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What is a Private Placement?
What’s important to know about it?
In this article, I will break down the meaning of Private Placement so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
What Is A Private Placement
A private placement refers to the sale of securities to specific investors rather than to the open market.
In other words, a company will sell shares or bonds to pre-defined investors to raise capital for a specific purpose.
For companies, a private placement is an alternative method for raising capital instead of having to sell shares to the public through an initial public offering (IPO).
In the United States, the sale of shares or securities must comply with securities laws and regulations.
Issues must make sure that those who buy shares in the context of a private placement are eligible to purchase the securities.
For instance, high net-worth individuals, banks, financial institutions, and large organizations are considered qualified investors to purchase shares via private placement.
However, an ordinary investor or a person from the general public may not qualify to purchase shares as it may result in the violation of the Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.
The main benefit of issuers selling securities through a private placement is that they are not required to comply with the same strict regulatory requirements when selling securities to the general public.
Since a private placement is less regulated than the public sale of shares, many companies may choose to raise capital in this fashion.
Keep reading as I will further break down the meaning of a private placement and tell you how it works.
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Why Is A Private Placement Important
Private placements represent a great way for companies and issuers to raise capital by selling securities to specific investors.
Fundamentally, the laws are designed to protect investors who generally have limited knowledge and understanding of the risks associated with various types of investments.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted strict rules requiring companies to comply before being authorized to sell shares to the public.
However, the SEC allows issuers to sell securities to qualified investors in a private placement without having to go through strict and costly requirements.
In the context of a private placement, issuers are exempt from having to produce a prospectus, do not have to provide the same level of detailed financial information to investors, and do not have to register the sale with the SEC.
To the extent the issuer sells shares to accredited investors (meaning those who qualify under the SEC rules) and the company does not largely advertise the sale to the public, shares can be sold to the investors by simply offering them an offering memorandum.
This can save the company a lot of time and money when raising capital.
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Types of Private Placements
In private placements, companies can sell different types of securities.
Let’s go over some of the common types of securities sold at a private placement.
The first type of private placement is the Regulation D equity offering which is the sale of shares or equity securities in a company.
Typically, equity investors in private placements will acquire minority ownership in the company.
The main advantage is that equity investors can command a larger percentage of ownership as they are taking more risks but will have to deal with liquidity risk and stock restrictions.
Another type of private placement is the Regulation D debt offering which is the sale of a promissory note to investors.
The promissory note is essentially a loan arrangement where the company borrows money from the investor as per the terms and conditions in the promissory note.
For each of these types of offerings, companies should make sure that they are properly complying with the applicable securities laws and regulations.
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Private Placement Restrictions
Although it’s important that you consult with a qualified attorney to assist you with the sale of shares in a private placement, let’s look at certain restrictions imposed by the SEC.
Under certain conditions, Regulation D of the SEC allows a company to issue up to $1 million in unregistered securities each year to any number and any type of investor.
The company can also issue up to $5 million of unregistered securities to any number of accredited investors and up to 35 non-accredited investors.
As of 2013, the regulations were changed to permit brokers to sell securities in the course of private placements by advertising the sale to the extent the investors are verified accredited investors.
When investors acquire shares in a private placement, their shares are going to be restricted as they will not have the ability to sell their shares to the public without proper registration with the SEC or must be eligible for an exemption.
Investors looking to acquire shares of a company in a private placement should properly assess their options and ensure that they are complying with the regulations to avoid any unintended consequences.
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Pros And Cons of Private Placements
Why should a company consider selling securities via private placement and what are the drawbacks?
The main benefit of private placements is that it allows companies to raise capital without having to comply with strict rules and requirements as public companies.
Since the shares sold are unregistered, a company can raise capital more quickly to fund its operations.
In addition, the process can be less costly as the company will not need to register the securities with the SEC, issue a prospectus, make annual disclosures, and so on.
Also, investors who purchase shares or securities in private placements are more sophisticated investors and can better understand and manage risk.
On the flip side, private placements do have drawbacks.
The first drawback is that investors will expect more from the issuer than the general public as they are taking more risks.
For instance, equity investors will expect a larger percentage of ownership in the company to compensate for the risk.
Bond investors will expect a higher rate of interest to compensate them for the additional risk they are taking in lending money to the company.
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So there you have it folks!
What does a private placement mean?
In a nutshell, a private placement refers to the sale of unregistered securities to a specific pool of investors.
In the context of a private placement, a company can sell shares, bonds, warrants, or other securities in exchange for cash.
Although private placements are regulated by the SEC, issuers have fewer formalities and requirements to observe when compared to the sale of securities to the general public.
Under Regulation D of the SEC, issuers can issue different amounts of securities to specific types of investors who qualify under the regulation.
Essentially, a private placement is the sale of securities to private investors and not to the general public.
Now that you know what a private placement is all about and how it works, good luck with your research!
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