Description of Securities
EX-4.20 2 descriptionofsecurities.htm DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES Document
DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
As of December 31, 2019, Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”): its common stock, par value 0.01 per share. References herein to “we,” “us,” “our” and “our company” refer to Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and not to any of its subsidiaries.
The following description of our common stock is a summary and does not purport to be complete. It is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, as amended (the “Certificate of Incorporation”), and our Amended and Restated By-Laws (the “By-Laws”), each of which is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the Annual Report on Form 10-K of which this Exhibit is a part. We encourage you to read the Certificate of Incorporation, By-Laws and the applicable provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) for additional information.
Authorized Capital Shares
Our authorized capital stock consists of 10,000,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, and 3,000,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.01 per share. Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “HLT.”
Holders of shares of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters on which stockholders are entitled to vote generally, including the election or removal of directors. The holders of our common stock do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of directors.
Upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up and after payment in full of all amounts required to be paid to creditors and to the holders of preferred stock having liquidation preferences, if any, the holders of our common stock will be entitled to receive pro rata our remaining assets available for distribution. All shares of our common stock are fully paid and non-assessable. The common stock is not subject to further calls or assessment by us. Holders of our common stock do not have preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights. There are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to the common stock. The rights, powers, preferences and privileges of holders of our common stock are subject to those of the holders of any shares of our preferred stock we may authorize and issue in the future.
The DGCL permits a corporation to declare and pay dividends out of “surplus” or, if there is no “surplus,” out of its net profits for the fiscal year in which the dividend is declared and/or the preceding fiscal year. “Surplus” is defined as the excess of the net assets of the corporation over the amount determined to be the capital of the corporation by its board of directors. The capital of the corporation is typically calculated to be (and cannot be less than) the aggregate par value of all issued shares of capital stock. Net assets equals the fair value of the total assets minus total liabilities. The DGCL also provides that dividends may not be paid out of net profits if, after the payment of the dividend, remaining capital would be less than the capital represented by the outstanding stock of all classes having a preference upon the distribution of assets. Declaration and payment of any dividend is subject to the discretion of our board of directors.
Dissenters’ Rights of Appraisal and Payment
Under the DGCL, with certain exceptions, our stockholders will have appraisal rights in connection with a merger or consolidation of our company. Pursuant to the DGCL, stockholders who properly request and perfect appraisal rights in connection with such merger or consolidation will have the right to receive payment of the fair value of their shares as determined by the Delaware Court of Chancery.
Stockholders’ Derivative Actions
Under the DGCL, any of our stockholders may bring an action in our name to procure a judgment in our favor, also known as a derivative action, provided that the stockholder bringing the action is a holder of our shares at the time of the transaction to which the action relates or such stockholder’s stock thereafter devolved by operation of law.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Our Certificate of Incorporation and By-Laws and Certain Provisions of Delaware Law
Undesignated Preferred Stock
The ability to authorize undesignated preferred stock will make it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock with super majority voting, special approval, dividend or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to acquire us or otherwise effect a change in control of us. These and other provisions may have the effect of deferring, delaying or discouraging hostile takeovers, or changes in control or management of our company.
We do not have a stockholder rights plan or any series of preferred stock designated in connection with such a plan, and if our board of directors were ever to adopt a stockholder rights plan in the future without prior stockholder approval, our board of directors would either submit the plan to stockholders for ratification or cause the rights plan to expire within one year.
Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Meetings, Nominations and Proposals; Proxy Access
Our By-Laws establish advance notice procedures with respect to stockholder proposals and the nomination of candidates for election as directors, other than nominations made by or at the direction of the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors. For any matter to be “properly brought” before a meeting, a stockholder will have to comply with advance notice requirements and provide us with certain information. Additionally, vacancies and newly created directorships may be filled only by a vote of a majority of the directors then in office, even if less than a quorum, and not by the stockholders. Our By-Laws have a majority voting standard and provide for certain procedures with respect to the resignation of any director who does not receive a majority of the votes cast in an uncontested election. Our By-Laws allow the board of directors to adopt such rules and regulations for the conduct of meetings as it shall deem appropriate which may have the effect of precluding the conduct of certain business at a meeting if the rules and regulations are not followed. These provisions may also defer, delay or discourage a potential acquirer from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquirer’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to influence or obtain control of our company.
Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that the board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our By-Laws and that our stockholders may only amend our By-Laws with the approval of 80% or more of all of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote.
In addition to the director nomination provisions described above, our By-Laws contain a “proxy access” provision that provides that any stockholder or group of up to twenty stockholders who qualify as an eligible stockholder (as defined in our By-Laws) who have owned 3% or more of our outstanding common stock continuously for at least three years to nominate and include in our proxy materials director candidates constituting up to 20% of our board of directors or two directors, whichever is greater, provided that the stockholders and the nominees satisfy the eligibility requirements specified in our By-Laws. A stockholder proposing to nominate a
person for election to our board of directors through the proxy access provision must provide us with a notice requesting the inclusion of the director nominee in our proxy materials and other required information not less than 120 days nor more than 150 days prior to the first anniversary of the date of the preceding year’s annual meeting of stockholders. The complete proxy access provision for director nominations are set forth in our By-Laws.
No Cumulative Voting
The DGCL provides that stockholders are not entitled to the right to cumulate votes in the election of directors unless our Certificate of Incorporation provides otherwise. Our Certificate of Incorporation does not provide for cumulative voting. Therefore, in uncontested elections stockholders holding a majority in voting power of the shares of our stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors will be able to elect all of our directors. In contested elections, our By-Laws provide that the nominees, not exceeding the authorized number fixed by our board of directors, who receive the greatest number of votes shall be elected.
Stockholder Action by Written Consent
Pursuant to Section 228 of the DGCL, any action required to be taken at any annual or special meeting of the stockholders may be taken without a meeting, without prior notice and without a vote if a consent or consents in writing, setting forth the action so taken, is signed by the holders of outstanding stock having not less than the minimum number of votes that would be necessary to authorize or take such action at a meeting at which all shares of our stock entitled to vote thereon were present and voted, unless the company’s Certificate of Incorporation provides otherwise. Our Certificate of Incorporation provides that any action required or permitted to be taken by our stockholders may not be effected by consent in writing by stockholders unless such action is recommended by all directors then in office.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute
We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL. Section 203 provides that, subject to certain exceptions specified in the law, a publicly-held Delaware corporation shall not engage in certain “business combinations” with any “interested stockholder” for a three-year period after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder. These provisions generally prohibit or delay the accomplishment of mergers, assets or stock sales or other takeover or change-in-control attempts that are not approved by a company’s board of directors.
In general, Section 203 prohibits a publicly-held Delaware corporation from engaging, under certain circumstances, in a business combination with an interested stockholder for a period of three years following the date the person became an interested stockholder unless:
•prior to the date of the transaction, the board of directors of the corporation approved either the business combination or the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;
•upon completion of the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the 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 number of shares outstanding (1) shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers and (2) shares owned by employee stock plans in which employee participants do not have the right to determine confidentially whether shares held subject to the plan will be tendered in a tender or exchange offer; or
•on or subsequent to the date of the transaction, the business combination is approved by the board and authorized at an annual or special meeting of stockholders, and not by written consent, by the affirmative vote of at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding voting stock which is not owned by the interested stockholder.
Generally, a business combination includes 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, within three years prior to the determination of interested stockholder status, did own 15% or more of a corporation’s outstanding voting stock.
Under certain circumstances, Section 203 makes it more difficult for a person who would be an “interested stockholder” to effect various business combinations with a corporation for a three-year period. Accordingly, Section 203 could have an anti-takeover effect with respect to certain transactions our board of directors does not approve in advance. The provisions of Section 203 may encourage companies interested in acquiring us to negotiate in advance with our board of directors because the stockholder approval requirement would be avoided if our board of directors approves either the business combination or the transaction that results in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder. However, Section 203 also could discourage attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares of common stock held by stockholders. These provisions also may make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interests.