Definition: The form on which a publicly-held company reports important events that occurred in its business. The form is then sent to the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the government agency which requires it and which keeps it on line for investors to examine.

Example: On March 26, 2014, Google filed a form 8-K to report that it was creating another type of common stock, called Class C.

Investeach explains: The most important resource that an investor can have is information. Thankfully, the government requires publicly-held companies to complete form 10-Q each quarter so that we never go longer than three months without knowing how a company is doing. However, there may be information arising from events and activities happening with the company all during the year that is important for investors to know about. The ‘catch all’ for these events is the 8-K. As we saw above, buying out another company is a reason to file an 8-K. Other reasons include acquiring or disposing of significant assets, a top executive leaving the company, and closing up or selling off a part of the business.

Because it is important for investors to know what is happening with the company, the deadline for filing the 8-K for most events is four days. While this may sound like a tight deadline, consider that news of an important event may appear in the financial press within hours of it happening. In four days, a company’s stock can move significantly. For this reason, investors don’t rely on the 8-Ks to keep up with what’s happening!

Riddle me this:

  1. Which government agency requires that companies periodically report to investors how they are doing?
  2. When are companies required to file an 8-K?
  3. What types of events require the filing of an 8-K?