DESCRIPTION OF THE REGISTRANT’S SECURITIES
REGISTERED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF
THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida (“Seacoast,” “we,” “our,” or “us”) has one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, our common stock.
DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The following descriptions are summaries of the material terms of our amended and restated articles of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws and include all material information with respect to our capital stock. Reference is made to the more detailed provisions of the amended and restated articles of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, which are filed as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K and are incorporated by reference herein.
The following description of shares of Seacoast’s common stock, par value $0.10 per share, is a summary only and is subject to applicable provisions of the Florida Business Corporation Act, as amended, or the FBCA, and to Seacoast’s amended and restated articles of incorporation, as amended, and its amended and restated bylaws. Seacoast’s articles of incorporation provide that it may issue up to 120 million shares of common stock, par value of $0.10 per share. Seacoast common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “SBCF.”
Each outstanding share of Seacoast’s common stock entitles the holder to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of shareholders, including the election of directors. The holders of Seacoast common stock possess exclusive voting power, except as otherwise provided by law or by articles of amendment establishing any series of Seacoast preferred stock.
There is no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which means that the holders of a plurality of Seacoast’s outstanding shares of common stock can elect all of the directors then standing for election. When a quorum is present at any meeting, questions brought before the meeting will be decided by the vote of the holders of a majority of the shares present and voting on such matter, whether in person or by proxy, except when the meeting concerns matters requiring the vote of the holders of a majority of all outstanding shares under applicable Florida law. Seacoast’s articles of incorporation provide certain anti-takeover provisions that require super-majority votes, which may limit shareholders’ rights to effect a change in control as described under the section below entitled “Anti-Takeover Effects of Certain articles of incorporation Provisions.”
Dividends, Liquidation and Other Rights
Holders of shares of common stock are entitled to receive dividends only when, as and if approved by Seacoast’s board of directors from funds legally available for the payment of dividends. Seacoast’s shareholders are entitled to share ratably in its assets legally available for distribution to its shareholders in the event of Seacoast’s liquidation, dissolution or winding up, voluntarily or involuntarily, after payment of, or adequate provision for, all of our known debts and liabilities and of any preferences of any series of our preferred stock that may be outstanding in the future. These rights are subject to the preferential rights of any series of Seacoast’s preferred stock that may then be outstanding.
Holders of shares of Seacoast common stock have no preference, conversion, exchange, sinking fund or redemption rights and have no preemptive rights to subscribe for any of our securities. Seacoast’s board of directors, under its articles of incorporation, may issue additional shares of its common stock or rights to purchase shares of its common stock without shareholder approval.
Restrictions on Ownership
The Bank Holding Company Act requires any “bank holding company,” as defined in the Bank Holding Company Act, to obtain the approval of the Federal Reserve prior to the acquisition of 5% or more of our common shares. Any person, other than a bank holding company, is required to obtain prior approval of the Federal Reserve to acquire 10% or more of our common shares under the Change in Bank Control Act. Any holder of 25% or more of our common shares, or a holder of 5% or more if such holder
otherwise exercises a “controlling influence” over us, is subject to regulation as a bank holding company under the Bank Holding Company Act.
Certain provisions included in our amended and restated articles of incorporation and bylaws, as described further below, as well as certain provisions of the Florida Business Corporation Act and federal law, may discourage, delay or prevent potential acquisitions of control of us, particularly when attempted in a transaction that is not negotiated directly with, and approved by, our board of directors, despite possible benefits to our shareholders.
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for Seacoast common stock is Continental Stock Transfer and Trust Company.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Certain Articles of Incorporation Provisions
Seacoast’s articles of incorporation contain certain provisions that make it more difficult to acquire control of it by means of a tender offer, open market purchase, a proxy fight or otherwise. These provisions are designed to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of Seacoast to negotiate with its directors. Seacoast believes that, as a general rule, the interests of its shareholders would be best served if any change in control results from negotiations with its directors.
Seacoast’s articles of incorporation provide for a classified board to which approximately one-third of its board of directors is elected each year at its annual meeting of shareholders. Accordingly, Seacoast’s directors serve three-year terms rather than one-year terms. The classification of Seacoast’s board of directors has the effect of making it more difficult for shareholders to change the composition of its board of directors. At least two annual meetings of shareholders, instead of one, will generally be required to effect a change in a majority of Seacoast’s board of directors. Such a delay may help ensure that its directors, if confronted by a shareholder attempting to force a proxy contest, a tender or exchange offer, or an extraordinary corporate transaction, would have sufficient time to review the proposal as well as any available alternatives to the proposal and to act in what they believe to be the best interests of Seacoast’s shareholders. The classification provisions apply to every election of directors, however, regardless of whether a change in the composition of Seacoast’s board of directors would be beneficial to Seacoast and its shareholders and whether or not a majority of its shareholders believe that such a change would be desirable.
