A form that serves as a required submission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission when a publicly traded company is involved in a merger, acquisition or exchange offer. Like a Form S-1 submission (which serves as a mandatory SEC petition in advance of a company’s initial public offering), Form S-4 submissions function as registration statements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1933.
When used in reference to a merger or acquisition, a Form S-4 filing details certain material information about the transaction. Elements of this submission may include risk factors, interests of named counsel and experts, pro-forma financial information, financial ratios and the terms of the transaction itself. Investors generally consult Form S-4 submissions in an effort to make efficient gains from a company’s merger or acquisition activity.
Investor One: “Did you hear that Coca-Cola is acquiring a pet vacation company?”
Investor Two: “No way! That is going to result in massive gains! I better consult the Form S-4 for more information.”