How Do Companies Get Listed on the New York Stock Exchange?

The New York Stock Exchange is a worldwide market, merged with the American and foreign stock exchanges into NYSE Euronext. About 80 percent of American securities are traded through that market. To be listed, a company must meet minimum financial and nonfinancial standards, such as number of shareholders, earnings and stock price. The Securities and Exchange Commission regulates securities trading, but the NYSE governs listing requirements.

Application

To get listed on the NYSE, a company files an application with an agreement to meet NYSE guidelines and requirements. That also must include the articles of incorporation, company by-laws and resolutions, and information on the organization, including contact details for key executives and affirmation that none has a felony conviction. It also requires a letter from security underwriters that the company meets listing standards.

Shareholders

To qualify for NYSE listing, a company must have at least 400 shareholders who own more than 100 shares of stock, have at least 1.1 million shares of publicly traded stock and have a market value of public shares of at least $40 million. The stock price must be at least $4 a share. Initial public offerings, spin-offs from existing companies or affiliates need a market value of at least $100 million.

Profits

A company also must be profitable. It has to meet one of two basic earnings standards. The first is aggregate pre-tax income of $10 million for the previous three years, with at least $2 million in each of the two most recent years. An alternate is $12 million pre-tax in three years with at least $5 million in the most recent year and at least $2 million in the year before that.

NYSE Discretion

The NYSE has broad discretion in listing companies and will list only shares it deems suitable for the market's auction trading process, in which buy and sell orders are matched on the exchange floor. It can apply more stringent criteria, even if a company meets the basic securities and financial criteria. A company that is accepted for listing can expect trading of shares to start in four to six weeks.

Global Considerations

The NYSE has stricter standards for worldwide trading. The $4 share price and $100 million market value apply, but a company must have at least 2.5 million shares outstanding and 5,000 public shareholders. In the case of a non-American company whose home market does not have "registered" shareholders, the NYSE requires that a member brokerage firm attest to the depth of market and liquidity of the company's stock.

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