.

Types of Exempt Transactions

A private placement or Reg D offering is a type of exempt transaction in which the securities are not offered to the public, but are instead sold privately to an accredited investor. According to the SEC, an accredited investor can be:

• An insurance company, bank, business development company, small business investment company, or registered investment company
• An employee benefit plan administered by a bank registered investment company, or insurance company
• A tax-exempt charitable organization
• Someone with at least $1 million in net worth, excluding his or her primary residence
• A person with more than $200,000 in income, or joint income of more than $300,000 with a spouse in both of the previous two years
• An enterprise owned by accredited investors
• A general partner, executive officer, or director of the company selling the securities
• A trust with assets of at least $5 million, as long as it has not been formed just to buy the securities in question.

Other types of exempt transactions include Reg A offerings, also known as small business company offerings, which permit the issuing company to raise no more than $5 million in 12 months. This allows smaller companies to access securities markets to raise capital. Rule 147 offerings, or intrastate offerings, are also exempt. Transactions with financial institutions, fiduciaries, and insurance underwriters may be considered exempt. Unsolicited orders, which are those executed through a broker at the request of his or her client, are also considered exempt.

What should you do before investing?

Private placements may be pitched as a unique opportunity being offered to only a handful of investors, including you. Be careful. Don’t be fooled by this high-pressure sales tactic. Even if the deal is “unique,” it may not be a good investment. It is important for you to obtain all the information that you need to make an informed investment decision. In fact, issuers relying on the Rule 505 and 506(b) exemptions from registration must provide non-accredited investors an opportunity to ask questions and receive answers regarding the investment. If an issuer fails to adequately answer your questions, consider this a warning against making the investment. Unlike registered offerings in which certain information is required to be disclosed, investors in private placements are generally on their own in obtaining the information they need to make an informed investment decision. Investors need to fully understand what they are investing in and fully appreciate what risks are involved. In practice, issuers often provide a document called a private placement memorandum or offering memorandum that introduces the investment and discloses information about the securities offering and the issuer. However, this document is not required and the absence of this document or similar disclosure may be a red flag to consider before investing. Moreover, private placement memoranda typically are not reviewed by any regulator and may not present the investment and related risks in a balanced light. All issuers relying on a Regulation D exemption are required to file a document called a Form D no later than 15 days after they first sell the securities in the offering. The Form D will include brief information about the issuer, its management and promoters, and the offering itself. If the offering you are considering has prior sales, you can search for the Form D filing on the SEC’s website at sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm.

If your broker recommends the investment, you should know that your broker, along with his or her firm, has a duty to conduct a reasonable investigation of the investment and the issuer’s representations about it. The scope of the investigation depends on the circumstances of the investment, including its complexity and the risks involved. For example, the private placement of shares by a large public company may warrant less investigation than a start-up with little or no track record. Generally, a broker should not just rely blindly on the issuer for information but should separately investigate and verify an issuer’s statements and claims. If your broker is recommending the investment and fails to satisfy its duties to investigate the issuer and the offering, this failure could constitute a violation of the antifraud provisions as well as other federal securities laws. In addition, your broker must determine whether an investment in the private placement is suitable for you. This means your broker will have to consider factors such as your age, financial situation, current and future needs, investment objectives and tax status. Your broker’s duties, however, should not substitute for your own judgment in making the investment. Your broker can assist and enable you to better understand the opportunity and risks, as well as investigate and gather additional information, but it is your money, your risk and your decision whether to invest. You should also ask about the compensation your broker is receiving for the transaction and any relationships, business ties or other conflicts of interest that may exist between your broker and the issuer.

What should I know about restricted securities?

Generally, most securities that you acquire in a private placement will be restricted securities. You should not expect to be able to easily and quickly resell your restricted securities. In fact, you should expect to hold the securities indefinitely. There are two principal things to think about before buying restricted securities. The first is that unless you have made arrangements with the issuer to resell your restricted securities as part of a registered offering, you will need to comply with an exemption from registration to resell. One rule commonly relied upon to resell requires you to hold the restricted securities for at least a year if the company does not file periodic reports (such as annual and quarterly reports) with the SEC. You may wish to hire an attorney to help you comply with the legal requirements to resell restricted securities. Issuers may require a legal opinion that you satisfy an exemption to resell your restricted securities.

