Description of the Registrants Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S
SECURITIES REGISTERED PURSUANT TO
SECTION 12 OF THE SECURITIES
EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
As of December 31, 2019, Ardelyx, Inc. (“we,” “us,” or “our”) had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended: our common stock, $0.0001 par value per share (“common stock”).
Description of Capital Stock
The following summary describes our capital stock and does not purport to be complete. It is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to the material provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, each of which are incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the Annual Report on Form 10-K of which this Exhibit 4.4 is a part, as well as of the Delaware General Corporation Law. For a complete description, we encourage you to read amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our amended and restated bylaws and the applicable provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law for additional information.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes 300,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.0001 par value per share, and 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.0001 par value per share.
Each holder of our common stock is entitled to one vote for each share on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors. Our stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of directors. Accordingly, holders of a majority of the voting shares are able to elect all of the directors. In addition, the affirmative vote of holders of 66 2/3% of the voting power of all of the then outstanding voting stock will be required to take certain actions, including amending certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, such as the provisions relating to amending our amended and restated bylaws, the classified board and director liability.
Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any then outstanding preferred stock, holders of our common stock are entitled to receive dividends, if any, as may be declared from time to time by our board of directors out of legally available funds.
In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock will be entitled to share ratably in the net assets legally available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all of our 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 our common stock have no preemptive, conversion, subscription or other rights, and there are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to our common stock. The rights, preferences and privileges of the 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 our preferred stock that we may designate in the future.
Fully Paid and Nonassessable.
All of our outstanding shares of common stock are, and the shares of common stock to be issued in this offering will be, fully paid and nonassessable.
Preferred Stock – Limitations on Rights of Holders of Common Stock
Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our stockholders, to issue up to 5,000,000 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 preferred stock are outstanding, and we have no present plan to issue any shares of preferred stock.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation, our Amended and Restated Bylaws and Delaware Law
Some provisions of Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could make the following transactions more difficult: acquisition of us by means of a tender offer; acquisition of us by means of a proxy contest or otherwise; or removal of our incumbent officers and directors. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish or could deter transactions that stockholders may otherwise consider to be in their best interest or in our best interests, including transactions that might result in a premium over the market price for our shares.
These provisions, 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. We believe that the benefits of increased protection of our potential ability to negotiate with the proponent of an unfriendly or unsolicited proposal to acquire or restructure us outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging these proposals because negotiation of these proposals could result in an improvement of their terms.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute
We are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prohibits persons deemed “interested stockholders” from engaging in a “business combination” with a publicly-held Delaware corporation for three years following the date these persons become interested stockholders unless the business combination is, or the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder was, approved in a prescribed manner or another prescribed exception applies. Generally, an “interested stockholder” is a person who, together with affiliates and associates, owns, or within three years prior to the determination of interested stockholder status did own, 15% or more of a corporation’s voting stock. Generally, a “business combination” includes a merger, asset or stock sale, or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. The existence of this provision may have an anti- takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by the board of directors, such as discouraging takeover attempts that might result in a premium over the market price of our common stock.
Undesignated Preferred Stock
The ability to authorize undesignated preferred stock makes it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to change control of us. These and other provisions may have the effect of deterring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management of our company.
Special Stockholder Meetings
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by our chairman of the board of directors, Chief Executive Officer or President, or by a resolution adopted by a majority of our board of directors.
Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Nominations and Proposals
Our amended and restated bylaws establish advance notice procedures with respect to stockholder proposals and the nomination of candidates for election as directors, other than nominations made by or at the direction of the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors.
Elimination of Stockholder Action by Written Consent
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.
Classified Board; Election and Removal of Directors; Filling Vacancies
Our board of directors is divided into three classes. The directors in each class will serve for a three-year term, one class being elected
each year by our stockholders, with staggered three-year terms. Only one class of directors will be elected at each annual meeting of our stockholders, with the other classes continuing for the remainder of their respective three-year terms. Because our stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights, our stockholders holding a majority of the shares of common stock outstanding will be able to elect all of our directors. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides for the removal of any of our directors only for cause and requires at least a 66 2/3% stockholder vote. 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 a resolution of the board of directors unless the board of directors determines that such vacancies shall be filled by the stockholders. This system of electing and removing directors and filling vacancies may tend to discourage a third party from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us, because it generally makes it more difficult for stockholders to replace a majority of the directors.
Choice of Forum
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty, or other wrongdoing by, any of our directors, officers, employees or stockholders; any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers or employees arising pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; or any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers or employees that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Although our amended and restated certificate of incorporation contains the choice of forum provision described above, it is possible that a court could find that such a provision is inapplicable for a particular claim or action or that such provision is unenforceable.
Amendment of Charter Provisions
The amendment of any of the above provisions, except for the provision making it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock, would require approval by holders of at least 66 2/3% of the voting power of our then outstanding voting stock.
The provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could have the effect of discouraging others from attempting hostile takeovers and, as a consequence, they may also inhibit temporary fluctuations in the market price of our Common Stock that often result from actual or rumored hostile takeover attempts. These provisions may also have the effect of preventing changes in our management. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interests.
Limitations of Liability and Indemnification Matters
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation contains provisions that limit the liability of our directors for monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty as a director to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Consequently, our directors will not be personally liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages for any breach of fiduciary duties as directors, except liability for:
any breach of the director’s duty of loyalty to us or our stockholders;
any act or omission not in good faith or that involves intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law;
unlawful payments of dividends or unlawful stock repurchases or redemptions as provided in Section 174 of the Delaware General Corporation Law; or
any transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit.
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that we are required to indemnify our directors and officers, in each case to the fullest extent permitted by Delaware law. Our amended and restated bylaws also provide that we are obligated to advance expenses incurred by a director or officer in advance of the final disposition of any action or proceeding, and permit us to secure insurance on behalf of any officer, director, employee or other agent for any liability arising out of his or her actions in that capacity regardless of whether we would otherwise be permitted to indemnify him or her under Delaware law. We have entered and expect to continue to enter into agreements to indemnify our directors, executive officers and other employees as determined by our board of directors. With specified exceptions, these agreements provide for indemnification for related expenses including, among other things, attorneys’ fees, judgments, fines and settlement amounts incurred by any of these individuals in any action or proceeding. We believe that these bylaw provisions and indemnification agreements are necessary to attract and retain qualified persons as directors and officers. We also maintain directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.
The limitation of liability and indemnification provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may discourage stockholders from bringing a lawsuit against our directors and officers for breach of their fiduciary duty. They may also reduce the likelihood of derivative litigation against our directors and officers, even though an action, if successful, might benefit us and our stockholders. Further, a stockholder’s investment may be adversely affected to the extent that we pay the costs of
settlement and damage.
The NASDAQ Global Market Listing
Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ARDX.”
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC. The transfer agent and registrar’s address is 6201 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11219.