Description of Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
The following description of our capital stock is intended as a summary only and is qualified in its entirety by reference to our articles of organization and bylaws, the Annual Report on Form 10-K to which this description is an exhibit, any and all of which may be amended from time to time, and to the applicable provisions of the Massachusetts Business Corporation Act (“MBCA”).
Our authorized capital stock consists of 400,000,000 shares of our common stock and 100,000,000 shares of our preferred stock, all of which preferred stock is undesignated. As of March 5, 2020, there were 27,754,894 shares of common stock outstanding and no shares of preferred stock outstanding.
Subject to preferences that may apply to shares of preferred stock outstanding, holders of outstanding shares of common stock are entitled to receive dividends out of assets legally available at the times and in the amounts as our board of directors may from time to time determine.
Each outstanding share of common stock is entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of shareholders. Holders of shares of our common stock have no cumulative voting rights.
Our common stock is not entitled to preemptive or other similar subscription rights to purchase any of our securities.
Conversion or Redemption Rights
Our common stock is neither convertible nor redeemable.
Upon our liquidation, the holders of our common stock will be entitled to receive pro rata our assets which are legally available for distribution, after payment of all debts and other liabilities and subject to the prior rights of any holders of preferred stock then outstanding.
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the trading symbol "CYCN."
Anti-takeover Effects of Our Articles of Organization and Our Bylaws
Our articles of organization and bylaws contain certain provisions that are intended to enhance the likelihood of continuity and stability in the composition of our board of directors but which may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a future takeover or change in control of us unless such takeover or change in control is approved by our board of directors. These provisions include:
Action by Written Consent and Special Meetings of Shareholders
Our articles of organization provide that shareholder action can be taken only at an annual or special meeting of shareholders or by the unanimous written consent of all shareholders in lieu of such a meeting. Our articles of organization and the bylaws also provide that, except as otherwise required by law, special meetings of the shareholders can only be called pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of our board of directors or holders of at least 40% of our then outstanding common stock. Except as described above, shareholders are not permitted to call a special meeting or to require our board of directors to call a special meeting.
Advance Notice Procedures
Our bylaws contain an advance notice procedure for shareholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting of our shareholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to the board of directors. Shareholders at an annual meeting will only be able to consider proposals or nominations specified in the notice of meeting or brought before the meeting by or at the direction of our board of directors or by a shareholder who was a shareholder of record on the record date for the meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has given our Secretary timely written notice, in proper form, of the shareholder's intention to bring that business before the meeting. Although our bylaws do not give our board of directors the power to approve or disapprove shareholder nominations of candidates or proposals regarding other business to be conducted at a special or annual meeting, the bylaws may have the effect of precluding the conduct of certain business at a meeting if the proper procedures are not followed or may discourage or deter a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect its own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.
Our bylaws provide that a shareholder or a group of shareholders meeting certain conditions may nominate candidates for election as a director at an annual meeting of our shareholders using "proxy access" provisions. These provisions allow one or more shareholders (up to 20, collectively), owning at least 3% of our outstanding common stock continuously for at least three years, to nominate for election to our board of directors and to be included in our proxy materials up to the greater of two individuals or 20% of our board of directors, subject to the provisions included in our bylaws, including the provision of timely written notice to our Secretary.
Number of Directors and Filling Vacancies and Election of Directors
Our articles of organization provide that the number of directors is established by the board of directors. 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 the affirmative vote of a majority of our directors then in office. The ability of our board of directors to increase the number of directors and fill any vacancies may make it more difficult for our shareholders to change the composition of our board of directors. Our bylaws provide that a majority of the votes properly cast for the election of a director shall effect such election unless there are more nominees than directorships, in which case a plurality standard shall apply.
Authorized and Unissued Shares
Our authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock are available for future issuance without shareholder approval. These additional shares may be utilized for a variety of corporate purposes, including future public offerings to raise additional capital, corporate acquisitions and employee benefit plans. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock could render more difficult or discourage an attempt to obtain control of a majority of our common stock by means of a proxy contest, tender offer, merger or otherwise.
