Description of Securities
Description of THE REGISTRANT’S Securities
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
As of December 10, 2020, Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. (the “Company”, “we”, “us” or “our”) has one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), which consists of common stock, $0.001 par value per share. The following is a summary of information concerning our common stock. The summary and description below does not purport to be a complete statement of the relevant provisions of our certificate of incorporation, as amended (the “Certificate of Incorporation”) and our by-laws (“By-Laws”) and are entirely qualified by these documents. The Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”) may also affect the terms of these securities.
As of December 10, 2020, our authorized capital stock consists of 200,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share, of which 5,661,330 shares were issued and outstanding, held by approximately 124 stockholders of record and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share, of which no shares were issued and outstanding. The actual number of stockholders is greater than the number of stockholders of record and includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees. This number of holders of record also does not include stockholders whose shares may be held in trust by other entities. In addition, as of December 10, 2020, there were issued and outstanding options to purchase 362,178 shares of common stock, warrants to purchase 778,118 shares of common stock, and 3,615,486 shares available for grant under our 2020 Equity Incentive Plan. The authorized and unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock are available for issuance without further action by our stockholders, unless such action is required by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange on which our securities may be listed. Unless approval of our stockholders is so required, our board of directors will not seek stockholder approval for the issuance and sale of our common stock.
Holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share issued and outstanding held on all matters to be voted upon by the stockholders. Our shares of common stock have no preemptive, conversion, or redemption rights. 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 we may issue in the future. Upon the sale of substantially all of our stock or assets or dissolution, liquidation or winding up, and after all liquidation preferences payable to any series of preferred stock entitled thereto have been satisfied, our remaining assets shall be distributed to all holders of common stock and any similarly situated stockholders who are not entitled to any liquidation preference or, if there be an insufficient amount to pay all such stockholders, then ratably among such holders. All of our issued and outstanding shares of common stock are fully paid and non-assessable. The holders of shares of our common stock will be entitled to such dividends and other distributions in cash, stock or property from our assets or funds legally available for such purposes as may be declared from time to time by our board of directors.
Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “APDN.” American Stock Transfer & Trust Company is the transfer agent and registrar for our common stock.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that our board of directors may, by resolution, designate classes of preferred stock in the future. The designated series of preferred stock shall have such powers, designations, preferences and relative, participation or optional or other special rights and qualifications, limitations or restrictions as shall be expressed in the resolution adopted by the board of directors. Once designated by our board of directors, each series of preferred stock will have specific financial and other terms described in the documents that govern the preferred stock, which include our Certificate of Incorporation and any certificates of designation that our board of directors may adopt. Prior to the issuance of shares of each series of preferred stock, the board of directors is required by the DGCL and our Certificate of Incorporation to adopt resolutions and file a certificate of designation with the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware. The certificate of designation fixes for each class or series the designations, powers, preferences, rights, qualifications, limitations and restrictions, including, but not limited to, some or all of the following:
|·||the number of shares constituting that series and the distinctive designation of that series, which number may be increased or decreased (but not below the number of shares then outstanding) from time to time by action of the board of directors;|
|·||the dividend rate and the manner and frequency of payment of dividends on the shares of that series, whether dividends will be cumulative, and, if so, from which date;|
|·||whether that series will have voting rights, in addition to any voting rights provided by law, and, if so, the terms of such voting rights;|
|·||whether that series will have conversion privileges, and, if so, the terms and conditions of such conversion, including provision for adjustment of the conversion rate in such events as the board of directors may determine;|
|·||whether or not the shares of that series will be redeemable, and, if so, the terms and conditions of such redemption;|
|·||whether that series will have a sinking fund for the redemption or purchase of shares of that series, and, if so, the terms and amount of such sinking fund;|
|·||whether or not the shares of the series will have priority over or be on a parity with or be junior to the shares of any other series or class in any respect;|
|·||the rights of the shares of that series in the event of voluntary or involuntary liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the corporation, and the relative rights or priority, if any, of payment of shares of that series; and|
|·||any other relative rights, preferences and limitations of that series.|
Although our board of directors has no intention at the present time of doing so, it could authorize the issuance of a series of preferred stock that could, depending on the terms of such series, impede the completion of a merger, tender offer or other takeover attempt.
Possible Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and our Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws
Our Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws contain provisions that could make it more difficult to acquire control of our company by means of a tender offer, open market purchases, a proxy contest or otherwise. A description of these provisions is set forth below.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law
Companies incorporated in Delaware are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the DGCL unless the corporation has “opted out” of these provisions with an express provision in its original certificate of incorporation or an express provision in its certificate of incorporation or by-laws resulting from a stockholders’ amendment approved by at least a majority of the outstanding voting shares. We have opted out of Section 203 with an express provision in our Certificate of Incorporation. Therefore, the anti-takeover effects of Section 203 do not apply to us.
