Table of Contents

 

Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(5)

Registration No. 333-232742

 

The information in this preliminary prospectus supplement is not complete and may be changed. This preliminary prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are not an offer to sell these securities, and we are not soliciting an offer to buy these securities, in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED JANUARY 22, 2020

 

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To Prospectus dated August 2, 2019)

 

 

Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation

 

4,000,000 Shares of Common Stock

 


 

We are offering 4,000,000 shares of our common stock, $0.01 par value per share, to be sold in this offering.

 

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, or the “NYSE,” under the symbol “ACRE.” The last reported sale price of our common stock on the NYSE on January 21, 2020 was $16.46 per share.

 

The underwriters have agreed to purchase our common stock from us at a price of $   per share, which will result in approximately $   million of net proceeds to us after deducting offering expenses payable by us. The underwriters propose to offer the shares of common stock from time to time for sale in negotiated transactions or otherwise, at market prices prevailing at the time of sale, at prices related to such prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices. See  “Underwriting.”

 

To assist us in maintaining our qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes, subject to certain exceptions, no person may own more than 9.8% in value of the aggregate of our outstanding shares of stock or 9.8% by value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our stock. You should read the information under the section entitled “Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” in the accompanying prospectus for a description of these restrictions.

 

We have granted the underwriters the right to purchase up to 600,000 additional shares of our common stock from us at the public offering price, less the underwriting discount, within 30 days after the date of this prospectus supplement.

 


 

Investing in our common stock involves risks. Before making a decision to invest in our common stock, you should carefully consider the matters discussed under “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-5 of this prospectus supplement and the matters discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, for the year ended December 31, 2018 (the “Annual Report”) our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and the other documents we file from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) that are incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.

 

Neither the SEC, any state securities commission, nor any other regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus to which it relates are truthful and complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 


 

The shares of common stock will be ready for delivery on or about                               , 2020.

 


 

Bookrunners

Wells Fargo Securities               Citigroup              Morgan Stanley

 

Co-Managers

JMP Securities                                 Raymond James

 

The date of this prospectus supplement is                      , 2020

 


Table of Contents

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Prospectus Supplement

 

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

S-ii

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

S-iii

SUMMARY

S-1

THE OFFERING

S-3

RISK FACTORS

S-5

USE OF PROCEEDS

S-9

UNDERWRITING

S-10

LEGAL MATTERS

S-15

EXPERTS

S-15

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY REFERENCE

S-15

 

Prospectus

 

About This Prospectus

1

Prospectus Summary

1

Risk Factors

2

Forward-Looking Statements

2

Use of Proceeds

4

Description of Securities

5

Description of Our Capital Stock

5

Summary of Our Charter and Bylaws

10

Description of Our Preferred Stock

14

Description of Our Subscription Rights

15

Description of Our Warrants

16

Description of Our Debt Securities

17

Description of Our Units

27

Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer

28

Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

30

Plan of Distribution

50

Legal Matters

52

Experts

52

Where You Can Find More Information

52

 

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 

This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus form part of a registration statement on Form S-3 was declared effective on August 2, 2019, using a “shelf” registration process. This document consists of two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, which describes the specific terms of this offering and also adds to and updates information contained in the accompanying prospectus. The second part is the accompanying prospectus, which describes more general information about securities we may offer from time to time, some of which may not apply to this offering. You should read both this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, together with the additional information described below under the caption “Where You Can Find More Information.”

 

If the information set forth in this prospectus supplement varies from the information set forth in the accompanying prospectus, you should rely on the information set forth in this prospectus supplement. Any statement made in this prospectus supplement or in a document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement will be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this prospectus supplement to the extent that a statement contained in this prospectus supplement or in any other subsequently filed document that is also incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement modifies or supersedes that statement. Any statement so modified or superseded will not be deemed, except as so modified or superseded, to constitute a part of this prospectus supplement.

 

You should rely only on the information contained or incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and any related free writing prospectus required to be filed with the SEC. We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized anyone to provide you with information that is different. If anyone provides you with additional or different information, you should not rely on it. Neither we nor the underwriters are making an offer to sell the common stock in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. The information contained or incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, and any related free writing prospectus is accurate only as of their respective dates and except as required by law we are not obligated, and do not intend to, update or revise this document as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

Some of the statements contained in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein or therein by reference constitute forward-looking statements, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and we intend such statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions contained therein. The information contained in this section should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in our Annual Report and in our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (in each case, including any amendments thereto), and the other documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein by reference. In addition, some of the statements in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein or therein by reference (including in the following discussion) constitute forward-looking statements, which relate to future events or the future performance or our financial condition. The forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including statements concerning:

 

·                  the use of proceeds of this offering;

 

·                  our business and investment strategy;

 

·                  our projected operating results;

 

·                  the return or impact of current and future investments;

 

·                  the timing of cash flows, if any, from our investments;

 

·                  estimates relating to our ability to make distributions to our stockholders in the future;

 

·                  defaults by borrowers in paying amounts due on outstanding indebtedness and our ability to collect all amounts due according to the contractual terms of our investments;

 

·                  our ability to obtain and maintain financing arrangements, including securitizations;

 

·                  market conditions and our ability to access alternative debt markets and additional debt and equity capital;

 

·                  the amount of commercial mortgage loans requiring refinancing;

 

·                  our expected investment capacity and available capital;

 

·                  financing and advance rates for our target investments;

 

·                  our expected leverage;

 

·                  changes in interest rates, credit spreads and the market value of our investments;

 

·                  the impact of changes in London Interbank Offered Rate on our operating results;

 

·                  effects of hedging instruments on our target investments;

