Description of Securities
DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK
The following summary describes the capital stock of Terns Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our”) and the material provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws, the amended and restated investors’ rights agreement to which we and certain of our stockholders are parties and of the Delaware General Corporation Law. Because the following is only a summary, it does not contain all of the information that may be important to you. For a complete description, you should refer to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, amended and restated bylaws and amended and restated investors’ rights agreement, copies of which are incorporated by reference as Exhibits 3.1, 3.2 and 10.1, respectively, to our Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Our authorized capital stock consists of 150,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, and 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share.
Each holder of common stock is entitled to one vote for each share on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors. Our stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of directors. Accordingly, holders of a majority of the voting shares are able to elect all of the directors. In addition, the affirmative vote of holders of 66 2/3% of the voting power of all of the then outstanding voting stock is required to take certain actions, including amending certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, including the provisions relating to amending our amended and restated bylaws, the classified board and director liability.
Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any then outstanding preferred stock, holders of our common stock are entitled to receive dividends as may be declared from time to time by our board of directors out of legally available funds.
In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock are entitled to share ratably in the net assets legally available for distribution to stockholders after the payment of all of our debts and other liabilities, subject to the satisfaction of any liquidation preference granted to the holders of any then outstanding shares of preferred stock.
Rights and Preferences
Holders of our common stock have no preemptive, conversion or subscription rights, and there are no redemption or sinking fund provisions applicable to our common stock. The rights, preferences and privileges of the holders of our common stock are subject to, and may be adversely affected by, the rights of the holders of shares of any series of our preferred stock that we may designate and issue in the future.
Fully Paid and Nonassessable
All of our outstanding shares of common stock are fully paid and nonassessable.
Our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our stockholders, to issue up to 10,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series and to fix the rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions thereof. These
rights, preferences and privileges could include dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption, liquidation preferences, sinking fund terms and the number of shares constituting, or the designation of, such series, any or all of which may be greater than the rights of our common stock. The issuance of our preferred stock could adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and the likelihood that such holders will receive dividend payments and payments upon our liquidation. In addition, the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of our company or other corporate action.
Certain holders of shares of our common stock, are entitled to certain rights with respect to registration of such shares under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, (the “Securities Act”). These shares are referred to as registrable securities. The holders of these registrable securities possess registration rights pursuant to the terms of our amended and restated investors’ rights agreement and are described in additional detail below. The registration of shares of our common stock pursuant to the exercise of the registration rights described below would enable the holders to trade these shares without restriction under the Securities Act when the applicable registration statement is declared effective. We will pay the registration expenses, other than underwriting discounts, selling commissions and stock transfer taxes, of the shares registered pursuant to the demand, piggyback and Form S-3 registrations described below.
The demand, piggyback and Form S-3 registration rights described below will terminate upon the earliest of (i) with respect to each stockholder, such date, on or after the closing of our initial public offering in February 2021, on which all registrable shares held by such stockholder may immediately be sold during any 90-day period pursuant to Rule 144 of the Securities Act, or Rule 144, and (ii) the occurrence of a deemed liquidation event, as defined in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, as currently in effect.
Demand Registration Rights
Certain holders of shares of our common stock are entitled to certain demand registration rights. Beginning August 3, 2021, certain investors holding, collectively, 20% of registrable securities may, on not more than two occasions, request that we register all or a portion of their shares, subject to certain specified exceptions. If any of these holders exercises its demand registration rights, then these holders will be entitled to register their shares, subject to specified conditions and limitations in the corresponding offering.
Piggyback Registration Rights
In the event that we propose to register any of our securities under the Securities Act, either for our own account or for the account of other security holders, certain holders of shares of our common stock will be entitled to certain “piggyback” registration rights allowing them to include their shares in such registration, subject to specified conditions and limitations.
