Description of the Registrant's Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934

EX-4.9 2 ex-492020.htm EX-4.9 Document



Exhibit 4.9

DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
AvalonBay Communities, 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.
General
        Under our Articles of Amendment and Restatement, as amended (also referred to as our “charter”), we have authority to issue 280,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $.01 per share. Under Maryland law, holders of shares of our common stock that have been duly authorized, validly issued and paid for are generally not responsible for our debts or obligations. Our common stock is listed on the NYSE under the symbol “AVB.”
Dividends
        Subject to the preferential rights of any other class or series of stock, none of which are currently outstanding, and to the provisions of our charter regarding excess stock, which are described below, holders of shares of our common stock will be entitled to receive dividends on shares of common stock out of assets that we may legally use to pay dividends, if and when they are authorized by our board of directors and declared by us in compliance with applicable provisions of Maryland law and our charter.
Voting rights
        Except as provided by the terms of any other class or series of stock, holders of common stock have the exclusive power to vote on all matters presented to our stockholders, including the election of directors. Holders of common stock are entitled to one vote per share. There is no cumulative voting in the election of our directors, and, subject to any rights to elect directors that are granted to the holders of any class or series of preferred stock, a nominee for director shall be elected as a director only if such nominee receives the affirmative vote of a majority of the total votes cast for and affirmatively withheld as to such nominee at a meeting of stockholders duly called and at which a quorum is present. However, directors shall be elected by a plurality of votes cast at a meeting of stockholders duly called and at which a quorum is present if, as a result of stockholder nominations of one or more nominees done in accordance with the bylaws, the number of nominees is greater than the number of directors to be elected at the meeting. Each share may be voted for as many individuals as there are directors to be elected and for whose election the share is entitled to be voted. Directors are elected annually because our board is non-classified and serve until the next annual meeting of stockholders and until their successors are duly elected and qualify.
Liquidation/dissolution rights
        Subject to the preferential rights of any other class or series of stock and to the provisions of our charter regarding excess stock, holders of shares of our common stock share in the same proportion as our other stockholders in the assets that we may legally use to pay distributions in the event we are liquidated, dissolved or our affairs are wound up after we pay or make adequate provision for all of our known debts and liabilities.
Other rights
        Subject to the preferential rights of any other class or series of stock and to provisions of our charter regarding excess stock, all shares of our common stock have equal dividend, distribution, liquidation and other rights, and have no preference, appraisal or exchange rights. Furthermore, holders of shares of our common stock have no conversion, sinking fund or redemption rights, or preemptive rights to subscribe for any of our securities.
        Under Maryland law, a corporation generally cannot dissolve, amend its charter, merge, convert, sell all or substantially all of its assets, engage in a share exchange or engage in similar transactions outside the ordinary course of business unless approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter, unless a different percentage is set forth in the corporation’s charter, which percentage shall not in any event be less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on such matter. Our charter provides that, except as specifically provided in