The second thing to think about is whether they are easy to sell. This issue primarily affects the sale of restricted securities in private companies. Information about a private company is not typically available to the public, and a private company may not provide information to you or your buyer. The restricted status of your securities may also transfer to your buyer. For these reasons, it may be difficult to attract buyers. In addition to these considerations, specific contractual restrictions that you may enter into when investing may prevent you from freely transferring the securities. Despite not being subject to the same disclosure obligations as registered offerings, private placements are subject to the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. Any information provided must be true and may not omit any material facts necessary to prevent the statements made from being misleading. You should be aware that it may be difficult or impossible to recover the money you invest in an offering that turns out to be fraudulent. In addition, even though the offering may be exempt from SEC registration, the offering may have to separately comply with state securities laws, including state registration requirements or a state exemption from registration.

The Private Placement Memorandum (“PPM”) serves to disclose critical information to potential investors ensuring they are properly informed regarding the company’s operations, investment risks, SEC disclosures, and offering terms prior to investing. A unique aspect of our offering documents is the “Presentation Grade” quality of the memorandum document. A private placement memorandum will also have Exhibits to disclose additional needed information critical to the investment decision such as historical and projected financials, subscription documents, related contracts, company bylaws, and other pertinent supporting data.

For offerings executed under certain Regulation D exemptions the SEC has specific regulations that govern what is disclosed to investors. Regulation D Resources has adopted the SEC’s Form 1A disclosure standard for use in crafting our Regulation D exempt private placement memorandum documents. The Form 1A standard is the disclosure standard and disclosure format the SEC mandates for certain registered type securities offerings and exceeds what is typically required under a Regulation D exempt offering. Drafting our PPM’s to this standard provides several important benefits to our clients:

• A properly prepared Form 1A spec private placement memorandum protects the client more effectively than the “letter” or summary type offering documents typically prepared by other Regulation D preparatory firms
• Form 1A provides for a very high specification private placement memorandum document which greatly enhances the professionalism of your disclosure package for investors
• Form 1A is the disclosure standard most broker-dealer firms will require in order to have the offering approved for retail to their investor clients

Points That You Should Be Mindful Of In Steering a Private Placement Transaction from Start to Finish

Understand the company’s goals and needs. Private placements, including private investments in public equities (PIPEs), provide companies with great flexibility, allowing them to issue a variety of instruments common or preferred equity securities, straight or convertible debt securities, warrants, units, and/or bespoke securities tailored to meet their particular financing needs. A company considering a private placement may not be familiar with the range of securities available and may not fully appreciate how a particular security fits within its existing capital structure. As a starting point, you should discuss with the company its strategic objectives for the proposed financing within the context of its existing capital structure and, within this framework, assist the company in deciding what type of security is best suited to the company’s goals and needs.

Find your U.S. federal securities law exemption for issuance and understand resale limitations.

Private placements occur within a complex and evolving regulatory framework of U.S. federal securities laws, stock exchanges’ rules, regulators’ interpretations, and companies’ own limitations under their existing capital structures. For purposes of U.S. federal securities laws, the fundamental principle is that a company may not offer or sell securities unless the transaction has been registered with the SEC or an exemption from registration is available. For a private placement to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws there must be a valid exemption from the registration requirements available, and the terms and execution of the proposed offering and sale must comply with the requirements of that exemption. You should engage in a collaborative exercise with the issuing company to identify the exemption that is best suited to the proposed transaction from the range of available exemptions, including, among others:
• Section 4(a)(2) exemption (Section 4(a)(2)) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, 15 U.S.C. § 77a et seq., (Securities Act)
• Safe harbors of Regulation D under the Securities Act
• Quasi-public offering structure of Regulation A (informally known as Regulation A+) under the Securities Act
• Crowd funding exemption under Section 4(a)(6) of the Securities Act (Section 4(a)(6))
• Exemption for private placements under Rule 144A of the Securities Act (Rule 144A)
• Offshore transaction exemption under Regulation S of the Securities Act
• Exchange offer exemption of Section 3(a)(9) of the Securities Act
In order to choose an appropriate exemption, it will be necessary to know various key facts, including the proposed size of the potential offering, identity of the potential investors (and how they will be identified), location of potential investors, whether an investment bank will be engaged to facilitate the offering and, if so, in what capacity, the nature and extent of the marketing and distribution process, and other factors.

