DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES
Capitalized terms used but not defined herein shall have the meaning ascribed to them in the Annual Report on Form 10-K to which this Description of Securities is an exhibit.
(a) Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share
As of September 30, 2021, we had 34,304,371 shares of common stock outstanding. All shares of our common stock have equal rights as to earnings, assets, dividends and voting privileges and, when issued, will be duly authorized, validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. Shares of our common stock have no preemptive, conversion or redemption rights and are freely transferable, except where their transfer is restricted by federal and state securities laws.
Distributions may be paid to the holders of our common stock if, as and when authorized by our Board of Directors and declared by us out of funds legally available therefor. In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, each share of our common stock is 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 is outstanding at the time. Each share of our common stock is entitled to one vote and does not have cumulative voting rights, which means that holders of a majority of such shares, if they so choose, could elect all of the directors, and holders of less than a majority of such shares would, in that case, be unable to elect any director. Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (Nasdaq) under the ticker symbol GLAD.
(b) Debt Securities
5.375% Notes due 2024 (the Notes)
The Notes were issued under a base indenture (the Base Indenture), dated as of November 6, 2018, and a second supplemental indenture thereto, dated as of October 10, 2019, entered into between us and U.S. Bank National Association (U.S. Bank), as trustee. On November 1, 2021, we voluntarily redeemed all of the outstanding Notes. The Notes would have otherwise matured on November 1, 2024, with 100% of the aggregate principal amount payable at maturity. The interest rate of the Notes was 5.375% per year. Interest was payable quarterly on February 1, May 1, August 1 and November 1 of each year , and the regular record dates for interest payments were January 15, April 15, July 15 and October 15, as the case may be, next preceding the applicable interest payment date. The 2024 Notes were listed on Nasdaq under the symbol GLADL.
The Notes were issued in denominations of $25 and integral multiples of $25 in excess thereof. The Notes were not be subject to any sinking fund and holders of the Notes did not have the option to have the Notes repaid prior to the stated maturity date.
The following is a summary description of the material terms of the Notes, the Base Indenture and the second supplemental indenture thereto. The following summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the Base Indenture and the second supplemental indenture (collectively, the indenture).
In addition to standard covenants relating to payment of principal and interest, maintaining an office where payments were to be made or securities could be surrendered for payment and related matters, the following covenants applied to the Notes:
We agreed that for the period of time during which the Notes were outstanding, we would not violate Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(2) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, whether or not we continued to be subject to such provisions of the 1940 Act.
We agreed that for the period of time during which Notes were outstanding, we would not declare any dividend (except a dividend payable in stock of the Company), or declare any other distribution, upon a class of our capital stock, or purchase any such capital stock, unless, in every such case, at the time of the declaration of any such dividend or distribution, or at the time of any such purchase, we had an asset coverage (as defined in the 1940 Act) of at least the threshold specified under Section 18(a)(1)(B) as modified by Section 61(a)(2) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions thereto of the 1940 Act, after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution or purchase price, as the case may be, and giving effect, in each case, to any no-action relief granted by the SEC to another BDC and upon which we may reasonably rely (or to us if we determined to seek such similar no-action or other relief) permitting the BDC to declare any cash dividend or distribution notwithstanding the prohibition contained in Section 18(a)(1)(B) as modified by Section 61(a)(2) of the 1940 Act, in order to maintain such BDCs status as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code.
If, at any time, we were not subject to the reporting requirements of Sections 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act to file any periodic reports with the SEC, we agreed to furnish to holders of the Notes and the trustee, for the period of time during which the Notes were outstanding, our audited annual consolidated financial statements, within 90 days of our fiscal year end, and unaudited interim consolidated financial statements, within 45 days of our fiscal quarter end (other than our fourth fiscal quarter). All such financial statements will be prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with applicable GAAP.
The Notes were redeemable in whole or in part at any time or from time to time at our option on or after November 1, 2021 upon not less than 30 days nor more than 60 days written notice by mail prior to the date fixed for redemption thereof, at a redemption price of 100% of the outstanding principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest payments otherwise payable thereon for the then-current quarterly interest period accrued to, but excluding, the date fixed for redemption.
Conversion and Exchange
The Notes were not convertible into or exchangeable for other securities.
Events of Default
The term Event of Default in respect of the Notes meant any of the following:
We did not pay the principal of any Note when due and payable at maturity;
We did not pay interest on any Note when due and payable, and such default was not cured within 30 days of its due date;
We remained in breach of any other covenant in respect of the Notes for 60 days after we received a written notice of default stating we are in breach (the notice must have been sent by either the trustee or holders of at least 25% of the principal amount of the outstanding Notes);
We filed for bankruptcy or certain other events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization occur and remained undischarged or unstayed for a period of 60 days; or
On the last business day of each of twenty-four consecutive calendar months, the Notes had an asset coverage (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) of less than 100%.
