DESCRIPTION OF REGISTERED SECURITIES
The following description of our capital stock and provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws are summaries. You should also refer to the amended and restated certificate of incorporation and the amended and restated bylaws, which are included as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and to the provisions of applicable Delaware law.
Under our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, we are authorized to issue up to 200,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.001 par value per share, and 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, $0.001 par value per share, of which 2,857,143 shares are designated as our Series B Non-Voting Convertible Preferred Stock (“Series B Preferred Stock”, as discussed below) and the remainder of which shares of preferred stock are undesignated. Our board of directors may establish the rights and preferences of the preferred stock from time to time.
Each holder of common stock is entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of the stockholders, including the election of directors, and does not have cumulative voting rights. Accordingly, the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors can elect all of the directors standing for election.
Subject to preferences that may be applicable to any then-outstanding preferred stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to receive dividends, if any, as may be declared from time to time by the board of directors out of legally available funds.
In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, holders of our common stock will be 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, and 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 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 in the future.
Fully Paid and Nonassessable
All of our outstanding shares of common stock are fully paid and nonassessable.
Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by the stockholders (unless such stockholder action is required by applicable law or stock exchange listing rules), to designate and issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock in one or more series, to establish from time to time the number of shares to be included in each such series, to fix the designations, powers, preferences,
privileges and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights of the common stock, and to increase or decrease the number of shares of any such series, but not below the number of shares of such series then outstanding.
Our board of directors, without stockholder approval, can issue preferred stock with voting, conversion or other rights that could adversely affect the voting power and other rights of the holders of common stock. Preferred stock could be issued quickly with terms designed to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. Additionally, the issuance of preferred stock may have the effect of decreasing the market price of the common stock and may adversely affect the voting power of holders of common stock and reduce the likelihood that common stockholders will receive dividend payments and payments upon liquidation.
Our board of directors will fix the designations, voting powers, preferences and rights of each series, as well as the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof, of the preferred stock of each series that we offer under the prospectus and applicable prospectus supplements in the certificate of designation relating to that series. We will file as an exhibit to the registration statement of which such prospectus forms a part, or will incorporate by reference from reports that we file with the SEC, the form of any certificate of designation that describes the terms of the series of preferred stock we may offer before the issuance of that series of preferred stock. This description will include:
•the title and stated value;
•the number of shares we are offering;
•the liquidation preference per share;
•the purchase price per share;
•the dividend rate per share, dividend period and payment dates and method of calculation for dividends;
•whether dividends will be cumulative or non-cumulative and, if cumulative, the date from which dividends will accumulate;
•our right, if any, to defer payment of dividends and the maximum length of any such deferral period;
•the procedures for any auction and remarketing, if any;
•the provisions for a sinking fund, if any;
•the provisions for redemption or repurchase, if applicable, and any restrictions on our ability to exercise those redemption and repurchase rights;
•any listing of the preferred stock on any securities exchange or market;
•whether the preferred stock will be convertible into our common stock or other securities of ours, including depositary shares and warrants, and, if applicable, the conversion period, the conversion price, or how it will be calculated, and under what circumstances it may be adjusted;
•whether the preferred stock will be exchangeable into debt securities, and, if applicable, the exchange period, the exchange price, or how it will be calculated, and under what circumstances it may be adjusted;
•voting rights, if any, of the preferred stock;
•preemption rights, if any;
•restrictions on transfer, sale or other assignment, if any;
•whether interests in the preferred stock will be represented by depositary shares;
•a discussion of any material or special U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the preferred stock;
•the relative ranking and preferences of the preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs;
•any limitations on issuances of any class or series of preferred stock ranking senior to or on a parity with the series of preferred stock being issued as to dividend rights and rights if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up our affairs; and
•any other specific terms, rights, preferences, privileges, qualifications or restrictions of the preferred stock.
The Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”), the corporate law of our state of our incorporation, provides that the holders of preferred stock will have the right to vote separately as a class (or, in some cases, as a series) on
an amendment to our certificate of incorporation if the amendment would change the par value or, unless the certificate of incorporation provided otherwise, the number of authorized shares of the class or change the powers, preferences or special rights of the class or series so as to adversely affect the class or series, as the case may be. This right is in addition to any voting rights that may be provided for in the applicable certificate of designation.
