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Pink Sheets Introduces OTCQX -- A New Premium Listing Service

Pink Sheets Introduces OTCQX -- A New Premium Listing Service for OTC
Securities 
Designed to Meet the Particular Needs of Smaller Public Companies and
Foreign Stock Exchange-Listed Companies in a Post-Sarbanes-Oxley
Environment 
NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 03/16/06 --  Pink Sheets, LLC today
announced the introduction of OTCQX(SM), a new tiered listing service
that offers a premier trading, quotation and disclosure venue for
over-the-counter (OTC) securities in the US markets.  The OTCQX
premium service provides issuers with an efficient and robust
platform to list their securities and access secondary market
liquidity.  It also offers OTC investors a select list of
quality-oriented domestic and foreign stocks that provide regular
financial disclosure. 
OTCQX is designed to meet the needs of a diverse group of
issuers
including: 


--  Existing domestic issuers trading in the OTC market that are seeking
    premium status and that have the ability to efficiently disclose financial
    results to investors;
--  Smaller companies currently listed on NYSE, AMEX or Nasdaq that are
    looking for a reporting mechanism more customized to their needs, while
    continuing to provide secondary market liquidity and transparency to their
    current investors;
--  Venture-backed growth companies that do not yet have the scale of
    operations for an exchange listing but wish to offer enhanced liquidity to
    current investors; and
--  Foreign exchange-listed companies seeking access to the deep pools of
    institutional and retail liquidity in the US equity markets, while using
    the 12g3-2b exemption to protect themselves against an involuntary,
    mandatory SEC registration

 
The increased costs associated with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance are
motivating many smaller and growth-oriented companies to reconsider
the viability of listing on traditional exchanges.  "OTCQX will
provide a compelling alternative for those companies that wish to
provide their shareholders with the liquidity and transparent
disclosure of a premier OTC listing, but in a more flexible
regulatory environment that is suitable to the needs of smaller and
foreign issuers," said Cromwell Coulson, president and CEO of Pink
Sheets LLC. "OTCQX also effectively raises the overall standard of
OTC securities as a viable investment vehicle by enhancing the
quantity and quality of disclosure they provide to investors. 
The OTCQX trading platform will feature two distinct tiers,
PremierQX(SM) and PrimeQX(SM), designed to showcase solid operating
companies with audited financials that can meet certain minimum
requirements and provide ongoing disclosure. 
PremierQX, the highest tier, identifies issuers that are of the size
and quality to be listed on a National Stock Exchange, hold annual
shareholders' meetings, and that have a minimum bid price of $1; 
PrimeQX identifies those issuers that are operating companies with
audited financials, but not of sufficient size to be on PremierQX. 
Every OTCQX-listed company must also have a Designated Advisor for
Disclosure ("DAD") to assist them in providing adequate current
information and advise the issuer on meeting the requirements for
inclusion in the tier.  The DAD, modeled after the highly successful
Nominated Advisor (NOMAD) of the London Stock Exchange's AIM market,
relies upon the securities attorneys and investment bankers who
normally serve as the primary capital markets advisors to OTC
companies. 
The DAD requirement introduces to U.S. investors the protections of a
professional "gatekeeper" for secondary market disclosure.   The DAD
for an OTCQX-listed company will be required to participate in the
preparation of the company's disclosure statements and prevent
issuers with inadequate or questionable disclosure from joining
OTCQX.  This third party independent review by securities market
professionals should enhance investor confidence in OTCQX-listed
securities. 
Every OTCQX-listed company will be required to meet defined
standards,
including: 


--  Ongoing quarterly and annual financial reports posted on OTCQX.com, a
    premier web disclosure portal for qualifying OTC securities
--  Interim material event disclosure of any information that may affect
    the share price
--  Annual audit
--  Management disclosure and annual management certification
--  100 round lot shareholders
--  Ongoing operations (no shells, blank check, or special purpose
    acquisition companies)
--  Inclusion in the S&P or Mergent Manual, which satisfies the Blue Sky
    requirements for secondary transactions in many states

"By limiting OTCQX to operating companies with audited financials and
professional advice, we believe the OTCQX premium tiers will provide
a substantially better home for smaller companies that are currently
considering listing on the AIM or OTC Bulletin Board," commented
Coulson. "Foreign exchange-listed issuers will also find substantial
advantages through our expedited disclosure process.  The US equity
markets remain the broadest and deepest in the world, and OTCQX
leverages the Pink Sheets' scalable quotation and trading platform
that is used for all OTC stocks with nearly 200 participating
broker-dealers." 
Currently there are nearly 5,000 OTC securities quoted in Pink Sheets
including Mercury Interactive Corp. (OTC: MERQ), Nestle SA (OTC:
NSRGY), Heineken NV (OTC: HINKY), Lukoil (OTC: LUKOF), Vivendi
Universal SA (OTC: VVDUF) and Volkswagen AG (OTC: VLKAY). 
As part of the listing, OTCQX issuers will be provided with a
comprehensive suite of complimentary services and access to an array
of data products, research resources and Investor Relations and
Public Relations capabilities.  This includes: the Pink Sheets News
Service for publishing financial reports and news releases, real-time
Level II quotes available free to the public, and a subscription to
OTCQuote.com, a web-based service providing real-time and historical
quote information for all Pink Sheets stocks. 
About OTCQX 
An alternative to listing on traditional exchanges, OTCQX is a new
premium listing service for issuers of securities that are traded
over-the-counter (OTC).  The OTCQX trading, quotation and disclosure
platform, comprised of the PremierQX(SM) and PrimeQX(SM) tiers, is
designed to distinguish strong public companies from the nearly tens
of thousands of securities traded OTC.  Additional information is
available on www.otcqx.com. 
About Pink Sheets, LLC 
Pink Sheets, LLC is the leading provider of pricing and financial
information for the over-the-counter (OTC) securities markets.  Its
centralized information network includes services designed to benefit
market makers, issuers, brokers and OTC investors. Pink Sheets
information enhances the efficiency of OTC trading, provides better
executions for OTC investors and improves the capital formation
process for OTC issuers.  For more information visit the Pink Sheets
website at www.pinksheets.com. 
Provider ID: 06113440
 
 
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