03/21/2019
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Contributed

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen financial markets by reducing the risk of companies contemplating going public. The Encouraging Public Offerings Act of 2019 would encourage capital formation by making initial public offerings (IPOs) more attractive.

Senators Tillis and Van Hollen introduced identical legislation in the 115th Congress. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission released a proposal similar to the bipartisan legislation and will vote to approve the rule after the 60-day comment period.

“IPOs give companies crucial access to capital markets and yield the potential to create thousands of jobs. When private companies consider going public, we should be doing everything possible to make this process easy and to encourage it, without jeopardizing investor protections,” said Senator Tillis. “It’s imperative that Americans have the opportunity to invest their savings and retirement funds wisely, and having more IPOs is important in helping folks save for retirement. This bipartisan legislation will reduce unnecessary red-tape and encourage these companies to continue to grow.”

“Too often new businesses find that the process of going public is both overly complex and expensive. This bill would establish a clear path for startups looking to go public and would provide the flexibility they need to grow and succeed,” said Senator Van Hollen. “The Encouraging Public Offerings Act will foster innovation and streamline the market, bringing more opportunity to businesses across Maryland and the country. I’m pleased to join Senator Tillis in introducing this common-sense legislation to help start-ups and small businesses attract the capital they need to grow and prosper.”

Background:
The Encouraging Public Offerings Act of 2019 expands certain provisions of Title I of the JOBS Act, which previously only applied to Emerging Growth Companies, to apply to all public companies. Specifically, the legislation allows issuers to submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for confidential review before publicly filing draft registration statements for IPOs and for follow-on offerings within one year of an IPO. Additionally, the bill allows all companies to meet with qualified institutional buyers and other institutional accredited investors prior to an offering to gauge those investors’ interest in the offering.

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