On December 1, 2020, the TSX Venture Exchange (Exchange) issued a news release to announce changes to its Capital Pool Company (CPC) program that will come into force on January 1, 2021.  The CPC program is a way for private companies to go public in Canada. The CPC program enables seasoned directors and officers to form a CPC, raise a pool of capital and list the CPC on the Exchange with no assets other than cash and no commercial operations. The CPC then uses the capital raised to identify a private operating company to complete a qualifying transaction with the CPC (Qualifying Transaction). After the CPC has completed its Qualifying Transaction, the resulting issuer’s shares trade as a regular listing on the Exchange.

The Exchange advised that the changes are aimed at providing increased flexibility by included additional jurisdictions, easing the residency requirements and simplifying spending restriction.  The changes are also aimed at reducing regulatory burden by relaxing the requirements on shareholder distribution and shareholder approvals.
Continue Reading TSX Venture Exchange Adopts Changes to Capital Pool Company Policies

Overview

In an effort to reduce the regulatory burden for issuers who wish to conduct “at-the-market” (“ATM”) offerings in Canada and facilitate capital raising by public companies, the Canadian Securities Administrators (the “CSA”) announced significant amendments (the “Amendments”) to the ATM distribution regime under National Instrument 44-102 – Shelf

“At-The-Market”, or ATM, offerings are likely to continue gaining traction in Canada following the publication of a notice of amendments (the Amendments) to National Instrument 44-102 Shelf Distributions (NI 44-102) by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA). The key features of the Amendments are as follows:

  • The Amendments will come into

On May 20, 2020, Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to announce that the CSA has published new local blanket orders (New Blanket Orders) for market participants that provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by non-investment fund issuers between June 2, 2020 and

On March 23, 2020, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) issued a news release to announce that the CSA has published local blanket orders (Blanket Orders) for market participants that provide a 45-day extension for periodic filings normally required to be made by market participants on or before June 1, 2020. Market

On June 4, 2019, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Kik Interactive Inc. (Kik), a privately-held Canadian corporation based in Waterloo, Ontario, for conducting an unregistered securities offering of its digital token “Kin” in violation of section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933. The SEC is seeking a permanent injunction, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and civil penalties against Kik.


Continue Reading Alive and Kik-ing: Kik Interactive Faces SEC Action but Vows to Fight Back

As of June 13, 2019, the Canada Business Corporations Act (the “CBCA”) requires that each federal private corporation (a “Corporation”) implements and maintains a register (the “Register”) listing all individuals with significant control over the Corporation (the “Individuals with Significant Control”).  The register must be kept at the corporation’s registered office or another place in

On April 8, 2019, the federal government introduced Bill C-97 to implement measures from its spring budget. The bill proposes amendments to many federal statutes, including several important amendments to the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA) relevant to both private and public companies. Our summary of the proposed changes is set out below, some of which deal with familiar issues, while others would introduce new requirements for companies.


Continue Reading Something old, something new: Proposed amendments to the CBCA in the 2019 budget implementation bill

When seeking to access capital in the public markets in an uncertain economy, traditional follow-on financing methods might not be the right choice for some issuers. It may be that “bought deal” and “best efforts” public financings are unavailable or otherwise available but on terms that are unsuitable.

In these circumstances, issuers may consider an alternative financing method provided for in Canadian securities legislation: namely, an at-the-market (ATM) public offering. Under an ATM offering, an issuer sells its shares directly into the market through the facilities of a stock exchange or marketplace. In establishing an ATM offering, the issuer sets a maximum number of securities to be issued, and then determines on an ongoing basis how many securities to issue and sell (if any) by setting the specific minimum price, quantity of securities, and sales timing.

This post discusses the framework for ATM offerings and explores some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with this kind of financing.

General Framework

Base Shelf Prospectus

The first formal step by the issuer in setting up an ATM offering is to file a base shelf prospectus in accordance with National Instrument 44-102 Shelf Distributions (NI 44-102). A base shelf prospectus is a type of short-form prospectus where an issuer normally qualifies the distribution of various types of securities up to a specified maximum dollar amount, which can then be issued over a 25-month period.

While the general rule under securities laws is that all distributions of securities under a prospectus must be made at a fixed price, NI 44-102 provides an exception to this rule for ATM offerings. To give effect to this exception, the shelf prospectus must disclose that the issuer may undertake non-fixed price offering transactions by way of ATM offerings.

Note that NI 44-102 places certain limits on ATM offerings. First, it limits the securities that may be issued by way of an ATM offering to “equity securities”, which are securities that carry a residual right to participate in the earnings of an issuer and, upon liquidation or winding-up of the issuer, in its assets. This typically excludes ATM offerings in respect of preferred shares and debt securities. Second, NI 44-102 limits the market value of equity securities that can be distributed under an ATM offering to 10% of the aggregate market value of the equity securities of that class (for this calculation, securities controlled by persons holding more than 10% of the issuer’s total outstanding equity securities are excluded). Finally, it prohibits an overallotment of securities or any other transaction made with the intention of stabilizing or maintaining the market price of securities.

Prospectus Supplement

Once the final base shelf prospectus has been receipted by the applicable securities regulators and all other above steps are complete, the issuer then files a prospectus supplement to the final base shelf prospectus. The prospectus supplement sets out the parameters and terms of the ATM offering and describes the securities that are the subject of such offering. This document generally is not reviewed by the securities regulators and can be quite brief. However, it must set out either the maximum number of shares to be sold or the maximum aggregate offering size, and it must identify the securities dealers that are implementing the ATM offering and specify any commissions to be paid.

Distribution Agreement

Concurrent with the filing of the prospectus supplement for an ATM offering, the issuer typically executes a distribution or sales agency agreement (Distribution Agreement) with the securities dealer selected to act as the issuer’s agent for the ATM offering. Distribution Agreements for ATM offerings contain standard securities dealer protections, including customary covenants, representations and warranties made by the issuer, and customary closing conditions for each placement of securities. Securities dealers are subject to statutory underwriter liability, and so will engage in standard due diligence practices. Because ATM offerings are ongoing affairs, securities dealers will seek comfort letters and legal opinions both as of the time of execution of the Distribution Agreement and on a periodic basis.


Continue Reading At-The-Market Offerings In The Canadian Capital Markets: Flexibility At A Lower Cost

skyline-calgary-866032_1920

On December 1, 2016, the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) will be replacing the current fee rule in Alberta with ASC Rule 13-501 Fees (ASC Rule 13-501) which will increase registrant and capital market activity fees, and for the first time in Alberta, will introduce a participation fee model.

Any issuers that are currently a reporting issuer in Ontario are already familiar with the concept of a participation fee.  The participation fee is an annual payment based on the capitalization of the issuer (the larger the issuer’s capitalization is, the larger the fee is).  The ASC participation fee will be payable at the time that the issuer files its annual financial statements on SEDAR.  Under the ASC’s current fee rule, the maximum an issuer would pay when it file its annual financial statements is $2,400 (which is the amount paid by short form eligible issuers).

As a result of the introduction of the new participation fee model, any reporting issuer with a capitalization of over $50 million will see an increase in the payment that it submits to Alberta with its annual financial statements.  In some cases, issuers will see a significant increase as the maximum amount payable under the participation fee model is $48,000.

Types of Reporting Issuers

The ASC participation fee rates are based on the type of reporting issuer it is – either a Class 1 reporting issuer, a Class 2 reporting issuer, a Class 3A reporting issuer or a Class 3B reporting issuer.  Each type of reporting issuer is defined below:


Continue Reading Alberta Securities Commission to Introduce Participation Fee Model for Reporting Issuers