Description of the Registrants Securities
DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
As of December 31, 2020, Pliant Therapeutics, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our”) had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended: our Common Stock.
Description of Common Stock
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 Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation (“Certificate of Incorporation”) and our Amended and Restated Bylaws (“Bylaws”), each of which are incorporated by reference as an exhibit to the Annual Report on Form 10-K of which this Exhibit 4.3 is a part, and by applicable law. We encourage you to read our Certificate of Incorporation, our Bylaws and the applicable provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law for additional information.
Authorized Capital Stock
Our authorized capital stock consists of 300,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share (the “Common Stock”), and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share (the “Preferred Stock”), all of which shares of Preferred Stock are undesignated.
We are authorized to issue one class of Common Stock. Holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share of Common Stock held of record for the election of directors and on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders. Except as described under “Anti-takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Provisions of our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws” below, a majority vote of the holders of Common Stock is generally required to take action under our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws. Holders of our Common Stock are entitled to receive dividends ratably, if any, as may be declared by our board of directors out of legally available funds, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any preferred stock then outstanding. Upon our dissolution, liquidation or winding up, holders of our Common Stock are entitled to share ratably in our net assets legally available after the payment of all our debts and other liabilities, subject to the preferential rights of any preferred stock then outstanding. Holders of our Common Stock have no preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights and no sinking fund provisions are applicable to our Common Stock. The rights, preferences and privileges of holders of Common Stock are subject to, and may be adversely affected by, the rights of the holders of shares of any series of Preferred Stock that we may designate and issue in the future.
Our Common Stock is listed on The Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “PLRX.”
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Our board of directors is authorized, without action by the stockholders, to designate and issue up to an aggregate of 10,000,000 shares of Preferred Stock in one or more series. Our board of directors can designate the rights, preferences and privileges of the shares of each series and any of its qualifications, limitations or restrictions. Our board of directors may authorize the issuance of Preferred Stock with voting or conversion rights that could adversely affect the voting power or other rights of the holders of Common Stock. The issuance of Preferred Stock, while providing flexibility in connection with possible future financings and acquisitions and other corporate purposes could, under certain circumstances, have the effect of restricting dividends on our common stock, diluting the voting power of our common stock, impairing the liquidation rights of our common stock, or delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of our company, which might harm the market price of our common stock.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Provisions of Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws to be in effect immediately prior to completion of this offering will 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 of directors rather than pursue non-negotiated takeover attempts. These provisions include the items described below.
Board composition and filling vacancies. In accordance with our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our board is divided into three classes serving staggered three-year terms, with one class being elected each year. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation also provides that directors may be removed only for cause and then only by the affirmative vote of the holders of two-thirds or more of the shares then entitled to vote at an election 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 even if less than a quorum.
No written consent of stockholders. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that all stockholder actions are required to be taken by a vote of the stockholders at an annual or special meeting, and that stockholders may not take any action by written consent in lieu of a meeting. This limit may lengthen the amount of time required to take stockholder actions and would prevent the amendment of our bylaws or removal of directors by our stockholder without holding a meeting of stockholders.
Meetings of stockholders. Our amended and restated bylaws provide that only a majority of the members of our board of directors then in office 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 amended and restated 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 amended and restated 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 amended and restated bylaws.
Amendment to certificate of incorporation and bylaws. As required by the Delaware General Corporation Law, any amendment of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation must first be approved by a majority of our board of directors, and if required by law or our amended and restated 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, except that the amendment of the provisions relating to stockholder action, directors, limitation of liability and the amendment of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation must be approved by not less than two-thirds of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, and not less than two-thirds 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 vote 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 two thirds of the outstanding shares entitled to vote on the amendment, voting together as a single class.
Undesignated preferred stock. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides for authorized shares of preferred stock. The existence of authorized but unissued shares of preferred stock may enable our board of directors 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 of directors were to determine that a takeover proposal is not in the best interests of us or our stockholders, our board of directors 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 amended and restated certificate of incorporation grants our board of directors’ 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.
Exclusive forum. Our amended and restated bylaws provide that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware shall be the sole and exclusive forum for any state law claims for: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of our company, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors or officers to the company or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against our company arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law or our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, (iv) any action to interpret, apply, enforce, or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or (v) any action asserting a claim against our company governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This exclusive forum provision will not apply to any causes of action arising under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction. Unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternate forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America shall be the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any action asserting a claim arising under the Securities Act. Although our amended and restated bylaws contain the choice of forum provision described above, it is possible that a court could rule that such provisions are inapplicable for a particular claim or action or that such provisions are unenforceable.
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 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 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.