Description of Capital Stock
DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The following description of the capital stock of Seres Therapeutics, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our”) and certain provisions of our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws are summaries and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the applicable provisions of our restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, which have been publicly filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We encourage you to read our restated certificate of incorporation, our amended and restated bylaws and the applicable provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware for more information.
Our authorized capital stock consists of:
200,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share; and
10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share.
Voting Rights. 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 by the stockholders entitled to vote on the election. Subject to the supermajority votes for some matters, other matters shall be decided by the affirmative vote of our stockholders having a majority in voting power of the votes cast by the stockholders present or represented and voting on such matter. Our restated certificate of incorporation and amended restated bylaws also provide that our directors may be removed only for cause and only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon. In addition, the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon is required to amend or repeal, or to adopt any provision inconsistent with, several of the provisions of our restated certificate of incorporation. 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.
Rights Upon Liquidation. In the event of our liquidation or dissolution, the holders of 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.
Other Rights. Holders of common stock have no preemptive, subscription, redemption or conversion rights. 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.
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 outstanding preferred stock. We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our capital stock. We do not intend to pay cash dividends for the foreseeable future. We currently expect to retain all future earnings, if any, for use in the development, operation and expansion of our business. Any determination to pay cash dividends in the future will depend upon, among other things, our results of operations, plans for expansion, tax considerations, available net profits and reserves, limitations under law, financial condition, capital requirements and other factors that our board of directors considers to be relevant.
Under the terms of our 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 purpose of authorizing our board of directors to issue preferred stock and determine its rights and preferences is to eliminate delays associated with a stockholder vote on specific issuances. 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. There are no shares of preferred stock outstanding, and we have no present plans to issue any shares of preferred stock.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
Some provisions of Delaware law, our 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 interest or in our best interest, including transactions which provide for payment of a premium over the market price for our shares.
These provisions, summarized below, are intended to discourage coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids. These provisions are also designed to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to first negotiate with our board of directors. We believe that the benefits of the increased protection of our potential ability to negotiate with the proponent of an unfriendly or unsolicited proposal to acquire or restructure us outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging these proposals because negotiation of these proposals could result in an improvement of their terms.
Undesignated Preferred Stock. The ability of our board of directors, without action by the 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 us. These and other provisions may have the effect of deferring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management of our company.
Stockholder Meetings. Our amended and restated bylaws provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by our chairman of the board, 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 the board of directors or a committee of the board of directors.
Elimination of Stockholder Action by Written Consent. Our restated certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.
Staggered Board. Our board of directors is divided into three classes. The directors in each class will serve for a three-year term, one class being elected each year by our stockholders. This system of electing and removing directors 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 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 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 outstanding shares of our common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors can elect all of the directors standing for election, if they choose, other than any directors that holders of our preferred stock may be entitled to elect.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute. We are subject to Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, 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 law may have an anti-takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by the board of directors.
Choice of Forum. Our restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative form, 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 restated certificate of incorporation or amended and restated bylaws; or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Our restated certificate of incorporation also provides that any person or entity 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 restated certificate of incorporation is inapplicable or unenforceable if it is challenged in a proceeding or otherwise.
Amendment of Restated Certificate of Incorporation. The amendment of any of the above provisions in our restated certificate of incorporation, 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.
The provisions of Delaware law, our restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws could have the effect of discouraging others from attempting hostile takeovers and, as a consequence, they may also inhibit temporary fluctuations in the market price of our common stock that often result from actual or rumored hostile takeover attempts. These provisions may also have the effect of preventing changes in the composition of our board and management. It is possible that these provisions could make it more difficult to accomplish transactions that stockholders may otherwise deem to be in their best interest.