Description of the Registrants Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Anti-Takeover Effects of Our Certificate of Incorporation and Our Bylaws
Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws include a number of provisions that may have the effect of delaying, deferring or discouraging another party from acquiring control of us and encouraging persons considering
unsolicited tender offers or other unilateral takeover proposals to negotiate with our Board rather than pursue non-negotiated takeover attempts. These provisions include the items described below.
Board Composition and Filling Vacancies.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that directors may be removed only by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the shares then entitled to vote at an election of directors. Furthermore, any vacancy on our Board, however occurring, including a vacancy resulting from an increase in the size of our Board, may be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of our directors then in office even if less than a quorum or by the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of capital stock then entitled to vote at an election of directors.
Meetings of Stockholders.
Our Bylaws provide that either a majority of the members of our Board then in office or the holders of at least 25% of the voting power of our Common Stock may call special meetings of stockholders and only those matters set forth in the notice of the special meeting may be considered or acted upon at a special meeting of stockholders. Our Bylaws limit the business that may be conducted at an annual meeting of stockholders to those matters properly brought before the meeting.
Advance Notice Requirements.
Our Bylaws establish advance notice procedures with regard to stockholder proposals relating to the nomination of candidates for election as directors or new business to be brought before meetings of our stockholders. These procedures provide that notice of stockholder proposals must be timely given in writing to our corporate secretary prior to the meeting at which the action is to be taken. Generally, to be timely, notice must be received at our principal executive offices not less than 90 days or more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary date of the annual meeting for the preceding year. The notice must contain certain information specified in our Bylaws.
Amendment to Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws.
As required by the Delaware General Corporation Law, any amendment of our Certificate of Incorporation must first be approved by a majority of our Board, and if required by law or our Certificate of Incorporation, must thereafter be approved by a majority of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, and a majority of the outstanding shares of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class. Our Bylaws may be amended by the affirmative vote of a majority of the directors then in office, subject to any limitations set forth in the Bylaws; and may also be amended by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, voting together as a single class.
Exclusive Jurisdiction of Delaware for State Law Claims.
Unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware shall be the sole and exclusive forum for any state law claim for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the Company, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer or other employee of the Company to the Company or the Company’s stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law or the Certificate of Incorporation or Bylaws, or (iv) any action asserting a claim against the Company governed by the internal affairs doctrine (the “Delaware Forum Provision”); provided, however, that this Delaware Forum Provision does not apply to any actions arising under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act. The Delaware Forum Provision may impose additional litigation costs on stockholders in pursuing such claims, particularly if the stockholders do not reside in or near the State of Delaware. Additionally, the Delaware Forum Provision may limit our stockholders’ ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that they find favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees, which may discourage the filing of such lawsuits. The Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware may also reach different judgment or results than would other courts, including courts where a stockholder considering an action may be located or would otherwise choose to bring the action, and such judgments may be more or less favorable to us than our stockholders.
Undesignated Preferred Stock.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides for authorized shares of Preferred Stock. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of Preferred Stock may enable our Board to render more difficult or to discourage an attempt to obtain control of us by means of a merger, tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise. For example, if in the due exercise of its fiduciary obligations, our Board were to determine that a takeover proposal is not in the best interests of us or our stockholders, our Board could cause shares of Preferred Stock to be issued without stockholder approval in one or more private offerings or other transactions that might dilute the voting or other rights of the proposed acquirer or insurgent stockholder or stockholder group. In this regard, our Certificate of Incorporation grants our Board’s broad power to establish the rights and preferences of authorized and unissued shares of Preferred Stock. The issuance of shares of Preferred Stock could decrease the amount of earnings and assets available for distribution to holders of shares of Common Stock. The issuance may also adversely affect the rights and powers, including voting rights, of these holders and may have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change in control of us.
Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law
We are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or Section 203. In general, Section 203 prohibits a publicly-held Delaware 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, 15% or more of the corporation’s voting stock.
Under Section 203, 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, the 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 85% 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 the 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 Delaware corporation may “opt out” of these provisions with an express provision in its original certificate of incorporation or an express provision in its certificate of incorporation 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.