An Event of Default for the Notes could have, but did not necessarily, constitute an Event of Default for any other series of debt securities issued under the same or any other indenture. The trustee could have withheld notice to the holders of the Notes of any default, except in the payment of principal or interest, if it in good faith considered the withholding of notice to be in the best interests of the holders.
Remedies if an Event of Default Occurs
If an Event of Default had occurred and was continuing, the trustee or the holders of not less than 25% in principal amount of the Notes could have declare the entire principal amount of all the Notes to be due and immediately payable, but this did not entitle any holder of Notes to any redemption payout or redemption premium. Except in cases of default, where the trustee had some special duties, the trustee was not required to take any action under the indenture at the request of any holders unless the holders offered the trustee protection from expenses and liability reasonably satisfactory to it (called an indemnity).
Defeasance and Covenant Defeasance
The Notes were subject to defeasance by us. Defeasance means that, by depositing with a trustee an amount of cash and/or government securities sufficient to pay all principal and interest, if any, on the Notes when due and satisfying any additional conditions required under the indenture relating to the Notes, we would have been deemed to have been discharged from our obligations under the Notes.
The Notes were subject to covenant defeasance by us. In the event of a covenant defeasance, upon depositing such funds and satisfying conditions similar to those for defeasance, we would have been released from certain covenants under the indenture relating to the Notes. The consequences to the holders of the Notes would have been that, while they would no longer benefit from certain covenants under the indenture, and while the Notes could not be accelerated for any reason, the holders of the Notes nonetheless could have looked to us for repayment of the Notes if there were a shortfall in the funds deposited with the trustee or the trustee is prevented from making a payment.
The Notes were our direct unsecured obligations and ranked:
pari passu with our existing and future unsecured, unsubordinated indebtedness;
senior to any series of preferred stock that we may issue in the future;
senior to any of our future indebtedness that expressly provides it is subordinated to the Notes;
effectively subordinated to all of our existing and future secured indebtedness (including indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security), to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness; and
structurally subordinated to all existing and future indebtedness and other obligations of any of our subsidiaries and any other future subsidiaries of the Company, including, without limitation, borrowings under the Credit Facility.
(c) Provisions of our Certificate of Incorporation or Bylaws that may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change of control
Classified Board of Directors
In accordance with our bylaws, our Board of Directors is divided into three classes of directors serving staggered three-year terms, with the term of directors in each class expiring at the annual meeting of stockholders held in the third year following the year of their election. One class has two directors, one class has three directors and one class has four directors. A classified board may render more difficult a change in control of us or removal of our incumbent management. We believe, however, that the longer time required to elect a majority of a classified board of directors will help to ensure continuity and stability of our management and policies.
Our classified board could have the effect of making the replacement of incumbent directors more time consuming and difficult. Because our directors may only be removed for cause, at least two annual meetings of stockholders, instead of one, will generally be required to effect a change in a majority of our Board of Directors. Thus, our classified board could increase the likelihood that incumbent directors will retain their positions. The staggered terms of directors may delay, defer or prevent a tender offer or an attempt to change control of us or another transaction that might involve a premium price for our common stock that might be in the best interest of our stockholders.
Number of Directors; Removal; Vacancies
Our charter provides that the number of directors will be determined pursuant to our bylaws and our bylaws provide that a majority of our entire Board of Directors may at any time increase or decrease the number of directors. In addition, our bylaws provide that the number of directors shall not be increased by 50% or more in any 12-month period without the approval of two-thirds of the members of our Board of Directors then in office. Our bylaws provide that any vacancies may be filled only by the vote of a majority of the remaining directors, even if less than a quorum, and the directors so appointed shall hold office for the remainder of the full term of the class of directors in which the vacancy occurred and until their successors are elected and qualified.
Our directors may only be removed for cause and only by the affirmative vote of at least a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast by our stockholders generally in the election of directors. This provision, when coupled with the power of our Board of Directors to fill vacancies on our Board of Directors, precludes stockholders from removing incumbent directors except for cause and upon a substantial affirmative vote and could preclude stockholders from filling the vacancies created by such removal with their own nominees.
Advance Notice Provisions for Stockholder Nominations and Stockholder Proposals
Our bylaws establish an advance notice procedure for stockholders to make nominations of candidates for election as directors or to bring other business before an annual or special meeting of our stockholders, which we refer to as the stockholder notice procedure.
