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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; New York Stock Exchange LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Amending Section 907.00 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual To Adjust the Timing of Entitlements to Complimentary Products and Services for Special Purpose Acquisition Companies

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble September 7, 2016.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) [1] of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”) [2] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[3] notice is hereby given that, on August 26, 2016, New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE” or the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I, II, and III below, which Items have been prepared by the self-regulatory organization. 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

The Exchange proposes to amend Section 907.00 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual (the “Manual”) to adjust the service entitlements of special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) under that rule. The proposed rule change is available on the Exchange's Web site at www.nyse.com, at the principal office of the Exchange, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

In its filing with the Commission, the self-regulatory organization 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 those statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. The Exchange has prepared summaries, set forth in sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant parts of such statements.Start Printed Page 62938

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and the Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

The Exchange proposes to amend Section 907.00 of the Manual to adjust the service entitlements of special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) under that rule.

The Exchange offers complimentary products and services for a period of 24 calendar months from the date of initial listing to a category of listed companies defined as Eligible New Listings. Eligible New Listings include: (I) Any U.S. company that lists common stock on the Exchange for the first time and any non-U.S. company that lists an equity security on the Exchange under Section 102.01 or 103.00 of the Manual for the first time, regardless of whether such U.S. or non-U.S. company conducts an offering and (ii) any U.S. or non-U.S. company emerging from a bankruptcy, spinoff (where a company lists new shares in the absence of a public offering), and carve-out (where a company carves out a business line or division, which then conducts a separate initial public offering).

Eligible New Listings are eligible for services as a Tier A or Tier B company as follows:

  • Tier A: For Eligible New Listings with a global market value of $400 million or more, calculated as of the date of listing on the Exchange, the Exchange offers market surveillance, market analytics, Web-hosting, Web-casting, corporate governance tools, and news distribution products and services for a period of 24 calendar months from the date of listing.
  • Tier B: For Eligible New Listings with a global market value of less than $400 million, calculated as of the date of listing on the Exchange, the Exchange offers Web-hosting, market analytics, Web-casting, corporate governance tools, and news distribution products and services for a period of 24 calendar months from the date of listing.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, if an Eligible New Listing begins to use a particular product or service provided for under Section 907.00 within 30 days of its initial listing date, the complimentary period will begin on the date of first use.[4]

A SPAC is a special purpose company formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more operating businesses or assets. To qualify for initial listing a SPAC must meet the requirements of Section 102.06 and 102.01A of the Manual.[5] Section 102.06 of the Manual provides that the Exchange will consider on a case-by-case basis the appropriateness for listing of SPACs that conduct an initial public offering of which at least 90% of the proceeds, together with the proceeds of any other concurrent sales of the SPAC's equity securities, will be held in a trust account controlled by an independent custodian (the “Trust Account”) until consummation of a business combination in the form of a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization, or similar business combination with one or more operating businesses or assets with a fair market value equal to at least 80% of the net assets held in trust (net of amounts disbursed to management for working capital purposes and excluding the amount of any deferred underwriting discount held in trust) (a “Business Combination” or the “Business Combination Condition”). Under Section 102.06, the SPAC must be liquidated if no Business Combination has been consummated within a specified time period not to exceed three years. The Exchange will promptly commence delisting procedures with respect to any SPAC that fails to consummate its Business Combination within (i) the time period specified by its constitutive documents or by contract or (ii) three years, whichever is shorter.

The Exchange now proposes to amend Section 907.00 to exclude newly-listed SPACs from the definition of Eligible New Listings. In lieu of receiving these services at the time of initial listing, the proposed amended rule would treat a SPAC that remains listed after meeting the Business Combination Condition as an Eligible New Listing and would provide the services to which that status would entitle it for 24 months from the date of meeting the Business Combination Condition.