S-3 Registration Rights
Certain holders of shares of our common stock are entitled to certain Form S-3 registration rights. Certain investors holding at least 10% of registrable securities may, on not more than two registrations on Form S-3 within any 12-month period, request that we register all or a portion of their shares on Form S-3 if we are qualified to file a registration statement on Form S-3, subject to specified exceptions. Such request for registration on Form S-3 must cover securities with an aggregate offering price which equals or exceeds $1.0 million, net of selling expenses. The right to have such shares registered on Form S-3 is further subject to other specified conditions and limitations.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Provisions of Delaware Law and Our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Amended and Restated Bylaws
Certain provisions of Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that could make the following transactions more difficult: acquisition of us by means of a tender offer; acquisition of us by means of a proxy contest or otherwise; or 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 interests, including transactions that might result in a premium over the market price for our shares.
These provisions, summarized below, are expected 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 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.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Statute
We are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which prohibits persons deemed “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 the board of directors, such as discouraging takeover attempts that might result in a premium over the market price of our common stock.
Undesignated Preferred Stock
The ability to authorize undesignated preferred stock makes it possible for our board of directors to issue preferred stock with voting or other rights or preferences that could impede the success of any attempt to effect a change in control of our company. These and other provisions may have the effect of deterring hostile takeovers or delaying changes in control or management of our company.
Special Stockholder Meetings
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that a special meeting of stockholders may be called at any time by our board of directors, but such special meetings may not be called by the stockholders or any other person or persons.
Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Nominations and Proposals
Our amended and restated bylaws establish advance notice procedures with respect to stockholder proposals 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 amended and restated certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.
Classified Board; Election and Removal of Directors; Filling Vacancies
Our board of directors is divided into three classes, divided as nearly as equal in number as possible. The directors in each class will serve for a three-year term, one class being elected each year by our stockholders, with staggered three-year terms. Only one class of directors is elected at each annual meeting of our stockholders, with the other classes continuing for the remainder of their respective three-year terms. Because our stockholders do not have cumulative voting rights, our stockholders holding a majority of the shares of common stock outstanding are able to elect all of our directors. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides for the removal of any of our directors only for cause and requires a stockholder vote by the holders of at least a 66 2/3% of the voting power of the then
outstanding voting stock. Furthermore, any vacancy on our board of directors, however occurring, including a vacancy resulting from an increase in the size of the board, may only be filled by a resolution of the board of directors unless the board of directors determines that such vacancies shall be filled by the stockholders. This system of electing and removing directors and filling vacancies 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.
Choice of Forum
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for the following types of actions or proceedings under Delaware statutory or common law: any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; any action asserting a claim of breach of fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or stockholders to us or to our stockholders; any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws (as either may be amended from time to time); or any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine. As a result, any action brought by any of our stockholders with regard to any of these matters will need to be filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and cannot be filed in any other jurisdiction; provided that, the exclusive forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), as amended, or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction; and provided further that, if and only if the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware dismisses any such action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, such action may be brought in another state or federal court sitting in the State of Delaware. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws also provide that the federal district courts of the United States of America are the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action against us or any of our directors, officers, employees or agents and arising under the Securities Act. Nothing in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws preclude stockholders that assert claims under the Exchange Act from bringing such claims in state or federal court, subject to applicable law.
If any action the subject matter of which is within the scope described above is filed in a court other than a court located within the State of Delaware, or a Foreign Action, in the name of any stockholder, such stockholder shall be deemed to have consented to the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located within the State of Delaware in connection with any action brought in any such court to enforce the applicable provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws and having service of process made upon such stockholder in any such action by service upon such stockholder’s counsel in the Foreign Action as agent for such stockholder. Although our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain the choice of forum provision described above, it is possible that a court could find that such a provision is inapplicable for a particular claim or action or that such provision is unenforceable.
This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims, although our stockholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder.
Amendment of Charter Provisions
The amendment of any of the above provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, except for the provision making it possible for our board of directors to issue undesignated preferred stock, would require approval by a stockholder vote by the holders of at least a 66 2/3% of the voting power of the then outstanding voting stock.
The provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our amended and 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 our 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 interests.
Nasdaq Global Select Market Listing
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the trading symbol “TERN.”
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is Computershare, Inc. The transfer agent and registrar’s address is 250 Royall Street, Canton, Massachusetts 02021.