 

·                  rates of default or decreased recovery rates on our target investments;

 

·                  rates of prepayments on our mortgage loans and the effect on our business of such prepayments;

 

·                  the degree to which our hedging strategies may or may not protect us from interest rate volatility;

 

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·                  availability of investment opportunities in mortgage-related and real estate-related investments and securities;

 

·                  the ability of our Manager to locate suitable investments for us, monitor, service and administer our investments and execute our investment strategy;

 

·                  our opportunity to purchase mortgage loans from the $200 million real estate debt warehouse investment vehicle (the “Ares Warehouse Vehicle”);

 

·                  allocation of investment opportunities to us by our Manager;

 

·                  our ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate any acquisitions;

 

·                  our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes;

 

·                  our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”);

 

·                  our understanding of our competition;

 

·                  general volatility of the securities markets in which we may invest;

 

·                  adverse changes in the real estate, real estate capital and credit markets and the impact of a protracted decline in the liquidity of credit markets on our business;

 

·                  the conditions and strength of the commercial real estate property market;

 

·                  changes in governmental regulations, tax law and rates, and similar matters (including interpretation thereof);

 

·                  authoritative or policy changes from standard-setting bodies such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the stock exchange where we list our common stock, and other authorities that we are subject to, as well as their counterparts in any foreign jurisdictions where we might do business;

 

·                  actions and initiatives of the U.S. Government and changes to U.S. Government policies;

 

·                  the state of the United States, European Union and Asian economies generally or in specific geographic regions;

 

·                  global economic trends and economic recoveries; and

 

·                  market trends in our industry, interest rates, real estate values, the debt securities markets or the general economy.

 

We use words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “will,” “should,” “may” and similar expressions to identify forward- looking statements. Our actual results could differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements for any reason, including the factors set forth under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein or therein by reference.

 

We have based the forward-looking statements included in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein or therein by reference on information available to us on the date of this prospectus supplement, and we assume no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.

 

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SUMMARY

 

This summary highlights some of the information contained elsewhere in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. This summary does not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in our common stock. You should read in their entirety this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and any other offering materials, together with all documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein or therein by reference and the additional information described under the heading “Where You Can Find More Information.” Except where the context suggests otherwise, the terms “ACRE,” the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, a Maryland corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries.  We refer to our manager, Ares Commercial Real Estate Management LLC, as our “Manager” or “ACREM” and the parent company of our Manager, Ares Management Corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, as “Ares Management.”

 

Our Company

 

We are a specialty finance company primarily engaged in originating and investing in commercial real estate (“CRE”) loans and related investments. We are externally managed by Ares Commercial Real Estate Management LLC (“ACREM” or our “Manager”), a subsidiary of Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES) (“Ares Management”), a publicly traded, leading global alternative asset manager, pursuant to the terms of the management agreement dated April 25, 2012, as amended, between us and our Manager (the “Management Agreement”). From the commencement of our operations in late 2011, we have been primarily focused on directly originating and managing a diversified portfolio of CRE debt-related investments for our own account.

 

We were formed and commenced operations in late 2011. We are a Maryland corporation and completed our initial public offering in May 2012. We have elected and qualified to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (“REIT”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2012. We generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes on our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains, to the extent that we annually distribute all of our REIT taxable income to stockholders and comply with various other requirements as a REIT. We also operate our business in a manner that is intended to permit us to maintain our exemption from registration under the 1940 Act.

 

Corporate Information

 

We are a Maryland corporation. Our principal executive offices are located at 245 Park Avenue, 42nd Floor, New York, New York 10167. Our telephone number is (212) 750-7300. Our website is www.arescre.com. The contents of our website are not a part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of, and is not incorporated into, this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. We own or have rights to trademarks or trade names that we use in conjunction with the operation of our business. Any trademark, trade name or service mark of any other company appearing in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus or any document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference herein or therein belongs to its holder. Use or display by us of other parties’ trademarks, trade names or service marks is not intended to and does not imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship by us of, the trademark, trade name or service mark owner.

 

Recent Developments

 

Preliminary Estimates of Net Income Per Diluted Share of Common Stock and Core Earnings Per Diluted Share of Common Stock for the Quarter Ended December 31, 2019

 

Although our financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2019 are not yet finalized, on a preliminary basis we estimate the following:

 

 

·

Net income per diluted share of common stock is estimated to be in the range of $0.32 to $0.34 for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

 

·

Core Earnings per diluted share of common stock is estimated to be in the range of $0.36 to $0.38 for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

 

Core Earnings is a non-GAAP financial measure.  See “Core Earnings per Diluted Share of Common Stock” below for a reconciliation of estimated net income per diluted share of common stock to estimated Core Earnings per diluted share of common stock for the quarter ended December 31, 2019, along with an explanation of this non-GAAP financial measure.

 

The above information is preliminary and subject to completion, including the completion of customary financial statement closing and audit procedures for the year ended December 31, 2019. As a result, the preliminary results set forth above reflect our preliminary estimates with respect to such information, based on information currently available to management, and may vary from our actual financial results as of and for the quarter ended December 31, 2019. Further, these preliminary estimates are not a comprehensive statement or estimate of our financial condition or operating results as of and for the quarter ended December 31, 2019. These preliminary estimates should not be viewed as a substitute for complete interim or full year financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP and they are not necessarily indicative of the results to be achieved in any future period. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these preliminary estimates.

