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Sebi eases procedural requirements for open, buyback offers

New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) Markets regulator Sebi on Thursday relaxed procedural requirements for listed entities with respect to open offers and buyback offers opening up to till July 31, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The watchdog has been easing various requirements in the wake of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown that have significantly impacted economic activities.

Last week, Sebi gave certain relaxations in terms of compliance with procedural norms pertaining to rights issues opening up to July 31.

In view of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures undertaken by central and state governments, Sebi said one-time relaxations from strict enforcement of SAST (Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers) Regulations and norms for buyback of securities are being given for open offers and buyback tender offers opening up to July 31.

Service of the letter of offer, tender form and other offer related material to shareholders may be undertaken by electronic transmission as already provided under the takeover and and buyback regulations, it said in a circular.

This relaxation is subject to certain conditions, including that the acquirer or the company would have to publish the letter of offer and tender form on the websites of the company, registrar, stock exchanges and the manager to offer.

Besides, the acquirer or company along with lead manager need to undertake all adequate steps to reach out to the shareholders through other means such as ordinary post or SMS or audio-visual advertisement on television or digital advertisement.

Among others, the acquirer would have to make an advertisement containing details regarding the dispatch of the letter of offer electronically.

The acquirer may have the flexibility to publish the dispatch advertisement in additional newspapers, over and above those required under the respective regulations, it added.

The buyer should also make use of advertisements in television channels, radio and internet to disseminate information relating to the tendering process. Such advertisements can be in the form of crawlers or tickers as well, as per the circular.

All the advertisement issued should also be made available on the website of the company, registrar, managers to the offer, and stock exchanges.

The acquirer and the manager to offer need to provide procedure for inspection of material documents electronically, the circular said.

The circular comes into force with immediate effect. PTI SP RAM