The Corporate ATM

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com – (213) 222-8260

Comparing ATMs and Equity Lines

Small cap companies are increasingly using the “at the market” or ATM offering as a means to raise capital in response to a volatile and unpredictable stock market environment.

An “at the market” offering enables a company to take advantage of a receptive stock market to raise capital either by dribbling out its shares over time or by doing a large offering.

How does a corporate “at the market” offering work?    First, the requirements:

In order to create a corporate ATM, a public company must be traded on NASDAQ or one of the exchanges, NYSE, AMEX, etc.

These public companies can register shares for future sale by filing an SEC “shelf” offering.  This “shelf” permits a company to sell its shares in the future whenever it wishes either by “dribbling out” its shares or by selling them all at once.

The shares sold are fully registered so the buyer can resell them whenever it wishes which expands the universe of potential investors and reduces the liquidity risk.

In a typical corporate ATM, the company picks an investment bank (or banks) to be its agent in selling the shares over time.

The shares are sold “at the market” less a small agent fee.

The company determines the timing and amount of shares to be sold constrained only by what the market will accept.

In theory, the shares are sold to long-term holders but there’s no guarantee.

Let’s compare this with an equity line which is another increasingly common means to raise equity over time.

In an equity line, like a corporate ATM, a company files a registration statement for its planned share sales.

In the equity line, however, the company selects an investor to buy the shares.  There is no agent or agent fee. 

This investor, however, will structure the relationship with the company to limit the investor’s risk.

This typically means that the investor will price the shares at a healthy discount to market and may add warrants to sweeten its return.

Also, the investor typically limits the amount of shares it will purchase at any one time.

An equity line investor is typically not a long-term holder but rather intends to resell the shares at a profit.  Stock market fear of this resale volume has been blamed for depressing an equity line company’s stock price and has slowed the growth of this type of offering.

In contrast, as companies come to learn about the advantages of an “at the market” offering, its use is growing.

If you have any questions about “at the market” or other types of offerings, please contact me.

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com or dmccarthy@cca-ccs.com

(213) 222-8260

Offer Yield Securities – What Investors Want

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

(213) 222-8260

This is the second in a series of posts about how a company can best  respond to our current capital markets environment.

Frequently, our clients express their frustration that the equity market is so volatile now that investors seem reluctant to act.  Many investors are unsure whether they’ll get a positive return on their investment.

This has driven many to seek out securities with a yield, maybe interest on debt or a dividend on equity.

Seeing this, we’ve come up with a transaction which responds to investors’ current preferences.

We’ve advised companies to offer their common shareholders a new yield-oriented security in exchange for their common.

We’ve tailored the exchange offers to fit our client’s specific circumstances, there are a number of variations available.

The key is that our clients offer what is in great demand, a yield security, in exchange for what seems less in demand, plain common stock.

We’d be happy to discuss this idea with you to determine whether it works in your situation. 

Please call me or email me.  Thank you.

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

(213) 222-8260

Capitalmarketalerts.com

What now? Where can I get capital?

dennismccarthy@ariesmgmt.com

(213) 222-8260

Well, it’s the Fall of 2011, Wall Street has been highly volatile as fears of a new recession and disarray in the Eurozone dominate the news.

As I talk with clients and friends, the discussion always comes around to the question “now what?”  What if my company needs capital?  Where can I go?

First, there’s debt.

The debt markets are open for business.  Based on my experience, finance companies and banks are lending.  The public debt market is open too.

A borrower’s projections may get more “stress testing” now but interest rates are historically low.

Second, there’s asset sales

In part because debt is available, buyers are active. If your company needs to raise cash, you might consider selling a business.

I know companies who’ve raised cash in this manner.  They’ve gotten good prices for the businesses sold and are now deploying the money. 

Third, large cash-rich corporations may be a source of capital for your company. 

Sometimes these relationships take the form of direct equity investments into your company but many times they take the form of JVs, licenses, cash advances or even simple grants.

These deals work when the relationship benefits the large company’s business, even if indirectly. 

Lastly, don’t forget equity.

You may wish for higher prices when selling equity but you should also be pragmatic.  You should ask yourself “how critical is the having cash now?  What is the investment opportunity?  Does it justify the cost of raising equity now?”

Again, my name is Dennis McCarthy.  I’m happy to discuss funding options with you.  My contact information is below.