11 U.S. Code § 1145. Exemption from securities laws
Section 1145 of the House amendment deletes a provision contained in section 1145(a)(1) of the House bill in favor of a more adequate provision contained in section 364(f) of the House amendment. In addition, section 1145(d) has been added to indicate that the Trust Indenture Act [15 U.S.C. 77aaa et seq.] does not apply to a commercial note issued under a plan, if the note matures not later than 1 year after the effective date of the plan. Some commercial notes receive such an exemption under 304(a)(4) of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 (15 U.S.C. § 77ddd(a)(4)) and others may receive protection by incorporation by reference into the Trust Indenture Act of securities exempt under section 3a(3), (7), (9), or (10) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77c(a)(3), (7), (9), (10)].
In light of the amendments made to the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.] in title III of the House amendment to H.R. 8200, a specific exemption from the Trust Indenture Act [15 U.S.C. 77aaa et seq.] is required in order to create certainty regarding plans of reorganization. Section 1145(d) is not intended to imply that commercial notes issued under a plan that matures more than 1 year after the effective date of the plan are automatically covered by the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 since such notes may fall within another exemption thereto.
One other point with respect to Section 1145 deserves comment. Section 1145(a)(3) grants a debtor in possession or trustee in chapter 11 an extremely narrow portfolio security exemption from section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77e] or any comparable State law. The provision was considered by Congress and adopted after much study. The exemption is reasonable and is more restrictive than comparable provisions under the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.] relating to the estates of decedents. Subsequent to passage of H.R. 8200 by the House of Representatives, the Securities and Exchange Commission promulgated Rule 148 to treat with this problem under existing law. Members of Congress received opinions from attorneys indicating dissatisfaction with the Commission’s rule although the rule has been amended, the ultimate limitation of 1 percent promulgated by the Commission is wholly unacceptable.
The Commission rule would permit a trustee or debtor in possession to distribute securities at the rate of 1 percent every 6 months. Section 1145(a)(3) permits the trustee to distribute 4 percent of the securities during the 2-year period immediately following the date of the filing of the petition. In addition, the security must be of a reporting company under section 13 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 [15 U.S.C. 78m], and must be in compliance with all applicable requirements for the continuing of trading in the security on the date that the trustee offers or sells the security.
With these safeguards the trustee or debtor in possession should be able to distribute 4 percent of the securities of a class at any time during the 2-year period immediately following the date of the filing of the petition in the interests of expediting bankruptcy administration. The same rationale that applies in expeditiously terminating decedents’ estates applies no less to an estate under title 11.
This section, derived from similar provisions found in sections 264, 393, and 518 of the Bankruptcy Act [sections 664, 793, and 918 of former title 11], provides a limited exemption from the securities laws for securities issued under a plan of reorganization and for certain other securities. Subsection (a) exempts from the requirements of section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77e] and from any State or local law requiring registration or licensing of an issuer of, underwriter of, or broker or dealer in, a security, the offer or sale of certain securities.
Paragraph (1) of subsection (a) exempts the offer or sale under section 364 of any security that is not an equity security or convertible into an equity security. This paragraph is designed to facilitate the issuance of certificates of indebtedness, and should be read in light of the amendment made in section 306 of title III to section 3(a)(7) of the 1933 act [15 U.S.C. 77c(a)(7)].
Paragraph (2) of subsection (a) exempts the offer or sale of any security of the debtor, a successor to the debtor, or an affiliate in a joint plan, distributed under a plan if such security is exchanged in principal part for securities of the debtor or for allowed claims or administrative expenses. This exemption is carried over from present law, except as to administrative claims, but is limited to prevent distribution of securities to other than claim holders or equity security holders of the debtor or the estate.
Paragraph (3) of subsection (a) exempts the offer or sale of any security that arises from the exercise of a subscription right or from the exercise of a conversion privilege when such subscription right or conversion privilege was issued under a plan. This exemption is necessary in order to enhance the marketability of subscription rights or conversion privileges, including warrants, offered or sold under a plan. This is present law.
Paragraph (4) of subsection (a) exempts sales of portfolio securities, excluding securities of the debtor or its affiliate, owned by the debtor on the date of the filing of the petition. The purpose of this exemption is to allow the debtor or trustee to sell or distribute, without allowing manipulation schemes, restricted portfolio securities held or acquired by the debtor. Subparagraph (B) of section 1145(a)(4) limits the exemption to securities of a company that is required to file reports under section 13 of the Securities Act [15 U.S.C. 78m] and that is in compliance with all requirements for the continuance of trading those securities. This limitation effectively prevents selling into the market “cats and dogs” of a nonreporting company. Subparagraph (C) places a limitation on the amount of restricted securities that may be distributed. During the case, the trustee may sell up to 4 percent of each class of restricted securities at any time during the first 2 years and 1 percent during any 180-day period thereafter. This relaxation of the resale rules for debtors in holding restricted securities is similar to but less extensive than the relaxation in SEC Rule 114(c)(3)(v) for the estates of deceased holders of securities.