 

These preliminary estimates, which are the responsibility of our management, were prepared by our management and are based upon a number of assumptions. Additional items that may require adjustments to these preliminary estimates may be identified and could result in material changes to these preliminary estimates. Preliminary estimates of results are inherently uncertain and we undertake no obligation to update this information. See “Forward-Looking Statements” beginning on page S-3 and “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-5 of this prospectus supplement and beginning on page 8 of our Annual Report, and any other information included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus for a discussion of factors that could impact our actual results of operations.  Ernst & Young LLP, our independent registered public accounting firm, has not audited, reviewed, compiled or performed any procedures with respect to these preliminary estimates. Accordingly, Ernst & Young LLP does not express an opinion or provide any form of assurance with respect thereto.

 

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Other Recent Developments

 

·      In November 2019, we and our Manager entered into an equity distribution agreement (the “Equity Distribution Agreement”) with JMP Securities LLC and Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (collectively the “Placement Agents”), dated November 22, 2019. The Equity Distribution Agreement provides that we may from time to time issue and sell shares of our common stock, having an aggregate offering price of up to $100 million through the Placement Agents, or to them as principal for their own respective accounts. We have not sold any shares of our common stock under the Equity Distribution Agreement. The Placement Agents are also acting as underwriters in this offering.

·      During the quarter ended December 31, 2019, we closed $250.3 million of new loan commitments, of which $204.6 million of outstanding principal was funded.

·      During the quarter ended December 31, 2019, we funded $55.4 million of principal on previously closed loans.

·      During the quarter ended December 31, 2019, we received $115.4 million of outstanding principal from the repayment of mortgage loans.

·      During the period from January 1, 2020 through January 21, 2020, we closed $132.6 million of new loan commitments, of which $107.1 million of outstanding principal was funded.

·      During the period from January 1, 2020 through January 21, 2020, we funded $2.8 million of principal on previously closed loans.

·      During the period from January 1, 2020 through January 21, 2020, we have not received any repayments of outstanding principal on outstanding mortgage loans.

·      On January 15, 2020, we paid a cash dividend of $0.33 per share of common stock for the fourth quarter of 2019 to common stockholders of record as of December 30, 2019. The fourth quarter 2019 dividend was declared on November 8, 2019.

 

Core Earnings per Diluted Share of Common Stock

 

Above, we present a preliminary estimate of our Core Earnings per diluted share of common stock for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.  We believe the disclosure of Core Earnings provides useful information to investors regarding the calculation of incentive fees we pay to our Manager, and our financial performance. Core Earnings is an adjusted non-GAAP measure that helps us evaluate our financial performance excluding the effects of certain transactions and GAAP adjustments that we believe are not necessarily indicative of our current loan origination portfolio and operations. The presentation of this additional information is not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for financial results prepared in accordance with GAAP.

 

Core Earnings is a non-GAAP measure and is defined as net income (loss) computed in accordance with GAAP, excluding non-cash equity compensation expense, the incentive fee, depreciation and amortization (to the extent that any of our target investments are structured as debt and we foreclose on any properties underlying such debt), any unrealized gains, losses or other non-cash items recorded in net income (loss) for the period, regardless of whether such items are included in other comprehensive income or loss, or in net income (loss), one-time events pursuant to changes in GAAP and certain non-cash charges after discussions between our external manager and our independent directors and after approval by a majority of our independent directors. To calculate Core Earnings per diluted share of common stock, we follow the same methodology for calculating basic and diluted earnings per share of common stock under GAAP, but adjust net income (loss) computed in accordance with GAAP by the items described above prior to applying that methodology.

 

The table below presents a reconciliation between GAAP net income per diluted share of common stock and Core Earnings per diluted share of common stock for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.

 

 

 

Three Months
Ended

 

 

 

December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated GAAP net income per diluted share of common stock

 

$0.32 to $0.34

 

 

 

 

 

Estimated Core Earnings adjustments(1)

 

 

 

Stock-based compensation

 

$0.01 to $0.02

 

Incentive fees to affiliate

 

$0.01 to $0.02

 

Depreciation of real estate owned

 

$0.01 to $0.02

 

Estimated Core Earnings per diluted share of common stock(2)

 

$0.36 to $0.38

 

 


(1) Adjustments are estimated using approximate per share values in our net income and Core Earnings per share calculations.

 

(2) Numbers do not foot due to rounding.

 

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THE OFFERING

 

This summary is not a complete description of the common stock. You should read the full text and more specific details contained elsewhere in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. For a more detailed description of the common stock, see the section entitled “Description of Our Capital Stock” in the accompanying prospectus.

 

Issuer

 

Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation

 

 

 

Common stock offered hereby

 

4,000,000 shares of common stock.

 

 

 

Option to purchase additional shares

 

We have granted the underwriters an option to purchase, exercisable within 30 days of the date of this prospectus supplement, up to an additional 600,000 shares of common stock if they exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full.

 

 

 

Common stock outstanding following this offering

 

32,789,008 shares of common stock (1)

 

 

 

Use of proceeds

 

The net proceeds from our issuance and sale of common stock are expected to be approximately $            (or approximately $            if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full), after deducting estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use the net proceeds from our issuance and sale of common stock for general corporate purposes, including (i) repaying indebtedness and (ii) investing in mortgage loans and other target assets and investments consistent with our investment strategies and investment guidelines, which may include the acquisition of certain mortgage loans from the Ares Warehouse Vehicle, and funding commitments on existing mortgage loans. See “Use of Proceeds” in this prospectus supplement.

 

 

 

Ownership limit

 

Subject to certain exceptions, our charter restricts ownership of more than 9.8% in value of the aggregate of our outstanding shares of stock or 9.8% by value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our stock, in order to protect our status as a REIT. See “Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” in the accompanying prospectus.

 

 

 

Dividends

 

We elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, anticipate annually distributing to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains.

