On December 19, 2019, the Staff of the Division of Corporation Finance (the “Staff”) released guidance detailing the process to be followed by companies that choose to submit confidential treatment applications. In March 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments that allow companies to omit confidential information that is commercially sensitive and the disclosure of which would result in competitive harm (determined on the basis of the same standard always used in connection with confidential treatment requests) from most exhibits without filing confidential treatment applications. As a result, most companies have since chosen to rely on the amended provisions and have not submitted a confidential treatment application. However, for those companies that either choose to use the traditional application method or are unable to rely on the amended provision, the Staff’s guidance details the application submission process that should be followed as an alternative method. The application must include an unredacted copy of the agreement containing the confidential information, justify the time period for which confidential treatment is sought and explain why disclosure of the confidential information is unnecessary for the protection of investors. Companies that previously have obtained a confidential treatment order which is about to expire must file a short-form application to continue to protect the confidential information from public release.
A link to the Staff guidance can be found here.