Form of Change in Control Severance Agreement
BLEND LABS, INC.
CHANGE IN CONTROL SEVERANCE AGREEMENT
This Change in Control Severance Agreement (the Agreement) is made between Blend Labs, Inc. (the Company) and (the Executive), effective as of , 2021 (the Effective Date).
This Agreement provides certain protections to the Executive in connection with a change in control of the Company or in connection with the involuntary termination of the Executives employment under the circumstances described in this Agreement. Certain capitalized terms are defined in Section 7 to the extent not otherwise defined in other Sections of the Agreement.
The Company and the Executive agree as follows:
1. Term of Agreement. This Agreement will terminate upon the date that all of the obligations of the parties hereto with respect to this Agreement have been satisfied.
2. At-Will Employment. The Company and the Executive acknowledge that the Executives employment is and will continue to be at-will, as defined under applicable law.
3. Severance Benefits.
(a) Qualifying CIC Termination. In the event of a Qualifying CIC Termination (as defined below), and subject to Sections 5 and 6, the Executive will be eligible to receive the following from the Company:
(i) Equity Vesting. Vesting acceleration (and exercisability, as applicable) as to fifty percent (50%) of the then-unvested shares subject to each of the Company equity awards granted to the Executive that is outstanding as of the date of the Qualifying CIC Termination (each, an Equity Award). In the case of an Equity Award that is subject to performance-based vesting, unless otherwise specified in the applicable Equity Award agreement governing the Equity Award, all performance goals and other vesting criteria will be deemed achieved at fifty percent (50%) of target levels. For the avoidance of doubt, in the event of the Executives Qualifying Pre-CIC Termination (as defined below), any then outstanding Equity Awards will remain outstanding until the earlier of (x) three (3) months following the Qualifying CIC Termination or (y) the occurrence of a Change in Control, solely so that any benefits due on a Qualifying Pre-CIC Termination can be provided if a Change in Control occurs within three (3) months following the Qualifying CIC Termination (provided that in no event will the Executives stock options or similar Equity Awards remain outstanding beyond the Equity Awards maximum term to expiration). If no Change in Control occurs within three (3) months following a Qualifying CIC Termination, any unvested portion of the Executives Equity Awards automatically and permanently will be forfeited on the date three (3) months following the date of the Qualifying CIC Termination without having vested.
(b) Termination Other Than a Qualifying CIC Termination. If the termination of the Executives employment with the Company Group (as defined below) is not a Qualifying CIC Termination, then the Executive will not be entitled to receive the vesting accelerations specified in this Agreement.
(c) Non-Duplication of Payment or Benefits. Notwithstanding any provision of this Agreement to the contrary, if the Executive is entitled to any vesting acceleration of any Equity Awards (other than under this Agreement) by operation of applicable law or under a plan, policy, contract, or arrangement sponsored by or to which any member of the Company Group is a party in connection with the Executives separation (Other Benefits), then the corresponding vesting acceleration under this Agreement will be reduced by the amount of Other Benefits provided to the Executive.
(d) Death of the Executive. In the event of the Executives death before all payments or benefits the Executive is entitled to receive under this Agreement have been provided, the unpaid amounts will be provided to the Executives designated beneficiary, if living, or otherwise to the Executives personal representative in a single lump sum as soon as possible following the Executives death.
(e) Transfer Between Members of the Company Group. For purposes of this Agreement, if the Executive is involuntarily transferred from one member of the Company Group to another, the transfer will not be a termination without Cause but may give the Executive the ability to resign for Good Reason.
(f) Exclusive Remedy. In the event of a termination of the Executives employment with the Company Group, the provisions of this Agreement are intended to be and are exclusive and in lieu of any other rights or remedies to which the Executive may otherwise be entitled, whether at law, tort or contract, or in equity. The Executive will be entitled to no benefits, compensation or other payments or rights upon termination of employment other than those benefits expressly set forth in this Agreement.
4. Accrued Compensation. On any termination of the Executives employment with the Company Group, the Executive will be entitled to receive all accrued but unpaid vacation, expense reimbursements, wages, and other benefits due to the Executive under any Company-provided plans, policies, and arrangements. For avoidance of doubt, receipt of accrued compensation is not subject to the Release Requirement discussed in Section 5(a).
