Today December 8th we focus on the corporate side of the Company and take a look at Gaming Corps as a publicly listed company. What does being listed mean in practice and what is the role of the individual company in making sure that trade on the open market is fair and equal?
Gaming Corps was founded in 2014 with the goal of establishing the next big Swedish developing studio by combining Gaming and iGaming. The first major project was a multiplatform video game aimed at large audiences and based on the mobile game “Riddick: The Merc Files”, which later transformed into the video game “The Descendant”. It was with that project, the business idea of combining Gaming and iGaming and a talented team of developers that Gaming Corps made its case to investors in 2015 when exiting onto the stock market. The capital was raised, and with that Gaming Corps became a publicly listed company on Nasdaq First North Growth Market as of June 4th 2015. Going from privately owned to publicly owned means many changes, mainly in the areas of management, accounting, auditing and financial reporting.
Nasdaq First North Growth Market is an alternative stock exchange for smaller companies in Europe. It is a division of Nasdaq and shares a single trading system with the main markets. If a person wants to buy shares in Gaming Corps, she first needs to create a brokerage account with a bank or financial institute which offers trade on Nasdaq First North Growth Market. Being a publicly listed company entails in principle that the ownership of the company can potentially change substantially on a daily basis as shares change hands on an open market. As it stands today, a number of board and management team members together own a sizeable share of Gaming Corps meaning that despite being a public company, we are in some ways a “family” business which has had a positive impact on the organization thus far.
Being publicly listed comes with great responsibility as Gaming Corps must do its part in making sure that the trade in our share is completely fair and on equal terms. The basis of fair trade is that information is properly shared with the market, so that everyone can make equally educated investments. A critical task for the Gaming Corps management team is therefore to assess what is called inside information. Regulations stipulate that a public company on a regulated market (in our case Nasdaq) “must inform the public as soon as possible about inside information that directly affects the company and possibly the value of the shares. This shall be done in a manner which gives the public fast access to the information and enable them to make a complete and correct assessment of the information. The purpose of these rules is to avoid a situation in which price-sensitive information (i.e information which might have an effect on the share price) is only available to a limited number of people, who may then use it for insider trading”.
What this means is that we must continuously assess weather actions taken or events that have happened means that inside information has materialized. If it has, we must as soon as possible inform the market via a regulatory press release. For this reason we are always in contact with each other and will release information late at night, early in the mornings and anywhere in between as it is vital to be as swift as possible. It also means that we always have to prepare draft press releases for different possible scenarios, so that when a situation arises, we are not caught unprepared. In some cases where special criteria are met, we can log the matter with the Financial Supervisory Authority as a postponed announcement. Our decisions and deliberations about each matter must be documented and can be subject to scrutiny. Since every company is different there is no exact definition for what is and what is not inside information. Regulations stipulate that “the definition of inside information may vary from company to company depending on a range of circumstances. An assessment of what is considered inside information must therefore be made in each individual case and the responsibility of doing that lies with the management.” What this means is that the dialogue on what is currently happening in the company and whether that constitutes inside information, is never ending and always present for us as a management team. And everything is constantly reevaluated. A potential partnership, a new product, a financing matter – something we have worked on for weeks or months can from one day to the next change and turn into inside information. And there is also a host of information arising regularly which does not constitute inside information, but can still be deemed valuable for the market to know and thus necessary to share quickly. In that case we issue a non-regulatory press release. For the investor, the difference in press releases is made clear by what is called the MAR tag – all listed companies must put a tag at the end of each press release which contains inside information as stipulated by the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). Hence one can quickly see whether the information released contains inside information or not.
There are as described regulations and laws which govern our status as a public company. We must follow them and we do. But there are also plenty of situations where just following the principle of the law or regulation is not enough. As a public company we must also apply a moral as well as pragmatic filter on top of what is expected, sometimes restricting ourselves further and in other situations offering extra information. You can follow the law to the letter but still make bad judgement calls on what and how to communicate on the open market, and as a result act in a way that is not in the best interest of existing and potential shareholders. If you have 2-3 owners you can call them to discuss matters, and ask their permission if need be. The situation is completely different when having over 6000 shareholders you will never meet and whose investment completely hinges on the company sharing information in the most responsible way possible. Hence, when we say that the sun rises in the morning and sets at night with our shareholders in mind, we are not joking!
To sum up, when it comes to the role of the individual company in making sure that trade on the open market is fair and equal, the responsibility is substantial. It is a responsibility that all listed companies share collectively. This has an effect on the listed company of course, since the time spent on managing information, making assessments and reporting, is substantial. But with that investment in time also comes great benefits for us as a management team, because it forces new discussions and forces us all to see matters that are key to the business from new angles, all day every day.