 

We cannot assure our stockholders, however, that the current level of distributions will be sustained, as any distributions that we pay in the future will depend upon our actual results of operations, economic conditions and other factors that could materially alter our expectations. Before we make any distributions, whether for U.S. federal income tax purposes or otherwise, we must first meet both our operating requirements and debt service on our financing agreements and other debt payable. If our cash available for distribution is less than our REIT taxable income, we could be required to sell assets or borrow funds to make cash distributions or we may make a portion of the required distribution in the form of a taxable stock distribution or distribution of debt securities.

 

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NYSE symbol

 

“ACRE”

 

 

 

Risk Factors

 

Investing in our common stock involves risks. Before making a decision to invest in our common stock, you should carefully consider the matters discussed under “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-5 of this prospectus supplement and the matters discussed in our Annual Report, our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and the other documents we file from time to time with the SEC that are incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.

 


(1) The number of shares of common stock to be outstanding after this offering is based on 28,789,008 shares of our common stock outstanding as of January 21, 2020, and assumes the underwriters will not exercise their option to purchase up to an additional 600,000 shares of common stock from the Company and excludes 118,451 shares of our common stock issuable pursuant to outstanding restricted stock units issued under our Amended and Restated 2012 Equity Incentive Plan.

 

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RISK FACTORS

 

Investing in our common stock involves risks. Before making a decision to invest in our common stock, you should carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included or incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including our consolidated financial statements and the related notes. The risks set out in our Annual Report, our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and in other documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus plus those set forth below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial also may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and/or operating results. If any of the events set out in our Annual Report, our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, the other documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or those set forth below occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, the value of our common stock and the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Certain statements in this prospectus supplement constitute forward-looking statements. See “Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

Certain Risks Related to the Offering and Our Common Stock

 

You may not be able to resell your shares at or above the offering price or at all, and the market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly.

 

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the trading symbol “ACRE.” From time to time, the global capital and credit markets have experienced periods of volatility and disruption. The market price and liquidity of the market for shares of our common stock may be significantly affected by numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance.

 

Some of the factors that could negatively affect the market price of our common stock include:

 

·                  our actual or projected operating results, financial condition, cash flows and liquidity, or changes in business strategy or prospects;

 

·                  actual or perceived conflicts of interest with our Manager or Ares Management and individuals, including our executives;

 

·                  equity issuances by us, or share resales by our stockholders, or the perception that such issuances or resales may occur;

 

·                  loss of a major funding source;

 

·                  actual or anticipated accounting problems;

 

·                  publication of research reports about us or the real estate industry;

 

·                  changes in market valuations of similar companies;

 

·                  adverse market reaction to any increased indebtedness we incur in the future;

 

·                  additions to or departures of our Manager’s or Ares Management’s key personnel;

 

·                  speculation in the press or investment community;

 

·                  increases in market interest rates and widening of market credit spreads, which may lead investors to demand a higher distribution yield for our common stock and would result in increased interest expenses on our debt;

 

·                  failure to maintain our REIT qualification or exemption from the 1940 Act;

 

·                  price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;

 

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·                  general market and economic conditions, and trends including inflationary concerns, the current state of the credit and capital markets;

 

·                  significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of publicly traded REITs or other companies in our sector, which are not necessarily related to the operating performance of these companies;

 

·                  changes in law, regulatory policies or tax guidelines, or interpretations thereof, particularly with respect to REITs;

 

·                  changes in the value of our portfolio;

 

·                  any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by investors or securities analysts;

 

·                  operating performance of companies comparable to us;

 

·                  short-selling pressure with respect to shares of our common stock or REITs generally;

 

·                  uncertainty surrounding the continued strength of the U.S. economy; and

 

·                  concerns regarding volatility in the U.S. and global financial markets.

 

As noted above, market factors unrelated to our performance could also negatively impact the market price of our common stock. One of the factors that investors may consider in deciding whether to buy or sell our common stock is our distribution rate as a percentage of our stock price relative to market interest rates. If market interest rates increase, prospective investors may demand a higher distribution rate or seek alternative investments paying higher dividends or interest. As a result, interest rate fluctuations and conditions in the capital markets can affect the market value of our common stock. For instance, if interest rates rise, it is likely that the market price of our common stock will decrease as market rates on interest-bearing securities increase.

 

In the past, following periods of volatility in the market prices of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. If our stock price fluctuates significantly, we may be the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business.

 

Common stock eligible for future sale may have adverse effects on our share price.

 

We cannot predict the effect, if any, of future sales of our common stock, or the availability of shares for future sales, on the market price of our common stock. Sales of substantial amounts of common stock or the perception that such sales could occur may adversely affect the prevailing market price for our common stock.

 

Subject to applicable law, our board of directors has the authority, without further stockholder approval, to issue additional authorized shares of common stock and preferred stock on the terms and for the consideration it deems appropriate. We cannot predict the effect, if any, of future sales of our common stock, or the availability of shares for future sales, on the market price of our common stock. Additional equity offerings may dilute the holdings of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our common stock, or both. Further, the perception that such sales could occur may adversely affect the prevailing market price for our common stock.

 

We may issue additional restricted common stock and other equity-based awards under our Amended and Restated 2012 Equity Incentive Plan. We may continue to issue additional shares in subsequent public offerings or private placements to make new investments or for other purposes. We are not required to offer any such shares to existing stockholders on a preemptive basis. Therefore, it may not be possible for existing stockholders to participate in such future share issuances, which may dilute the existing stockholders’ interests in us.

 

We have not established a minimum distribution payment level and we may be unable to generate sufficient cash flows from our operations to make distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future.