5. Conditions to Receipt of Severance.
(a) Separation Agreement and Release of Claims. The Executives receipt of any vesting acceleration upon the Executives Qualifying CIC Termination under Section 3 is subject to the Executive signing and not revoking the Companys then-standard separation agreement and release of claims (which may include an agreement not to disparage any member of the Company Group, non-solicit provisions, an agreement to assist in any litigation matters, and other standard terms and conditions) (the Release and that requirement, the Release Requirement), which must become effective and irrevocable no later than the sixtieth (60th) day following the date of the Executives Qualifying CIC Termination (the Release Deadline Date). If the Release does not become effective and irrevocable by the Release Deadline Date, the Executive will forfeit any right to the vesting acceleration under Section 3.
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(b) Payment Timing. Subject to Section 5(d), any restricted stock units, performance shares, performance units, and/or similar full value awards that accelerate vesting under Section 3(a) will be settled (x) within ten (10) days following the date the Release becomes effective and irrevocable, or (y) if later, in the event of a Qualifying Pre-CIC Termination, on the date of the Change in Control.
(c) Return of Company Property. The Executives receipt of any vesting acceleration upon the Executives Qualifying CIC Termination under Section 3 is subject to the Executive having returned all documents and other property provided to the Executive by any member of the Company Group (with the exception of a copy of the Company employee handbook and personnel documents specifically relating to the Executive), developed or obtained by the Executive in connection with his or her employment with the Company Group, or otherwise belonging to the Company Group, by no later than ten (10) days following the date of the Qualifying CIC Termination.
(d) Section 409A. The Company intends that all benefits provided under this Agreement or otherwise are exempt from, or comply with, the requirements of Section 409A of the Code (as defined below) and any guidance promulgated under Section 409A of the Code (collectively, Section 409A) so that none of the benefits will be subject to the additional tax imposed under Section 409A, and any ambiguities in this Agreement will be interpreted in accordance with this intent. No benefits to be paid to the Executive, if any such payments or benefits, under this Agreement or otherwise, when considered together with any severance payments or separation benefits that are considered deferred compensation under Section 409A (together, the Deferred Payments) will be paid or otherwise provided until the Executive has a separation from service within the meaning of Section 409A. If, at the time of the Executives termination of employment, the Executive is a specified employee within the meaning of Section 409A, then the payment of the Deferred Payments will be delayed to the extent necessary to avoid the imposition of the additional tax imposed under Section 409A, which generally means that the Executive will receive payment on the first payroll date that occurs on or after the date that is six (6) months and one (1) day following the Executives termination of employment. The Company reserves the right to amend this Agreement as it considers necessary or advisable, in its sole discretion and without the consent of the Executive or the consent of any other individual, to comply with any provision required to avoid the imposition of the additional tax imposed under Section 409A or to otherwise avoid income recognition under Section 409A prior to the actual payment of any benefits or imposition of any additional tax. Each payment, installment, and benefit payable under this Agreement is intended to constitute a separate payment for purposes of U.S. Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-2(b)(2). In no event will any member of the Company Group reimburse, indemnify, or hold harmless the Executive for any taxes, penalties and interest that may be imposed, or other costs that may be incurred, as a result of Section 409A.
(e) Resignation of Officer and Director Positions. The Executives receipt of any vesting acceleration upon the Executives Qualifying CIC Termination under Section 3 is subject to the Executive having resigned from all officer and director positions with all members of the Company Group and the Executive executing any documents the Company may require in connection with the same.
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6. Limitation on Payments.
