More About S-3 and the Transition to the New Revenue Recognition Standard

In a recent post we explored a very complex securities registration issue within retrospective application of the new revenue recognition standard. (The issue arises with any retrospective application, so it will also arise in the new leasing standard.) In a nutshell the registration issue comes up when you:

 

(1) Adopt the new revenue recognition standard as of January 1, 2018 (assume a December 31 year-end), then

(2) File your March 31, 2018 10-Q and then

(3) File an S-3 to register to sell securities.

 

The S-3 incorporates your 2017 Form 10-K by reference which includes 2015 financial statements. The 2015 financial statements would not normally be retrospectively adjusted for the new revenue recognition standard. In this case though that could be necessary. You can read all the technical details here.

 

This first post led to a really interesting question from a reader. What happens if you file the S-3 before you file your March 31, 2018 10-Q? We explored the issue in this post.

 

This then led to a really great comment from another reader. In our workshops we always emphasize building research skills and using all the relevant SEC resources, especially the CorpFin Financial Reporting Manual (FRM). This really astute reader found this section in Topic 13 of the FRM:

 

13110.2  In the case of a registration statement on Form S-3, Item 11(b)(ii) of that form would specifically require retrospective revision of the pre-event audited financial statements that were incorporated by reference to reflect a subsequent change in accounting principle (or consistent with staff practice, discontinued operations and changes in segment presentation) if the Form S-3 also incorporates by reference post-event interim financial statements. If post-event financial statements have not been filed, the registrant would not revise the pre- event financial statements in connection with the Form S-3, however, pro forma financial statements in accordance with Article 11 of Regulation S-X may, in certain circumstances, be required. In contrast, a prospectus supplement used to update a delayed or continuous offering registered on Form S-3 (e.g., a shelf takedown) is not subject to the Item 11(b)(ii) updating requirements. Rather, registrants must update the prospectus in accordance with S-K 512(a) with respect to any fundamental change. It is the responsibility of management to determine what constitutes a fundamental change.

 

 

Here there is at least some relief for the S-3 filed after year-end but before the Form 10-Q is filed! As a reminder S-X Article 11 contains this requirement:

 

  • 210.11-01   Presentation requirements.

(a) Pro forma financial information shall be furnished when any of the following conditions exist:

………………….

(Note: (1) to (7) omitted)

(8) Consummation of other events or transactions has occurred or is probable for which disclosure of pro forma financial information would be material to investors.

 

Some judgment will be required to make that decision! If the effect of the new revenue recognition standard is large enough, it could well be material to investors.

 

Similarly, for the S-3 shelf takedown S-K 512(a) includes this requirement (in bullet ii):

 

(ii) To reflect in the prospectus any facts or events arising after the effective date of the registration statement (or the most recent post-effective amendment thereof) which, individually or in the aggregate, represent a fundamental change in the information set forth in the registration statement.

 

Again, some judgment will be required to make that decision!

 

Thanks to both the readers who contributed to this discussion, and as always your thoughts and comments are welcome!

 

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