Description of Securities
Description of the Registrant’s Securities Registered Pursuant to
Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended+
The summary of the general terms and provisions of the registered securities of Akero Therapeutics, Inc.(“Akero,” “we,” or “our”) set forth below does not purport to be complete and is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to our Fourth Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation (our “certificate of incorporation”) and our Second Amended and Restated By-laws (our “by-laws” and, together with our certificate of incorporation, our “Charter Documents”), each of which is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We encourage you to read our Charter Documents and the applicable provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the “DGCL”) for additional information.
Our authorized capital stock consists of One Hundred Fifty Million (150,000,000) shares of common stock, par value $0.0001 per share and Ten Million (10,000,000) shares of undesignated preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share.
The holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders. The holders of our common stock do not have any cumulative voting rights. Holders of our common stock are entitled to receive ratably any dividends declared by our board of directors out of funds legally available for that purpose, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any outstanding convertible preferred stock. Our common stock has no preemptive rights, conversion rights or other subscription rights or redemption or sinking fund provisions.
In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock will be entitled to share ratably in all assets remaining after payment of all debts and other liabilities and any liquidation preference of any outstanding convertible preferred stock.
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the trading symbol “AKRO.”
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Our board of directors will have the authority, without further action by our stockholders, to issue up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series and to fix the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions thereof. These rights, preferences and privileges could include dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption, liquidation preferences, sinking fund terms and the number of shares constituting, or the designation of, such series, any or all of which may be greater than the rights of common stock. The issuance of our preferred stock could adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and the likelihood that such holders will receive dividend payments and payments upon our liquidation. In addition, the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of our company or other corporate action. No shares of convertible preferred stock are outstanding, and we have no present plan to issue any shares of convertible preferred stock.
Certain holders of our common stock are entitled to rights with respect to the registration of these securities under the Securities Act. These rights are provided under the terms of an amended and restated investors' rights agreement between us and holders of our convertible preferred stock. The amended and restated investors' rights agreement includes demand registration rights, short-form registration rights and piggyback registration rights. All fees, costs and expenses of underwritten registrations under this agreement will be borne by us and all selling expenses, including underwriting discounts and selling commissions, will be borne by the holders of the shares being registered.
Demand registration rights
Certain holders of our common stock are entitled to demand registration rights. Under the terms of the amended and restated investors' rights agreement, we will be required, upon the written request of a majority of the holders of convertible preferred stock, to file a registration statement and use best efforts to effect the registration of all or a portion of these shares for public resale at an aggregate price of at least $10.0 million. We are required to effect only one registration pursuant to this provision of the amended and restated investors' rights agreement.
Short-Form registration rights
Pursuant to the amended and restated investors' rights agreement, if we are eligible to file a registration statement on Form S-3, upon the written request of at least 20% of these holders to sell registrable securities at an aggregate price of at least $5.0 million, we will be required to use commercially reasonable efforts to effect a registration of such shares. We are required to effect only one registration in any twelve-month period pursuant to this provision of the investors' rights agreement. The right to have such shares registered on Form S-3 is further subject to other specified conditions and limitations.
Piggyback registration rights
Pursuant to the amended and restated investors' rights agreement, if we register any of our securities either for our own account or for the account of other security holders, the holders of these shares are entitled to include their shares in the registration. Subject to certain exceptions contained in the amended and restated investors' rights agreement, we and the underwriters may terminate or withdraw any registration initiated before the effective date of such registration in our sole discretion.
Our amended and restated investors' rights agreement contains customary cross-indemnification provisions, under which we are obligated to indemnify holders of registrable securities in the event of material misstatements or omissions in the registration statement attributable to us, and they are obligated to indemnify us for material misstatements or omissions attributable to them.
Expiration of registration rights
The demand registration rights and short form registration rights granted under the investors' rights agreement will terminate on the third anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering or at such time after this offering when the holders' shares may be sold without restriction pursuant to Rule 144 within a three-month period.
Anti-Takeover effects of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws include a number of provisions that may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing another party from acquiring control of us and encouraging persons considering unsolicited tender offers or other unilateral takeover proposals to negotiate with our board of directors rather than pursue non-negotiated takeover attempts. These provisions include the items described below.
