DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES REGISTERED UNDER SECTION 12 OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT
The following description of our capital stock is based upon our restated certificate of incorporation, as amended (the “Restated Certificate of Incorporation”), our bylaws, as amended (the “Bylaws”), and applicable provisions of law. We have summarized certain portions of the Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws below. The summary is not complete. The Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws are incorporated by reference as exhibits 3.1 and 3.6, respectively, to our Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should read the Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws for the provisions that are important to you.
Certain provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”), the Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws summarized in the following paragraphs may have an anti-takeover effect. This may delay, defer or prevent a tender offer or takeover attempt that a stockholder might consider in its best interests, including those attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares held by such stockholder.
Authorized Capital Stock
Under our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, our authorized capital stock consists of 300,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share, and 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.001 par value per share of which 25,000,000 is designated Series A, 25,000,000 is designated as Series A-1 and 50,000,000 is undesignated. At December 31, 2019, there were issued and outstanding:
85,308,386 shares of our common stock (not counting shares held in treasury);
restricted stock units covering an aggregate of 1,312,725 shares of our common stock; and
zero shares of our preferred stock.
The holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote per share on all matters to be voted on by the stockholders. Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any outstanding preferred stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to receive ratably such dividends, if any, as may be declared from time to time by the board of directors out of funds legally available for the payment of dividends. All dividends are non-cumulative. In the event of the liquidation, dissolution or winding up of Equinix, the holders of common stock are entitled to share ratably in all assets remaining after payment of liabilities, subject to prior distribution rights of preferred stock, if any, then outstanding. Our common stock has no preemptive or conversion rights or other subscription rights. There are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to the common stock. All outstanding shares of our common stock are fully paid and nonassessable.
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “EQIX.”
Preferred stock may be issued from time to time in one or more series, each of which is to have the voting powers, designation, preferences and relative, participating, optional or other special rights and qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof as are stated and expressed in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, or in a resolution or resolutions providing for the issue of that series adopted by our board of directors.
Our board of directors has the authority, without stockholder approval, to create one or more series of preferred stock and, with respect to each series, to fix or alter as permitted by law, among other things, the
number of shares of the series and the designation thereof, dividend rights, dividend rate, conversion rights, voting rights, rights and terms of any redemption, redemption price or prices and liquidation preferences.
The preferred stock will be issued under a certificate of designations relating to each series of preferred stock and is also subject to our Restated Certificate of Incorporation.
Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer
To facilitate compliance with the ownership limitations applicable to a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), our Restated Certificate of Incorporation contains restrictions on the ownership and transfer of our capital stock.
These ownership and transfer restrictions could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or that our stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests.
For us to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the Code, our capital stock must be beneficially owned by 100 or more persons during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year. Also, not more than 50% of the value of the outstanding shares of our capital stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer “individuals” (as defined in the Code to include certain entities such as (private foundations) during the last half of a taxable year. To facilitate compliance with these ownership requirements and other requirements for continued qualification as a REIT and to otherwise protect us from the consequences of a concentration of ownership among our stockholders, our Restated Certificate of Incorporation contains provisions restricting the ownership or transfer of shares of capital stock.
The relevant sections of our Restated Certificate of Incorporation provide that, subject to the exceptions and the constructive ownership rules described below, no person (as defined in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation) may beneficially or constructively own more than 9.8% in value of the aggregate of outstanding shares of capital stock, including common stock and preferred stock, or more than 9.8% in value or number (whichever is more restrictive) of the outstanding shares of any class or series of capital stock. We refer to these restrictions as the “ownership limits.”
The applicable constructive ownership rules under the Code are complex and may cause capital stock owned actually or constructively by an individual or entity to be treated as owned by another individual or entity. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% in value of outstanding capital stock or less than 9.8% in value or number of outstanding shares of any class or series of capital stock (including through the acquisition of an interest in an entity that owns, actually or constructively, any class or series of capital stock) by an individual or entity could nevertheless cause that individual or entity, or another individual or entity, to own, constructively or beneficially, in excess of 9.8% in value of outstanding capital stock or 9.8% in value or number of outstanding shares of any class or series of capital stock.