Generally, 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 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; 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.
Election and Removal of Directors
Directors will be elected by a plurality of the voting power of the shares present in person or represented by proxy at the stockholders meeting and entitled to vote on the election of directors. Our Certificate of Incorporation does not provide for a classified board of directors or for cumulative voting in the election of directors. Under Article VIII of the Certificate of Incorporation and Section 3.13 of the By-Laws, directors may be removed by the stockholders of the Company only for cause, and in such case only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the voting power of the issued and outstanding shares of capital stock of the Company then entitled to vote in the election of directors. On December 21, 2015, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware invalidated as a matter of law certain provisions of the certificate of incorporation and bylaws of VAALCO Energy, Inc. (“VAALCO”), a Delaware corporation, that permitted the removal of VAALCO’s directors by its stockholders only for cause. In In re VAALCO Energy, Inc. Stockholder Litigation, Consol. C.A. No. 11775-VCL (Del. Ch. Dec. 21, 2015), the Court ruled from the bench to hold that, in the absence of a classified board of directors or cumulative voting, VAALCO’s “only for-cause” director removal provisions conflict with Section 141(k) of the DGCL and are therefore invalid. Because the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws contain similar “only for-cause” director removal provisions and the Company does not have a classified board of directors or cumulative voting, the Company will not attempt to enforce the foregoing “only for-cause” director removal provision in light of the VAALCO decision.
Size of Board of Directors and Vacancies
The authorized number of directors may be determined by the board of directors, provided the board shall consist of at least one (1) member. No decrease in the number of directors constituting the board of directors shall shorten the term of any incumbent director.
Vacancies occurring on our board of directors for any reason and newly created directorships resulting from an increase in the authorized number of directors may be filled only by a vote of a majority of the remaining members of the board of directors, although less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director, at any meeting of the board of directors.
The Certificate of Incorporation may be amended in the manner prescribed by the DGCL. The board of directors is authorized to adopt, amend, alter or repeal the By-Laws by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the board of directors then in office. No amendment to the Certificate of Incorporation or the By-Laws may adversely affect any indemnification right or protection of any director, officer, employee or other agent existing at the time of such amendment, repeal or adoption of an inconsistent provision for or in respect of any act, omission or other matter occurring, or any action or proceeding accruing or arising prior to such amendment, repeal or adoption of an inconsistent provision.
Authorized but Unissued Shares of Common Stock and of Preferred Stock
We believe that the availability of the “Blank Check” preferred stock under our Certificate of Incorporation provides us with flexibility in addressing corporate issues that may arise. The board of directors has the power, subject to applicable law, to issue series of preferred stock that could, depending on the terms of the series, impede the completion of a merger, tender offer or other takeover attempt that some, or a majority, of the stockholders might believe to be in their best interests or in which stockholders might receive a premium for their stock over the then prevailing market price of the stock. Our board of directors may issue preferred stock with voting rights or conversion rights that, if exercised, could adversely affect the voting power of the holders of common stock.
The authorized shares of preferred stock, as well as shares of common stock, will be available for issuance without further action by our stockholders, unless action is required by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange on which our securities may be listed. Having these authorized shares available for issuance allows us to issue shares without the expense and delay of a special stockholders’ meeting. We may use additional shares for a variety of purposes, including future public offerings to raise additional capital, to fund acquisitions and as employee compensation. 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 our company by means of a proxy contest, tender offer, merger or otherwise. The above provisions may deter a hostile takeover or delay a change in control or management of our company.
Advance Notice Procedure
Our By-Laws provide an advance notice procedure for stockholders to nominate director candidates for election or to bring business before an annual meeting of stockholders. Only persons nominated by, or at the direction of, our board of directors or by a stockholder of record who has given proper and timely notice to our secretary prior to the meeting at which such stockholder is entitled to vote and appears, will be eligible for election as a director. In addition, any proposed business other than the nomination of persons for election to our board of directors must constitute a proper matter for stockholder action pursuant to a proper notice of meeting delivered to us. For notice to be timely, it must generally be delivered to our secretary not less than 90 nor more than 120 calendar days prior to the first anniversary of the previous year’s annual meeting (or if the date of the annual meeting is more than 30 calendar days before or more than 60 calendar days after the anniversary date of the previous year’s annual meeting, not earlier than the 120th calendar day prior to such meeting and not later than either the 90th calendar day prior to such meeting or the 10th calendar day after public disclosure of the date of such meeting is first made by us). These advance notice provisions 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 attempt to obtain control of us.
Special Meetings of Stockholders
Our By-Laws provide that special meetings of stockholders may be called only by the Chairman of the Board, the Chief Executive Officer, or the board of directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the board of directors.