Paragraph (5) contains an exemption for brokers and dealers (stockbrokers, as defined in title 11) akin to the exemption provided by section 4(3)(A) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77d(3)(A)]. Instead of being required to supply a prospectus, however, the stockbroker is required to supply the approved disclosure statement, and if the court orders, information supplementing the disclosure statement. Under present law, the stockholder is not required to supply anything.
Subsection (b) is new. The subsection should be read in light of the amendment in section 306 of title III to the 1933 act [15 U.S.C. 77c(a)(7), (9), (10)]. It specifies the standards under which a creditor, equity security holder, or other entity acquiring securities under the plan may resell them. The Securities Act places limitations on sales by underwriters. This subsection defines who is an underwriter, and thus restricted, and who is free to resell. Paragraph (1) enumerates real underwriters that participate in a classical underwriting. A person is an underwriter if he purchases a claim against, interest in, or claim for an administrative expense in the case concerning, the debtor, with a view to distribution or interest. This provision covers the purchase of a certificate of indebtedness issued under proposed 11 U.S.C. 364 and purchased from the debtor, if the purchase of the certificate was with a view to distribution.
A person is also an underwriter if he offers to sell securities offered or sold under the plan for the holders of such securities, or offers to buy securities offered or sold under the plan from the holders of such securities, if the offer to buy is with a view to distribution of the securities and under an agreement made in connection with the plan, with the consummation of the plan or with the offer or sale of securities under the plan. Finally, a person is an underwriter if he is an issuer, as used in section 2(11) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77b(11)].
Paragraph (2) of subsection (b) exempts from the definition of underwriter any entity to the extent that any agreement that would bring the entity under the definition in paragraph (1) provides only for the matching combination of fractional interests in the covered securities or the purchase or sale of fractional interests. This paragraph and paragraph (1) are modeled after former rule 133 of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Paragraph (3) specifies that if an entity is not an underwriter under the provisions of paragraph (1), as limited by paragraph (2), then the entity is not an underwriter for the purposes of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77a et seq.] with respect to the covered securities, that is, those offered or sold in an exempt transaction specified in subsection (a)(2). This makes clear that the current definition of underwriter in section 2(11) of the Securities Act of 1933 [15 U.S.C. 77b(11)] does not apply to such a creditor. The definition in that section technically applies to any person that purchases securities with “a view to distribution.” If literally applied, it would prevent any creditor in a bankruptcy case from selling securities received without filing a registration statement or finding another exemption.
Subsection (b) is a first run transaction exemption and does not exempt a creditor that, for example, some years later becomes an underwriter by reacquiring securities originally issued under a plan.
Subsection (c) makes an offer or sale of securities under the plan in an exempt transaction (as specified in subsection (a)(2)) a public offering, in order to prevent characterization of the distribution as a “private placement” which would result in restrictions, under rule 144 of the SEC, on the resale of the securities.
Sections 13 and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, referred to in subsec. (a)(3)(B)(i), are classified to sections 78m and 78o(d), respectively, of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.
The Trust Indenture Act of 1939, referred to in subsec. (d), is title III of act May 27, 1933, ch. 38, as added Aug. 3, 1939, ch. 411, 53 Stat. 1149, as amended, which is classified generally to subchapter III (§ 77aaa et seq.) of chapter 2A of Title 15, Commerce and Trade. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see section 77aaa of Title 15 and Tables.
2010—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 111–327 substituted “2(a)(11)” for “2(11)” wherever appearing.
1994—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 103–394, § 501(d)(33)(A), in introductory provisions struck out “(15 U.S.C. 77e)” after “Act of 1933” and substituted “do not apply” for “does not apply” and in par. (3)(B)(i) struck out “(15 U.S.C. 78m or 78o(d))” after “Act of 1934”.
1984—Subsec. (a)(3)(B)(i). Pub. L. 98–353, § 516(a)(1), inserted “or 15(d)” after “13”, and “or 78o(d)” after “78m”.
Subsec. (a)(3)(B)(ii). Pub. L. 98–353, § 516(a)(2), amended cl. (ii) generally. Prior to amendment, cl. (ii) read as follows: “in compliance with all applicable requirements for the continuance of trading in such security on the date of such offer or sale; and”.
Subsec. (b)(1)(C). Pub. L. 98–353, § 516(b)(2), substituted “from” for “for”.
Subsec. (b)(2)(A)(i). Pub. L. 98–353, § 516(b)(3), substituted “or combining” for “combination”.
Subsec. (b)(2)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 98–353, § 516(b)(4), substituted “from or to” for “among”.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 98–353, § 516(c), struck out “commercial” before “note”.
Amendment by Pub. L. 103–394 effective Oct. 22, 1994, and not applicable with respect to cases commenced under this title before Oct. 22, 1994, see section 702 of Pub. L. 103–394, set out as a note under section 101 of this title.