By George Wilson
SEC Issues Two C&DI’s Dealing with COVID-19 Deadline Relief
On March 31, 2020 CorpFin issued two Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations to answer questions arising from its Order providing reporting relief for companies. The C&DI’s deal with the interaction of Form 12b-25 and the provisions in the Order.
Question: A registrant expects that due to COVID-19 it will be unable to file a report of the type covered by Rule 12b-25 on a timely basis without incurring an unreasonable effort or expense. It is uncertain as to its ability to file the required report within the applicable Rule 12b-25(b)(2)(ii) period. Should the registrant instead furnish a report on Form 8-K or 6-K, as applicable, relying on the COVID-19 Order (Release No. 34-88465 (March 25, 2020))?
Answer: Yes. As a condition to its use, the COVID-19 Order requires, among other things, that the registrant furnish certain specified statements by the later of March 16, 2020 or the original due date of the required report. If the registrant only files a Form 12b-25 by the original due date of the required report, it will have not met the condition of the COVID-19 Order to provide the statements called for by the original filing deadline on a furnished Form 8-K or Form 6-K. Unless this condition is met, the 45 day relief period provided in COVID-19 Order will not be available. Registrants unable to rely on the COVID-19 Order are encouraged to contact the staff to discuss collateral consequences of late filings. [March 31, 2020]
Question: Can a registrant that filed a Form 12b-25 subsequently rely on the COVID-19 Order (Release No. 34-88465 (March 25, 2020)), to extend the filing deadline for the subject report?
Answer: The COVID-19 Order is conditioned on a registrant having furnished a Form 8-K or Form 6-K by the later of March 16, 2020 or the original due date of the report. A Form 12b-25 filing does not extend the original due date of a report. Therefore, unless a registrant that filed a Form 12b-25 also furnished a Form 8-K or Form 6-K by March 16, 2020 or the original due date of the report, it would not be able to rely on the COVID-19 Order.
On the other hand, a registrant that relies on the COVID Order for a report will be considered to have a due date 45 days after the original filing deadline for the report. As such, the registrant would be permitted to subsequently rely on Rule 12b-25 if it is unable to file the report on or before the extended due date. Registrants unable to rely on the COVID-19 Order are encouraged to contact the staff to discuss collateral consequences of late filings. [March 31, 2020]
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome!