EX-4.1 2 msdlf-descriptionofsecurit.htm EX-4.1 Document
DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE SECURITIES
EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
As of December 31, 2020, Morgan Stanley Direct Lending Fund (“we,” “our,” or the “Company”) had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended: our common stock, par value $0.001 per share (the “Common Stock”). Capitalized terms used but not defined herein shall have the meaning ascribed to them in the Annual Report on Form 10-K to which this Description of Securities is attached as an exhibit (the “Form 10-K”).
The following description is based on relevant portions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”), our certificate of incorporation and our bylaws. This summary is a description of the material terms of, and is qualified in its entirety by, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, each of which is incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the Form 10-K, and may not contain all of the information that is important to you. We refer you to the DGCL and our certificate of incorporation and bylaws for a more detailed description of the provisions summarized below.
Our authorized stock consists of 100,000,000 shares of Common Stock, par value $0.001 per share, and 1,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share. There is currently no market for shares of our Common Stock, and we can offer no assurance that a market for shares of our Common Stock will develop in the future. There are no outstanding options or warrants to purchase shares of our Common Stock. No stock has been authorized for issuance under any equity compensation plan. Under Delaware law, our stockholders generally are not personally liable for our debts or obligations.
All shares of our Common Stock have equal rights as to earnings, assets, dividends and other distributions and voting and, when they are issued, will be duly authorized, validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. Distributions may be paid to the holders of our Common Stock if, as and when authorized by our board of directors (“Board of Directors”) and declared by us out of assets legally available therefor. Shares of our Common Stock have no preemptive, exchange, conversion or redemption rights and are freely transferable, except when their transfer is restricted by federal and state securities laws or by contract. In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, each share of our Common Stock would be entitled to share ratably in all of our assets that are legally available for distribution after we pay all debts and other liabilities and subject to any preferential rights of holders of our preferred stock, if any preferred stock is outstanding at such time. Each share of our Common Stock is entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders, including the election of directors. Except as provided with respect to any other class or series of stock, the holders of our Common Stock possess exclusive voting power. There is no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which means that holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of Common Stock can elect all of our directors, and holders of less than a majority of such shares are not able to elect any directors.
Provisions of the DGCL and Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
Limitation on Liability of Directors and Officers; Indemnification and Advance of Expenses
The indemnification of our officers and directors is governed by Section 145 of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws. Section 145(a) of the DGCL empowers a corporation to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (other than an action by or in the right of the corporation) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, against expenses (including attorneys’ fees), judgments, fines and amounts
paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with such action, suit or proceeding if (1) such person acted in good faith, (2) in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation and (3) with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, such person had no reasonable cause to believe the person’s conduct was unlawful.
Section 145(b) of the DGCL empowers a corporation to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action or suit by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection with the defense or settlement of such action or suit if such person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the corporation, and except that no indemnification may be made in respect of any claim, issue or matter as to which such person has been adjudged to be liable to the corporation unless and only to the extent that the Delaware Court of Chancery or the court in which such action or suit was brought determines upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability but in view of all the circumstances of the case, such person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for such expenses which the Court of Chancery or such other court deems proper.
Section 145 of the DGCL further provides that to the extent that a present or former director or officer is successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 145, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, such person will be indemnified against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection with such action, suit or proceeding. In all cases in which indemnification is permitted under subsections (a) and (b) of Section 145 (unless ordered by a court), it will be made by the corporation only as authorized in the specific case upon a determination that indemnification of the present or former director, officer, employee or agent is proper in the circumstances because the applicable standard of conduct has been met by the party to be indemnified. Such determination must be made, with respect to a person who is a director or officer at the time of such determination, (1) by a majority vote of the directors who are not parties to such action, suit or proceeding, even though less than a quorum, (2) by a committee of such directors designated by majority vote of such directors, even though less than a quorum, (3) if there are no such directors, or if such directors so direct, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion or (4) by the stockholders. The statute authorizes the corporation to pay expenses incurred by an officer or director in advance of the final disposition of a proceeding upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the person to whom the advance will be made, to repay the advances if it is ultimately determined that he or she was not entitled to indemnification. Section 145 of the DGCL also provides that indemnification and advancement of expenses permitted under such Section are not to be exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification or advancement of expenses may be entitled under any bylaw, agreement, vote of stockholders or disinterested directors, or otherwise. Section 145 of the DGCL also authorizes the corporation to purchase and maintain liability insurance on behalf of its directors, officers, employees and agents regardless of whether the corporation would have the statutory power to indemnify such persons against the liabilities insured.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that our directors will not be liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty as a director to the fullest extent permitted by the current DGCL or as the DGCL may be amended. Section 102(b)(7) of the DGCL provides that the personal liability of a director to a corporation or its stockholders for breach of fiduciary duty as a director may be eliminated except for liability (1) for any breach of the director’s duty of loyalty to the registrant or its stockholders, (2) for acts or omissions not in good faith or which involve intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law, (3) under Section 174 of the DGCL, relating to unlawful payment of dividends or unlawful stock purchases or redemption of stock or (4) for any transaction from which the director derives an improper personal benefit.