 

We are generally required to annually distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (which does not equal net income, as calculated in accordance with GAAP), determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains, for us to qualify as a REIT, which requirement we currently intend to satisfy through quarterly distributions of all or substantially all of our REIT taxable income in such year, subject to certain adjustments. We have not established a minimum distribution

 

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payment level and our ability to pay distributions may be adversely affected by a number of factors, including the risk factors described in our Annual Report. All distributions will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our earnings, our financial condition, debt covenants, maintenance of our REIT qualification and other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant from time to time. We believe that a change in any one of the following factors could adversely affect our results of operations and impair our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders:

 

·                  our ability to make profitable investments;

 

·                  margin calls or other expenses that reduce our cash flow;

 

·                  defaults in our asset portfolio or decreases in the value of our portfolio; and

 

·                  the fact that anticipated operating expense levels may not prove accurate, as actual results may vary from estimates.

 

As a result, no assurance can be given that we will be able to make distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future or that the level of any distributions we do make to our stockholders will achieve a market yield or increase or even be maintained over time, any of which could materially and adversely affect us.

 

In addition, distributions that we make to our stockholders out of current or accumulated earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes), and not designated by us as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income, generally will be taxable to our stockholders as ordinary income. However, a portion of our distributions may be designated by us as capital gain dividends and generally will be taxable to our stockholders as long-term capital gain to the extent that such distributions do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year, without regard to the period for which the stockholder that receives such distribution has held its stock. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and not designated by us as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income, may constitute a return of capital. A return of capital is not taxable, but has the effect of reducing the basis of a stockholder’s investment in our common stock, but not below zero.

 

Our distributions may exceed our cash flow from our operations and our net income.

 

We intend to make regular quarterly distributions to holders of our common stock. The regular quarterly cash distributions we pay are expected to be principally sourced by cash flow from operating activities. However, there can be no assurance that our net income or cash flow from operating activities will be sufficient to cover our future distributions, and we may use other sources of funds, such as from offering proceeds, borrowings and asset sales, to fund portions of our future distributions. Our distributions for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017 did not exceed our cash flow from operating activities but our distributions did exceed our net income for the year ended December 31, 2017. Our distributions for the year ended December 31, 2016 did not exceed our cash flow from operating activities (excluding amounts related to discontinued operations) or net income.

 

Investing in our common stock may involve a high degree of risk.

 

The investments that we make in accordance with our investment objectives may result in a high amount of risk when compared to alternative investment options and volatility or loss of principal. Our investments may be highly speculative and aggressive, and therefore an investment in our common stock may not be suitable for someone with lower risk tolerance.

 

Future offerings of debt or equity securities, which may rank senior to our common stock,  may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

 

If we decide to issue debt or equity securities that are senior to, convertible into or exchangeable for our common stock, such securities may have rights, preferences and privileges more favorable than those of our common stock and may result in dilution to holders of our common stock. We and, indirectly, our stockholders, will

 

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bear the cost of issuing and servicing such securities. Because our decision to issue such securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus holders of our common stock will bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting the value of their stock holdings in us.

 

Our Manager will receive an increased base management fee as a result of this offering.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the Management Agreement, our Manager receives a base management fee that is calculated as 1.5% of our stockholders’ equity per annum, which is calculated and payable quarterly in arrears in cash, subject to certain adjustments.  As a result of this common stock offering, our stockholders’ equity will increase, and therefore the base management fee due to the Manager will also increase.

 

Your investment has various U.S. federal income tax risks.

 

Although the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code generally relevant to an investment in shares of our common stock are described in “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the accompanying prospectus, we urge you to consult your tax advisor concerning the effects of U.S. federal, state, local and foreign tax laws to you with regard to an investment in shares of our common stock.

 

Risks Related to Our Company Generally

 

Economic sanction laws in the United States and other jurisdictions may prohibit us and our affiliates from transacting with certain countries, individuals and companies, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”) and other anti-corruption laws and regulations, as well as anti- boycott regulations, may apply to and restrict our activities. If we were to violate any such laws or regulations, we may face significant legal and monetary penalties. The U.S. government has indicated that it is focused on FCPA enforcement, which may increase the risk that we become the subject of such actual or threatened enforcement. As such, a violation of the FCPA or other applicable regulations could have a material adverse effect on us.

 

New accounting standards may result in a significant change to our recognition of credit losses.

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-13, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, which goes into effect for us on January 1, 2020. The standard replaced the incurred loss impairment methodology pursuant to GAAP with a methodology that reflects current expected credit losses (“CECL”) and requires consideration of a broader range of reasonable and supportable information to inform credit loss estimates. Under the CECL model, we are required to present certain financial assets carried at amortized cost, such as loans held for investment, at the net amount expected to be collected. The measurement of expected credit losses is based on information about past events, including historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts that affect the collectability of the reported amount. This measurement takes place at the time the financial asset is first added to the balance sheet and updated quarterly thereafter. This differs from the incurred loss impairment methodology pursuant to GAAP, which delays recognition until it is probable a loss has been incurred. Accordingly, the CECL model may affect how we determine our allowance for loan losses and could require us to increase our allowance and recognize provisions for loan losses earlier in the lending cycle. Moreover, the CECL model may create more volatility in the level of our allowance for loan losses. If we are required to increase our level of allowance for loan losses for any reason, such increase may affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.  While we expect our book value per diluted share of common stock for the quarter ended December 31, 2019 to be materially consistent with the prior quarter, we expect the CECL model will require us to recognize a one-time cumulative adjustment to retained earnings as of the beginning of the first reporting period in which the guidance is effective, which will impact our book value per diluted share of common stock in the first quarter of 2020.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

 

The net proceeds from our issuance and sale of common stock are expected to be approximately $           (or approximately $           if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full), after deducting estimated offering expenses payable by us. We intend to use the net proceeds from our issuance and sale of common stock for general corporate purposes, including (i) repaying indebtedness and (ii) investing in mortgage loans and other target assets and investments consistent with our investment strategies and investment guidelines, which may include the acquisition of certain mortgage loans from the Ares Warehouse Vehicle, and funding commitments on existing mortgage loans.