In addition to the ownership limits, our Restated Certificate of Incorporation prohibits any person from actually or constructively owning shares of capital stock to the extent that such ownership would cause any of our income that would otherwise qualify as “rents from real property” for purposes of Section 856(d) of the Code to fail to qualify as such.
Our board of directors has in the past granted ownership limitation waivers and may, in its sole discretion, in the future grant such a waiver to a person exempting them from the ownership limits and certain other REIT limits on ownership and transfer of capital stock described above, and may establish a different limit on ownership for any such person. However, our board of directors may not exempt any person whose ownership of outstanding capital stock in violation of these limits would result in our failing to qualify as a REIT. In order to be considered by our board of directors for an ownership limitation waiver or a different limit on ownership, a person must make such representations and undertakings as are reasonably necessary
to ascertain that such person’s beneficial or constructive ownership of capital stock will not now or in the future jeopardize our ability to qualify as a REIT under the Code and must generally agree that any violation or attempted violation of such representations or undertakings (or other action that is contrary to the ownership limits and certain other REIT limits on ownership and transfer of capital stock described above) will result in the shares of capital stock being automatically transferred to a trust as described below. As a condition of its waiver, our board of directors may require an opinion of counsel or Internal Revenue Service ruling satisfactory to our board of directors with respect to our qualification as a REIT and may impose such other conditions as it deems appropriate in connection with the granting of the waiver or a different limit on ownership.
In connection with the waiver of the ownership limits or at any other time, our board of directors may from time to time increase the ownership limits for one or more persons and decrease the ownership limits for all other persons; provided that the new ownership limits may not, after giving effect to such increase and under certain assumptions stated in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, result in us being “closely held” within the meaning of Section 856(h) of the Code (without regard to whether the ownership interests are held during the last half of a taxable year). Reduced ownership limits will not apply to any person whose percentage ownership of total shares of capital stock or of the shares of a class or series of capital stock, as applicable, is in excess of such decreased ownership limits until such time as such person’s percentage of total shares of capital stock or of the shares of a class or series of capital stock, as applicable, equals or falls below the decreased ownership limits, but any further acquisition of capital stock in excess of such percentage will be in violation of the ownership limits.
Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation further prohibits:
any person from transferring shares of capital stock if such transfer would result in shares of capital stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons (determined without reference to any rules of attribution); and
any person from beneficially or constructively owning shares of capital stock if such ownership would result in our failing to qualify as a REIT.
The foregoing provisions on transferability and ownership will not apply if our board of directors determines that it is no longer in our best interests to attempt to qualify, or to continue to qualify, as a REIT.
Any person who acquires or attempts or intends to acquire beneficial or constructive ownership of shares of capital stock that will or may violate the ownership limits or any of the other foregoing restrictions on transferability and ownership will be required to give notice to us immediately (or, in the case of a proposed or attempted transaction, at least 15 days prior to such transaction) and provide us with such other information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of such transfer on our qualification as a REIT.
Pursuant to our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, if there is any purported transfer of our capital stock or other event or change of circumstances that, if effective or otherwise, would violate any of the restrictions described above, then the number of shares causing the violation (rounded up to the nearest whole share) will be automatically transferred to a trust for the exclusive benefit of a designated charitable beneficiary, except that any transfer that results in the violation of the restriction relating to our capital stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons will be automatically void and of no force or effect. The automatic transfer will be effective as of the close of business on the business day prior to the date of the purported transfer or other event or change of circumstances that requires the transfer to the trust. We refer below to the person that would have owned the shares if they had not been transferred to the trust as the purported transferee. Any ordinary dividend paid to the purported transferee, prior to our discovery that the shares had been automatically transferred to a trust as described above, must be repaid to a trustee designated in accordance with the Restated Certificate of Incorporation upon demand. Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation also provides for adjustments to the entitlement to receive extraordinary dividends and other distributions as between the purported transferee and the trust. If the transfer to the trust as described above is not automatically effective, for any reason, to prevent violation of
the applicable restriction contained in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, then the transfer of the excess shares will be automatically void and of no force or effect.
