Rescission Offers

Rescission Offers

Alexis King

A rescission offer takes place when an issuer offers to repurchase an investor’s securities and refund his purchase price plus interest. Most states provide that an issuer can offer those who invested in transactions that violate securities laws a chance to pre-emptively buy back their securities at the original purchase price plus interest. These offers must be performed with strict compliance with the respective state’s laws. California is governed by Ca. Corp. Code Section 25507(b).According to Ca. Corp. Code Section 25507 (b), (Link to code)after being made an offer that complies with the state’s requirements, the investor has 30 days to take advantage of the offer.[1] If the investor does not take advantage of the offer within 30 days, any rescission action that investors have under state securities laws are barred.[2]

A rescission offer takes place when an issuer offers to repurchasean investor’s securities and refund hispurchase price plus interest. Most states provide that an issuer can offerthose who invested in transactions that violate securities laws a chance to pre-emptively buy back their securities at the original purchase price plus interest. These offers must be performed with strict compliance with the respective state’s laws. California is governed by Ca. Corp. Code Section 25507(b).According to Ca. Corp. Code Section 25507 (b), (Link to code)after being made an offer that complies with the state’s requirements, the investor has 30 days to take advantage of the offer.[1] If the investor does not take advantage of the offer within 30 days, any rescission action that investors have under state securities laws are barred.[2]

Issuers of securities often resort to rescission offers to insulate themselves against liability. Rescission offers are useful for shareholders to avoid lability when a company might have violated registration requirements, and for shareholders that have supplied investors with misinformation or have omitted material information.[3]

The policy behind state rescission statutes is that an investor should not be permitted to refuse an offer by a sponsor that is willing to rescind a transaction and thenbring suit against that sponsor later. Every state but four (Arizona, New York, Tennessee, and West Virginia) have statutes that bar suits under civil liability provisions if the purchaser receives an offer to return the consideration paid with the interest anddoes not accept the offer within 30 days.[4]The effect of states’ civil liability provisions is to release the sponsor from liability from state securities laws. However, rescission offersdo not insulate the offeror from liability for common-law fraud.[5]

Federal statutes do not explicitly provide the same protection for issuers of rescission offers. Section 14 of the Securities Act of 1944 and Section 29(a) of the Securities Act of 1934 expressly stipulates that “any condition, stipulation, or provision binding any person to waive compliance with any provision of [the laws] shall be void.”[6]Thus, there is no federal statute permitting an issuer to protect themselves from liability by making a rescission offer.

However, an investor who accepts a rescission offer will have given up her rights (under federal law) because there has been a return of the original investment and interest. It is unclear if an investor’s rights to federal claims will be cut off when an investor rejects a rescission offer. The courts are split, and at least two courts have used common law principles to prohibit an action under federal securities laws by plaintiffs who turn down a rescission offer.[7]

Violations of the registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 provide the purchaser a right to rescind the transaction within one-year under Sections 12(a)(1)[8](link to code) and 14[9](link to code)of the Act. This right can be asserted against any seller who has violated Section 5. If the one-year period has expired, issuers might continue to be exposed to liability and may attempt to cut off liability by making a rescission offer.[10]

Importantly, issuers must remember that a rescission offer is also an offer to sell the underlying security, and the underlying security must be registered under Section 5 of the 1933 Act (if noexemption is available).

The rescission offer’s disclosure permits investors to exercise an informed decision when determining whether to rescind. The disclosure must include a detailed factual statement of the alleged violation and an estimated amount of liability.[11] The offeror is not required, however, to admit a violation or waive the statute of limitation.[12]

The 1933 Act does not define an interest rate, so interest under Section 12(a) is often based on the applicable state rate.

Choosing how to draft the rescission offer’s disclosure is an important part of the process. Disclosure is sometimes viewed as a renewed offer to sell, or alternatively, as a repurchase offer.[13] The disclosureshould be forward-looking if it is framed as a renewed offer to sell. It should specify the issuer’s prospects and risks of holding thesecurities in question.[14]If a disclosure is drafted as a repurchase offer, the document should emphasize the risks of returning the securities anddescribe the purpose and effect of the offer. In some states, securities regulators simplify the disclosure process by supplying simple form-letters for the offerors of rescission.[15]In situations where a rescission offer is framed as an offer of securities, issuers might be required to submit a prospectus with updated financial statements to regulators before making an offer.[16]


[1]https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/corporations-code/corp-sect-25507.html

[2]https://www.strictlybusinesslawblog.com/2012/11/16/neogenix-oncology-a-good-case-study-on-securities-law-noncompliance-by-a-high-growth-company-part-3-when-the-genie-cant-be-put-back-in-the-bottle/

[3]https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/part-two-section-42-unregistered-public-offerings-and-offering-rescission/

[4]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[5] Id.

[6]http://docplayer.net/30408168-Rescission-offers-under-regulation-d.html

[7]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf. “In Meyers v. C & M Petroleum Producers, Inc., 476 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. l973), the court reversed a lower court decision holding that plaintiffs had waived their rights by rejecting a rescission offer, but stated in dictum that the rejection of the offer might have estopped the plaintiffs from later filing suit.  In a more recent Fifth Circuit case, Topalian v. Ehrman, 954 F.2d 1125 (5th Cir. 1992), the rescission offer extended to investors in an oil and gas limited partnership helped shield the general partners from securities claims by investors.  The court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for defendants because the investors had been adequately warned of the risks associated with the venture and had been offered a rescission opportunity.  And, in Electronic Specialty Co. v. International Controls Corp., 295 F. Supp. l063 (S.D.N.Y. l963), where suit had been filed following the circulation of a rescission offer, the court held that the offer had mooted the cause of action, since the offer was identical to the relief sought in the complaint.”

