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The Mechanics of Delisting

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sirius XM (SIRI - Get Report) and a handful of other stocks trading under $1 are quickly running out of time before a March 15 delisting deadline from the Nasdaq.

Sirius XM, like several other stocks, has until Monday to satisfy a Nasdaq listing rule that requires a stock to maintain a minimum bid price of $1. While Sirius XM has several options it can use to regain compliance, investors in other companies are less sure of what the future holds for their penny stock investments.

>>10 Stocks Facing Delisting Deadlines

If a stock closes below the $1 mark for 30 consecutive business days, it is granted a grace period of 180 calendar days to regain compliance with the Nasdaq's listing requirements. To regain compliance, a stock like Sirius XM would have to close at or above $1 for a minimum of 10 consecutive trading sessions.

The Nasdaq temporarily suspended the minimum bid listing requirement on Oct. 16, 2008, during the height of economic recession. The move allowed stocks trading under $1 to continue trading on the exchange. That temporary suspension was lifted on July 31, 2009, and the Nasdaq resumed sending out delisting warning letters to companies that were not in compliance.

March 15 is the day the so-called grace period ends for the first batch of companies that received a delisting notice after the Nasdaq reinstituted the minimum bid price requirement last year. Sirius XM is among that group, which first received non-compliance letters from the exchange in September. With fewer than 10 business days remaining until the deadline, these companies now have to look to other remedies to remain listed on the Nasdaq.

Companies with shares that trade for pennies already have difficulty finding analyst coverage and institutional buyers. A delisting and move to the OTC Bulletin Board could mean a further slide below the $1 mark for many companies.

Take Verso Technologies (VRSOQ.PK), which had faced the same March 15 delisting deadline before moving to the Pink Sheets. The stock now trades for a fraction of a penny. Similarly, Hythiam (HYTH.OB) was up against the March 15 deadline before moving to the OTC Bulletin Board on Feb. 26. Shares traded as high as 64 cents in early January, but have since fallen to roughly 23 cents.
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