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Nazz Delist Threats Hollow

Companies that miss the deadline by only a week could get a break, reckons Eth. Others that are still months away from filing their reports may not be so lucky.

"The Nasdaq is taking a practical approach to the issue, realizing that what they're facing in this area is widespread and unprecedented, and you can't just take a Procrustean approach," says Eth, who represents companies involved in delisting matters but declined to name which ones.

Nasdaq rules contain a provision allowing the exchange's board of directors to call a special meeting to review any delisting decision -- an exceptional step more along the lines of a presidential pardon than a standard procedure in delisting cases.

Jason Frankl, a former Nasdaq attorney who now works for FTI Consulting advising companies on Nasdaq compliance issues, says that two of his clients at risk of delisting received notices this week calling for the Nasdaq board to review their cases and staying any future delisting actions.

To Frankl's knowledge, this is the first time the Nasdaq board has ever exercised its discretion to step in.

A Nasdaq representative said the exchange does not comment on interactions with listed companies. "We'll have to let our rules speak for themselves," said the representative, referring to the regulations posted on the Nasdaq Web site.

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