On January 26, 2010, the US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed changes to the Rule 10b-18 safe harbor for share buyback programs. The proposed amendments are intended to modernize the safe harbor in light of market developments since the Rule's adoption. The amendments would expand safe harbor protection to purchases using certain passive or independent pricing methodologies and relax disqualification for non-compliance due solely to "flickering quotes," which present little risk of market manipulation. Conversely, the proposed amendments seek to limit the availability of the safe harbor for purchases, such as the opening purchases on significant markets and those during the pendency of certain acquisitions by SPACs, that present a significant risk of manipulation, but comply with the conditions of the current safe harbor.
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