DESCRIPTION OF CONTRAFECT CORPORATION SECURITIES
The following description of the capital stock of ContraFect Corporation (the Company, we, us, and our) and certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, as amended (our certificate of incorporation), and amended and restated bylaws (our bylaws) are summaries and are qualified in their entirety by reference to the full text of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws, each of which is filed as an exhibit to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and applicable provisions of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the DGCL). Our authorized capital stock consists of:
125,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.0001 per share; and
25,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.0001 per share.
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol CFRX.
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. Holders of our common stock are not entitled to vote on any amendment to the certificate of incorporation that relates solely to the terms of one or more series of preferred stock if the holders of such affected series are entitled, either separately or together as a class with the holders of one or more other such series, to vote thereon pursuant to the certificate of incorporation. 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 exceptions provided below, 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 certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws also provide that our directors may be removed, with or without cause, by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon. Subject to the rights of holder of any series of preferred stock, any vacancy on our board of directors, including a vacancy resulting from an enlargement of our board of directors, may be filled only by vote of a majority of our directors then in office. In addition, the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote in any annual election of directors is required to amend or repeal, or to adopt any provision inconsistent with, several of the provisions of our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws. See below under Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Certificate of Incorporation and BylawsAmendment of Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws.
Rights Upon Liquidation. In the event of our liquidation or dissolution, the holders of common stock are entitled to receive proportionately all 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.
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC.
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 common 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.
Our board of directors is authorized 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.
The shares of common stock underlying the warrants issued in connection with our initial public offering are currently registered under a registration statement that has been declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission, pursuant to registration rights granted to the holders in accordance with the terms of the warrants.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws
Some provisions of Delaware law, our certificate of incorporation and our 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 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 the stockholders, to issue up to 25,000,000 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 change 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 bylaws provide that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by our chairman of the board, the chief executive officer, or by our board of directors.
Requirements for Advance Notification of Stockholder Nominations and Proposals. Our bylaws establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting of stockholders, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors. Stockholders at an annual meeting will only be able to consider proposals or nominations specified in the notice of meeting or brought before the meeting by or at the direction of our board of directors or by a stockholder of record on the record date for the meeting who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has delivered timely written notice in proper form to our secretary of the stockholders intention to bring such business before the meeting. These provisions could have the effect of delaying until the next stockholder meeting stockholder actions that are favored by the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities.
Elimination of Stockholder Action by Written Consent. Our certificate of incorporation eliminates the right of stockholders to act by written consent without a meeting.
Removal of Directors. Our certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws provide that our directors may be removed, with or without cause, by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% in voting power of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon. Subject to the rights of holders of any series of preferred stock, any vacancy on our board of directors, including a vacancy resulting from an enlargement of our board of directors, may be filled only by vote of a majority of our directors then in office.
Stockholders Not Entitled to Cumulative Voting. Our 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 the provisions of Section 203 of the DGCL. Under Section 203, we would generally be prohibited from engaging in any business combination with any interested stockholder for a period of three years following the time that this stockholder became an interested stockholder unless:
prior to this time, the board of directors of the corporation approved either the business combination or the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;
upon consummation of the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of the voting stock of the corporation outstanding at the time the transaction commenced, excluding shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers, and by employee stock plans in which employee participants do not have the right to determine confidentially whether shares held subject to the plan will be tendered in a tender or exchange offer; or
at or subsequent to such time, the business combination is approved by the board of directors and authorized at an annual or special meeting of stockholders, and not by written consent, by the affirmative vote of at least 66 2/3% of the outstanding voting stock that is not owned by the interested stockholder.
Under Section 203, a business combination includes:
any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;
any sale, transfer, pledge or other disposition of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation involving the interested stockholder;
any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder, subject to limited exceptions;
any transaction involving the corporation that has the effect of increasing the proportionate share of the stock of any class or series of the corporation beneficially owned by the interested stockholder; or
the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits provided by or through the corporation.
In general, Section 203 defines an interested stockholder as an entity or person beneficially owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation and any entity or person affiliated with or controlling or controlled by such entity or person.
Choice of Forum. Our amended and restated bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative form, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or, if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware or other state courts 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 owed by, or other wrongdoing by, any of our directors, officers, employees or agents to us or our stockholders, creditors or other constituents; (3) any action arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL 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 against us governed by the internal affairs doctrine. Our amended and restated bylaws also provide, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, 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 amended and restated bylaws is inapplicable or unenforceable if it is challenged in a proceeding or otherwise.
Amendment of Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws. The amendment of any of the above provisions, among others and except for the above-described 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 75% in voting power of the outstanding shares of stock entitled to vote in an annual election of directors.
The provisions of Delaware law, our certificate of incorporation and our 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 interests.