The stockholder notice procedure provides that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of individuals for election to our Board of Directors and the proposal of business to be considered by our stockholders at an annual meeting may be made only (1) pursuant to our notice of the meeting, (2) by or at the direction of our Board of Directors or (3) by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record at the time of giving of notice, who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice procedures set forth in our bylaws, including a requirement to provide certain information about the stockholder and the nominee or business proposal, as applicable. With respect to special meetings of stockholders, only the business specified in our notice of meeting may be brought before the meeting. Nominations of individuals for election to our Board of Directors may be made at a special meeting of stockholders at which directors are to be elected only (1) by or at the direction of our Board of Directors or (2) by a stockholder who was a stockholder of record at the time of giving of notice, who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice provisions set forth in our bylaws, including a requirement to provide certain information about the stockholder and the nominee.
The purpose of requiring stockholders to give us advance notice of nominations and other business is to afford our Board of Directors a meaningful opportunity to consider the qualifications of the proposed nominees and the advisability of the other proposed business and, to the extent deemed necessary or desirable by the Board of Directors, 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 of Directors any power to disapprove stockholder nominations for the election of directors or proposals for 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.
Authority to Issue Preferred Stock without Stockholder Approval
Our charter permits our Board of Directors to issue up to 50,000,000 shares of capital stock. Our Board of Directors may classify or reclassify any unissued common stock or preferred stock into other classes or series of stock and establish the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to distributions, qualifications and terms or conditions of redemption of any such stock. Thus, our Board of Directors could authorize the issuance of preferred stock with terms and conditions that could have a priority as to distributions and amounts payable upon liquidation over the rights of the holders of our common stock.
Amendment of Charter and Bylaws
Our charter may be amended, altered, changed or repealed, subject to the terms of any class or series of preferred stock, only if advised by our Board of Directors and approved by our stockholders by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.
Our charter also provides that the bylaws may be adopted, amended, altered, changed or repealed by our Board of Directors. Any action taken by our stockholders with respect to adopting, amending, altering, changing or repealing our bylaws may be taken only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 75% of our capital stock, voting together as a single class.
These provisions are intended to make it more difficult for stockholders to circumvent certain other provisions contained in our charter and bylaws, such as those that provide for the classification of our Board of Directors. These provisions, however, also will make it more difficult for stockholders to amend the charter or bylaws without the approval of the Board of Directors, even if a majority of the stockholders deems such amendment to be in the best interests of all stockholders.
Indemnification and Limitation of Liability of Directors and Officers
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 that is established by a final judgment and is material to the cause of action. Our charter contains a provision that eliminates the liability of our directors and officers to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law.
The Maryland General Corporation Law (the MGCL) requires us (unless our charter provides otherwise, which our charter does not) to indemnify a director or officer who has been successful, on the merits or otherwise, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made a party by reason of his or her service in that capacity. The MGCL permits us to indemnify our 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:
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;
the director or officer actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services; or
in the case of any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful.
Under the MGCL, we may not indemnify a director or officer in a suit by us or on our behalf in which the director or officer was adjudged liable to us or in a suit in which the director or officer was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received. A court may order indemnification if it determines that the director or officer is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification, even though the director or officer did not meet the prescribed standard of conduct or was adjudged liable on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received. However, indemnification for an adverse judgment in a suit by us or on our behalf, or for a judgment of liability on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received, is limited to expenses.
In addition, the MGCL permits us to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer upon our receipt of:
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 us; and
a written undertaking by or on behalf of the director or officer to repay the amount paid or reimbursed by us if it is ultimately determined that the director or officer did not meet the standard of conduct.
Our bylaws permit us to advance expenses so long as, in addition to the requirements above, we obtain security for the advance from the director or officer, we obtain insurance against losses arising by reason of lawful advances or we determine that there is reason to believe that the director or officer will be found entitled to indemnification.
Subject to the 1940 Act, or any valid rule, regulation or order of the SEC thereunder, our charter obligates us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law in effect from time to time, to indemnify and pay or reimburse reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding to any director or officer, whether serving our company or at our request any other entity. Our charter also permits us to indemnify and advance expenses to any employee or agent of our company to the extent authorized by our Board of Directors or the bylaws and permitted by law.
Our bylaws obligate us, to the maximum extent required by Maryland law or the charter, to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative, by reason of the fact that he is or was our director, officer, employee or agent, or is or was serving at our request as a director, officer, manager, partner, trustee, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise if our Board of Directors determines that such person acted in good faith and in a manner reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of our company, and, in the case of any criminal action or proceeding, that such person had no reasonable cause to believe that such persons conduct was unlawful. However, our bylaws permit us to advance expenses only so long as, in addition to the requirements above, we obtain security for the advance from the director or officer, we obtain insurance against losses arising by reason of lawful advances or we determine that there is reason to believe that the director or officer will be found entitled to indemnification.
These provisions on indemnification and limitation of liability are subject to the limitations of the 1940 Act that prohibit us from protecting any director or officer against any liability to us or our stockholders arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such persons office.