The Exchange believes this approach is appropriate in light of the special characteristics of a SPAC. SPACs raise money on a one-time basis and typically trade at a price that is very close to their liquidation value. As such, SPAC managements are typically not focused on their stock price and investor relations to the same degree as operating companies are. As the services provided to Eligible New Listings are targeted in large part on those market-driven concerns of newly-listed operating companies, they are less useful to SPACs. A SPAC that has met the Business Combination Condition, on the other hand, is similarly situated to a newly-formed publicly-traded operating company and the Exchange believes that the services provided to Eligible New Listings will be as relevant and attractive to a SPAC that has met the Business Combination Condition as to the newly-listed operating companies that are generally eligible for those services.

The Exchange believes that companies will often require a period of time after meeting the Business Combination Condition to complete the contracting and training process with vendors providing the complimentary products and services. Therefore, many companies may not be able to begin using the suite of products offered to them immediately on becoming eligible. To address this issue, the Exchange proposes to specify in Section 907.00 that if a SPAC that has met the Business Combination Condition begins using a particular service within 30 days after the date of meeting the Business Combination Condition, the complimentary period begins on such date of first use. In all other instances, the complimentary period will begin on the date the SPAC meets the Business Combination Condition.

2. Statutory Basis

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act,[6] in general, and furthers the objectives of Sections 6(b)(4) [7] of the Act, in particular, in that it is designed to provide for the equitable allocation of reasonable dues, fees, and other charges among its members and issuers and other persons using its facilities. The Exchange also believes that the proposed rule change is consistent with Section 6(b)(5) [8] of the Act in that it is not designed to permit unfair discrimination between customers, issuers, brokers, or dealers.

The Exchange believes that it is reasonable to offer complimentary products and services to attract and retain listings and respond to competitive pressures. As SPACs are unlikely to utilize the services available to them currently at the time of initial listing but would likely find those services useful if they remain listed after Start Printed Page 62939they meet the Business Combination Condition, the Exchange believes it is reasonable to shift the time when SPACs are eligible for the services available to Eligible New Listings to the period immediately after meeting the Business Combination Condition.

The Exchange believes that it is not unfairly discriminatory to provide SPACs with the applicable services only if and when they meet the Business Combination Condition. The Exchange recognizes that not all SPACs will meet the Business Combination Condition and that some listed SPACs will therefore never become eligible for the services that would be provided to an otherwise similarly qualified operating company. However, given the specific characteristics of the SPAC structure, these services are generally not of any particular value to a SPAC prior to meeting the Business Combination Condition and the Exchange therefore believes that those SPACs that never qualify for the services will not suffer any meaningful detriment as a consequence.

Allowing SPACs up to 30 days after meeting the Business Combination Condition to start using the complimentary products and services is a reflection of the Exchange's experience that it can take companies a period of time to review and complete necessary contracts and training for services following their becoming eligible for those services. Allowing this modest 30 day period, if the company needs it, helps ensure that the company will have the benefit of the full period permitted under the rule to actually use the services, thus giving companies the full intended benefit.

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. In many cases, SPACs will consider transferring to a new listing venue at the time they meet the Business Combination Condition. The proposed rule change enables the Exchange to compete for the retention of these companies by offering them a package of complimentary products and services that assist their transition to being a publicly listed operating company for the first time. All similarly situated companies are eligible for the same package of services. Therefore, the proposed amendment to Section 907.00 will increase competition by enabling the Exchange to more effectively compete for listings.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

No written comments were solicited or received with respect to the proposed rule change.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or up to 90 days (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the self-regulatory organization consents, the Commission will:

(A) By order approve or disapprove the proposed rule change, or

(B) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

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. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NYSE-2016-58. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/​rules/​sro.shtml). 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 Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of the filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NYSE-2016-58 and should be submitted on or before October 4, 2016.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[9]

Brent J. Fields,

Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

1.  15 U.S.C.78s(b)(1).

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4.  The Exchange does not propose to make any changes in this filing to the values of the various services set forth above as provided to eligible listed companies as specified in Section 907.00.

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5.  Section 102.06 refers to SPACs as “acquisition companies” or “ACs.”

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[FR Doc. 2016-21914 Filed 9-12-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P