Description of Securities of Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc
DESCRIPTION OF REGISTRANTS SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF
THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
The following is a brief description of the securities of Blackstone Mortgage Trust, Inc. (the company we, us, our and Blackstone Mortgage Trust), registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. This description of the terms of our stock does not purport to be complete and is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to the applicable provisions of Maryland General Corporation Law, and the full text of our charter and bylaws.
Our charter provides that we may issue up to 300,000,000 shares of stock comprised of the following:
200,000,000 shares of class A common stock, $0.01 par value per share; and
100,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.01 par value per share.
Under Maryland law, our stockholders generally are not liable for our debts or obligations. The class A common stock is listed on the NYSE under the symbol BXMT.
Our charter authorizes our board of directors, without stockholder approval, to:
classify and reclassify any unissued shares of our class A common stock and preferred stock into other classes or series of stock; and
amend our charter to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock of any class or series that may be issued.
We believe that the power to (i) issue additional shares of our class A common stock or preferred stock, (ii) increase the aggregate number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have the authority to issue and (iii) classify or reclassify unissued shares of our class A common or preferred stock and thereafter to issue the classified or reclassified shares of stock, provides us with increased flexibility in structuring possible future financings and acquisitions and in meeting other needs which might arise. In addition, under Maryland law, our board of directors may authorize the amendment of our charter to effect a reverse stock split that results in a combination of shares of stock at a ratio of not more than ten shares of stock into one share of stock in any 12-month period. These actions may 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.
Prior to the issuance of shares of each class or series, our board of directors is required by Maryland law and by our charter to set, subject to our charter restrictions on ownership and transfers of our 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. Thus, our board of directors could authorize the issuance of shares of common stock or preferred stock with terms and conditions which could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change in control of Blackstone Mortgage Trust that might involve a premium price for holders of our class A common stock or otherwise be in their best interests.
Class A Common Stock
Holders of our class A common stock are entitled to receive dividends when, as and if authorized by our board of directors and declared by us out of assets legally available for the payment of dividends. They are also entitled 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. These rights are subject to the preferential rights of any other class or series of our stock. All shares of class A common stock have equal dividend and liquidation rights.
Subject to law, the rights of any other class or series of our stock and our charter restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock, each outstanding share of class A common stock is entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders. There is no cumulative voting in the election of our directors and our directors are elected by a plurality of the votes cast, so the holders of a simple majority of the outstanding class A common stock, voting at a stockholders meeting at which a quorum is present, will have the power to elect all of the directors nominated for election at the meeting. Holders of our class A common stock generally have no exchange, sinking fund, redemption or appraisal rights, except the right to receive fair value in connection with certain control share acquisitions, and have no preemptive rights to subscribe for any of our securities. Because holders of our class A common stock do not have preemptive rights, we may issue additional shares of stock that may reduce each stockholders proportionate voting and financial interest in Blackstone Mortgage Trust. Rights to receive dividends on our class A common stock may be restricted by the terms of any future classified and issued shares of our stock.
Under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation generally cannot dissolve, amend its charter, convert to another form of entity, merge, sell all or substantially all of its assets, engage in a statutory share exchange or engage in similar transactions outside the ordinary course of business unless approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders holding at least two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote on the matter. However, a Maryland corporation may provide in its charter for approval of these matters by a lesser percentage, but not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Our charter provides for approval of these matters by a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.
Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by the stockholders, to authorize us to issue shares of preferred stock in one or more class or series and to fix the number of shares, dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, redemption rights, liquidation preferences, sinking funds, and any other rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions applicable to each such series of preferred stock. The issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of making an attempt to gain control of us more difficult by means of a merger, tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise. The preferred stock, if issued, could have a preference on dividend payments that could affect our ability to make dividend distributions to the common stockholders.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
Our transfer agent and registrar is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC located in Brooklyn, New York.
Certain Provisions of Our Charter and Bylaws and of Maryland Law
REIT Qualification Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer
Our charter contains restrictions on the number of shares of our stock that a person may own. No individual (including certain entities treated as individuals for this purpose) may acquire or hold, directly or indirectly through application of constructive ownership rules, in excess of 9.9% in value or number, whichever is more restrictive, of our outstanding stock or our outstanding class A common stock unless they receive an exemption from our board of directors.