Our bylaws provide for the indemnification of any person to the full extent permitted, and in the manner provided, by the current DGCL or as the DGCL may be amended. In addition, we have entered into indemnification
agreements with each of our directors in order to effect the foregoing except to the extent that such indemnification would exceed the limitations on indemnification under section 17(h) of the 1940 Act.
As a business development company, we are not permitted to and will not indemnify MS Capital Partners Adviser Inc., our investment adviser, any of our executive officers and directors, or any other person against liability arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office, or by reason of reckless disregard of obligations and duties of such person arising under contract or agreement.
Election of Directors
Our bylaws provide that the affirmative vote of a majority of the total votes cast “for” or “against” a nominee for director at a duly called meeting of stockholders at which a quorum is present is required to elect a director in an uncontested election. In a contested election, directors are elected by a plurality of the votes cast at a meeting of stockholders duly called and at which is a quorum is present. Under our bylaws, our Board of Directors may amend the bylaws to alter the vote required to elect directors.
Classified Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is divided into three classes of directors serving staggered three-year terms, with the term of office of only one of the three classes expiring each year. At each annual meeting of stockholders, directors of the class of directors whose term expires at such meeting will be elected to hold office for a term expiring at the third succeeding annual meeting of stockholders following the meeting at which they were elected and until their successors are duly elected and qualified. A classified Board of Directors may render a change in control of us or removal of our incumbent management more difficult. We believe, however, that the longer time required to elect a majority of a classified Board of Directors helps to ensure the continuity and stability of our management and policies.
Number of Directors; Removal; Vacancies
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws provide that the number of directors will be set only by the Board of Directors. Our bylaws provide that a majority of our entire Board of Directors may at any time increase or decrease the number of directors. However, unless our bylaws are amended, the number of directors may never be less than the minimum number required by the DGCL. Under the DGCL, unless the certificate of incorporation provides otherwise (which our certificate of incorporation does not), directors on a classified board such as our Board of Directors may be removed only for cause. Under our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, any vacancy on the Board of Directors, including a vacancy resulting from an enlargement of the Board of Directors, may be filled only by vote of a majority of the directors then in office. The limitations on the ability of our stockholders to remove directors and fill vacancies could make it more difficult for a third-party to acquire, or discourage a third-party from seeking to acquire, control of us.
Action by Stockholders
Our certificate of incorporation provides that stockholder action can be taken only at an annual or special meeting of stockholders or by unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting. This may have the effect of delaying consideration of a stockholder proposal until the next annual meeting.
Advance Notice Provisions for Stockholder Nominations and Stockholder Proposals
Our bylaws provide that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of persons for election to the Board of Directors and the proposal of business to be considered by stockholders may be made only (1) by or at the direction of the Board of Directors, (2) pursuant to our notice of meeting or (3) by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record at the time of provision of notice, at the record date and at the time of the meeting, who
is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice procedures of the bylaws. With respect to special meetings of stockholders, only the business specified in our notice of the meeting may be brought before the meeting. Nominations of persons for election to the Board of Directors at a special meeting may be made only (1) by or at the direction of the Board of Directors or (2) provided that the special meeting has been called in accordance with our bylaws for the purposes of electing directors, by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record at the time of provision of notice, at the record date and at the time of the meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice provisions of the bylaws.