 

As of January 21, 2020, we had aggregate outstanding borrowings of $1.5 billion at a weighted average interest rate of approximately LIBOR plus 2.18%. An affiliate of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, an underwriter in this offering, is the lender under our Wells Fargo Facility (as defined herein) an affiliate of Citigroup Global Markets Inc., an underwriter in this offering, is the lender under our Citibank Facility (as defined herein), and an affiliate of Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, an underwriter in this offering, is the lender under our Morgan Stanley Facility (as defined herein). As such, affiliates of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC,  Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC may receive a portion of the net proceeds of this offering, to the extent the Wells Fargo Facility,  Citibank Facility or the Morgan Stanley Facility are repaid. See “Underwriting” in this prospectus supplement.

 

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UNDERWRITING

 

Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in an underwriting agreement, we have agreed to sell to the underwriters named below, for whom Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC are acting as active bookrunners, and the underwriters have severally agreed to purchase, the respective numbers of shares of common stock appearing opposite their names below:

 

Name of Underwriter

 

Number of Shares

 

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

 

 

 

Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

 

 

 

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

 

 

 

JMP Securities LLC

 

 

 

Raymond James & Associates, Inc.

 

 

 

Total

 

4,000,000

 

 

All shares to be purchased by the underwriters will be purchased from us.

 

The underwriters may offer the shares of common stock from time to time for sale in one or more transactions on the NYSE, in the over-the-counter market, through negotiated transactions or otherwise at market prices prevailing at the time of sale, at prices related to prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices. The underwriters may effect such transactions by selling shares of common stock to or through dealers, and such dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters and/or purchasers of shares of common stock for whom they may act as agents or to whom they may sell as principal.

 

The difference between the price at which the underwriters purchase shares and the price at which underwriters resell such shares may be deemed underwriting compensation.

 

The underwriting agreement provides that the obligations of the several underwriters are subject to various conditions, including approval of legal matters by counsel. The shares of common stock are offered by the underwriters, subject to prior sale, when, as and if issued to and accepted by them. The underwriters reserve the right to withdraw, cancel or modify the offer and to reject orders in whole or in part.

 

The underwriting agreement provides that the underwriters are obligated to purchase all the shares of common stock offered by this prospectus if any are purchased, other than those shares covered by the option to purchase additional shares described below. If an underwriter defaults, the underwriting agreement provides that the purchase commitments of the non-defaulting underwriters may be increased or the underwriting agreement may be terminated.

 

We estimate that the total expenses of this offering, including registration, filing and listing fees and legal and accounting expenses will be approximately $350,000.

 

Option to Purchase Additional Shares

 

We have granted a 30-day option to the underwriters to purchase up to a total of 600,000 additional shares of our common stock from us at the public offering price per share less the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions per share, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and less any dividends or distributions declared, paid or payable on the shares that the underwriters have agreed to purchase from us but that are not payable on such additional shares. If the underwriters exercise this option in whole or in part, then the underwriters will be severally committed, subject to the conditions described in the underwriting agreement, to purchase the additional shares of our common stock in proportion to their respective commitments set forth in the prior table.

 

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Indemnification of Underwriters

 

The underwriting agreement provides that we will indemnify the underwriters against specified liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or contribute to payments that the underwriters may be required to make in respect of those liabilities.

 

Lock-Up Agreements

 

We, our Manager, each of our directors and officers have agreed, subject to specified exceptions, that, without the prior written consent of the representatives, we and they will not, during the period beginning on and including the date of this prospectus through and including the date that is the 45th day after the date of this prospectus, directly or indirectly:

 

·                  offer, pledge, sell, contract to sell, sell any option or contract to purchase, purchase any option or contract to sell, grant any option, right or warrant for the sale of, or otherwise dispose of or transfer or pledge any shares of the our common stock or any securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for common stock, whether now owned or hereafter acquired by us, our Manager or each of directors or officers or with respect to such person has or hereafter acquires the power of disposition (collectively, the “Lock-Up Securities”), or exercise any right with respect to the registration of any of the Lock-up Securities, or publicly file or cause to be publicly filed any registration statement in connection therewith, under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended; or

 

·                  enter into any swap or any other agreement or any transaction that transfers, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, the economic consequence of ownership of the Lock-Up Securities,

 

whether any such swap or transaction is to be settled by delivery of common stock or other securities, in cash or otherwise.