(a) Reduction of Severance Benefits. If any payment or benefit that the Executive would receive from any Company Group member or any other party whether in connection with the provisions in this Agreement or otherwise (the Payment) would (i) constitute a parachute payment within the meaning of Section 280G of the Code, and (ii) but for this sentence, be subject to the excise tax imposed by Section 4999 of the Code (the Excise Tax), then the Payment will be equal to the Best Results Amount. The Best Results Amount will be either (x) the full amount of the Payment or (y) a lesser amount that would result in no portion of the Payment being subject to the Excise Tax, whichever of those amounts, taking into account the applicable federal, state and local employment taxes, income taxes and the Excise Tax, results in the Executives receipt, on an after-tax basis, of the greater amount. If a reduction in payments or benefits constituting parachute payments is necessary so that the Payment equals the Best Results Amount, reduction will occur in the following order: (A) reduction of cash payments in reverse chronological order (that is, the cash payment owed on the latest date following the occurrence of the event triggering the excise tax will be the first cash payment to be reduced); (B) cancellation of Equity Awards that were granted contingent on a change in ownership or control within the meaning of Section 280G of the Code in the reverse order of date of grant of the awards (that is, the most recently granted Equity Awards will be cancelled first); (C) reduction of the accelerated vesting of Equity Awards in the reverse order of date of grant of the awards (that is, the vesting of the most recently granted Equity Awards will be cancelled first); and (D) reduction of employee benefits in reverse chronological order (that is, the benefit owed on the latest date following the occurrence of the event triggering the excise tax will be the first benefit to be reduced). In no event will the Executive have any discretion with respect to the ordering of Payment reductions. The Executive will be solely responsible for the payment of all personal tax liability that is incurred as a result of the payments and benefits received under this Agreement, and the Executive will not be reimbursed, indemnified, or held harmless by any member of the Company Group for any of those payments of personal tax liability.
(b) Determination of Excise Tax Liability. Unless the Company and the Executive otherwise agree in writing, the Company will select a professional services firm (the Firm) to make all determinations required under this Section 6, which determinations will be conclusive and binding upon the Executive and the Company for all purposes. For purposes of making the calculations required by this Section 6, the Firm may make reasonable assumptions and approximations concerning applicable taxes and may rely on reasonable, good faith interpretations concerning the application of Sections 280G and 4999 of the Code. The Company and the Executive will furnish to the Firm such information and documents as the Firm reasonably may request in order to make determinations under this Section 6. The Company will bear the costs and make all payments for the Firms services in connection with any calculations contemplated by this Section 6. The Company will have no liability to the Executive for the determinations of the Firm.
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7. Definitions. The following terms referred to in this Agreement will have the following meanings:
(a) Board means the Companys Board of Directors.
(b) Cause means (i) the Executives conviction of, or plea of guilty or no contest to, a felony under the laws of the United States or any State thereof; (ii) an unauthorized use or disclosure by the Executive of the Companys confidential information or trade secrets, which use or disclosure causes material harm to the Company; (iii) a material breach by the Executive of any written agreement between the Executive and the Company regarding the terms of the Executives service to the Company; (iv) a material failure by the Executive to comply with the Companys written policies or rules that causes material harm to the Company; (v) the Executives gross negligence or willful misconduct in the performance in his or her duties to the Company that causes material harm to the Company; (vi) a continuing failure by the Executive to perform assigned duties after receiving written notification of such failure from the Board; or (vii) a failure by the Executive to participate in good faith with a governmental or internal investigation of the Company or its directors, officers or employees, if the Company has requested the Executives cooperation; provided that any action, failure, breach or misconduct described in clauses (ii) through (vii) will constitute Cause only if such action, failure, breach or misconduct continues after the Company has provided the Participant with written notice and thirty (30) days to cure the same if such action, failure, breach or misconduct is curable.