Subject to certain limitations, our board of directors, in its sole discretion, may exempt a person from, or modify, these limits, subject to such terms, conditions, representations and undertakings as it may determine. Our charter provides for, and our board of directors has granted, limited exemptions to certain persons who directly or indirectly own our stock, including directors, officers and stockholders controlled by them or trusts for the benefit of their families.
Our charter further prohibits 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 Internal Revenue Code (without regard to whether the ownership interest is held during the last half of the taxable year) or otherwise cause us to fail to qualify as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, for United States federal income tax purposes and any person from transferring shares of our stock if the transfer would result in our stock being owned by fewer than 100 persons. Any person who acquires or attempts or intends to acquire shares of our stock that may violate any of these restrictions, or who is the intended transferee of shares of our stock which are transferred to the trust, as described below, is required to give us immediate written notice, or in the case of a proposed or attempted transaction, give at least 15 days prior written notice, and provide us, at our principal executive office, with such information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of the transfer on our status as a REIT. The above restrictions will not apply if our board of directors determines that it is no longer in our best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT or that compliance with such restrictions is no longer required for us to qualify as a REIT.
Any attempted transfer of our stock which, if effective, would result in violation of the above limitations, except for a transfer which results in shares being owned by fewer than 100 persons, in which case such transfer will be void and of no force and effect and the intended transferee shall acquire no rights in such shares, will cause the number of shares causing the violation, rounded to the nearest whole share, to be automatically transferred to a trust for the exclusive benefit of one or more charitable beneficiaries designated by us and the proposed transferee will not acquire any rights in the shares. The automatic transfer will be deemed to be effective as of the close of business on the business day, as defined in our charter, prior to the date of the transfer. Shares of our stock held in the trust will be issued and outstanding shares. The proposed transferee will not benefit economically from ownership of any shares of stock held in the trust, will have no rights to dividends and no rights to vote or other rights attributable to the shares of stock held in the trust. The trustee of the trust will have all voting rights and rights to dividends or other distributions with respect to shares held in the trust. These rights will be exercised for the exclusive benefit of the charitable beneficiaries. Any dividend or other distribution paid prior to our discovery that shares of stock have been transferred to the trust will be paid by the recipient to the trustee upon demand. Any dividend or other distribution authorized but unpaid will be paid when due to the trustee. Any dividend or distribution paid to the trustee will be held in trust for the charitable beneficiaries. Subject to Maryland law, effective as of the date that the shares have been transferred to the trustee, the trustee will have the authority to rescind as void any vote cast by the proposed 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 charitable beneficiaries. However, if we have already taken irreversible corporate action, then the trustee will not have the authority to rescind and recast the vote.
Within 20 days of receiving notice from us that shares of our stock have been transferred to the trust, the trustee will sell the shares to a person designated by the trustee, whose ownership of the shares will not violate the above ownership limitations. Upon the sale, the interest of the charitable beneficiaries in the shares sold will terminate and the trustee will distribute the net proceeds of the sale to the proposed transferee and to the charitable beneficiaries as follows. The proposed transferee will receive the lesser of (i) the price paid by the proposed transferee for the shares or, if the proposed transferee did not give value for the shares in connection with the event causing the shares to be held in the trust, such as a gift, devise or other similar transaction, the market price, as defined in our charter, of the shares on the day of the event causing the shares to be held in the trust and (ii) the price per share received by the trustee from the sale or other disposition of the shares. Any net sale proceeds in excess of the amount payable per share to the proposed transferee will be paid immediately to the charitable beneficiaries. If, prior to our discovery that shares of our stock have been transferred to the trust, the shares are sold by the proposed transferee, then the shares shall be deemed to have been sold on behalf of the trust and, to the extent that the proposed transferee received an amount for the shares that exceeds the amount he or she was entitled to receive pursuant to the above, the excess shall be paid to the trustee upon demand.
