Description of Securities of the Registrant
DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES REGISTERED UNDER SECTION 12 OF THE EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, AS AMENDED
The following description of the common stock, par value $0.001 per share, of Aileron Therapeutics, Inc. (“us,” “our,” “we” or the “Company”), which is the only security of the Company registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, summarizes certain information regarding the common stock in our restated certificate of incorporation, our amended and restated bylaws and applicable provisions of Delaware corporate law, and is qualified by reference to our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, which are incorporated by reference as Exhibit 3.1 and Exhibit 3.2, respectively, to the Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Authorized Capital Stock
Our authorized capital stock consists of 150,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share, and 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share.
Voting Rights. Holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders and do not have cumulative voting rights. An election of directors by our stockholders will be determined by a plurality of the votes cast by the stockholders entitled to vote on the election. Any matter other than the election of directors to be voted upon by the stockholders at such meeting will be decided by the affirmative vote of our stockholders having a majority in voting power of the votes cast by the stockholders present or represented and voting on such matter, except when a different vote is required by law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws.
Dividends. Holders of our common stock are entitled to receive proportionately any dividends as may be declared and paid on the common stock from funds lawfully available therefor as and when determined by our board of directors, subject to any preferential dividend rights of outstanding preferred stock.
Liquidation and Dissolution. In the event of our liquidation or dissolution, the holders of our common stock are entitled to receive proportionately all assets available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all debts and other liabilities and subject to the prior rights of any outstanding preferred stock.
Other Rights. Holders of our common stock have no preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights. The rights, preferences and privileges of holders of our 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 we may designate and issue in the future. Outstanding shares of our common stock are non-assessable. Holders of our common stock are not, and will not be, subject to any liability as stockholders.
Under the terms of our certificate of incorporation, our board of directors is authorized to issue shares of preferred stock in one or more series without stockholder approval. Our board of directors has the discretion to determine the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions, including voting rights, dividend rights, conversion rights, redemption privileges and liquidation preferences, of each series of preferred stock. The issuance of preferred stock could impede the completion of a merger, tender offer or other takeover attempt.
Provisions of Our Certificate of Incorporation and By-laws and the DGCL That May Have Anti-Takeover Effects
The DGCL contains, and our certificate of incorporation and by-laws contain, provisions that could have the effect of delaying, deferring or discouraging another party from acquiring control of us. These provisions, which are summarized below, are expected to discourage coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids. These provisions are also designed to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to first negotiate with our board of directors.
Staggered Board; Removal of Directors. Our certificate of incorporation and by-laws divide our board of directors into three classes with staggered three-year terms. In addition, a director may be removed only for cause and only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of the votes that all of our stockholders would be entitled to cast in an annual election of directors. Any vacancy on our board of directors, including a vacancy resulting from an enlargement of our board of directors, may be filled only by vote of a majority of our directors then in office. The classification of our board of directors and the limitations on the removal of directors and filling of vacancies could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire, or discourage a third party from seeking to acquire, control of our company.
Stockholder Action by Written Consent; Special Meetings. Our certificate of incorporation provides that any action required or permitted to be taken by our stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of such holders and may not be effected by any consent in writing by such holders. Our certificate of incorporation and by-laws also provide that, except as otherwise required by law, special meetings of our stockholders can only be called by the chairman of our board of directors, our chief executive officer or our board of directors.
Advance Notice Requirements for Stockholder Proposals. Our by-laws establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting of stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors. Stockholders at an annual meeting may consider proposals or nominations specified in the notice of meeting or brought before the meeting by or at the direction of our board of directors or by a stockholder of record on the record date for the meeting who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has delivered timely written notice in proper form to our secretary of the stockholder’s intention to bring such business before the meeting. These provisions could have the effect of delaying until the next stockholder meeting stockholder actions that are favored by the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities.
Delaware Business Combination Statute. We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL. Subject to certain exceptions, Section 203 prevents a publicly held Delaware corporation from engaging in a “business combination” with any “interested stockholder” for three years following the date that the person became an interested stockholder, unless the interested stockholder attained such status with the approval of our board of directors or unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner. A “business combination” includes, among other things, a merger or consolidation involving us and the “interested stockholder” and the sale of more than 10% of our assets. In general, an “interested stockholder” is any entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by such entity or person.
Amendment of Certificate of Incorporation and By-laws. The DGCL provides generally that the affirmative vote of a majority of the shares entitled to vote on any matter is required to amend a corporation’s certificate of incorporation or by-laws, unless a corporation’s certificate of incorporation or by-laws, as the case may be, requires a greater percentage. Our by-laws may be amended or repealed by a majority vote of our board of directors or by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of the votes that all of our stockholders would be entitled to cast in any annual election of directors. In addition, the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of the votes that all of our stockholders would be entitled to cast in any annual election of directors is required to amend or repeal or to adopt any provisions inconsistent with any of the provisions of our certificate of incorporation described above under “—Staggered Board; Removal of Directors” and “—Stockholder Action by Written Consent; Special Meetings.”
Exclusive Forum Selection. Our certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware) shall be the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or employees to our company or stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL or our certificate of incorporation or by-laws, or (4) any action asserting a claim against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine. We do not expect this choice of forum provision will apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or any other claim for which federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Although our certificate of incorporation contains the choice of forum provision described above, it is possible that a court could rule that such a provision is inapplicable for a particular claim or action or that such provision is unenforceable.