What's an SEC 8-K filing for a publicly traded company?
Dave, I keep getting messages about companies that have "filed their 8-K" but the email doesn't explain what an 8-K is, it just assumes I know. But I don't. What's an 8-K and what does it have to do with me as an investor?
I get those messages too, in my spam mailbox. But an 8K is one of a set of forms that publicly traded companies are required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Their Web site lists a table that gives a staggering number of different forms (see for yourself) which, among its vast data listing, includes the snippet that an 8K is an initial filing for offering stock.
Fortunately, the SEC also has a specific document just on Form 8K which does a much better job of explaining what the form is for and what it includes. It's a bit confusing, because this document suggests that an 8K is a form that basically triggers the requirement for the company to file a different form if any of a specific set of events occurs. As the SEC puts it: "The instructions for Form 8-K describe the types of events that trigger a public company's obligation to file a current report, including any of the following..."
Companies have four days to file a Form 8-K for the events specified in the items in Sections 1-5 and 9 above. In terms of sections 6-8, I can't say since I'm not an SEC attorney or investment expert myself. Fortunately, all the 8K filings from companies are stored in the exceptionally informative EDGAR database on the SEC site, and there's plenty of help information available too.
Finally, I feel like this answer is a bit fuzzy, but as far as I can tell, the 8-K is a form that companies file with Securities and Exchange Commission when they have a specific "trigger" event transpire, and then they have a responsibility to file a followup form or document within a few days that details exactly what happened, how it affects the company, and its impact on shareholders.
I hope that's helpful, and if there are any errors in this entry that you know of, dear reader, please chime and help us all learn more about the mysterious SEC 8K form. Thanks!
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