Pursuant to section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”) and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, notice is hereby given that on December 29, 2003, the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”), through its subsidiary, The Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc. (“Nasdaq”), filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by Nasdaq. Nasdaq filed this proposal pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Exchange Act  and Rule 19b-4(f)(1) thereunder, which renders the proposal effective upon filing with the Commission. The Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.
I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of Substance of the Proposed Rule Change
Nasdaq proposes to waive certain listing fees. Below is the text of the proposed rule change. Proposed new language is underlined.
4500 Issuer Listing Fees
IM-4500-1 Waiver of Fees Upon Application in Certain Merger Situations
Rules 4510(c)(2), 4510(d)(3), and 4520(c)(3) provide Nasdaq with the discretion to waive all or part of the annual listing fees prescribed in this Rule 4500 series. Pursuant to that authority, Nasdaq has determined to permit a Nasdaq issuer that completes a merger with another Nasdaq issuer during the first 90 days of a calendar year to apply for and receive a waiver for 75% of the annual fees assessed to the acquired Nasdaq issuer. Issuers must apply for the credit no later than June 30 of the year in which the merger occurred. Applications should be addressed to: Finance Department CCG Billing Operations, The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., 9513 Key West Avenue, 4th Floor, Rockville, Maryland 20850.
II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
In its filing with the Commission, Nasdaq included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change and discussed any comments it received on the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. Nasdaq has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.
A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change
NASD Rules 4510(c)(2), 4510(d)(3), and 4520(c)(3) provide Nasdaq with the discretion to waive all or part of the annual listing fees prescribed in this NASD Rule 4500 series. Pursuant to that authority, Nasdaq has determined to permit a Nasdaq issuer that completes a merger with another Nasdaq issuer during the first 90 days of a calendar year to apply for and receive a waiver for 75% of the annual fees assessed to the acquired Nasdaq issuer. Issuers must apply for the credit no later than June 30 of the year in which the merger occurred. Nasdaq has determined to take this action because it believes that it is equitable to provide a partial credit for annual listing fees in order to avoid the assessment of two fees where a merger between two currently listed Nasdaq issuers has occurred within the first 90 days of a billing year.
2. Statutory Basis
Nasdaq believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with the provisions of section 15A(b)(5) and 15A(b)(6) of the Act. Section 15A(b)(5) of the Act  requires that the rules of the NASD provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among members and issuers and other persons using any facility or system which the NASD operates or controls. Nasdaq believes that this proposal, which provides for a partial waiver of annual fees in certain merger situations, is an equitable allocation of fees.
B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition
Nasdaq does not believe that the proposed rule change will result in any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.
C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants or Others
Nasdaq neither solicited nor received written comments with respect to the proposed rule change.
III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action
The foregoing rule change has become effective pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A)(i) of the Act  and Rule 19b-4(f)(1) thereunder, because it constitutes a stated policy, practice or interpretation with respect to the meaning, administration, or enforcement of an existing rule, and therefore the proposed rule change is effective immediately upon filing.
At any time within 60 days of the filing of a rule change pursuant to section 19(b)(3)(A) of the Act, the Commission may summarily abrogate the rule change if it appears to the Commission that such action is necessary or appropriate in the public interest, for the protection of investors, or otherwise in furtherance of the purposes of the Act.
IV. Solicitation of Comments
Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change 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. Comments should be submitted electronically at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.Start Printed Page 5631
All comment letters should refer to File No. SR-NASD-2003-198. This file number should be included on the subject line if e-mail is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, comments should be sent in hard copy or by e-mail but not by both methods. 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 be submitted by February 26, 2004.Start Signature
For the Commission, by the Division of Market Regulation, pursuant to delegated authority.
Jill M. Peterson,
[FR Doc. 04-2330 Filed 2-4-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8010-01-P