The SEC Releases the Division of RSFI’s Report on Regulation D Offerings

Yesterday the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Risk, Strategy and Financial Innovation released a report analyzing information extracted from all Form D filings made with the Commission between January 2009 and March 2011. The report, entitled Capital Raising in the US: The Significance of Unregistered Offerings Using the Regulation D Exemption, coincides with a slide presentation given before the Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies in October 2011. The report looks at the amount of capital raised using the Regulation D exemptions (Rules 504, 505 and 506) as compared to the amount of capital raised using other methods, public and private, and gives us a bit of insight into common Regulation D offering characteristics and the companies that most frequently avail themselves of the Regulation D exemptions.

Common Regulation D Offering Characteristics

Using information reported in response Item 13 of Form D, the report begins by estimating the total amount of capital raised in Regulation D offerings for the 2009 and 2010 calendar years (take a look at the report’s appendix for some of its methodologies and assumptions, including the treatment of Form D amendments). Item 13 of Form D requires that a company specify:

  • the total amount of securities to be offered (Item 13(a)), expressed as a dollar value or as an “Indefinite” amount (indicating that the total offering amount is undetermined or cannot be determined at the time of the Form D filing);
  • the total amount of securities that have been sold as of the time of the Form D filing (Item 13(b)); and
  • the total amount of securities that remain to be sold (Item 13(c)).

Based on a review of these figures the report estimates that, for the 2009 and 2010 calendar years, capital raised through Regulation D offerings ranged from a minimum (calculated using Item 13(b)) of approximately $587 and $905 billion, respectively, to a maximum (calculated using Item 13(a)) of approximately $1.5 and $1.2 trillion, respectively. With the average offering size being approximately $30 million, but the median offering size only being approximately $1 million, suggesting that a large number of smaller offerings took place.

Among the available Regulation D exemptions, Rule 506 was by far the most popular one to be claimed during the period examined. Rule 506 allows you to raise an unlimited amount of capital from an unlimited number of accredited investors, and up to 35 non-accredited investors, provided certain information and other requirements are met.

The data also reveals that during the 2009 and 2010 calendar years the total amount of capital raised in Regulation D offerings was more than twice the total amount of capital raised in public equity offerings. There are, however, other factors that might be influencing these findings, not the least of which being the state of the capital markets during the period in question. It’ll be interesting to see if this trend continues as the environment for public equity improves.

Another interesting bit of information revealed by the data is the number and type of investors that typically participate in a Regulation D offering. Only approximately 10% of investors that participated in offerings during the period examined were non-accredited investors. With approximately 90% of offerings being made up of entirely accredited investors. In addition almost 90% of offerings involved approximately 30 investors or less.

Common Company Characteristics

The report also gives us some insight into the type of companies that most frequently avail themselves of the Regulation D offering exemptions. For example, Item 4 of Form D requires that a company identify its industry group and Item 5 asks that it disclose its revenue range (though companies have the option to “Decline to Disclose”).

Based on a review of the responses to Item 4, nearly one-third, or 29%, of the Form D filers in 2009 and 2010 identified themselves as pooled investments funds (of which approximately half, or 55%, further identified themselves as hedge funds). Of the remaining companies, approximately 15% identified themselves as being in the technology industry, approximately 10% in the health care industry and approximately 8% in the real estate industry.

While approximately half of all companies declined to disclose their revenues, of the companies that did make the disclosure nearly 20% had no revenues at all and another approximately 20% had revenues of $25 million dollars or less (the chart below accounts for a $1.00 – $5 million revenue range and a $1 million – $5 million revenue range, but Form D calls for disclosure in the $1.00 – $1 million and $1 million – $5 million revenue ranges, so it’s unclear to me as to whether there’s overlap in the chart or a typo, though I assume the latter). Finally, less than 4% of all companies raising capital in a Regulation D offering reported revenues in excess of $25 million.

Additionally, during the period examined approximately 25% of all companies that raised capital in a Regulation D offering were foreign companies.

And, of the universe of public companies, approximately 10% raised capital in a Regulation D offering, with those relying on Regulation D tending to be smaller and less profitable then their peers.

A complete copy of the report is embedded below, it’s brief and there are plenty of additional charts to flip through:

(Download File)

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