Description of Securities
DESCRIPTION OF ACLARIS THERAPEUTICS, INC. CAPITAL STOCK
The following description of the common stock of Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc., or the Company, is a summary and does not purport to be complete. This summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the DGCL, and the complete text of the Company’s amended and restated certificate of incorporation, or the certificate of incorporation, and amended and restated bylaws or the bylaws, which are incorporated by reference as Exhibits 3.1 and 3.2, respectively of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K to which this description is also an exhibit. The Company encourages you to read that law and those documents carefully.
Under the certificate of incorporation, the Company authorized to issue up to 100,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.00001 par value per share, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.00001 par value per share, all of which shares of preferred stock are undesignated. The Company’s board of directors may establish the rights and preferences of the preferred stock from time to time.
Each holder of common stock is entitled to one vote for each share on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors. Under the certificate of incorporation and the bylaws, common stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights. Because of this, the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors can elect all of the directors standing for election, if they should so choose.
Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any then-outstanding preferred stock, holders of common stock are entitled to receive ratably those dividends, if any, as may be declared from time to time by the board of directors out of legally available funds.
In the event of the Company’s liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of common stock will be entitled to share ratably in the net assets legally available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all of debts and other liabilities and the satisfaction of any liquidation preference granted to the holders of any then-outstanding shares of preferred stock.
Rights and Preferences
Holders of common stock have no preemptive, conversion or subscription rights and there are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to the common stock. The rights, preferences and privileges of the holders of common stock are subject to, and may be adversely affected by, the rights of the holders of shares of any series of preferred stock that the Company may designate in the future.
Section 203 of the DGCL
The Company is subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, which prohibits a Delaware corporation from engaging in any business combination with any interested stockholder for a period of three years after the date that such stockholder became an interested stockholder, with the following exceptions:
● before such date, the board of directors of the corporation approved either the business combination or the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;
● upon completion of the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the time the transaction began, excluding for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding, but not the outstanding voting stock owned by the interested stockholder, those shares owned (i) by persons who are directors and also officers and (ii) employee stock plans in which employee participants do not have the right to determine confidentially whether shares held subject to the plan will be tendered in a tender or exchange offer; or
● on or after such date, the business combination is approved by the board of directors and authorized at an annual or special meeting of the stockholders, and not by written consent, by the affirmative vote of at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding voting stock that is not owned by the interested stockholder.
In general, Section 203 defines a “business combination” to include the following:
● any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;
● any sale, transfer, pledge or other disposition of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation involving the interested stockholder;
● subject to certain exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder;
● any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock or any class or series of the corporation beneficially owned by the interested stockholder; or
● the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits by or through the corporation.
In general, Section 203 defines an “interested stockholder” as an entity or person who, together with the person’s affiliates and associates, beneficially owns, or within three years prior to the time of determination of interested stockholder status did own, 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation.
Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
The certificate of incorporation provides for the Company’s board of directors to be divided into three classes with staggered three-year terms. Only one class of directors will be elected at each annual meeting of stockholders, with the other classes continuing for the remainder of their respective three-year terms. Because the Company’s stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights, stockholders holding a majority of the shares of common stock outstanding will be able to elect all of the Company’s directors. The certificate of incorporation and bylaws also provide that directors may be removed by the stockholders only for cause upon the vote of 66 2/3% or more of outstanding common stock. Furthermore, the authorized number of directors may be changed only by resolution of the board of directors, and vacancies and newly created directorships on the board of directors may, except as otherwise required by law or determined by the board, only be filled by a majority vote of the directors then serving on the board, even though less than a quorum.
The certificate of incorporation and bylaws also provide that all stockholder actions must be effected at a duly called meeting of stockholders and will eliminate the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting. The bylaws also provide that only the Company’s chairman of the board, chief executive officer or the board of directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of authorized directors may call a special meeting of stockholders.
The bylaws also provide that stockholders seeking to present proposals before a meeting of stockholders or to nominate candidates for election as directors at a meeting of stockholders must provide timely advance notice in writing, and specify requirements as to the form and content of a stockholder’s notice.
The certificate of incorporation and bylaws provide that the stockholders cannot amend many of the provisions described above except by a vote of 66 2/3% or more of outstanding common stock.
The combination of these provisions make it more difficult for the Company’s existing stockholders to replace the board of directors as well as for another party to obtain control of the Company by replacing its board of directors. Since the Company’s board of directors has the power to retain and discharge the Company’s officers, these provisions also make it more difficult for existing stockholders or another party to effect a change in management. In addition, the authorization of undesignated preferred stock makes it possible for the Company’s board of directors to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to change the Company’s control.
These provisions are intended to enhance the likelihood of continued stability in the composition of the Company’s board of directors and its policies and to discourage coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids. These provisions are also designed to reduce the Company’s vulnerability to hostile takeovers and to discourage certain tactics that may be used in proxy fights. However, such provisions could have the effect of discouraging others from making tender offers for the Company’s shares and may have the effect of delaying changes in its control or management. As a consequence, these provisions may also inhibit fluctuations in the market price of the Company’s stock that could result from actual or rumored takeover attempts. The Company believes that the benefits of these provisions, including increased protection of its potential ability to negotiate with the proponent of an unfriendly or unsolicited proposal to acquire or restructure the company, outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging takeover proposals, because negotiation of takeover proposals could result in an improvement of their terms.
Choice of Forum
The Company’s certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for the following types of actions or proceedings under Delaware statutory or common law: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on the Company’s behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim for breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of the Company’s directors, officers or other employees to the Company or its stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, the Company’s certificate of incorporation or bylaws or (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. However, this exclusive forum provision would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
In addition, the Company’s bylaws provide that unless the Company consents in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act, and that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding any interest in shares of capital stock of the Company shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the federal forum selection provision.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for the Company’s common stock is Broadridge Corporate Issuer Solutions, Inc. The transfer agent’s address is 1717 Arch Street, Suite 1300, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103.
Listing on the NASDAQ Global Select Market
The Company’s common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “ACRS.”