How Private Placements are Governed

Private placements are not an asset class. They are a technique by which capital is raised from non-institutional private capital sources, mainly individuals. They can be used as a vehicle for investments in private equity, venture capital, and some tangible assets, for example.
A multitude of state and federal laws and regulations govern private placements, including:
• The Securities Act of 1933, which governs the issuance of securities by companies
• The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which governs the trading, purchase and sale of those securities
• Regulations derived from the 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts, promulgated by the Securities and Exchange Commission especially Regulation D
• Regulations promulgated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the various stock exchanges
• State securities laws and regulations, known as blue sky laws, administered by the various state securities commissions.
Private Placement Securities
In a private placement, the shares of stock or debt instrument are considered securities under both federal and state securities laws. Consequently, any transaction involving the shares or debt must be registered under such securities laws or be exempt from registration. Typically, the offeror is an emerging growth company that has few capital alternatives, although more mature companies tend to be more successful in this process. Securities laws generally require that offers are made mainly to accredited investors.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

Trucking Accidents

Utah Child Support

Does Bankruptcy Affect Divorce?

Baby Boomers Have The Most Divorces?

Estate And Gift Tax Lawyer

Railroad Accidents

Ascent Law St. George Utah Office

Ascent Law Ogden Utah Office

What Are The Advantages Of Private Placements?

What Are The Advantages Of Private Placements

One major advantage of a private placement is that the issuer isn’t subject to the SEC’s strict regulations for a typical public offering. With a private placement, the issuing company isn’t subject to the same disclosure and reporting requirements as a publicly offered bond. Furthermore, privately placed bonds don’t require credit-agency ratings. Another advantage of private placement is the cost and time-related savings involved. Issuing bonds publicly means incurring significant underwriter fees, while issuing them privately can save money. Similarly, the process can be expedited when done in a private manner. Furthermore, private placement deals can be custom-built to meet the financial needs of both the issuer and investors.

Some Advantages Of A Private Placement

• Speed in raising finance: If a company goes in for a fresh issue through public issue there are lot of procedures to be followed which take a lot of time. On the other hand, it is possible to raise resources through private placement within 1 or 2 months.
• Low cost: The company need not spend money in preparation and printing of prospectus, printing of application forms, transporting them to different places, advertisements of the issue in the media etc
• Confidentiality: The Company can maintain strict confidentiality. In the case of issue through prospectus many disclosures have to be made. But in the case of private placement disclosures made are less and they are made to a select few. Therefore confidentiality can be maintained.
• Small amounts can be raised: Even small amounts can be raised through private placement.
• Stable market: The private placement market is more stable when compared to the stock markets. Volatility is less and issues are marketed in a professional manner.
• The primary advantage of the private placement is that it bypasses the stringent regulatory requirements of a public offering. You have to conduct public offerings in accordance with SEC regulations; however, investors and the issuing company privately negotiate the private placements. Furthermore, they do not have to register with the SEC, do not require the issuing company to publicly disclose its financial statements, and ultimately avoid the scrutiny of the SEC.
• Another advantage of private placement is the reduced time of issuance and the reduced costs of issuance. Issuing securities publicly can be time-consuming and may require certain expenses. It forgoes the time and costs that come with a public offering.
• Also, because the investors and the issuing company privately negotiate private placements, they can be tailored to meet the financing needs of the company and the investing needs of the investor. This gives both parties a degree of flexibility.
Now, let’s look at the disadvantages of private placement. The main disadvantage of private placement is the issuer will often have to pay higher interest rates on the debt issuance or offer the equity shares at a discount to the market value. This makes the deal attractive to the institutional investor purchasing the securities.
• Small businesses face the constant challenge of raising affordable capital to fund business operations. Equity financing comes in a wide range of forms, including venture capital, an initial public offering, business loans, and private placement. Established companies may choose the route of an initial public offering to raise capital through selling shares of company stock. However, this strategy can be complex and costly, and it may not be suitable for smaller, less-established businesses.
• As an alternative to an initial public offering, businesses that want to offer shares to investors can complete a private placement investment. This strategy allows a company to sell shares of company stock to a select group of investors privately instead of the public. Private placement has advantages over other equity financing methods, including less burdensome regulatory requirements, reduced cost and time, and the ability to remain a private company.

