Critical questions issuers should ask before agreeing to a convertible promissory note and irrevocable transfer agent letter.
Short on funding options from more traditional sources, many microcaps resort to convertible notes. In such transactions, the noteholder offers desperately needed capital in exchange for a Convertible Promissory Note. Accepting the funds, the issuer satisfies its immediate cash flow demands and survives to fight another day. But then it comes time to pay the piper.
Typically, once the note has “aged” in accordance with Rule 144, the debt can be converted into common stock at a steep discount and immediately sold in the marketplace (assuming all requirements of a Rule 144 resale has been met). The aggressive sale generally causes the stock price of the thinly traded microcap to drop, and each subsequent conversion request is computed at a lower stock price resulting in the issuance of more and more shares.
The stock price plummets, the float explodes, and the debt becomes harder and harder to pay off. It is the ultimate Death Spiral. It harms real investors. And yet, it is the only way some microcaps can obtain critical funding.
Some noteholders take advantage of a struggling issuer’s need for immediate funding….