contributed by Yogesh Chande, who is a Consultant with Economic Laws Practice, Advocates &
Solicitors. Views of the author are personal]
passed by the SEBI, Adjudicating Officer in the context of the SEBI
(Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations (SEBI
Takeover Regulations), the Adjudicating Officer relying upon a decision
of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has held that, mere intention to acquire shares without a definitive concluded
contract cannot be the basis for triggering the requirement of making an open
offer under the Takeover Regulations.
Regulations, an acquirer is obliged to make a public announcement for an open
offer within four working days of – (a) agreement to acquire; or (b) deciding
to acquire the shares carrying voting rights.
acquirer was already holding 14.96% of the paid-up capital of the target
company. The requirement of making an open offer then, under the erstwhile SEBI
Takeover Regulations, was upon reaching 15% as against the present requirement
acquirer placed an order through the stock broker for acquiring additional 2.1%
of the paid-up capital of the target company from the open market (on the floor
of the stock exchange);
broker executed the trade and purchased the additional shares for the acquirer;
the acquirer reversed the aforesaid purchase order and the delivery of shares
was squared off by the stock broker. Thus, no additional shares were acquired
by the acquirer and his shareholding in the target company remained at 14.96%.
The acquirer was not entitled to any net delivery on the settlement date, which
would have taken his shareholding at 15% or more in the target company.
Adjudicating Officer held that, since the acquirer on T+2 settlement date, did
not become the beneficial owner of the additional shares, which would have
increased his holding to 15% or more, the obligation to make an open offer was
not triggered. The proceedings against the acquirer were accordingly disposed
off by the Adjudicating Officer.
settlement of transactions done on T, i.e., trade day, by exchange of monies
and securities between the buyers and sellers respectively takes place on
second business day (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, bank and stock exchange
trading holidays) after the trade day. The transactions in securities of
companies which have made arrangements for dematerialization of their
securities are settled only in demat mode on T+2 on net basis, i.e., buy and
sell positions of a member-broker in the same scrip are netted and the net
quantity and value is required to be settled.
companies, which are in “Z” group or have been placed under
“trade-to-trade” by stock exchanges as a surveillance measure
(“T” group), are settled only on a gross basis and the facility of
netting of buy and sell transactions in such scrips is not available.
that, the equity shares of the target company during the period [settlement
cycle of 29 July 2011] as it appears, were not trading on stock exchanges in
“Z” group i.e. trade-to-trade. This particular aspect, came to rescue [defence
before Adjudicating Officer] the acquirer, which enabled the acquirer to square
off his position on T day [29 July 2011] itself, as otherwise he would have
acquired additional voting rights over the target company which would have made
him the beneficial owner, resulting in triggering an open offer under the SEBI
– Yogesh Chande