Market Soundings: The Interaction between Securities Regulation and Company Law in the United Kingdom and Italy
Before deciding on operations involving share issuance or sale, companies or shareholders may seek to disclose information to selected investors, in order to gauge their opinion on the envisaged market operation. Such ‘market soundings’ risk violating the prohibition of insider trading and yet such selective disclosures have been partially accepted in several European jurisdictions. Market soundings have been recently regulated in the Market Abuse Regulation, which clarifies under which circumstances they are allowed and the position of the involved parties.
This Article analyses the rules on market soundings in the Market Abuse Regulation with regard to initial public offers of securities, issuance in the secondary market and accelerated bookbuildings. Additionally, it will be stressed that market soundings might also violate national company law rules and principles, mostly those related to directors’ duties and liabilities. This Article addresses how Italian and English company law regimes react towards selective disclosures. It will be shown that a tension may still exist between national company law rules and uniform rules on the prohibition of market abuses.