In addition, shares of our stock held in the trust will be deemed to have been offered for sale to us, or our designee, at a price per share equal to the lesser of (i) the price per share in the transaction that resulted in the transfer to the trust, or, in the case of a devise or gift or similar transaction, the market price at the time of the devise or gift or similar transaction and (ii) the market price on the date we, or our designee, accept the offer. We will have the right to accept the offer until the trustee has sold the shares. Upon a sale to us, the interest of the charitable beneficiaries in the shares sold will terminate and the trustee will distribute the net proceeds of the sale to the proposed transferee.
If the transfer to the trust as described above is not automatically effective for any reason to prevent violation of the above limitations or our failing to qualify as a REIT, then the transfer of the number of shares that otherwise cause any person to violate the above limitations will be void and the intended transferee shall acquire no rights in such shares.
All certificates, if any, representing shares of our stock issued in the future will bear a legend referring to the restrictions described above.
Every owner of more than such percentage as may from time to time be established by our board of directors, or such lower percentage as required by the Internal Revenue Code or the treasury regulations promulgated thereunder, of our outstanding stock, within 30 days after the end of each taxable year, is required to give us written notice, stating his or her name and address, the number of shares of each class and series of our stock which he or she beneficially owns and a description of the manner in which the shares are held. Each such owner shall provide us with such additional information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of its beneficial ownership on our status as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the aggregate stock ownership limit. In addition, each stockholder shall, upon demand, be required to provide us with such information as we may request in good faith in order to determine our status as a REIT and to comply with the requirements of any taxing authority or governmental authority or to determine such compliance.
These restrictions on ownership and transfer could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might involve a receipt of a premium price for the class A common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of the stockholders.
Under Maryland law, certain business combinations between a Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder or any affiliate of an interested stockholder are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the interested stockholder became an interested stockholder. These business combinations include a merger, consolidation, statutory share exchange, or, in circumstances specified in the statute, an asset transfer or issuance or reclassification of equity securities. An interested stockholder is defined as:
any person who beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting power of the corporations outstanding voting stock; or
an affiliate or associate of the corporation who, at any time within the two-year period immediately prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of 10% or more of the voting power of the then outstanding stock of the corporation.
A person is not an interested stockholder under the statute if the board of directors approved in advance the transaction by which such person otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, the board of directors may provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by the board.
After the five-year prohibition, any business combination between the Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder or any affiliate of an interested stockholder generally must be recommended by the board of directors of the corporation and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:
80% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation; and
two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of voting stock of the corporation other than shares held by the interested stockholder with whom or with whose affiliate the business combination is to be effected or the shares held by any affiliate or associate of the interested stockholder.
These super-majority vote requirements do not apply if the corporations common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under Maryland law, for their shares in the form of cash or other consideration in the same form as previously paid by the interested stockholder for its shares.
The statute permits various exemptions from its provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the board of directors prior to the time that an interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Our board of directors has exempted any business combination involving a limited liability company indirectly controlled by a trust for the benefit of Samuel Zell and his family. Our board of directors also approved in advance the transaction by which W.R. Berkley Corporation would have otherwise become an interested stockholder. In addition, our board of directors has exempted any business combination involving Huskies Acquisition LLC, or Huskies Acquisition, or its present affiliates or The Blackstone Group Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its subsidiaries, or Blackstone, and its present and future affiliates; provided, however, that Huskies Acquisition or any of its present affiliates and Blackstone and any of its present or future affiliates, may not enter into any business combination with Blackstone Mortgage Trust without the prior approval of at least a majority of the directors of our board of directors who are not affiliates or associates of Huskies Acquisition or Blackstone. As a result of the foregoing exemptions, these persons may enter into business combinations with us without compliance with the five-year prohibition, the super-majority vote requirements or the other provisions of the statute.
Control Share Acquisitions
Maryland law provides that a holder of control shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition has no voting rights with respect to such shares except to the extent approved by a vote of two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. A control share acquisition means the acquisition of control shares, subject to certain exceptions. Shares owned by the acquiror or by officers or directors of the corporation who are also employees are excluded from shares entitled to vote on the matter. Control shares are voting shares of stock which, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquiror or in respect of which the acquiror is able to exercise or direct the exercise of voting power, except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy, would entitle the acquiror to exercise voting power in electing directors within one of the following ranges of voting power:
one-tenth or more but less than one-third;
one-third or more but less than a majority; or
a majority or more of all voting power.
