The requirements for corporate publicity are increasing, especially against the background of the balance sheet scandals of listed companies. In addition, the MAR (Market Abuse Regulation) adopted by the European Union tightens or extends the publicity obligation. For example, since July 3, 2016, issuers have had to distribute mandatory notices throughout Europe and also make them available on their website for a period of five years. The information must also be transmitted to the national supervisory authority (e.g., BaFin), to the national storage medium (e.g., company register) and, under certain circumstances, to the trading venue operator.
What are ad hoc reports?
Companies must publish “ad hoc”, i.e., immediately, if they have price-relevant news. This includes, for example, information on acquisitions, mergers, profit warnings or inconsistencies in the balance sheet. These circumstances must be disclosed immediately if they have occurred, or if there is a reasonable probability that they will occur in the future. The aim of this publication obligation is equal opportunities for all market participants and the prevention of insider trading. The ad hoc publicity obligation is based on the Securities Trading Act (WpHG), or the European Market Abuse Regulation.
IR service providers in Europe and the USA
There are specialised IR service providers for the publication of reports. Some, such as IRW Press, only distribute general financial reports. Others, such as the press text news agency or companies operating throughout Europe, such as the EQS Group, also publish ad hoc reports. Business Wire is international, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the market leader in the distribution of news and ad hoc communications. As a recognised medium for mandatory communications in the USA, Canada and twelve European countries, Business Wire handles XBRL tagging, document formatting and the transmission of regulatory information to EDGAR, SEDAR and other systems. EQS is a leader in Europe, but was recently acquired by US investor Thoma Bravo.
EQS Group sold to US investor Thoma Bravo
EQS is also known on the financial market as the owner of the former DGAP, which has distributed most mandatory notifications of listed companies in German-speaking countries. The DGAP (German Society for Ad-hoc Publicity) was founded in 1996 by Deutsche Börse, Reuters and vwd to offer a regulatory intelligence service for the publication obligations of listed companies. In 2005, the DGAP was then taken over by the EQS Group and continued to be the largest financial news service under the name EQS News.
In November 2023, US investor Thoma Bravo finally took over EQS and offered shareholders €40.00 per share in cash. The offer represented a premium of 53% over the XETRA closing price of EQS on 15 November 2023, the last trading day prior to publication. Thomas Bravo also subscribed to a capital increase of 40 million euros. It was the first acquisition of the software investor in Germany. After the takeover, EQS will be taken off the stock exchange. However, Thoma Bravo wants to support the future growth of EQS with its expertise in software and operational business. This is intended to accelerate product innovations and fully exploit the company’s growth opportunities in Europe in the area of compliance software in the long term. This also includes investments in EQS’s plans to address the increasingly complex requirements in the investor relations and corporate compliance environment with innovative software solutions.