Anti-Takeover Effects of Delaware Law and Our Charter and Bylaws
Provisions of Delaware law and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, including the Certificate of Designation of our Series B Preferred Stock, and our amended and restated bylaws could make it more difficult to acquire us by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest, open market purchases, removal of incumbent directors and otherwise. These provisions, summarized below, are expected to discourage types of coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and to encourage persons to acquire control of us to first negotiate with us. We believe that the benefits of increase 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 takeover or acquisition proposals because negotiation of these proposals could result in an improvement of their terms.
Delaware Anti-Takeover Law
We are subject to section 203 of the DGCL, or Section 203. Section 203 generally prohibits a public Delaware corporation from engaging in a “business combination” with an “interested stockholder” for a period of three years after the date of the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder, unless:
•prior to such time the board of directors of the corporation approved either the business combination or the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;
•upon consummation of the transaction which 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 for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding (but not the outstanding voting stock owned by the interested stockholder) those shares owned (i) by persons who are directors and also officers and (ii) 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 which is not owned by the interested stockholder.
Section 203 defines a business combination to include:
•any merger or consolidation involving the corporation and the interested stockholder;
•any sale, transfer, pledge or other disposition involving the interested stockholder of 10% or more of the assets of the corporation;
•subject to exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the corporation of any stock of the corporation to the interested stockholder;
•subject to 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.
Subject to certain exceptions, Section 203 defines an “interested stockholder” as an entity or person (other than the corporation or any direct or indirect majority-owned subsidiary of the corporation) who, together with the entity or person’s affiliates and associates, beneficially owns, or is an affiliate or associate of the corporation and within three years prior to the time of determination of interested stockholder status did own, 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock of the corporation.
The existence of this provision generally will have an anti-takeover effect for transactions not approved in advance by the board of directors, including discouraging attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for the shares of common stock held by stockholders.
Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Amended and Restated Bylaws
Provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws may delay or discourage transactions involving an actual or potential change in our control or change in our management, including transactions in which stockholders might otherwise receive a premium for their shares or transactions that our stockholders might otherwise deem to be in their best interests. Therefore, these provisions could adversely affect the price of our common stock. Among other things, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws:
•permit our board of directors to issue up to 5,000,000 shares of preferred stock, with any rights, preferences and privileges as they may designate (including the right to approve an acquisition or other change in our control);
•provide that the authorized number of directors may be changed only be resolution of our board of directors;
•provide that all vacancies, including newly created directorships, may, except as otherwise required by law, be filled by the affirmative vote of a majority of directors then in office, even if less than a quorum;
•require that any action to be taken by our stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and not be taken by written consent;
•provide that stockholders seeking to present proposals before a meeting of stockholders or to nominate candidates for election as directors at a meeting of stockholders must provide notice in writing in a timely manner, and also specify requirements as to the form and content of a stockholder's notice;
•do not provide for cumulative voting rights (therefore allowing the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock entitled to vote in any election of directors to elect all of the directors standing for election, if they should so choose); and
•provide that special meetings of our stockholders may be called only by the chairman of the board, our chief executive officers or by our board of directors pursuant to a resolution adopted by a majority of the total number of authorized directors.
The amendment of any of these provisions, with the exception of the ability of our board of directors to issue shares of preferred stock and designate any rights, preferences and privileges thereto, would require approval by the holders of at least 66 2/3% of our then outstanding common stock.
Choice of Forum
Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides 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:
•any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf;
•any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty;
•any action asserting a claim against us arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws; or
•any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.
The enforceability of similar choice of forum provisions in other companies' certificates of incorporation has been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with any action, a court could find the choice of forum provisions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in such action. These provisions would not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act, Securities Act or any other claim for which the federal courts have exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in our securities shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to these provisions. Our exclusive forum provision will not relieve us of our duties to
comply with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder, and our shareholders will not be deemed to have waived our compliance with these laws, rules and regulations.
The provisions of the DGCL, 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 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 Capital Market Listing
Our common stock is listed on The Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “CERC.”
Transfer Agent and Registrar
The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock is American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC. The transfer agent and registrar's address is 6201 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219.