Shares of our capital stock transferred to the trustee are deemed to be 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 such transfer to the trust or, if the purported transferee did not give value for the shares in connection with the event causing the shares to be held in trust (e.g., in the case of a gift, devise or other such transaction), the market price at the time of such event and (ii) the market price on the date we accept, or our designee accepts, such offer. We have the right to accept such offer until the trustee has sold the shares of our capital stock held in the trust pursuant to the clauses described below. Upon a sale to us, the interest of the charitable beneficiary in the shares sold terminates and the trustee must distribute the net proceeds of the sale to the purported transferee, except that the trustee may reduce the amount payable to the purported transferee by the amount of any ordinary dividends that we paid to the purported transferee prior to our discovery that the shares had been transferred to the trust and that is owed by the purported transferee to the trustee as described above. Any net sales proceeds and extraordinary dividends in excess of the amount payable to the purported transferee shall be immediately paid to the charitable beneficiary, and any ordinary dividends held by the trustee with respect to such capital stock will be promptly paid to the charitable beneficiary.
If we do not buy the shares, the trustee must, as soon as reasonably practicable (and, if the shares are listed on a national securities exchange, within 20 days) after receiving notice from us of the transfer of shares to the trust, sell the shares to a person or entity who could own the shares without violating the restrictions described above. Upon such a sale, the trustee must distribute to the purported transferee an amount equal to the lesser of (i) the price paid by the purported transferee for the shares or, if the purported transferee did not give value for the shares in connection with the event causing the shares to be held in trust (e.g., in the case of a gift, devise or other such transaction), the market price of the shares on the day of the event causing the shares to be held in the trust, and (ii) the sales proceeds (net of commissions and other expenses of sale) received by the trustee for the shares. The trustee may reduce the amount payable to the purported transferee by the amount of any ordinary dividends that we paid to the purported transferee before our discovery that the shares had been transferred to the trust and that is owed by the purported transferee to the trustee as described above. Any net sales proceeds in excess of the amount payable to the purported transferee will be immediately paid to the charitable beneficiary, together with any ordinary dividends held by the trustee with respect to such capital stock. In addition, if prior to discovery by us that shares of our capital stock have been transferred to a trust, such shares of capital stock are sold by a purported transferee, then such shares will be deemed to have been sold on behalf of the trust and, to the extent that the purported transferee received an amount for or in respect of such shares that exceeds the amount that such purported transferee was entitled to receive as described above, such excess amount shall be paid to the trustee upon demand. The purported transferee has no rights in the shares held by the trustee.
The trustee will be indemnified by us or from the proceeds of sales of capital stock in the trust for its costs and expenses reasonably incurred in connection with conducting its duties and satisfying its obligations under our Restated Certificate of Incorporation. The trustee will also be entitled to reasonable compensation for services provided as determined by agreement between the trustee and the board of directors, which compensation may be funded by us or the trust. If we pay any such indemnification or compensation, we are entitled on a first priority basis (subject to the trustee’s indemnification and compensation rights) to be reimbursed from the trust. To the extent the trust funds any such indemnification and compensation, the amounts available for payment to a purported transferee (or the charitable beneficiary) would be reduced.
The trustee will be designated by us and must be unaffiliated with us and with any purported transferee. Prior to the sale of any shares by the trust, the trustee will receive, in trust for the beneficiary, all distributions paid by us with respect to the shares, and may also exercise all voting rights with respect to the shares.
Subject to the DGCL, effective as of the date that the shares have been transferred to the trust, the trustee will have the authority, at the trustee’s sole discretion:
to rescind as void any vote cast by a purported 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 beneficiary of the trust.
However, if we have already taken corporate action, then the trustee may not rescind and recast the vote.
In addition, if the board of directors determines that a proposed or purported transfer would violate the restrictions on ownership and transfer of our capital stock set forth in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, the board of directors may take such action as it deems advisable to refuse to give effect to or to prevent such violation, including but not limited to, causing us to repurchase shares of our capital stock, refusing to give effect to the transfer on our books or instituting proceedings to enjoin the transfer.
