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 non-financial standards, such as number of shareholders, earnings and stock price. The Securities and Exchange Commission regulates securities trading, but the NYSE governs listing requirements.
Have at Least 400 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.
Meet the Basic Earnings Standard
In order to order to get listed on the NYSE, a company also must be profitable and 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 $200 million in global market capitalization. In each case, the company still has to meet the shareholding threshold.
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.
File an Application
Assuming as company meets the required standard, getting listed on the NYSE is simply a case of filing 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. NYSE also requires a letter from security underwriters that the company meets listing standards.
NYSE Can Reject Unsuitable Companies
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.
Bob Haring has been a news writer and editor for more than 50 years, mostly with the Associated Press and then as executive editor of the Tulsa, Okla. "World." Since retiring he has written freelance stories and a weekly computer security column. Haring holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri.