DESCRIPTION OF REGISTERED SECURITIES
As of December 31, 2019, TCG BDC, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our”) had one class of securities registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”): our common stock. Capitalized terms used but not defined herein shall have the meaning ascribed to them in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of which this Exhibit 4.2 is a part.
The following description of the Company’s common stock is based on the relevant provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law ("MGCL"), the Investment Company Act, the Company’s Articles of Amendment and Restatement (as amended and restated from time to time, the “charter”) and the Company’s Amended and Restated Bylaws (as amended and restated from time to time, the “bylaws”). This summary describes the provisions deemed to be material, but is not necessarily complete, and you should refer to the MGCL, the Investment Company Act and our charter and bylaws for a more detailed description of the provisions summarized below.
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share
Our authorized stock consists of 200,000,000 shares, par value $0.01 per share, all of which are currently designated as common stock. There are no outstanding options or warrants to purchase our stock. Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “CGBD.” No stock has been authorized for issuance under any equity compensation plans. Under Maryland law, our stockholders generally are not personally liable for our debts or obligations. Under our charter, our Board of Directors (the “Board”) is authorized to classify and reclassify any unissued shares of stock into other classes or series of stock without obtaining stockholder approval. As permitted by the MGCL, our charter provides that the Board, without any action by our stockholders, may amend the charter from time to time to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue.
All shares of our common stock have equal rights as to earnings, assets, voting, and dividends 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 and declared by us out of assets legally available therefor. Shares of our common stock are not subject to any sinking fund and have no preemptive, conversion or redemption rights and are freely transferable, except where 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 will 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 will be unable to elect any director.
Our charter authorizes our Board to classify and reclassify any unissued shares of stock into other classes or series of stock, including preferred stock. The cost of any such reclassification would be borne by our existing common stockholders. Prior to the issuance of shares of each class or series, the Board is required by Maryland law and by our charter to set the terms, preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of redemption for each class or series. Thus, the Board could authorize the issuance of shares of preferred stock with terms and conditions which could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in their best interest. However, that issuance of
preferred stock must comply with the requirements of the Investment Company Act. The Investment Company Act requires, among other things, that (1) immediately after issuance and before any distribution is made with respect to common stock, we must meet an asset coverage ratio, as calculated as provided in the Investment Company Act, of at least 150%, and (2) the holders of shares of preferred stock, if any are issued, must be entitled as a class to elect two directors at all times and to elect a majority of the directors if dividends on such preferred stock are in arrears by two full years or more. Certain matters under the Investment Company Act require the separate vote of the holders of any issued and outstanding preferred stock. For example, holders of preferred stock would vote separately from the holders of common stock on a proposal to cease operations as a BDC. We believe that the availability for issuance of preferred stock will provide us with increased flexibility in structuring future financings and acquisitions. However, we do not currently have any plans to issue preferred stock.
Limitation on Liability of Directors and Officers; Indemnification and Advance of Expenses
Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to include in its charter a provision limiting the liability of its directors and officers to the corporation and its stockholders for money damages except for liability resulting from (a) actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or (b) active and deliberate dishonesty established by a final judgment as being material to the cause of action. Our charter contains such a provision which eliminates directors’ and officers’ liability to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, subject to the requirements of the Investment Company Act.
Our charter authorizes us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law and subject to the requirements of the Investment Company Act, to indemnify any present or former director or officer of the corporation or any individual who, while serving as our director or officer and at our request, serves or has served another corporation, real estate investment trust, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise as a director, officer, partner or trustee, from and against any claim or liability to which that person may become subject or which that person may incur by reason of his or her service in any such capacity and to pay or reimburse their reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding. Our bylaws obligate us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law and subject to the requirements of the Investment Company Act, to indemnify any present or former director or officer or any individual who, while serving as our director or officer and at our request, serves or has served another corporation, real estate investment trust, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise as a director, officer, partner, trustee, member or manager and who is made, or threatened to be made, a party to the proceeding by reason of his or her service in that capacity from and against any claim or liability to which that person may become subject or which that person may incur by reason of his or her service in any such capacity and to pay or reimburse his or her reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding without requiring a preliminary determination of his or her ultimate entitlement to indemnification. The charter and bylaws also permit us to indemnify and advance expenses to any person who served a predecessor of us in any of the capacities described above and any of our employees or agents or any employees or agents of our predecessor. In accordance with the Investment Company Act, we will not indemnify any person for any liability to which such person would be subject by reason of such person’s willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.
Maryland law requires a corporation (unless its charter provides otherwise, which our charter does not) to indemnify a director or officer who has been successful in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made, or threatened to be made, a party by reason of his or her service in that capacity. Maryland law permits a corporation to indemnify its present and former directors and officers, among others, against judgments, penalties, fines, settlements and reasonable expenses actually incurred by them in connection with any proceeding to which they may be made, or threatened to be made, a party by reason of their service in those or other capacities unless it is established that (a) the act or omission of the director or officer was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding and (1) was committed in bad faith or (2) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty, (b) the director or officer actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services or (c) in the case of any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful. However, under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation may not indemnify for an adverse judgment in a suit by or in the right of the corporation or for a judgment of liability on the basis that a personal benefit was improperly received unless, in either case a court orders indemnification, and then only for expenses. In addition,
Maryland law permits a corporation to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer in advance of final disposition of a proceeding upon the corporation’s receipt of (a) a written affirmation by the director or officer of his or her good faith belief that he or she has met the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification by the corporation and (b) a written undertaking by him or her or on his or her behalf to repay the amount paid or reimbursed by the corporation if it is ultimately determined that the standard of conduct was not met.
We have entered into indemnification agreements with our directors and executive officers that will provide the maximum indemnification permitted under Maryland law and the Investment Company Act.
Certain Provisions of the MGCL and our Charter and Bylaws
The MGCL and our charter and bylaws contain provisions that could make it more difficult for a potential acquiror 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. We believe that the benefits of these provisions outweigh the potential disadvantages of discouraging any such acquisition proposals because, among other things, the negotiation of such proposals may improve their terms.
Classified Board of Directors
Our Board is divided into three classes of directors serving staggered three-year terms. The current terms of the first, second and third classes will expire at the annual meeting of stockholders held in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively, and in each case, those directors will serve until their successors are duly elected and qualify. Each year, one class of directors will be elected by the stockholders. A classified board 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 our Board will help to ensure the continuity and stability of our management and policies.
Election of Directors
As permitted by our charter, our bylaws provide that a plurality of the votes cast at a meeting of stockholders duly called and at which a quorum is present will be required to elect a director. Pursuant to our charter and bylaws, our Board may amend the bylaws to alter the vote required to elect directors.
Number of Directors; Vacancies; Removal
Our charter provides that the number of directors will be increased or decreased only by the Board in accordance with our bylaws. Our bylaws provide that a majority of our entire Board may at any time increase or decrease the number of directors. However, the number of directors may never be less than one nor more than twelve unless our bylaws are amended in which case we may have more than twelve directors but never less than one. Our charter provides that, except as may be provided by the Board in setting the terms of any class or series of preferred stock, any and all vacancies on the Board may be filled only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors in office, even if the remaining directors do not constitute a quorum, and any director elected to fill a vacancy will serve for the remainder of the full term of the directorship in which the vacancy occurred and until a successor is duly elected and qualifies, subject to any applicable requirements of the Investment Company Act. Our charter provides that a director may be removed only for cause, as defined in our charter, and then only by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast in the election of directors.
Action by Stockholders
Under the MGCL, stockholder action can be taken only at an annual or special meeting of stockholders or (unless the charter provides for stockholder action by less than unanimous written consent, which our charter does not) by unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting. These provisions, combined with the requirements of our bylaws regarding the calling of a stockholder-requested special meeting of stockholders discussed below, 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 and the proposal of business to be considered by stockholders may be made only (1) pursuant to our notice of the meeting, (2) by the Board or (3) by a stockholder who is a stockholder of record both at the time of giving notice, as provided by the bylaws, and at the time of the annual meeting and who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice procedures of our 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 at a special meeting may be made only (1) by the Board or (2) provided that the Board has determined that directors will be elected at the meeting, by a stockholder who is a stockholder of record both at the time of giving notice, as provided by the bylaws, and at the time of the special meeting and 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 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, 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 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 a majority of our Board, the chairman of the Board 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.
Approval of Extraordinary Corporate Action; Amendment of Charter and Bylaws
Under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation generally cannot dissolve, amend its charter, merge, sell all or substantially all of its assets, engage in a share exchange, co-invest or engage in similar transactions outside the ordinary course of business, unless advised by its board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. However, a Maryland corporation may provide in its charter for approval of these matters by a lesser percentage, but not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Our charter generally provides for approval of charter amendments and extraordinary transactions by the stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Our charter also provides that the following matters require the approval of stockholders entitled to cast at least 80% of the votes entitled to be cast: (i) certain charter amendments; (ii) any proposal for our conversion, whether by merger or otherwise, from a closed-end company to an open-end company; (iii) any proposal for our liquidation or dissolution; or (iv) any proposal regarding a merger, consolidation, share exchange or sale or exchange of all or substantially all of our assets that the MGCL requires to be approved by our stockholders. However, if such amendment or proposal is approved by a majority of our continuing directors (in addition to approval by our Board), such amendment or proposal may be approved by a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on such a matter. The “continuing directors” are defined in our charter as (1) our current directors, (2) those directors whose nomination for election by the stockholders or whose election by the directors to fill vacancies is approved by a majority of our current directors then on the Board or (3) any successor directors whose nomination for election by the stockholders or whose election by the directors to fill vacancies is approved by a majority of continuing directors or the successor continuing directors then in office.
Our charter and bylaws provide that the Board will have the exclusive power to make, alter, amend or repeal any provision of our bylaws.
No Appraisal Rights
As permitted by the MGCL, our charter provides that stockholders will not be entitled to exercise appraisal rights unless a majority of the Board shall determine such rights apply.
Control Share Acquisitions
The MGCL, pursuant to the Control Share Act, provides that control shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition have no voting rights except to the extent approved by a vote of two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Shares owned by the acquiror, by officers or by directors who are employees of the corporation are excluded from shares entitled to vote on the matter. Control shares are voting shares of stock which, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquiror or in respect of which the acquiror is able to exercise or direct the exercise of voting power (except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy), would entitle the acquiror to exercise voting power in electing directors within one of their increasing ranges of voting power. The requisite stockholder approval must be obtained each time an acquiror crosses one of the thresholds of voting power. Control shares do not include shares the acquiring person is then entitled to vote as a result of having previously obtained stockholder approval. A control share acquisition means the acquisition of control shares, subject to certain exceptions.
Our bylaws contain a provision exempting from the Control Share Act any and all acquisitions by any person of our shares of stock. There can be no assurance that such provision will not be amended or eliminated at any time in the future. However, we will amend our bylaws to be subject to the Control Share Act only if the Board determines that it would be in our best interests and if the SEC staff does not object to our determination that our being subject to the Control Share Act does not conflict with the Investment Company Act. The SEC staff has issued informal guidance setting forth its position that certain provisions of the Control Share Act would, if implemented, violate Section 18(i) of the Investment Company Act.
Under Maryland law, “business combinations” between a Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder or an affiliate of an interested stockholder are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. These business combinations include a merger, consolidation, share exchange or, in circumstances specified in the statute, an asset transfer or issuance or reclassification of equity securities. An interested stockholder is defined as:
any person who beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting power of the corporation’s outstanding voting stock; or
an affiliate or associate of the corporation who, at any time within the two-year period prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner, directly or indirectly, of 10% or more of the voting power of the then outstanding voting stock of the corporation.
A person is not an interested stockholder under this statute if the Board approved in advance the transaction by which the stockholder otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, the Board may provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by the board.
After the five-year prohibition, any business combination between the Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder generally must be recommended by the Board of the corporation and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:
80% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation; and
two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of voting stock of the corporation other than shares held by the interested stockholder with whom or with whose affiliate the business combination is to be effected or held by an affiliate or associate of the interested stockholder.
These super-majority vote requirements do not apply if the corporation’s common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under Maryland law, for their shares in the form of cash or other consideration in the same form as previously paid by the interested stockholder for its shares.
The statute permits various exemptions from its provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the Board before the time that the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Our Board has adopted a resolution that any business combination between us and any other person is exempted from the provisions of the MBCA, provided that the business combination is first approved by the Board, including a majority of the directors who are not interested persons (as defined in the Investment Company Act). This resolution may be altered or repealed in whole or in part at any time; however, our Board will adopt resolutions so as to make us subject to the provisions of the MBCA only if the Board determines that it would be in our best interests and if the SEC staff does not object to our determination that our being subject to the MBCA does not conflict with the Investment Company Act. If this resolution is repealed, or the Board does not otherwise approve a business combination, the statute may discourage others from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating any offer.
Conflict with Investment Company Act
Our bylaws provide that, if and to the extent that any provision of the MGCL, including the Control Share Act (if we amend our bylaws to be subject to such Act) and the MBCA, or any provision of our charter or bylaws conflicts with any provision of the Investment Company Act, the applicable provision of the Investment Company Act will control.
Our charter 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 (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the Company, (ii) 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, (iii) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the MGCL, the charter 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 (iv) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine shall be a federal or state court located in the state of Delaware, provided that to the extent the appropriate court located in the state of Delaware determines that it does not have jurisdiction over such action, then the sole and exclusive forum shall be any federal or state court located in the state of Maryland. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of capital stock of the Company shall 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 United States mail addressed to the stockholder at the stockholder’s address as it appears on the records of the Company, with postage thereon prepaid.