Our articles of organization require, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that derivative actions brought in the name of Cyclerion, actions against our directors, officers and employees for breach of a fiduciary duty and other similar actions may be brought only in specified courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although we believe this provision benefits us by providing increased consistency in the application of Massachusetts law in the types of lawsuits to which it applies, the provision may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors and officers.
Anti-Takeover Provisions under Massachusetts Law
Provisions Regarding Business Combinations
We are subject to the provisions of Chapter 110F of the MBCA. In general, Chapter 110F prohibits a publicly held Massachusetts corporation from engaging in a "business combination" with an "interested stockholder" for a three-year period following the time that this stockholder becomes an interested stockholder, unless the business combination is approved in a prescribed manner. A "business combination" includes, among other things, a merger, asset or stock sale or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. An "interested stockholder" is a person who, together with affiliates and associates, owns, or did own within three years prior to the determination of interested stockholder status, five percent or more of the corporation's voting stock.
Under Chapter 110F, a business combination between a corporation and an interested stockholder is prohibited unless it satisfies one of the following conditions: before the stockholder became interested, our board of directors approved either the business combination or the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder; upon consummation of the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 90% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the time the transaction commenced, excluding for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding, shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers, and employee stock plans, in some instances; or at or after the time the stockholder became interested, the business combination was approved by our board of directors of the corporation and authorized at an annual or special meeting of the stockholders by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding voting stock which is not owned by the interested stockholder.
A Massachusetts corporation may "opt out" of these provisions with an express provision in its original articles of organization or an express provision in its articles of organization or bylaws resulting from a stockholders' amendment approved by at least a majority of the outstanding voting shares. We have not opted out of these provisions. As a result, mergers or other takeover or change in control attempts of us may be discouraged or prevented.
Provisions Regarding a Classified Board of Directors
Section 8.06(b) of the MBCA provides that, unless a company opts out of such provision, the terms of directors of a public Massachusetts company shall be staggered by dividing the directors into three groups, as nearly equal in number as possible, with only one group of directors being elected each year. We plan to opt out of this default requirement for a classified board of directors, and expect that all of our directors serve for one-year terms and will be elected annually.
Pursuant to Section 8.06(c)(2) of the MBCA, however, our board of directors may unilaterally opt back into default requirements under Section 8.06(b) of the MBCA and become a classified board of directors without the approval of our stockholders. Sections 8.06(d) and (e) of the MBCA provide that when a board of directors is so classified, (i) stockholders may remove directors only for cause, (ii) the number of directors shall be fixed only by the vote of the board of directors, (iii) vacancies and newly created directorships shall be filled solely by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors and (iv) a decrease in the number of directors will not shorten the term of any incumbent director. If our board of directors opts into this classified structure in the future, these provisions are likely to increase the time required for stockholders to change the composition of our board of directors. For example, at least two annual meetings would generally be necessary for stockholders to effect a change in a majority of the members of our board of directors. As a result, the ability of our board of directors to adopt a classified structure in the future without the approval of our stockholders could have the effect of discouraging a potential acquirer from making a tender offer for a majority of the outstanding voting interest of our capital stock or otherwise attempting to obtain control of Cyclerion.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Indemnification of Directors and Officers
Our articles of organization provide that the liability of our directors for damages for any breach of fiduciary duty shall be limited to the fullest extent permitted by law. Our bylaws also provide that we will indemnify, and advance funds to and reimburse expenses of, our directors and officers that have been appointed by our board of directors to the fullest extent permitted by law, and that we may indemnify, and advance funds to and reimburse expenses of, such other officers and employees as determined by our board of directors. The right of indemnification provided under our bylaws is in addition to and not exclusive of any other rights to which any of our directors, officers or any other persons may otherwise be lawfully entitled. We have also entered, or expect to enter, into indemnification agreements with our directors and officers, and we carry insurance policies insuring our directors and officers against certain liabilities that they may incur in their capacity as directors and officers.
Part 8 of the MBCA authorizes the provisions, described above, that is contained in our articles of organization and bylaws. In addition, Sections 8.30 and 8.42 of the MBCA provide that if an officer or director discharges his or her duties in good faith and with the care that a person in a like position would reasonably exercise under similar circumstances and in a manner the officer or director reasonably believes to be in the best interests of the corporation, he or she will not be liable for such action.