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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; Order Approving Proposed Rule Change and Notice of Filing and Order Granting Accelerated Approval to Amendment No. 1 by the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. To Change the Description of the Market Capitalization Listing Standard to Market Value of Listed Securities

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble January 15, 2002.

I. Introduction

On November 14, 2001, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD” or “Association”) through its subsidiary, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (“Nasdaq”), pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) the proposed rule change to modify the description of the market capitalization listing standard to market value of listed securities. Nasdaq is also proposing to provide a definition of the term “listed securities” in Nasdaq's Marketplace Rules.

The proposed rule change was published for comment in the Federal Register on December 5, 2001.[3] The Commission received no comments on the proposal. On December 18, 2001, the Exchange submitted Amendment No. 1 to the proposed rule change.[4]

II. Description

The Exchange has proposed to amend the description of the market capitalization listing standard to market value of listed securities. One of the standards under which issuers can qualify for listing on The Nasdaq National Market (“National Market”) is to have a market capitalization of at least $75,000,000. Issuers may also qualify for continued inclusion on the National Market with at least $50,000,000 in market capitalization. The minimum market capitalization standards for initial and continued inclusion on The Nasdaq SmallCap Start Printed Page 3521Market are $50,000,000 and $35,000,000, respectively.

For purposes of initial listing eligibility, Nasdaq has historically interpreted the term market capitalization to include only the value of listed securities. In connection with continued listing eligibility, however, Nasdaq has also considered market capitalization to include classes of non-redeemable convertible preferred stock, provided that the conversion price was “in the money.” According to Nasdaq, this approach has created uncertainty among issuers and investors as to the definition and application of the market capitalization listing standard. In addition, Nasdaq's Marketplace Rules do not define market capitalization and Nasdaq believes that this term may be thought to include more than just the value of listed securities or non-redeemable convertible preferred stock that is in the money.

Accordingly, Nasdaq is amending the description of the market capitalization listing standard so that it is based on the market value of listed securities. In conjunction with this change, Nasdaq also is adding a definition of the term “listed securities” to Nasdaq's Marketplace Rules. Nasdaq believes that these modifications will clarify for issuers and investors that initial and continued listing eligibility will be based only upon the value of an issuer's securities that are quoted on Nasdaq or listed on a national securities exchange.

III. Discussion

After careful review, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities association.[5] In particular, the Commission believes that the proposal is consistent with the requirements of sections 15A(b)(6) of the Act,[6] which requires, among other things, that the Association's rules are designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

The Commission believes that the rule change should clarify the standards under which issuers can qualify for listing on the National Market. In particular, the rule change should clarify for issuers and investors that initial and continued listing eligibility will be based only upon the value of an issuer's securities that are quoted on Nasdaq or listed on a national securities exchange.

IV. Amendment No. 1

The Commission finds good cause for approving Amendment No. 1 prior to the thirtieth day after the date of publication of notice thereof in the Federal Register. In Amendment No. 1, Nasdaq notified the Commission that in order to minimize the impact of the proposed rule change on existing issuers, the rule will go into effect on June 1, 2002. The Commission believes that this is a suitable delay to allow issuers listed on the National Market to become informed of the rule change and prepare accordingly. Therefore, the Commission finds that granting accelerated approval to Amendment No. 1 is appropriate and consistent with section 19(b)(2) of the Act.[7]

V. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning Amendment No. 1, including whether it is consistent with the Act. Persons making written submissions should file six copies thereof with the Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW., Washington, DC 20549-0609. Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for inspection and copying in the Commission's Public Reference Room. Copies of such filing will also be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the NASD. All submissions should refer to File No. SR-NASD-2001-84 and should be submitted by February 14, 2002.

VI. Conclusion

For all of the aforementioned reasons, the Commission finds that the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of the Act and the rules and regulations thereunder applicable to a national securities exchange.

It Is Therefore Ordered, pursuant to section 19(b)(2) of the Act,[8] that the proposed rule change (SR-NASD-2001-84) is approved.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.[9]

Margaret H. McFarland,

Deputy Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  See Securities Exchange Act Release No. 45116 (November 28, 2001), 66 FR 63275 (December 5, 2001).

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4.  See Letter from John D. Nachmann, Senior Attorney, Nasdaq, to Katherine A. England, Assistant Director, Division of Market Regulation, Commission, dated December 17, 2001 (“Amendment No. 1”). In Amendment No. 1, the Exchange requested that the proposed rule change become effective on June 1, 2002.

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5.  In approving this rule proposal, the Commission has considered the proposed rule's impact on efficiency, competition, and capital formation. 15 U.S.C. 78c(f).

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6.  15 U.S.C. 78o-3(b)(2) and (6).

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[FR Doc. 02-1703 Filed 1-23-02; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8010-01-M