Regulatory Requirements for Private Placements

When a company decides to issue shares of an initial public offering, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires the company to meet a lengthy list of requirements. Detailed financial reporting is necessary once an initial public offering is issued, and any shareholder must be able to access the company’s financial statements at any time. This information should provide enough disclosure to investors so they can make informed investment decisions. Private placements are offered to a small group of select investors instead of the public. So, companies employing this type of financing do not need to comply with the same reporting and disclosure regulations. Instead, private placement financing deals are exempt from SEC regulations under Regulation D. There is less concern from the SEC regarding participating investors’ level of investment knowledge because more sophisticated investors (such as pension funds, mutual fund companies, and insurance companies) purchase the majority of private placement shares.

Saved Cost and Time

Equity financing deals such as initial public offerings and venture capital often take time to configure and finalize. There are extensive vetting processes in place from the SEC and venture capitalist firms with which companies seeking this type of capital must comply before receiving funds. Completing all the necessary requirements can take up to a year, and the costs associated with doing so can be a burden to the business. The nature of a private placement makes the funding process much less time-consuming and far less costly for the receiving company. Because no securities registration is necessary, fewer legal fees are associated with this strategy compared to other financing options. Additionally, the smaller number of investors in the deal results in less negotiation before the company receives funding. The greatest benefit to a private placement is the company’s ability to remain a private company. The exemption under Regulation D allows companies to raise capital while keeping financial records private instead of disclosing information each quarter to the buying public. A business obtaining investment through private placement is also not required to give up a seat on the board of directors or a management position to the group of investors. Instead, control over business operations and financial management remains with the owner, unlike a venture capital deal.

Reasons to Issue A Private Placement

• Privacy and Control: Private placements enable companies that value privacy to remain private. In contrast to public debt and equity offerings which require public filings, disclosures of company information and financing documents and terms private placement transactions are negotiated confidentially, and public disclosure requirements are limited. With a private placement, companies would not be beholden to public shareholders.
• Long Maturities: Private placements provide longer maturities than typical bank financing arrangements. They are ideal for companies seeking to extend or layer their refinancing obligations out beyond the typical 3-5-year bank tenor. Additionally, longer maturities often allow for limited amortization, which can be attractive to companies seeking to invest in capital assets, acquisitions and/or invest in projects that have a longer investment return runway.
• Fixed Rate: Typically, private placements are offered at a fixed-interest rate, minimizing interest rate risk. Through a fixed-rate financing, companies can avoid the concern commonly associated with floating-rate coupons, should underlying interest rates rise. A fixed coupon generally allows companies to allocate the cost of debt capital for specific project financings, acquisitions or large capital investment programs. “Creating capital access in both the private debt and bank markets can allow companies to optimize their access to debt capital.”
• Diversify Capital Sources: Private placements help diversify a company’s sources of capital and capital structure. The stable investment appetite shown by insurance companies and other large institutional investors in the private placement market is typically independent from many of the market variables that impact bank market lending activity. Since the terms of private placements can be customized, these transactions are typically crafted to complement existing bank credit facility capacity as opposed to directly competing with these relationships. Creating capital access in both the private debt and bank markets can allow companies to optimize their access to debt capital. Diversification of financing sources becomes particularly important during market cycles when bank liquidity may be tight.
• Additional Capacity: Many companies issue private placements because they have outgrown their borrowing capacity and need capital beyond what their existing lenders (banks, private equity firms, etc.) can provide. Private placements typically focus on cash flow lending metrics and can be completed on either a secured or unsecured basis, depending on the issuer’s existing capital structure.
• Buy-and-Hold: Private placements are typically “buy-and-hold,” meaning the debt investment wouldn’t be purchased with the intent to sell to another investor. Thus, private placement borrowers benefit from the ability to create a long-term relationship with the same investor throughout the life of the financing.