 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, and subject to certain conditions, each of directors and officers (the “Lock-Up Parties”) may transfer or pledge the Lock-Up Securities without the prior written consent of the underwriters, provided that (1) the underwriters receives a signed lock-up agreement for the balance of the lockup period from each donee, trustee, distributee, pledgee or transferee, as the case may be, (2) such transfers are not required to be reported with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 4 in accordance with Section 16 of the Exchange Act during the lockup period, and (3) the Lock-Up Parties do not otherwise voluntarily effect any public filing or report regarding such transfers during the lockup period: (i) as a bona fide gift or gifts; (ii) or upon death by will or intestacy to a member of the immediate family of the Lock-Up Parties or to any individual, partnership (including a limited partnership), corporation, limited liability company, association, joint stock company, trust, joint venture, unincorporated organization, foreign government or other entity, that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, the Lock-Up Parties or for the direct or indirect benefit of the Lock-Up Parties or the immediate family (as defined below) of the Lock-Up Parties or to a charitable organization; or (iii) any bona fide gifts to any charitable organization; or (iv) to any individual, partnership (including a limited partnership), corporation, limited liability company, association, joint stock company, trust, joint venture, unincorporated organization, foreign government or other entity, that directly or indirectly, through one or more intermediaries, controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with, the Lock-Up Parties or for the direct or indirect benefit of the Lock-Up Parties or the immediate family of the Lock-Up Parties; or (v) in connection with a pledge of common stock; or (vi) in connection with a forfeiture to the Company in accordance with the Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation Second Amended and Restated 2012 Equity Incentive Plan.

 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Lock-Up Parties shall be permitted to (A) participate in, and establish a contract, instruction or plan meeting the requirements of Rule 10b5-1(c)(1) under the Exchange Act (a “10b5-1 Plan”), at any time during the 45-day lock-up period; provided that, prior to the expiration of the 45-day lock-up period, (x) with respect to any 10b5-1 Plan entered into after the date hereof, no  Lock-Up Party shall sell any of its Lock-Up Securities under such 10b5-1 Plan and (y) the Lock-Up Parties shall not make any public announcement with respect to such 10b5-1 Plan entered into after the date hereof, (B) sell shares of common stock pursuant to a 10b5-1 Plan, as existing as of the date hereof, if then permitted by the Company and applicable law; provided that, any filing made under the Exchange Act in connection therewith shall state that such sales were effected pursuant to a Rule 10b5-1 trading plan adopted by such Lock-Up Party or (C) transfer or sell shares of Common Stock to cover tax withholding obligations in connection with the vesting of restricted shares of common stock or restricted stock units granted under the Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation Second Amended and Restated 2012 Equity Incentive Plan, if then permitted by us and applicable law; provided that, any filing made under the Exchange Act in connection therewith shall state that such sales were effected to cover tax withholding obligations in connection with the vesting of restricted stock units granted to such Lock-Up Party.

 

The representative may, in its sole discretion and at any time or from time to time, without notice, release all or any portion of the shares or other securities subject to the lock-up agreements. Any determination to release any shares or other securities subject to the lock-up agreements would be based on a number of factors at the time of determination, which may include the market price of the common stock, the liquidity of the trading market for the common stock, general market conditions, the number of shares or other securities proposed to be sold or otherwise transferred and the timing, purpose and terms of the proposed sale or other transfer.

 

NYSE Listing

 

Our common stock is listed on the NYSE under the symbol “ACRE.”

 

Stabilization

 

In order to facilitate this offering of our common stock, the underwriters may engage in transactions that stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the market price of our common stock. Specifically, the underwriters may sell more shares of common stock than they are obligated to purchase under the underwriting agreement, creating a short position. A short sale is covered if the short position is no greater than the number of shares of common stock available for purchase by the underwriters under their option to purchase additional shares. The underwriters may close out a covered short sale by exercising their option or purchasing common stock in the open market. In

 

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determining the source of common stock to close out a covered short sale, the underwriters may consider, among other things, the market price of common stock compared to the price payable under their option. The underwriters may also sell shares of common stock in excess of their option, creating a naked short position. The underwriters must close out any naked short position by purchasing shares of common stock in the open market. A naked short position is more likely to be created if the underwriters are concerned that there may be downward pressure on the price of the common stock in the open market after the date of pricing of this offering that could adversely affect investors who purchase in this offering.

 

As an additional means of facilitating this offering, the underwriters may bid for, and purchase, common stock in the open market to stabilize the price of our common stock, so long as stabilizing bids do not exceed a specified maximum. The underwriting syndicate may also reclaim selling concessions allowed to an underwriter or a dealer for distributing common stock in this offering if the underwriting syndicate repurchases previously distributed common stock to cover syndicate short positions or to stabilize the price of the common stock.

 

The foregoing transactions, if commenced, may raise or maintain the market price of our common stock above independent market levels or prevent or retard a decline in the market price of the common stock.

 

The foregoing transactions, if commenced, may be effected on the NYSE or otherwise. Neither we nor any of the underwriters makes any representation that the underwriters will engage in any of these transactions and these transactions, if commenced, may be discontinued at any time without notice. Neither we nor any of the underwriters makes any representation or prediction as to the direction or magnitude of the effect that the transactions described above, if commenced, may have on the market price of our common stock.

 

Other Relationships

 

An affiliate of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, an underwriter in this offering, is the lender under our master repurchase funding facility with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association (the “Wells Fargo Facility”). An affiliate of Citigroup Global Markets Inc., an underwriter in this offering, is the lender under our master repurchase facility with Citibank, N.A. (the “Citibank Facility”). An affiliate of Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, an underwriter in this offering, is the lender under our master repurchase funding facility with Morgan Stanley Bank, N.A.  (the “Morgan Stanley Facility”). We may use a portion of the net proceeds of this offering to repay amounts outstanding under the Wells Fargo Facility, the Citibank Facility and the Morgan Stanley Facility. As such, affiliates of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC may receive a portion of the net proceeds of this offering, to the extent the Wells Fargo Facility, Citibank Facility or Morgan Stanley Facility are repaid. See “Use of Proceeds.”