(c) Change in Control means the occurrence of any of the following events:
(i) A change in the ownership of the Company which occurs on the date that any one person, or more than one person acting as a group (Person), acquires ownership of the stock of the Company that, with the stock held by such Person, constitutes more than fifty percent (50%) of the total voting power of the stock of the Company; provided, that for this subsection, the acquisition of additional stock by any one Person, who prior to such acquisition is considered to own more than fifty percent (50%) of the total voting power of the stock of the Company will not be considered a Change in Control and provided, further, that any change in the ownership of the stock of the Company as a result of a private financing of the Company that is approved by the Board also will not be considered a Change in Control. Further, if the stockholders of the Company immediately before such change in ownership continue to retain immediately after the change in ownership, in substantially the same proportions as their ownership of shares of the Companys voting stock immediately prior to the change in ownership, direct or indirect beneficial ownership of fifty percent (50%) or more of the total voting power of the stock of the Company or of the ultimate parent entity of the Company, such event shall not be considered a Change in Control under this Section 7(c)(i). For this purpose, indirect beneficial ownership shall include, without limitation, an interest resulting from ownership of the voting securities of one or more corporations or other business entities which own the Company, as the case may be, either directly or through one or more subsidiary corporations or other business entities; or
(ii) A change in the effective control of the Company which occurs on the date a majority of members of the Board is replaced during any twelve (12)-month period by members of the Board whose appointment or election is not endorsed by a majority of the members of the Board prior to the appointment or election. For purposes of this Section 7(c)(ii), if any Person is considered to be in effective control of the Company, the acquisition of additional control of the Company by the same Person will not be considered a Change in Control; or
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(iii) A change in the ownership of a substantial portion of the Companys assets which occurs on the date that any Person acquires (or has acquired during the twelve (12)-month period ending on the date of the most recent acquisition by such Person or Persons) assets from the Company that have a total gross fair market value equal to or more than fifty percent (50%) of the total gross fair market value of all of the assets of the Company immediately prior to such acquisition or acquisitions; provided, that for this Section 7(c)(iii), the following will not constitute a change in the ownership of a substantial portion of the Companys assets:
(1) a transfer to an entity controlled by the Companys stockholders immediately after the transfer, or
(2) a transfer of assets by the Company to:
(A) a stockholder of the Company (immediately before the asset transfer) in exchange for or with respect to the Companys stock,
(B) an entity, fifty percent (50%) or more of the total value or voting power of which is owned, directly or indirectly, by the Company,
(C) a Person, that owns, directly or indirectly, fifty percent (50%) or more of the total value or voting power of all the outstanding stock of the Company, or
(D) an entity, at least fifty percent (50%) of the total value or voting power of which is owned, directly or indirectly, by a Person described in Section 7(c)(iii)(2)(A) to Section 7(c)(iii)(2)(C).
For this definition, gross fair market value means the value of the assets of the Company, or the value of the assets being disposed of, determined without regard to any liabilities associated with such assets.
For purposes of this Section 7(c), persons will be considered to be acting as a group if they are owners of a corporation that enters into a merger, consolidation, purchase or acquisition of stock, or similar business transaction with the Company. For the avoidance of doubt, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Company shall not be considered Persons for purposes of this Section 7(c).
(iv) A transaction will not be a Change in Control:
(1) unless the transaction qualifies as a change in control event within the meaning of Code Section 409A; or
(2) if its primary purpose is to (1) change the jurisdiction of the Companys incorporation, or (2) create a holding company owned in substantially the same proportions by the persons who held the Companys securities immediately before such transaction.
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(d) Change in Control Period means the period beginning three (3) months prior to a Change in Control and ending twelve (12) months following a Change in Control.
(e) Code means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(f) Company Group means the Company and its subsidiaries.
(g) Disability means a total and permanent disability as defined in Section 22(e)(3) of the Code.
(h) Good Reason means that the Executive resigns within twelve (12) months after one of the following conditions has come into existence without the Executives consent: (i) a reduction in the Executives Salary by more than 10%; (ii) a material diminution of the Executives authority, duties or responsibilities provided, however, that continued employment following a Change in Control with substantially the same duties, authorities, or responsibilities with respect to the Companys business and operations will not constitute Good Reason (for example, Good Reason does not exist if the Executive is employed by the Company Group or a successor with substantially the same duties, authorities, or responsibilities with respect to the Company Groups business that the Executive had immediately prior to the Change in Control regardless of whether the Executives title is revised to reflect Executives placement within the overall corporate hierarchy or whether the Executive provides services to a subsidiary, affiliate, business unit or otherwise); (iii) a material breach by the Company of this Agreement. A condition shall not be considered Good Reason unless the Executive gives the Company written notice of such condition within ninety (90) days after such condition comes into existence and the Company fails to remedy such condition within thirty (30) days after receiving the Executives written notice.
(i) Qualifying CIC Termination means a termination of the Executives employment by a Company Group member without Cause and other than by reason of the Executives death or Disability or by the Executive for Good Reason, in either case, during the Change in Control Period (a Qualifying CIC Termination).
(j) Qualifying Pre-CIC Termination means a Qualifying CIC Termination that occurs prior to the date of the Change in Control.
(k) Salary means the Executives rate of base salary as in effect immediately prior to the Executives Qualifying CIC Termination (or if the termination is due to a resignation for Good Reason based on a material reduction in base salary, then the Executives rate of base salary in effect immediately prior to the reduction or, if greater, at the level in effect immediately prior to the Change in Control).
