Description of the Registrant's Securities
DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE
SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, AS AMENDED
As of December 31, 2019, Precision BioSciences, Inc. had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). References herein to “we,” “us,” “our” and the “Company” refer to Precision BioSciences, Inc. and not to any of its subsidiaries.
The following description of our common stock and certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws are summaries and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the full text of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, each of which have been publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). We encourage you to read our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws and the applicable provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) for additional information.
Authorized Capital Stock
Our authorized capital stock consists of 200,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.000005 per share, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share, all of which are undesignated.
Holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share held on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders and do not have cumulative voting rights. An election of directors by our stockholders shall be determined by a plurality of the votes cast. All other elections and questions presented to the stockholders shall be decided by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority in voting power of the votes cast affirmatively or negatively (excluding abstentions) at the meeting by the holders entitled to vote thereon. Holders of common stock are entitled to receive proportionately any dividends as may be declared by our board of directors, subject to any preferential dividend rights of any series of preferred stock that we may designate and issue in the future.
In the event of our liquidation or dissolution, the holders of our common stock are entitled to receive proportionately our net assets available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all debts and other liabilities and subject to the prior rights of any outstanding preferred stock. Holders of our common stock have no preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights. Our outstanding shares of common stock are, and the shares offered by us in this offering will be, when issued and paid for, validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. 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.
Under the terms of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our board of directors is authorized to direct us to issue shares of preferred stock in one or more series without stockholder approval. Our board of directors has the discretion to determine the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions, including voting rights, dividend rights, conversion rights, redemption privileges and liquidation preferences, of each series of preferred stock.
The issuance of preferred stock, while providing flexibility in connection with possible acquisitions, future financings and other corporate purposes, could have the effect of making it more difficult for a third‑party to acquire, or could discourage a third‑party from seeking to acquire, a majority of our outstanding voting stock.
Some provisions of Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could make the following transactions more difficult: an acquisition of us by means of a tender offer; an acquisition of us by means of a proxy contest or otherwise; or the removal of our incumbent officers and directors. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish or could deter
transactions that stockholders may otherwise consider to be in their best interests or in our best interests, including transactions that provide for payment of a premium over the market price for our shares.
Undesignated Preferred Stock
The ability of our board of directors, without action by our stockholders, to issue up to 10,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences as designated by our board of directors could impede the success of any attempt to effect a change in control of the Company. These and other provisions may have the effect of deferring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management of the Company.
Our amended and restated bylaws provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the chairman of our board of directors, our chief executive officer or president (in the absence of a chief executive officer), or by a resolution adopted by a majority of our board of directors.
Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Nominations and Proposals
Our amended and restated bylaws establish advance notice procedures with respect to stockholder proposals to be brought before a stockholder meeting and the nomination of candidates for election as directors, other than nominations made by or at the direction of our board of directors or a committee of our board of directors.
Elimination of Stockholder Action by Written Consent
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.
In accordance with our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our board of directors is divided into three classes. The directors in each class serve for a three‑year term, with one class being elected each year by our stockholders. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that the authorized number of directors may be changed only by resolution of the board of directors. Any additional directorships resulting from an increase in the number of directors will be distributed among the three classes so that, as nearly as possible, each class will consist of one‑third of the directors. This system of electing and removing directors may delay or prevent a change of our management or a change in control of our company and may tend to discourage a third party from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us, because it generally makes it more difficult for stockholders to replace a majority of the directors.
Removal of Directors
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that no member of our board of directors may be removed from office by our stockholders except for cause and, in addition to any other vote required by law, upon the approval of the holders of at least two‑thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of stock entitled to vote in the election of directors.
Stockholders not Entitled to Cumulative Voting
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation does not permit stockholders to cumulate their votes in the election of directors. Accordingly, the holders of a majority of the shares of our common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors will be able to elect all of the directors standing for election, if they choose, other than any directors that holders of our convertible preferred stock may be entitled to elect.
Choice of Forum
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum to the fullest extent permitted by law, the Court of Chancery of the State of
Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty or other wrongdoing by any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, (3) any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware or our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, (4) any action to interpret, apply, enforce or determine the validity of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws, or (5) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Under our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, this exclusive forum provision does not apply to claims which are vested in the exclusive jurisdiction of a court or forum other than the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware, or for which the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware does not have subject matter jurisdiction. For instance, the provision would not apply to actions arising under federal securities laws, including suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. This provision would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation also provides that any person or entity holding, purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to this choice of forum provision. It is possible that a court of law could rule that the choice of forum provision contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation is inapplicable or unenforceable if it is challenged in a proceeding or otherwise.
Amendment of Charter Provisions
The amendment of any of the above provisions, except for the provision making it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock and the provision prohibiting cumulative voting, would require approval by holders of at least two‑thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of stock entitled to vote thereon.
Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law
We are subject to Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the “DGCL”), which prohibits persons deemed to be “interested stockholders” from engaging in a “business combination” with a publicly held Delaware corporation for three years following the date these persons become interested stockholders unless the business combination is, or the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder was, approved in a prescribed manner or another prescribed exception applies. Generally, 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 voting stock. Generally, a “business combination” includes a merger, asset or stock sale, or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the interested stockholder. The existence of this provision may have an anti‑takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by our board of directors.