Description of Registrants Securities
DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The following description of capital stock of Akebia Therapeutics, Inc. (“us,” “our,” “we” or the “Company”) is intended as a summary only and therefore is not a complete description of our capital stock. This description is based upon, and is qualified by reference to, our certificate of incorporation, our by-laws and applicable provisions of Delaware corporate law. You should read our certificate of incorporation and by-laws, which are incorporated by reference as Exhibit 3.1 and Exhibit 3.2, respectively, to the Annual Report on Form 10-K of which this Exhibit 4.6 is a part, for the provisions that are important to you.
Our authorized capital stock consists of 175,000,000 shares of our common stock, par value $0.00001 per share, and 25,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock, par value $0.00001 per share.
Dividend Rights. Subject to preferences that may apply to shares of preferred stock outstanding at the time, holders of outstanding shares of common stock are entitled to receive dividends out of assets legally available at the times and in the amounts as the Board of Directors may from time to time determine.
Voting Rights. Each outstanding share of common stock is entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders. Holders of shares of our common stock shall have no cumulative voting rights.
Conversion or Redemption Rights. Our common stock is neither convertible nor redeemable.
Liquidation Rights. Upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, the holders of our common stock will be entitled to receive pro rata our assets which are legally available for distribution, after payment of all 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 we may designate in the future.
Under our certificate of incorporation, we are authorized to issue up to 25,000,000 shares of preferred stock at $0.00001 par value per share. The preferred stock may be issued in one or more series, and the Board of Directors is expressly authorized (i) to fix the descriptions, powers, preferences, rights, qualifications, limitations and restrictions with respect to any series of preferred stock and (ii) to specify the number of shares of any series of preferred stock.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Our Certificate of Incorporation and Our Bylaws
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain certain provisions that are intended to enhance the likelihood of continuity and stability in the composition of the Board of Directors and which may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a future takeover or change in control of our company unless such takeover or change in control is approved by the Board of Directors.
These provisions include:
Classified Board. Our certificate of incorporation provides that, subject to the special rights of the holders of any series of Preferred Stock to elect directors, our Board of Directors is divided into three classes of directors, with the classes as nearly equal in number as possible. As a result, approximately one-third of our Board of Directors is elected each year. The classification of directors has the effect of making it more difficult for stockholders to change the composition of our Board. Our certificate of incorporation also provides that, subject to any rights of holders of preferred stock to elect additional directors under specified circumstances, the number of directors shall be fixed exclusively pursuant to a resolution adopted by our Board of Directors.
Action by Written Consent; Special Meetings of Stockholders. Our certificate of incorporation provides that stockholder action can be taken only at an annual or special meeting of stockholders and cannot be taken by written consent in lieu of a meeting. Our certificate of incorporation and the bylaws also provide that, except as otherwise required by law, special meetings of the stockholders can be called only by or at the direction of the Board of Directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of directors. Stockholders are not permitted to call a special meeting or to require the Board of Directors to call a special meeting.
Removal of Directors. Subject to the special rights of the holders of any series of Preferred Stock to elect directors, our certificate of incorporation provides that our directors may be removed only for cause by the affirmative vote of at least 75% of the votes that all our stockholders would be entitled to cast in an annual election of directors, voting together as a single class, at a meeting of the stockholders called for that purpose. This requirement of a supermajority vote to remove directors could enable a minority of our stockholders to prevent a change in the composition of our Board.
Advance Notice Procedures. Our bylaws establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting of our stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to the Board of Directors. Stockholders at an annual meeting may only consider proposals or nominations specified in the notice of meeting or brought before the meeting by or at the direction of the Board of Directors or by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record on the record date for the meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has given our Secretary timely written notice, in proper form, of the stockholder’s intention to bring that business before the meeting. Although the bylaws do not give the Board of Directors the power to approve or disapprove stockholder nominations of candidates or proposals regarding other business to be conducted at a special or annual meeting, the bylaws may have the effect of precluding the conduct of certain business at a meeting if the proper procedures are not followed or may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect its own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of our company.
Super Majority Approval Requirements. The Delaware General Corporation Law generally provides 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 bylaws, unless either a corporation’s certificate of incorporation or bylaws requires a greater percentage. A majority vote of our Board of Directors or the affirmative vote of holders of at least 75% of the total votes of the outstanding shares of capital stock of our company entitled to vote with respect thereto, voting together as a single class, are required to amend, alter, change or repeal the bylaws. In addition, the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 85% of the total votes of the outstanding shares of capital stock of our company entitled to vote with respect thereto, voting together as a single class, are required to amend, alter, change or repeal, or to adopt any provisions inconsistent with, any of the provisions in our certificate of incorporation relating to decreasing the number of authorized shares of common stock, issuing or changing the number of authorized shares of preferred stock, the Board of Directors, limitation of director liability, meetings of stockholders, exclusive jurisdiction for certain actions and amendments to our certificate of incorporation and bylaws. This requirement of a supermajority vote to approve amendments to our bylaws and certificate of incorporation could enable a minority of our stockholders to exercise veto power over any such amendments.
Authorized but Unissued Shares. Our authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock are available for future issuance without stockholder approval. These additional shares may be utilized for a variety of corporate purposes, including future public offerings to raise additional capital and corporate acquisitions. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock could render more difficult or discourage an attempt to obtain control of a majority of our common stock by means of a proxy contest, tender offer, merger or otherwise.
Exclusive Forum. Our certificate of incorporation provides that, subject to limited exceptions, the state or federal courts located in the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, or (iv) any other action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the provisions of our certificate of incorporation described above. Although we believe these provisions benefit us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law for the specified types of actions and proceedings, the provisions may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers. The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies’ certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with one or more actions or proceedings described above, a court could find the choice of forum provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable.
Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law
We are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. In general, Section 203 prohibits a publicly-held Delaware corporation from engaging in a “business combination” with an “interested stockholder” for a three-year period following the time that this stockholder becomes an interested stockholder, unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner. A “business combination” includes, among other things, a merger, asset or stock sale or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. An “interested stockholder” is a person who, together with affiliates and associates, owns, or did own within three years prior to the determination of interested stockholder status, 15% or more of the corporation’s voting stock.
Under Section 203, a business combination between a corporation and an interested stockholder is prohibited unless it satisfies one of the following conditions: before the stockholder became interested, the Board of Directors approved either the business combination or the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder; upon consummation of the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 75% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the time the transaction commenced (excluding for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding, shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers, and employee stock plans, in some instances); or at or after the time the stockholder became interested, the business combination was approved by the Board of Directors of the corporation and authorized at an annual or special meeting of the stockholders by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding voting stock which is not owned by the interested stockholder.
A Delaware corporation may “opt out” of these provisions with an express provision in its original certificate of incorporation or an express provision in its certificate of incorporation or bylaws resulting from a stockholders’ amendment approved by at least a majority of the outstanding voting shares. We have not opted out of these provisions. As a result, mergers or other takeover or change in control attempts of us may be discouraged or prevented.