Control shares do not include shares the acquiror is then entitled to vote as a result of having previously obtained stockholder approval or shares acquired directly from the corporation.
A person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition may compel the board of directors of the corporation to call a special meeting of stockholders to be held within 50 days of demand to consider the voting rights of the shares. The right to compel the calling of a special meeting is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including an undertaking to pay the expenses of the meeting and delivering an acquiring person statement as described in the Maryland General Corporation Law. If no request for a meeting is made, the corporation may itself present the question at any stockholders meeting.
If voting rights are not approved at the meeting or if the acquiring person does not deliver an acquiring person statement as required by the statute, then the corporation may redeem for fair value any or all of the control shares, except those for which voting rights have previously been approved. The right of the corporation to redeem control shares is subject to certain conditions and limitations. Fair value is determined, without regard to the absence of voting rights for the control shares, as of the date of the last control share acquisition by the acquiror or, if a meeting of stockholders at which the voting rights of the shares are considered and not approved, as of the date of the meeting. If voting rights for control shares are approved at a stockholders meeting and the acquiror becomes entitled to vote a majority of the shares entitled to vote, all other stockholders may exercise appraisal rights, unless the charter or bylaws provide otherwise. The fair value of the shares as determined for purposes of appraisal rights may not be less than the highest price per share paid by the acquiror in the control share acquisition.
The control share acquisition statute does not apply to shares acquired in a merger, consolidation or statutory share exchange if the corporation is a party to the transaction, or to acquisitions approved or exempted by the charter or bylaws of the corporation. Our bylaws contain a provision exempting the following persons from this statute: (i) a limited liability company indirectly controlled by a trust for the benefit of Samuel Zell and his family; (ii) W.R. Berkley Corporation and any of its controlled affiliates; and (iii) Huskies Acquisition, or any person or entity that was an affiliate of Huskies Acquisition as of September 27, 2012 or by Blackstone or any of its affiliates.
Maryland Unsolicited Takeovers Act
The Maryland Unsolicited Takeovers Act applies to any Maryland corporation that has a class of equity securities registered under the Exchange Act and at least three independent directors. Pursuant to such act, the board of directors of any Maryland corporation satisfying such requirements, without obtaining stockholder approval and notwithstanding a contrary provision in its charter or bylaws, may elect to:
classify the board;
require a two-thirds vote for removing a director;
require that a stockholder requested special meeting need be called only upon the written request of the stockholders entitled to cast a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast at the meeting;
require that the number of directors may be fixed only by a vote of the board of directors; and
require that each vacancy on the board of directors, including a vacancy resulting from the removal of a director by the stockholders, may be filled only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors in office, even if the remaining directors do not constitute a quorum and any director elected to fill a vacancy will hold office for the full remainder of the term.
The Maryland Unsolicited Takeovers Act does not limit the power of a corporation to confer on the holders of any class or series of preferred stock the right to elect one or more directors. We currently have more than three independent directors and have a class of equity securities registered under the Exchange Act and therefore our board of directors may elect to provide for any of the foregoing provisions. As of the date hereof, our board of directors has not made any such election. However, through provisions of our charter and bylaws unrelated to the Maryland Unsolicited Takeovers Act, we (a) vest in our board the exclusive power to fix the number of directors and (b) require for a stockholder requested meeting, the written request of stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast.
Advance Notice of Director Nominations and New Business
Our bylaws provide that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of individuals for election to the board of directors and the proposal of business to be considered by stockholders may be made only:
pursuant to our notice of the meeting;
by or at the direction of the board of directors; or
by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record at the record date set by our board of directors for purposes of determining stockholders entitled to vote up to the meeting, at the time of giving of notice and at the time of the annual meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual so nominated or on any such other business and who has complied with the advance notice procedures of the bylaws.
With respect to special meetings of stockholders, only the business specified in our notice of the meeting may be brought before the meeting. Nominations of individuals for election to the board of directors at a special meeting may only be made:
by or at the direction of the board of directors;
by a stockholder that has requested that a special meeting be called for the purpose of electing directors in compliance with our bylaws and that has supplied the information required by our bylaws about each individual whom the stockholder proposes to nominate for election as a director; or
provided that the meeting has been called in accordance with our bylaws for the purpose of electing directors, by a stockholder who is a stockholder of record at the record date set by our board of directors for purposes of determining stockholders entitled to vote up to the meeting, at the time of giving of notice and at the time of the special meeting and who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual so nominated and has complied with the advance notice provisions of the bylaws.