8. Successors. This Agreement will be binding upon and inure to the benefit of (a) the heirs, executors, and legal representatives of the Executive upon the Executives death, and (b) any successor of the Company. Any such successor of the Company will be deemed substituted for the Company under the terms of this Agreement for all purposes. For this purpose, successor means any person, firm, corporation, or other business entity which at any time, whether by purchase, merger, or otherwise, directly or indirectly acquires all or substantially all of the assets or business of
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the Company. None of the rights of the Executive to receive any form of compensation payable pursuant to this Agreement may be assigned or transferred except by will or the laws of descent and distribution. Any other attempted assignment, transfer, conveyance, or other disposition of the Executives right to compensation or other benefits will be null and void.
(a) General. All notices and other communications required or permitted under this Agreement will be in writing and will be effectively given (i) upon actual delivery to the party to be notified; (ii) upon transmission by email; (iii) twenty-four (24) hours after confirmed facsimile transmission; (iv) one (1) business day after deposit with a recognized overnight courier; or (v) three (3) business days after deposit with the U.S. Postal Service by first class certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, addressed (A) if to the Executive, at the address the Executive will have most recently furnished to the Company in writing, (B) if to the Company, at the following address:
Blend Labs, Inc.
415 Kearny Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
Attention: General Counsel
(b) Notice of Termination. Any termination by a Company Group member for Cause will be communicated by a notice of termination to the Executive, and any termination by the Executive for Good Reason will be communicated by a notice of termination to the Company, in each case given in accordance with Section 9(a) of this Agreement. The notice will indicate the specific termination provision in this Agreement relied upon, will set forth in reasonable detail the facts and circumstances claimed to provide a basis for termination under the provision so indicated, and will specify the termination date (which will be not more than thirty (30) days after the later of (i) the giving of the notice, or (ii) the end of any applicable cure period).
10. Resignation. The termination of the Executives employment for any reason will also constitute, without any further required action by the Executive, the Executives voluntary resignation from all officer and/or director positions held at any member of the Company Group, and at the Boards request, the Executive will execute any documents reasonably necessary to reflect the resignations.
11. Miscellaneous Provisions.
(a) No Duty to Mitigate. The Executive will not be required to mitigate the amount of any payment contemplated by this Agreement, nor will any payment be reduced by any earnings that the Executive may receive from any other source except as specified in Section 3(c).
(b) Waiver; Amendment. No provision of this Agreement will be modified, waived or discharged unless the modification, waiver or discharge is agreed to in writing and signed by an authorized officer of the Company (other than the Executive) and by the Executive. No waiver by either party of any breach of, or of compliance with, any condition or provision of this Agreement by the other party will be considered a waiver of any other condition or provision or of the same condition or provision at another time.
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(c) Headings. All captions and section headings used in this Agreement are for convenient reference only and do not form a part of this Agreement.
(d) Entire Agreement. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement of the parties and supersedes in their entirety all prior representations, understandings, undertakings or agreements (whether oral or written and whether expressed or implied) of the parties with respect to the subject matter of this Agreement, including, for the avoidance of doubt, any other employment letter or agreement, change in control severance agreement, severance policy or program, or Equity Award agreement.
(e) Choice of Law. This Agreement will be governed by the laws of the State of California without regard to Californias conflicts of law rules that may result in the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than California. The Executive hereby expressly consents to the personal and exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts located in California for any lawsuit filed against the Executive by any member of the Company Group.
(f) Severability. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision or provisions of this Agreement will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement, which will remain in full force and effect.
(g) Withholding. All payments and benefits under this Agreement will be paid less applicable withholding taxes. The Company is authorized to withhold from any payments or benefits all federal, state, local, and/or foreign taxes required to be withheld from the payments or benefits and make any other required payroll deductions. No member of the Company Group will pay the Executives taxes arising from or relating to any payments or benefits under this Agreement.
(h) Counterparts. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which will be deemed an original, but all of which together will constitute one and the same instrument.
[Signature page follows.]
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By its signature below, each of the parties signifies its acceptance of the terms of this Agreement, in the case of the Company by its duly authorized officer.
|COMPANY||BLEND LABS, INC.|
[Signature page to Change in Control Severance Agreement]
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