Board composition and filling vacancies
Our certificate of incorporation provides for the division of our board of directors into three classes serving staggered three-year terms, with one class being elected each year. Our certificate of incorporation also provides that directors may be removed only for cause and then only by the affirmative vote of the holders of two-thirds or more of the shares then entitled to vote at an election of directors. Furthermore, any vacancy on our board of directors, however occurring, including a vacancy resulting from an increase in the size of our board, may only be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of our directors then in office even if less than a quorum. The classification of directors, together with the limitations on removal of directors and treatment of vacancies, has the effect of making it more difficult for stockholders to change the composition of our board of directors.
No written consent of stockholders
Our certificate of incorporation provides that all stockholder actions are required to be taken by a vote of the stockholders at an annual or special meeting, and that stockholders may not take any action by written consent in lieu of a meeting. This limit may lengthen the amount of time required to take stockholder actions and would prevent the amendment of our bylaws or removal of directors by our stockholders without holding a meeting of stockholders.
Meetings of stockholders
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws provide that only a majority of the members of our board of directors then in office may call special meetings of stockholders and only those matters set forth in the notice of the special meeting may be considered or acted upon at a special meeting of stockholders. Our bylaws limit the business that may be conducted at an annual meeting of stockholders to those matters properly brought before the meeting.
Advance notice requirements
Our bylaws establish advance notice procedures with regard to stockholder proposals relating to the nomination of candidates for election as directors or new business to be brought before meetings of our stockholders. These procedures provide that notice of stockholder proposals must be timely given in writing to our corporate secretary prior to the meeting at which the action is to be taken. Generally, to be timely, notice must be received at our principal executive offices not less than 90 days nor more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary date of the annual meeting for the preceding year. Our bylaws specify the requirements as to form and content of all stockholders' notices. These requirements may preclude stockholders from bringing matters before the stockholders at an annual or special meeting.
Amendment to certificate of incorporation and bylaws
Any amendment of our certificate of incorporation must first be approved by a majority of our board of directors, and if required by law or our certificate of incorporation, must thereafter be approved by a majority of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment and a majority of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class, except that the amendment of the provisions relating to stockholder action, board composition, limitation of liability and certificate of incorporation must be approved by not less than two-thirds of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, and not less than two-thirds of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class. Our bylaws may be amended by the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors then in office, subject to any limitations set forth in the bylaws; and may also be amended by the affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment.
Undesignated preferred stock
Our certificate of incorporation provides for 10,000,000 authorized shares of preferred stock. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of preferred stock may enable our board of directors to discourage an attempt to obtain control of us by means of a merger, tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise. For example, if in the due exercise of its fiduciary obligations, our board of directors were to determine that a takeover proposal is not in the best interests of our stockholders, our board of directors could cause shares of preferred stock to be issued without stockholder approval in one or more private offerings or other transactions that might dilute the voting or other rights of the proposed acquirer or insurgent stockholder or stockholder group. In this regard, our certificate of incorporation grants our board of directors broad power to establish the rights and preferences of authorized and unissued shares of preferred stock. The issuance of shares of preferred stock could decrease the amount of earnings and assets available for distribution to holders of shares of common stock. The issuance may also adversely affect the rights and powers, including voting rights, of these holders and may have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change in control of us.
Choice of forum
Our bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative form, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Chancery Court does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware or other state courts of the State of Delaware) will be the sole and exclusive forum for state law claims for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty or other wrongdoing by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders; (3) any action asserting a claim against us, or any current or former director, officer, or other employee or stockholder, arising out of or pursuant to any provision of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware or our certificate of incorporation or bylaws;
and (4) any action asserting a claim against us or any current or former director or officer or other employee governed by the internal affairs doctrine. The choice of forum provision does not apply to any causes of action arising under the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Our bylaws also provides that any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to this choice of forum provision. It is possible that a court of law could rule that the choice of forum provision contained in our bylaws is inapplicable or unenforceable if it is challenged in a proceeding or otherwise. Additionally, the forum selection clause in our second amended and restated bylaws may limit our stockholders' ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.
Section 203 of the Delaware general corporation law
Upon completion of this offering, we will be 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. 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, our 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 85% 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, but not the outstanding voting stock owned by the interested stockholder; or
at or after the time the stockholder became interested, the business combination was approved by our board of directors 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.
Section 203 defines a business combination to include:
any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;
any sale, transfer, lease, pledge or other disposition involving the interested stockholder of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation;
subject to exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder;
subject to exceptions, any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock of any class or series of the corporation beneficially owned by the interested stockholder; and
the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits provided by or through the corporation.
In general, Section 203 defines an interested stockholder as any entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by the entity or person.