• Ease of Execution: Private placement financings are regularly completed by both privately-held, middle-market companies as well as large public companies. These transactions provide issuers with access to capital on a scale that rivals underwritten public debt offerings, but without certain pre-conditional requirements, such as ratings, public registrations or minimum size restrictions. For public companies, private placements can offer superior execution relative to the public market for small issuance sizes as well as greater structural flexibility.
• Cost Savings: A company can often issue a private placement for a much lower all-in cost than it could in a public offering. For public issuers, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) related registration, legal documentation and underwriting fees for a public offering can be expensive. Additionally, in contrast to banks that often rely on ancillary services and fee generation to enhance investment return, private placement lenders rely exclusively on the yield from the notes that they purchase. Taking into consideration the yield-equivalent savings on avoided underwriting fees, in conjunction with the yield premium often associated with first time issuers and small issuance premiums, private placements can provide a very attractive alternative to the public debt market. “In many cases, private placements are completed with a single large institutional investor.”
• Fewer Investors: Unlike issuing securities on the public market, where companies issuing debt securities often deal with hundreds of investors, private placement transactions typically involve fewer than 10-20 investors, and in many cases, are completed with a single large institutional investor. This approach can materially simplify the investor tracking burden for issuers as well as allow them to concentrate their investor-relationship efforts on a few key financial partners.
• Familiar Pricing Process: The process for pricing private placements debt transactions is very similar to that of public securities. The coupon set for fixed-rate notes issued reflects the underlying U.S. Treasury rate corresponding to the tenor of the notes issued, plus a credit risk premium (a “credit spread”). This process allows for general transparency as to the approach that institutional investors undertake when establishing the economics of the transaction.
• Speed of Execution: The growth and maturity of the private placement market has led to improved standardization of documentation, visibility of pricing and terms as well as increased capacity for financings. As a result, the private market can accommodate transactions as small as $10 million and as large as $1-$2 billion. That, when combined with standardized documentation and a smaller universe of investors, fosters quick execution of an investment, generally within 6-8 weeks (for an initial transaction, with follow-on financings executed within a shorter time frame). As noted, it can be much faster to issue a private placement versus a public corporate bond (particularly for first-time issuers) due to the elimination of prospectus drafting, rating agency diligence and registering requirements with the SEC.

Restrictions Affecting Private Placement

The SEC formerly placed many restrictions on private placement transactions. For example, such offerings could only be made to a limited number of investors, and the company was required to establish strict criteria for each investor to meet. Furthermore, the SEC required private placement of securities to be made only to “sophisticated” investors—those capable of evaluating the merits and understanding the risks associated with the investment. Finally, stock sold through private offerings could not be advertised to the public and could only be resold under certain circumstances. In 1992, however, the SEC eliminated many of these restrictions in order to make it easier for small companies to raise capital through private placements of securities. The rules now allow companies to promote their private placement offerings more broadly and to sell the stock to a greater number of buyers. It is also easier for investors to resell such securities.

Although the SEC restrictions on private placements were relaxed, it is nonetheless important for small business owners to understand the various federal and state laws affecting such transactions and to take the appropriate procedural steps. It may be helpful to assemble a team of qualified legal and accounting professionals before attempting to undertake a private placement. Many of the rules affecting private placements are covered under Section 4(2) of the federal securities law. This section provides an exemption for companies wishing to sell up to $5 million in securities to a small number of accredited investors. Companies conducting an offering under Section 4(2) cannot solicit investors publicly, and the majority of investors are expected to be either insiders (company management) or sophisticated outsiders with a preexisting relationship with the company (professionals, suppliers, customers, etc.). At a minimum, the companies are expected to provide potential investors with recent financial statements, a list of risk factors associated with the investment, and an invitation to inspect their facilities. In most respects, the preparation and disclosure requirements for offerings under Section 4(2) are similar to Regulation D filings. Regulation D which was adopted in 1982 and has been revised several times since consists of a set of rules numbered 501 through 508. Rules 504, 505, and 506 describe three different types of exempt offerings and set forth guidelines covering the amount of stock that can be sold and the number and type of investors that are allowed under each one. Rule 504 covers the Small Corporate Offering Registration, or SCOR. SCOR gives an exemption to private companies that raise no more than $1 million in any 12-month period through the sale of stock. There are no restrictions on the number or types of investors and the stock may be freely traded. The SCOR process is easy enough for a small business owner to complete with the assistance of a knowledgeable accountant and attorney. Rule 505 enables a small business to sell up to $5 million in stock during a 12-month period to an unlimited number of investors, provided that no more than 35of them are non-accredited. To be accredited, an investor must have sufficient assets or income to make such an investment. According to the SEC rules, individual investors must have either $1 million in assets (other than their home and car) or $200,000 in net annual personal income, while institutions must hold $5 million in assets.

Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


Recent Posts

What Is A Private Placement Of Stocks?

Foreign Divorces In Utah

Who Starts The Divorce In Utah?

What Is A Trust Account?

Special Occupations Tax

Problematic Areas Of Foreclosure

Ascent Law St. George Utah Office

Ascent Law Ogden Utah Office