Section 6.4 of Article VI (relating to removal of Directors), notwithstanding any provision of law requiring any action to be taken or approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast a greater number of votes, any such action shall be effective and valid if declared advisable by the Board of Directors and taken or approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.
Restrictions on ownership
        For us to qualify as a REIT under the Code, no more than 50% in value of our outstanding capital stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by or for five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of a taxable year. To assist us in meeting this requirement, we may take actions such as the automatic conversion of shares in excess of the ownership limit described in “Limits on Ownership of Stock” into shares of excess stock to limit the beneficial ownership of our outstanding equity securities, directly or indirectly, by one individual. See “Limits on Ownership of Stock.”
Transfer Agent
        The transfer agent and registrar for the common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Limits on Ownership of Stock
Ownership limits
        For us to qualify as a REIT under the Code, among other things, no more than 50% in value of our outstanding capital stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by or for five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of a taxable year. Additionally, the shares of our capital stock must be beneficially owned by 100 or more persons during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year. To protect us against the risk of losing our status as a REIT due to a concentration of ownership among our stockholders, and to otherwise address concerns related to concentrated ownership of capital stock, our charter provides that no person may own (directly, indirectly by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, or beneficially under Rule 13d-3 of the Exchange Act) more than 9.8% of any class or series of our stock (15% for some entities as described below). Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the board of directors at its option and in its sole discretion may approve ownership greater than the applicable ownership limitation by selected persons or entities. Our board of directors does not expect that it would waive the applicable ownership limit unless the board of directors receives evidence to its satisfaction that the waiver of the limit will not jeopardize our status as a REIT and an agreement in writing from the person seeking the waiver that any violation or attempted violation of any other limitation as the board may establish or any other restrictions and conditions as the board may impose will result, as of the time of such violation, in the conversion of any shares in excess of the original limit into excess stock, and the board of directors also decides that the waiver is in our best interests. Any transfer of shares of stock, including any security convertible into shares of stock, shall be void and have no effect if it: (1) would create a direct or indirect ownership of shares of stock in excess of the applicable ownership limit, absent a valid waiver of this ownership limit or (2) would result in our disqualification as a REIT, including any transfer that would (a) result in the shares of stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons, (b) result in us being “closely held” within the meaning of Section 856(h) of the Code or (c) result in us constructively owning 10% or more of the ownership interests in a tenant within the meaning of Section 856(d)(2)(B) of the Code. In addition, if any purported transfer of stock or any other event would otherwise result in any person violating the applicable ownership limit, then the purported transfer will be void and of no force or effect with respect to the intended transferee as to that number of shares in excess of the ownership limit. The intended transferee will acquire no right or interest in the excess shares; or, in the case of any event other than a purported transfer, the person holding record title to any shares in excess of the ownership limit shall cease to own any right or interest in the excess shares. In both cases, neither the intended transferee nor the person holding record title to any shares in excess of the ownership limit shall have any right to: (1) transfer or otherwise dispose of the excess stock, (2) vote the excess stock or (3) receive any dividend or distribution paid with respect to the excess stock, as further explained below.
        Under the Code, some types of entities, which includes pension plans described in Section 401(a) of the Code and mutual funds registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, will be looked through for purposes of the five or fewer test described above. Our charter limits these pension plans and mutual funds to owning no more than 15% of any class or series of our stock.
Shares owned in excess of the ownership limit
        Stock owned, or deemed to be owned, or proposed to be transferred to a stockholder in excess of the ownership limit will be converted automatically into shares of excess stock and will be transferred, by operation of law, to a trust, the beneficiary of which shall be a qualified charitable organization selected by us. As soon as practicable after the transfer of shares to the trust, the trustee of the trust will be required to sell the shares of excess stock to a person who could own the shares without violating the ownership limit and distribute to the proposed transferee an amount equal to the lesser of (1) the price paid by the proposed transferee for the shares of excess stock or (2) the sales proceeds received by the trust for the shares of excess stock. In the case of any excess stock resulting from any event other than a transfer, or from a transfer for no consideration (such as a gift), the trustee will be required to sell the excess stock to a qualified person or entity and distribute to the person holding record title to



