In light of the market downturn and similar to action taken in the Great Recession, the NYSE and Nasdaq have proposed temporary waivers of certain market capitalization and trading price listing requirements.
The New York Stock Exchange
On April 3, 2020, the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE") filed a proposal (available here) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC") requesting a suspension of the minimum $50 million market capitalization requirement under Section 802.01B (available here) of the NYSE Listed Company Manual (the “Listing Manual") and the $1.00 trading price requirement under Section 802.01C (available here) of the Listing Manual.
The suspensions were proposed in response to the unusually high number of listed companies that may fall below (or have already fallen below) such requirements due to the unprecedented declines in the United States and global equities markets caused by the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The proposed suspensions are in addition to the ongoing temporary suspension of the $15 million market capitalization standard of Section 802.01B of the Listing Manual (available here) through and including June 30, 2020, approved by the SEC on March 20, 2020 (available here), and also in addition to the temporary waiver of certain shareholder approval requirements for private placements (as previously discussed in our post here).
NYSE noted that its proposed waiver of the $1.00 trading price requirement is identical to the waiver implemented during the financial crisis in 2009. Once approved, the suspensions will apply through and including June 30, 2020.
The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
On April 17, 2020, the SEC announced (available here) that it has immediately approved proposed rule changes by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq") that permit a longer period of time for companies to regain compliance with the bid price and market value of publicly held shares listing requirements of the Nasdaq Rules (the “Rules") by tolling the compliance periods through and including June 30, 2020 (available here). The changes were proposed in response to an increase in the number of companies whose securities are becoming non-compliant with the requirements amidst the current market uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide temporary relief by allowing additional time for companies to regain compliance. A company can regain compliance by satisfying the minimum requirement for a minimum of 10 consecutive days. Nasdaq continues to monitor and notify companies about new instances of non-compliance with the requirements in accordance with existing Rules.
We would like to thank Rodrigo Surcan and David Sterngold in our New York office and Harrison Tucker in our Houston office for their work on this article.