For some reason, this issue has been coming up a lot lately. Our usual response to the question “Can non-US issuers make a Reg A or Reg CF offering?” is to point to the rules:
- Rule 251(b)(1) says Reg A can only be used by “an entity organized under the laws of the United States or Canada, or any State, Province, Territory or possession thereof, or the District of Columbia, with its principal place of business in the United States or Canada.”
- Reg CF Rule 100(b) says Reg CF may not be used by any issuer that “is not organized under, and subject to, the laws of a State or territory of the United States or the District of Columbia.”
Slightly different formulations, as you can see, and note that Reg CF doesn’t say that the company needs to have its primary place of business here. But both exclude non-US or Canadian companies.
But we are getting a lot of pushback and “what if?” questions, so here are responses to a few of the most common:
- What if we redomicile to the US? Well ok, that might work for Reg CF. It might work for Reg A too, if your management changes their domicile too (you need a bona fide principal place of business here). However, have you considered the tax consequences in your original home jurisdiction? Also, note that you’ll still need two years audited or reviewed financial statements, in US GAAP and audited or reviewed in accordance with US auditing requirements (US GAAS).
- What if we form a subsidiary and it makes the offering? Yes, you can form a subsidiary here (it’ll have to have its principal place of business here too, for Reg A) and it can raise money under Reg CF. But the money it raises here has to be legit used for the sub’s own purposes. It can’t be upstreamed to the parent, because that would likely make the parent a “co-issuer” that needs to also file a Form C or 1-A and can’t. So the sub needs to be planning to undertake its genuine own business. Even then, if it’s not a new business but just taking over some part of the parent’s business, then the sub might need to produce financials (again, using US GAAP and US GAAS) from the parent’s business or the part of business it’s taking over, because that’s a “predecessor.”
- What if we create a holding company in the US? Yes, although the same issues come up. If using Reg A, you need to move your principal place of business here. For either exemption, the foreign company that is now your subsidiary will be the “predecessor” company and so again we have the need for two years’ audited or reviewed financials using US GAAP and US GAAS.
- What if we create a new company that licenses the foreign company’s product or service? This may be the most promising option, but it’s really going to depend on facts and circumstances. Proceeds of the offering have to be used for the new company’s operations, in the case of Reg A the company’s primary place of business has to be here, and you’ll have to look carefully at whether there are any predecessor issues.