the shares in excess of the ownership limit an amount equal to the lesser of (A) the fair market value of the excess stock as of the date of the event or (B) the sales proceeds received by the trust for the excess stock. In either case, any proceeds in excess of the amount distributable to the proposed transferee or person holding record title to the shares in excess of the ownership limit, as applicable, will be distributed to the beneficiary of the trust.
        Upon the transfer of shares of excess stock by the trustee, the shares shall be converted automatically into an equal number of shares of the same class and series that were converted into the excess stock, and the shares of excess stock will be automatically retired and canceled and will thereupon be restored to the status of authorized but unissued shares of excess stock. Prior to a sale of any excess stock by the trustee, the trustee will be entitled to receive in trust for the beneficiary, all dividends and other distributions paid with respect to the excess stock. In addition, while the shares of excess stock are held in trust, the holder of shares will not be entitled to vote such shares.
        Neither the proposed transferee nor any person holding record title to any excess stock shall have any right to receive any dividend or distribution paid with respect to the excess stock. Any dividend or distribution paid on excess stock prior to discovery by us of the violation of the applicable ownership limit shall be repaid to us. In addition, neither the proposed transferee nor any person holding record title to any excess stock shall have any voting rights with respect to the excess stock. Any vote of any excess stock prior to discovery by us of the violation of the applicable ownership limit shall, subject to applicable law, be rescinded and deemed void and shall be recast by the trustee acting for the benefit of the beneficiary; provided, however, that such vote shall not be rescinded and recast if we have already taken irreversible corporate action. Shares of excess stock are not treasury stock, but rather constitute a separate class of issued and outstanding stock.
Right to purchase excess stock
        In addition to the foregoing transfer restrictions, we have the right for a period of 90 days to purchase all or any portion of the excess stock from the proposed transferee or any person holding record title to any excess stock for a price per share equal to the lesser of:
(1)
the price per share initially paid for the stock by the proposed transferee or, in the case of excess stock resulting from any event other than a transfer or from a transfer for no consideration (such as a gift), the average of the closing price per share for the class of shares from which the shares of excess stock were converted for the five consecutive trading days ending on the date of such event or transfer, as applicable; or
(2)
the average closing price per share for the class or series of shares from which the shares of excess stock were converted for the five consecutive trading days ending on the date we elect to purchase the shares.
The 90-day period begins on the date of the purported transfer or non-transfer event that violated the applicable ownership limit if the proposed transferee or person holding record title to any excess stock gives notice to us of the transfer or non-transfer event, as applicable, or if no notice is given, the date our board of directors determines that such a transfer has been made or such a non-transfer event has occurred.
General
        The foregoing restrictions on transferability and ownership will not apply if our board of directors determines that it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT. The board may, in its sole discretion, waive the ownership limits if evidence is presented that such ownership of shares in excess of the ownership limit will not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT, the person seeking the waiver agrees in writing that any violation or attempted violation of any other limitation as the board may establish or any other restrictions and conditions as the board may impose will result, as of the time of such violation, in the conversion of any shares in excess of the original limit into excess stock and the board otherwise decides in its sole discretion that such action is in our best interest.
        Our stockholders are required to disclose to us in writing any information with respect to their ownership of our stock that we may request in order to determine our status as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the ownership limits.
        The ownership limits may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change of control of our company.
Anti-Takeover Effects of our Articles, Bylaws and Maryland Law
There are provisions in our charter and bylaws and under Maryland law, where we are organized as a corporation, that may discourage a third party from making a proposal to acquire us, even if some of our stockholders might consider the proposal to be in their best interests. These provisions include the following:
Our charter authorizes our Board of Directors to issue up to 50,000,000 shares of preferred stock without stockholder approval and to establish the preferences and rights, including voting rights, of any class or series of preferred stock issued. The



Board of Directors may issue preferred stock without stockholder approval, which could allow the Board to issue one or more classes or series of preferred stock that could discourage or delay a tender offer or a change in control.
To maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by or for five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of any taxable year. To maintain this qualification, and/or to address other concerns about concentrations of ownership of our stock, our charter generally prohibits ownership (directly, indirectly by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, or beneficially as defined in Section 13 of the Securities Exchange Act) by any single stockholder of more than 9.8% of the issued and outstanding shares of any class or series of our stock. In general, under our charter, pension plans and mutual funds may directly and beneficially own up to 15% of the outstanding shares of any class or series of stock. Under our charter, our Board of Directors may in its sole discretion waive or modify the ownership limit for one or more persons, but it is not required to do so even if such waiver would not affect our qualification as a REIT. These ownership limits may prevent or delay a change in control and, as a result, could adversely affect our stockholders' ability to realize a premium for their shares of common stock.
In addition, our bylaws provide that, unless the Company consents in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland or, if that Court does not have jurisdiction, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland shall be the sole and exclusive forum for (a) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the Company, (b) any action asserting a claim of breach of any duty owed by any director or officer or other employee of the Company to the Company or to the stockholders, (c) any action asserting a claim against the Company or any director or officer or other employee of the Company arising pursuant to any provision of the Maryland General Corporation Law, the charter or the bylaws or (d) any action asserting a claim against the Company or any director or officer or other employee of the Company that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. The Company will not interpret this forum provision to apply to actions arising under federal securities laws.
As a Maryland corporation, we are subject to the provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law. Maryland law imposes restrictions on some business combinations and requires compliance with statutory procedures before some mergers and acquisitions may occur, which may delay or prevent offers to acquire us or increase the difficulty of completing any offers, even if they are in our stockholders' best interests. In addition, other provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law permit the Board of Directors to make elections and to take actions without stockholder approval (such as classifying our Board such that the entire Board is not up for re-election annually) that, if made or taken, could have the effect of discouraging or delaying a change in control.