DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
As of February 27, 2020, American Campus Securities, Inc. (the “Company” or “we”) has one class of securities, our common stock, registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”).
Description of Common Stock
The following is a description of the material terms and provisions of our common stock. You should read our charter and bylaws in their entirety before you purchase any shares of our common stock.
Authorized Shares. Our charter provides that we may issue up to 800,000,000 shares of our common stock, $0.01 par value per share, and 200,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.01 par value per share.
Authority of Our Board of Directors Relating to Authorized Shares. Our charter authorizes our board of directors to amend our charter to increase or decrease the total number of our authorized shares, or the number of shares of any class or series of capital stock that we have authority to issue, without stockholder approval. Our board of directors also has the authority, under our charter and without stockholder approval, to classify any unissued shares of common or preferred stock into one or more classes or series of stock and to reclassify any previously classified but unissued shares of any series of our common or preferred stock. If, however, there are any laws or stock exchange rules that require us to obtain stockholder approval in order for us to take these actions, we will contact our stockholders to solicit that approval.
We believe that the power to issue additional shares of common stock or preferred stock and to classify or reclassify unissued shares of common or preferred stock and then issue the classified or reclassified shares provides us with increased flexibility in structuring possible future financings and acquisitions and in meeting other needs that may arise in the future. These actions can be taken without stockholder approval, unless stockholder approval is required by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange or automated quotation system on which our securities may be listed or traded. Although our board of directors has no present intention of doing so, we could issue a class or series of stock that could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change of control that would involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be favorable to them.
Terms and Conditions of Authorized Shares. Prior to issuance of shares of each class or series, our board of directors is required by Maryland law and our charter to set, subject to the provisions of our charter regarding restrictions on transfer of stock, the terms, preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of redemption for each class or series. As a result, our board of directors could authorize the issuance of shares of common stock or preferred stock with terms and conditions that could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change of control that would involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be favorable to them.
Stockholder Liability. Applicable Maryland law provides that our stockholders will not be personally liable for our acts and obligations and that our funds and property will be the only recourse for our acts and obligations.
All shares of our common stock are duly authorized, fully paid and nonassessable. Subject to the preferential rights of any other class or series of stock and to the provisions of the charter regarding restrictions on transfer of stock, holders of shares of our common stock are entitled to receive distributions on such stock if, as and when authorized by our board of directors out of assets legally available for the payment of distributions, and declared by us, and to share ratably in our assets legally available for distribution to our stockholders in the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, after payment of or adequate provision for all of our known debts and liabilities.
Subject to the provisions of our charter regarding restrictions on transfer of stock, as described in more detail below under “-Restrictions on Transfer,” each outstanding share of our common stock entitles the holder to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders, including the election of directors and, except as provided with respect to any other class or series of stock, the holders of our common stock will possess the exclusive voting power. There is no cumulative voting in the election of our
directors. Our bylaws provide that the holders of a majority of the votes cast at a meeting at which directors are to be elected is required to elect a director.
Holders of shares of our common stock have no preference, conversion, exchange, sinking fund, redemption or appraisal rights and have no preemptive or other rights to subscribe for any of our securities. Subject to the provisions of our charter regarding the restrictions on transfer of stock, shares of our common stock will have equal dividend, liquidation and other rights.
Under our charter, our board of directors may from time to time establish and issue one or more series of preferred stock without stockholder approval. Prior to issuance of shares of each series, our board of directors is required by Maryland law and our charter to establish, subject to the provisions of our charter regarding restrictions on transfer of stock, the terms, preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of redemption for each series. As of the date hereof, no shares of preferred stock are outstanding and we have no present plans to issue any preferred stock.
Restrictions on Transfer
In order for us to qualify as a real estate investment trust (a “REIT”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), our stock must be beneficially owned by 100 or more persons during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months (other than the first year for which an election to be a REIT has been made) or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year. Also, not more than 50% of the value of the outstanding shares of stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include certain entities such as qualified pension plans) during the last half of a taxable year (other than the first year for which an election to be a REIT has been made).
Our charter contains restrictions on the ownership and transfer of our stock that are intended to assist us in complying with these requirements and continuing to qualify as a REIT. The relevant sections of our charter provide that, subject to the exceptions described below, no person or entity may beneficially own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the applicable constructive ownership provisions of the Code, more than 9.8% (by value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of the outstanding shares of our common stock or more than 9.8% by value of all of our outstanding shares, including both common and preferred stock. We refer to this restriction as the “ownership limit.” A person or entity that becomes subject to the ownership limit by virtue of a violative transfer that results in a transfer to a trust, as set forth below, is referred to as a “purported beneficial transferee” if, had the violative transfer been effective, the person or entity would have been a record owner and beneficial owner or solely a beneficial owner of our stock, or is referred to as a “purported record transferee” if, had the violative transfer been effective, the person or entity would have been solely a record owner of our stock.
The constructive ownership rules under the Code are complex and may cause stock owned actually or constructively by a group of related individuals and/or entities to be owned constructively by one individual or entity. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of our stock (or the acquisition of an interest in an entity that owns, actually or constructively, our stock) by an individual or entity, could, nevertheless cause that individual or entity, or another individual or entity, to own constructively in excess of 9.8% of our outstanding stock and thereby subject the stock to the applicable ownership limit.
Our board of directors must waive the ownership limit with respect to a particular person if it:
determines that such ownership will not cause any individual’s beneficial ownership of shares of our stock to violate the ownership limit and that any exemption from the ownership limit will not jeopardize our status as a REIT; and
determines that such stockholder does not and will not own, actually or constructively, an interest in a tenant of ours (or a tenant of any entity whose operations are attributed in whole or in part to us) that would cause us to own, actually or constructively, more than a 9.8% interest (as set forth in Section 856(d)(2)(B) of the Code) in such tenant or that any such ownership would not cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT under the Code.