Limitation of Liability and Indemnification of Directors and Officers
Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to include in its charter a provision limiting the liability of its directors and officers to the corporation and its stockholders for money damages except for liability resulting from (i) actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or (ii) active and deliberate dishonesty which is established by a final judgment and which is material to the cause of action. Our charter contains such a provision which eliminates directors and officers liability to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law.
Our charter authorizes us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, to obligate us to indemnify any present or former director or officer or any individual who, while a director or officer of our company and at our request, serves or has served another corporation, real estate investment trust, partnership, limited liability company, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise as a director, officer, partner or trustee, from and against any claim or liability to which that individual may become subject or which that individual may incur by reason of his or her service in such capacity and to pay or reimburse his or her reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding. Our bylaws obligate us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, to indemnify any present or former director or officer or any individual who, while a director or officer of our company and at our request, serves or has served another corporation,
real estate investment trust, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise as a director, officer, trustee, member, manager or partner and who is made or are threatened to be made a party to, or witness in, the proceeding by reason of his or her service in that capacity from and against any claim or liability to which that individual may become subject or which that individual may incur by reason of his or her service in such capacity and to pay or reimburse his or her reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding. The rights to indemnification and advancement of expenses provided by our charter and our bylaws shall vest immediately upon an individuals election as a director or officer. Our charter and bylaws also permit us to indemnify and advance expenses to any individual who served a predecessor of the company in any of the capacities described above and any employee or agent of the company or a predecessor of the company.
Maryland law requires a corporation (unless its charter provides otherwise, which our charter does not) to indemnify a director or officer who has been successful in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made or threatened to be made a party by reason of his or her service in that capacity. Maryland law permits a corporation to indemnify its present and former directors and officers, among others, against judgments, penalties, fines, settlements and reasonable expenses actually incurred by them in connection with any proceeding to which they may be made or threatened to be made a party by reason of their service in those or other capacities unless its established that (i) the act or omission of the director or officer was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding and (a) was committed in bad faith or (b) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty, (ii) the director or officer actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services or (iii) in the case of any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful. However, under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation may not indemnify for an adverse judgment in a suit by or in the right of the corporation or for a judgment of liability on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received, unless in either case a court orders indemnification and then only for expenses. In addition, Maryland law permits a corporation to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer upon the corporations receipt of (i) a written affirmation by the director or officer of his or her good faith belief that he or she has met the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification by the corporation and (ii) a written undertaking by him or her or on his or her behalf to repay the amount paid or reimbursed by the corporation if it is ultimately determined that the standard of conduct was not met.
We have entered into indemnification agreements, or the Indemnification Agreements, with each of our directors and officers, each, an Indemnitee. The Indemnification Agreements provide that we will, subject to certain limitations and exceptions, indemnify, to the fullest extent permitted under Maryland law, and advance expenses to, each Indemnitee, in connection with (among other things) the Indemnitees capacity as a director, officer, employee or agent of Blackstone Mortgage Trust. This obligation includes, subject to certain terms and conditions, indemnification for any expenses (including reasonable attorneys fees), judgments, fines, penalties and settlement amounts actually and reasonably incurred by the Indemnitee in connection with any threatened or pending action, suit or proceeding. In certain instances, we may be required to advance such expenses, in which case the Indemnitee will be obligated to reimburse us for the amounts advanced if it is later determined that the Indemnitee is not entitled to indemnification for such expenses. The indemnification provided under the Indemnification Agreements is not exclusive of any other indemnity rights.
Our charter includes a provision that, among other things, subject to certain exceptions, none of Blackstone or its affiliates, our directors or any person that any of our directors control shall have any duty to refrain from engaging, directly or indirectly, in any business opportunities, including any business opportunities in the same or similar business activities or lines of business in which we or any of our affiliates may from time to time be engaged or propose to engage, or from competing with us.