[8]https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/77l

[9]https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/77n

[10]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[11]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[12] Id.

[13]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[14] Id.

[15]https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/part-two-section-42-unregistered-public-offerings-and-offering-rescission/

[16] Id.

Issuers of securities often resort to rescission offers to insulate themselves against liability. Rescission offers are useful for shareholders to avoid lability when a company might have violated registration requirements, and for shareholders that have supplied investors with misinformation or have omitted material information.[3]

The policy behind state rescission statutes is that an investor should not be permitted to refuse an offer by a sponsor that is willing to rescind a transaction and thenbring suit against that sponsor later. Every state but four (Arizona, New York, Tennessee, and West Virginia) have statutes that bar suits under civil liability provisions if the purchaser receives an offer to return the consideration paid with the interest anddoes not accept the offer within 30 days.[4]The effect of states’ civil liability provisions is to release the sponsor from liability from state securities laws. However, rescission offersdo not insulate the offeror from liability for common-law fraud.[5]

Federal statutes do not explicitly provide the same protection for issuers of rescission offers. Section 14 of the Securities Act of 1944 and Section 29(a) of the Securities Act of 1934 expressly stipulates that “any condition, stipulation, or provision binding any person to waive compliance with any provision of [the laws] shall be void.”[6]Thus, there is no federal statute permitting an issuer to protect themselves from liability by making a rescission offer.

However, an investor who accepts a rescission offer will have given up her rights (under federal law) because there has been a return of the original investment and interest. It is unclear if an investor’s rights to federal claims will be cut off when an investor rejects a rescission offer. The courts are split, and at least two courts have used common law principles to prohibit an action under federal securities laws by plaintiffs who turn down a rescission offer.[7]

Violations of the registration provisions of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 provide the purchaser a right to rescind the transaction within one-year under Sections 12(a)(1)[8](link to code) and 14[9](link to code)of the Act. This right can be asserted against any seller who has violated Section 5. If the one-year period has expired, issuers might continue to be exposed to liability and may attempt to cut off liability by making a rescission offer.[10]

Importantly, issuers must remember that a rescission offer is also an offer to sell the underlying security, and the underlying security must be registered under Section 5 of the 1933 Act (if noexemption is available).

The rescission offer’s disclosure permits investors to exercise an informed decision when determining whether to rescind. The disclosure must include a detailed factual statement of the alleged violation and an estimated amount of liability.[11] The offeror is not required, however, to admit a violation or waive the statute of limitation.[12]

The 1933 Act does not define an interest rate, so interest under Section 12(a) is often based on the applicable state rate. Choosing how to draft the rescission offer’s disclosure is an important part of the process. Disclosure is sometimes viewed as a renewed offer to sell, or alternatively, as a repurchase offer.[13] The disclosureshould be forward-looking if it is framed as a renewed offer to sell. It should specify the issuer’s prospects and risks of holding thesecurities in question.[14]If a disclosure is drafted as a repurchase offer, the document should emphasize the risks of returning the securities anddescribe the purpose and effect of the offer. In some states, securities regulators simplify the disclosure process by supplying simple form-letters for the offerors of rescission.[15]In situations where a rescission offer is framed as an offer of securities, issuers might be required to submit a prospectus with updated financial statements to regulators before making an offer.


[1]https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/corporations-code/corp-sect-25507.html

[2]https://www.strictlybusinesslawblog.com/2012/11/16/neogenix-oncology-a-good-case-study-on-securities-law-noncompliance-by-a-high-growth-company-part-3-when-the-genie-cant-be-put-back-in-the-bottle/

[3]https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/part-two-section-42-unregistered-public-offerings-and-offering-rescission/

[4]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[5] Id.

[6]http://docplayer.net/30408168-Rescission-offers-under-regulation-d.html

[7]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf. “In Meyers v. C & M Petroleum Producers, Inc., 476 F.2d 427 (5th Cir. l973), the court reversed a lower court decision holding that plaintiffs had waived their rights by rejecting a rescission offer, but stated in dictum that the rejection of the offer might have estopped the plaintiffs from later filing suit.  In a more recent Fifth Circuit case, Topalian v. Ehrman, 954 F.2d 1125 (5th Cir. 1992), the rescission offer extended to investors in an oil and gas limited partnership helped shield the general partners from securities claims by investors.  The court affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for defendants because the investors had been adequately warned of the risks associated with the venture and had been offered a rescission opportunity.  And, in Electronic Specialty Co. v. International Controls Corp., 295 F. Supp. l063 (S.D.N.Y. l963), where suit had been filed following the circulation of a rescission offer, the court held that the offer had mooted the cause of action, since the offer was identical to the relief sought in the complaint.”

[8]https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/77l

[9]https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/77n

[10]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[11]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[12] Id.

[13]https://www.pillsburylaw.com/images/content/4/7/v2/477/RobbinsRescissionD2013.pdf

[14] Id.

[15]https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/part-two-section-42-unregistered-public-offerings-and-offering-rescission/

thesecurities in question.[14]If a disclosure is drafted as a repurchase offer, the document should emphasize the risks of returning the securities anddescribe the purpose and effect of the offer. In some states, securities regulators simplify the disclosure process by supplying simple form-letters for the offerors of rescission.[2]In situations where a rescission offer is framed as an offer of securities, issuers might be required to submit a prospectus with updated financial statements to regulators before making an offer.[3]


[1] Id.

[2]https://www.cuttingedgecapital.com/part-two-section-42-unregistered-public-offerings-and-offering-rescission/

[3] Id.

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