Late yesterday, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”) announced the temporary suspension of the continued listing requirements, applicable to issuers listed on Nasdaq,1 related to bid price2 and market value of publicly held shares3 through January 16, 2009.
Nasdaq cited a dramatic decline in investor confidence as a result of the recent financial crisis, even though there has been no fundamental change in the underlying business model or prospects for many of the issuers impacted. Nasdaq noted the number of listed companies trading below the minimum bid price of $1 per share has increased dramatically. For example, as of September 30, 2007, there were only 64 securities trading below $1 on Nasdaq. By September 30, 2008, that number had jumped to 227, and by October 10, the number of securities trading below $1 was 344. This represents an increase of over 500 percent since September 2007.
During the suspension period, issuers will not be cited for deficiencies of the bid price or market value of publicly held shares requirements. Additionally, if an issuer is currently in a non-compliance period or in the hearing process for deficiencies of the bid price or market value of publicly held shares requirements, such period or hearing process will be suspended until the suspension period is over.
Nasdaq requested that the Securities and Exchange Commission waive the 30-day operative delay period in order to immediately implement these changes. We expect the waiver will be granted and the effectiveness of the rule change will be retroactive to October 16, 2008.