From time to time, at our request, every person that is an owner of 5% or more (or such lower percentage as required by the Code or the Treasury regulations thereunder) of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our capital stock, must provide us written notice of its name and address, the number of shares of each class and series of our capital stock that the person beneficially owns and a description of the manner in which the shares are held. Each such owner must also provide us with such additional information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of such owner’s beneficial ownership on our qualification as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the ownership limits. In addition, each beneficial owner or constructive owner of our capital stock, and any person (including the stockholder of record) who is holding shares of our capital stock for a beneficial owner or constructive owner will, upon demand, be required to provide us with such information as we may request in good faith in order to determine our qualification as a REIT and to comply with the requirements of any taxing authority or governmental authority or to determine such compliance.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Provisions of Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, Bylaws and Delaware law
Provisions of our Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws may delay or discourage transactions involving an actual or potential change in control or change in our management, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares, or transactions that our stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. Therefore, these provisions could adversely affect the price of our common stock.
Among other things, our Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws:
permit our board of directors to issue up to 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock, with any rights, preferences and privileges as they may designate;
provide that, subject to the terms of any series of preferred stock, the authorized number of directors may be changed only by resolution of the board of directors;
provide that, subject to the terms of any series of preferred stock, all vacancies, including newly created directorships, may, except as otherwise required by law, be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum;
eliminate the personal liability of our directors for monetary damages resulting from breaches of their fiduciary duty to the extent permitted by the DGCL and indemnify our directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted by the DGCL;
provide that stockholders seeking to present proposals before a meeting of stockholders or to nominate candidates for election as directors at a meeting of stockholders must provide notice in writing in a timely manner, and also specify requirements as to the form and content of a stockholder’s notice;
do not provide for cumulative voting rights, therefore allowing the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors to elect all of the directors standing for election, if they should so choose;
provide that, subject to exceptions, certain waivers we may grant and constructive ownership rules, no person may own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, in excess of (i) 9.8% in value of the outstanding shares of all classes or series of Equinix stock or (ii) 9.8% in value or number (whichever is more restrictive) of the outstanding shares of any class or series of Equinix stock (as described above in “Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer”);
provide that our Bylaws can be amended or repealed at any regular or special meeting of stockholders or by the board of directors;
permit stockholders to act by written consent so long as stockholders holding at least 25% of the voting power of the outstanding capital stock request that the board of directors set a record date for the action by written consent, and in connection with such a request for the establishment of a record date, provide certain information, make certain representations and comply with certain requirements relating to the proposed action and their ownership of our stock; and
provide that special meetings of our stockholders may be called in limited circumstances. Special meetings of stockholders may be called by our board of directors or the chairman of the board of directors, the President or the Secretary and may not be called by any other person. A special meeting of stockholders shall be called by our Secretary at the written request of holders of record of at least 25% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock entitled to vote on the matters to be brought before the proposed special meeting.
Delaware Takeover Statute. We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, which regulates corporate acquisitions. DGCL Section 203 restricts the ability of certain Delaware corporations, including those whose securities are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, from engaging under certain circumstances in a business combination with any interested stockholder for three years following the date that such stockholder became an interested stockholder. For purposes of DGCL Section 203, a business combination includes, among other things, a merger or consolidation involving us and the interested stockholder and the sale of 10% or more of our assets. In general, DGCL Section 203 defines an interested stockholder as any entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by such entity or person. A Delaware corporation may opt out of DGCL Section 203 with an express provision in its original certificate of incorporation or an express provision in its certificate of incorporation or bylaws resulting from amendments approved by the holders of at least a majority of the corporation’s outstanding voting shares. We have not opted out of the provisions of DGCL Section 203 in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation or Bylaws.
Our bylaws include a forum selection provision providing that, unless the Company consents in writing, a state court located in the State of Delaware (or, if no state court located within the State of Delaware has jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware) will be the sole and exclusive forum for any stockholder to bring any derivative action, any action asserting a claim of breach of fiduciary duties, any action asserting a claim arising from a provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law or the certificate of incorporation or our bylaws or any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. There is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce this provision with respect to claims brought to enforce any duty or liability under the Securities Act and our stockholders cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for the shares of our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.