The purpose of requiring stockholders to give us advance notice of nominations and other business is to afford our Board of Directors a meaningful opportunity to consider the qualifications of the proposed nominees and the advisability of any other proposed business and, to the extent deemed necessary or desirable by our Board of Directors, to inform stockholders and make recommendations about such qualifications or business, as well as to provide a more orderly procedure for conducting meetings of stockholders. Although our bylaws do not give our Board of Directors any power to disapprove stockholder nominations for the election of directors or proposals recommending certain action, they may have the effect of precluding a contest for the election of directors or the consideration of stockholder proposals if proper procedures are not followed and of discouraging or deterring a third party from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect its own slate of directors or to approve its own proposal without regard to whether consideration of such nominees or proposals might be harmful or beneficial to us and our stockholders.
Calling of Special Meetings of Stockholders
Our bylaws provide that special meetings of stockholders may be called by our Board of Directors and certain of our officers. Additionally, our bylaws provide that, subject to the satisfaction of certain procedural and informational requirements by the stockholders requesting the meeting, a special meeting of stockholders will be called by the secretary of the corporation upon the written request of stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast at such meeting.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Law
The DGCL contains provisions that could make it more difficult for a potential acquirer to acquire us by means of a tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise. These provisions are expected to discourage certain coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to negotiate first with our Board of Directors. These measures may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders. We believe, however, that the benefits of these provisions outweigh the potential disadvantages of discouraging any such acquisition proposals because the negotiation of such proposals may improve their terms.
We are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the DGCL regulating corporate takeovers. In general, these provisions prohibit a Delaware corporation from engaging in any business combination with any interested stockholder for a period of three years following the date that the stockholder became an interested stockholder, unless:
|•||prior to such time, 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 that 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; or|
|•||at or subsequent to such time, the business combination is approved by the board of directors and authorized at a meeting of stockholders, by at least two-thirds of the outstanding voting stock that is not owned by the interested stockholder.|
Section 203 of the DGCL defines “business combination” to include the following:
|•||any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;|
|•||any sale, transfer, pledge or other disposition (in one transaction or a series of transactions) of 10% or more of either the aggregate market value of all the assets of the corporation or the aggregate market value of all the outstanding stock of the corporation involving the interested stockholder;|
|•||subject to certain exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder;|
|•||any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock of any class or series of the corporation owned by the interested stockholder; or|
|•||the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits provided by or through the corporation.|
In general, Section 203 of the DGCL defines an interested stockholder as any entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by any of these entities or persons.
The statute could prohibit or delay mergers or other takeover or change in control attempts and, accordingly, may discourage attempts to acquire us.
Our Board of Directors may choose to adopt a resolution exempting from Section 203 of the DGCL any business combination between us and any other person, subject to prior approval of such business combination by our Board of Directors, including approval by a majority of our independent directors.
Conflict with 1940 Act
Our bylaws provide that, if and to the extent that any provision of the DGCL or any provision of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws conflicts with any provision of the 1940 Act, the applicable provision of the 1940 Act will control.
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws provide that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the Company, (2) 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, (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our certificate of incorporation or bylaws or the securities, antifraud, unfair trade practices or similar laws of any international, national, state, provincial, territorial, local or other governmental or regulatory authority, including, in each case, the applicable rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine will be a federal or state court located in the state of Delaware. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed, to the fullest extent permitted by law, to have notice of and consented to these exclusive forum provisions and to have irrevocably submitted to, and waived any objection to,
the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in connection with any such action or proceeding and consented to process being served in any such action or proceeding, without limitation, by U.S. mail addressed to the stockholder at the stockholder’s address as it appears on the records of the Company, with postage thereon prepaid. Our certificate of incorporation includes this provision so that we can respond to litigation more efficiently, reduce the costs associated with our responses to such litigation, particularly litigation that might otherwise be brought in multiple forums, and make it less likely that plaintiffs’ attorneys will be able to employ such litigation to coerce us into otherwise unjustified settlements. However, this exclusive forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that such stockholder believes is favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, if any, and may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers or other employees, if any. Alternatively, if a court were to find such provision inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.