As a condition of this waiver, our board of directors may require the applicant to submit such information as the board of directors may reasonably need to make the determinations regarding our REIT status and additionally may require an opinion of counsel or IRS ruling satisfactory to our board of directors, and/or representations or undertakings from the applicant with respect to preserving our REIT status.
In connection with the waiver of the ownership limit or at any other time, our board of directors may increase the ownership limitation for some persons and decrease the ownership limit for all other persons and entities; provided, however, that the decreased ownership limit will not be effective for any person or entity whose percentage ownership in our stock is in excess of such decreased ownership limit until such time as such person or entity’s percentage of our stock equals or falls below the decreased ownership limit, but any further acquisition of our stock in excess of such percentage ownership of our common stock will be in violation of
the ownership limit. Additionally, the new ownership limit may not allow five or fewer stockholders to beneficially own more than 50% in value of our outstanding stock.
Our charter provisions further prohibit:
any person from beneficially or constructively owning shares of our stock that would result in our being “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Code or otherwise cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT; and
any person from transferring shares of our stock if such transfer would result in shares of our stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons (determined without reference to any rules of attribution).
Any person who acquires or attempts or intends to acquire beneficial or constructive ownership of shares of our stock that will or may violate any of the foregoing restrictions on transferability and ownership will be required to give notice immediately to us and provide us with such other information as we may request in order to determine the effect of such transfer on our status as a REIT. The foregoing provisions on transferability and ownership will not apply if our board of directors determines that it is no longer in our best interests to attempt to qualify, or to continue to qualify, as a REIT.
Pursuant to our charter, if any purported transfer of our stock or any other event would otherwise result in any person violating the ownership limits or such other limit as permitted by our board of directors, then any such purported transfer will be void and of no force or effect as to that number of shares in excess of the ownership limit (rounded up to the nearest whole share). That number of shares in excess of the ownership limit will be automatically transferred to, and held by, a trust for the exclusive benefit of one or more charitable organizations selected by us. The automatic transfer will be effective as of the close of business on the business day prior to the date of the violative transfer or other event that results in a transfer to the trust. Any dividend or other distribution paid to the purported record transferee, prior to our discovery that the shares had been automatically transferred to a trust as described above, must be repaid to the trustee upon demand for distribution to the beneficiary of the trust. If the transfer to the trust as described above is not automatically effective, for any reason, to prevent violation of the applicable ownership limit or as otherwise permitted by our board of directors, then our charter provides that the transfer of the excess shares will be void.
Shares of our stock transferred to the trustee are deemed offered for sale to us, or our designee, at a price per share equal to the lesser of (i) the price paid by the purported record transferee for the shares (or, if the event which resulted in the transfer to the trust did not involve a purchase of such shares of our stock at market price, the last reported sales price reported on the NYSE on the trading day immediately preceding the day of the event which resulted in the transfer of such shares of our stock to the trust); and (ii) the market price on the date we, or our designee, accepts such offer. We have the right to accept such offer until the trustee has sold the shares of our stock held in the trust pursuant to the clauses discussed below. Upon a sale to us, the interest of the charitable beneficiary in the shares sold terminates and the trustee must distribute the net proceeds of the sale to the purported record transferee and any dividends or other distributions held by the trustee with respect to such stock will be paid to the charitable beneficiary.
If we do not buy the shares, the trustee must, within 20 days of receiving notice from us of the transfer of shares to the trust, sell the shares to a person or entity designated by the trustee who could own the shares without violating the ownership limits or as otherwise permitted by our board of directors. After that, the trustee must distribute to the purported record transferee an amount equal to the lesser of (i) the price paid by the purported record transferee or owner for the shares (or, if the event which resulted in the transfer to the trust did not involve a purchase of such shares at market price, the last reported sales price reported on the NYSE on the trading day immediately preceding the relevant date); and (ii) the sales proceeds (net of commissions and other expenses of sale) received by the trust for the shares. The purported beneficial transferee or purported record transferee has no rights in the shares held by the trustee.
The trustee will be designated by us and will be unaffiliated with us and with any purported record transferee or purported beneficial transferee. Prior to the sale of any excess shares by the trust, the trustee will receive, in trust for the beneficiary, all dividends and other distributions paid by us with respect to the excess shares, and may also exercise all voting rights with respect to the excess shares.
Subject to Maryland law, effective as of the date that the shares have been transferred to the trust, the trustee shall have the authority, at the trustee’s sole discretion:
to rescind as void any vote cast by a purported record transferee prior to our discovery that the shares have been transferred to the trust; and
to recast the vote in accordance with the desires of the trustee acting for the benefit of the beneficiary of the trust.
However, if we have already taken irreversible corporate action, then the trustee may not rescind and recast the vote.
Any beneficial owner or constructive owner of shares of our stock and any person or entity (including the stockholder of record) who is holding shares of our stock for a beneficial owner must, on request, provide us with a completed questionnaire containing the information regarding their ownership of such shares, as set forth in the applicable Treasury Regulations. In addition, any person or entity that is a beneficial owner or constructive owner of shares of our stock and any person or entity (including the stockholder of record) who is holding shares of our stock for a beneficial owner or constructive owner shall, on request, be required to disclose to us in writing such information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of such stockholder’s actual and constructive ownership of shares of our stock on our status as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the ownership limit, or as otherwise permitted by our board of directors.
All certificates representing shares of our stock bear a legend referring to the restrictions described above.
This ownership limit could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change of control of us that might involve a premium price for our stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is EQ Shareowner Services.