The classification of Seacoast’s board of directors could also have the effect of discouraging a third party from initiating a proxy contest, making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of Seacoast, even though such an attempt might be beneficial to Seacoast and its shareholders. The classification of Seacoast’s board of directors could thus increase the likelihood that incumbent directors will retain their positions. In addition, because the classification of Seacoast’s board of directors may discourage accumulations of large blocks of its stock by purchasers whose objective is to take control of Seacoast and remove a majority of its board of directors, the classification of its board of directors could tend to reduce the likelihood of fluctuations in the market price of its common stock that might result from accumulations of large blocks of its common stock for such a purpose. Accordingly, Seacoast’s shareholders could be deprived of certain opportunities to sell their shares at a higher market price than might otherwise be the case.
Seacoast’s articles of incorporation require the affirmative vote of the holders of not less than two-thirds of all the shares of its stock outstanding and entitled to vote generally in the election of directors in addition to the votes required by law or elsewhere in the articles of incorporation, the bylaws or otherwise, to approve: (a) any sale, lease, transfer, purchase and assumption of all or substantially all of its consolidated assets and/or liabilities, (b) any merger, consolidation, share exchange or similar transaction, or any merger of any significant subsidiary, into or with another person, or (c) any reclassification of securities, recapitalization or similar transaction that has the effect of increasing other than pro rata with the other shareholders, the proportionate amount of shares that is beneficially owned by an Affiliate (as defined in Seacoast’s articles of incorporation). Any business combination described above may instead be approved by the affirmative vote of a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast on the plan of merger if such business combination is approved and recommended to the shareholders by (x) the affirmative vote of two-thirds of Seacoast’s board of directors, and (y) a majority of the Continuing Directors (as defined in Seacoast’s articles of incorporation).
Seacoast’s articles of incorporation also contain additional provisions that may make takeover attempts and other acquisitions of interests in it more difficult where the takeover attempt or other acquisition has not been approved by its board of directors. These provisions include:
A requirement that any change to Seacoast’s articles of incorporation relating to the structure of its board of directors, certain anti-takeover provisions and shareholder proposals must be approved by the affirmative vote of holders of two-thirds of the shares outstanding and entitled to vote;
A requirement that any change to Seacoast’s bylaws, including any change relating to the number of directors, must be approved by the affirmative vote of either (a) (i) two-thirds of its board of directors, and (ii) a majority of the continuing directors (as defined in Seacoast’s articles of incorporation) or (b) (i) two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote generally in the election of directors and (ii) an Independent Majority of Shareholders. An “Independent Majority of Shareholders” means the majority of the outstanding voting shares that are not beneficially owned or controlled, directly or indirectly by a related party. For these purposes, a “related party” means a beneficial owner of 5% or more of the voting shares, or any person who is an affiliate of Seacoast and at any time within five years was the beneficial owner of 5% or more of Seacoast’s then outstanding shares; provided, however, that this provision shall not include (i) any person who is the beneficial owner of more than 5% of Seacoast’s shares on February 28, 2003, (ii) any plan or trust established for the benefit of Seacoast’s employees generally, or (iii) any subsidiary of Seacoast that holds shares in a fiduciary capacity, whether or not it has the authority to vote or dispose of such securities;
A requirement that shareholders may call a meeting of shareholders on a proposed issue or issues only upon the receipt by Seacoast from the holders of 50% of all shares entitled to vote on the proposed issue or issues of signed and dated written demands for the meeting describing the purpose for which it is to be held; and
A requirement that a shareholder wishing to submit proposals for a shareholder vote or nominate directors for election comply with certain procedures, including advanced notice requirements.
Seacoast’s articles of incorporation provide that, subject to the rights of any holders of its preferred stock to act by written consent instead of a meeting, shareholder action may be taken only at an annual meeting or special meeting of the shareholders and may not be taken by written consent. The articles of incorporation also include provisions that make it difficult to replace directors. Specifically, directors may be removed only for cause and only upon the affirmative vote at a meeting duly called and held for that purpose upon not less than thirty days prior written notice of (i) two-thirds of the shares entitled to vote generally in the election of directors and (ii) an Independent Majority of Shareholders. In addition, any vacancies on the board of directors for any reason, and any newly created directorships resulting from any increase in the number of directors, may be filled only by the board of directors (except if no directors remain on the board, in which case the shareholders may act to fill the vacant board).
Seacoast believes that the power of its board of directors to issue additional authorized but unissued shares of its common stock or preferred stock without further action by its shareholders, unless required by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange or automated quotation system on which its securities may be listed or traded, will provide Seacoast with increased flexibility in structuring possible future financings and acquisitions and in meeting other needs that might arise. Seacoast’s board of directors could authorize and issue a class or series of stock that could, depending upon the terms of such class or series, delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for holders of Seacoast’s common stock or that its shareholders otherwise consider to be in their best interest.