Nasdaq has taken unprecedented action to help companies cope with a foundering market. The tech-heavy exchange's board of directors has for the first time temporarily suspended the $1 minimum bid price, as well as its requirement that a certain portion of shares in each stock be available for purchase by public investors. The suspension, which will last until Jan. 2, 2002, is effective immediately.
Nasdaq officials say they want to give struggling companies a second chance in a downtrodden market further devastated by the Sept. 11 attacks that left parts of New York's financial district in ruins. Nasdaq Spokesman Michael DeMeo says getting delisted is "a major event" for a company because of the uncertainties it raises. "The grace period allows [companies facing delisting] to refocus their business, and hopefully a lot will come back improved on Jan. 2," says DeMeo.
Companies that were facing delisting now will have a clean slate for the rest of the year. Regardless of where they were in the process, companies that had been sent delisting notices will be able to proceed as if they had never received them.
As if the sluggish economy hadn't already battered stock prices enough, the values of many Nasdaq listings have plummeted further since Sept. 11. Everything from halted air travel to waning consumer confidence has impacted share prices.