 

Certain of the underwriters and/or their affiliates have engaged in various financial transactions with, and have performed investment banking, secondary market trading, lending and financial advisory services for, us and/or our affiliates in the ordinary course of their businesses. In the future, they may engage in such transactions with, or provide such services to, us or our affiliates. In addition, they may sell to us or buy from us certain target investments. They have received or will receive customary fees and reimbursements of expenses for these transactions and services. Additionally, affiliates of certain of our underwriters are currently lenders to us and/or one or more of our affiliates, including, among others, Ares Management, Ares Investments and Ares Capital Corporation through preexisting credit facilities.

 

Selling Restrictions

 

No action has been taken in any jurisdiction (except in the United States) that would permit a public offering of the shares of our common stock, or the possession, circulation or distribution of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or any other material relating to us or our shares of common stock, where action for that purpose is required. Accordingly, the shares may not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, and none of this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or any other offering material or advertisements in connection with the shares may be distributed or published, in or from any country or jurisdiction except in compliance with any applicable rules and regulations of any such country or jurisdiction. Each of the underwriters may arrange to sell the shares offered hereby in certain jurisdictions outside the United States, either directly or through affiliates, where it is permitted to do so.

 

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Notice to Prospective Investors in Australia

 

No placement document, prospectus, product disclosure statement or other disclosure document has been lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”), in relation to the offering. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus do not constitute a prospectus, product disclosure statement or other disclosure document under the Corporations Act 2001 (the “Corporations Act”), and do not purport to include the information required for a prospectus, product disclosure statement or other disclosure document under the Corporations Act.

 

Any offer in Australia of the common stock may only be made to persons (the “Exempt Investors”) who are “sophisticated investors” (within the meaning of section 708(8) of the Corporations Act), “professional investors” (within the meaning of section 708(11) of the Corporations Act) or otherwise pursuant to one or more exemptions contained in section 708 of the Corporations Act so that it is lawful to offer the common stock without disclosure to investors under Chapter 6D of the Corporations Act.

 

The common stock applied for by Exempt Investors in Australia must not be offered for sale in Australia in the period of 12 months after the date of allotment under the offering, except in circumstances where disclosure to investors under Chapter 6D of the Corporations Act would not be required pursuant to an exemption under section 708 of the Corporations Act or otherwise or where the offer is pursuant to a disclosure document which complies with Chapter 6D of the Corporations Act. Any person acquiring common stock must observe such Australian on-sale restrictions.

 

This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus contain general information only and do not take account of the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person. They do not contain any securities recommendations or financial product advice. Before making an investment decision, investors need to consider whether the information in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is appropriate to their needs, objectives and circumstances, and, if necessary, seek expert advice on those matters.

 

Notice to Prospective Investors in Canada

 

Our shares of our common stock may be sold only to purchasers purchasing, or deemed to be purchasing, as principal that are accredited investors, as defined in National Instrument 45-106 Prospectus Exemptions or subsection 73.3(1) of the Securities Act (Ontario), and are permitted clients, as defined in National Instrument 31-103 Registration Requirements, Exemptions and Ongoing Registrant Obligations. Any resale of shares of our common stock must be made in accordance with an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the prospectus requirements of applicable securities laws.

 

Securities legislation in certain provinces or territories of Canada may provide a purchaser with remedies for rescission or damages if this prospectus supplement (including any amendment thereto) contains a misrepresentation, provided that the remedies for rescission or damages are exercised by the purchaser within the time limit prescribed by the securities legislation of the purchaser’s province or territory. The purchaser should refer to any applicable provisions of the securities legislation of the purchaser’s province or territory for particulars of these rights or consult with a legal advisor.

 

Pursuant to section 3A.3b of National Instrument 33-105 Underwriting Conflicts (NI 33-105), the underwriters are not required to comply with the disclosure requirements of NI 33-105 regarding underwriter conflicts of interest in connection with this offering.

 

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Notice to Prospective Investors in Chile

 

The shares are not registered in the Securities Registry (Registro de Valores) or subject to the control of the Chilean Securities and Exchange Commission (Superintendencia de Valores y Seguros de Chile). This prospectus and other offering materials relating to the offer of the shares do not constitute a public offer of, or an invitation to subscribe for or purchase, the shares in the Republic of Chile, other than to individually identified purchasers pursuant to a private offering within the meaning of Article 4 of the Chilean Securities Market Act (Ley de Mercado de Valores) (an offer that is not “addressed to the public at large or to a certain sector or specific group of the public”).

 

Notice to Prospective Investors in the Dubai International Financial Centre

 

This prospectus relates to an Exempt Offer in accordance with the Offered Securities Rules of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”). This prospectus is intended for distribution only to persons of a type specified in the Offered Securities Rules of the DFSA. It must not be delivered to, or relied on by, any other person. The DFSA has no responsibility for reviewing or verifying any documents in connection with Exempt Offers. The DFSA has not approved this prospectus nor taken steps to verify the information set forth herein and has no responsibility for the prospectus. The securities to which this prospectus relates may be illiquid and/or subject to restrictions on their resale. Prospective purchasers of the securities offered should conduct their own due diligence on the securities. If you do not understand the contents of this prospectus you should consult an authorized financial advisor.

 

Notice to Prospective Investors in Qatar

 

The shares described in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus have not been, and will not be, offered, sold or delivered, at any time, directly or indirectly in the State of Qatar in a manner that would constitute a public offering. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus have not been, and will not be, registered with or approved by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority or Qatar Central Bank and may not be publicly distributed. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are intended for the original recipient only and must not be provided to any other person. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are not for general circulation in the State of Qatar and may not be reproduced or used for any other purpose.

 

Notice to Prospective Investors in Taiwan

 

The shares have not been and will not be registered with the Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan pursuant to relevant securities laws and regulations and may not be sold, issued or offered within Taiwan through a public offering or in circumstances which constitutes an offer within the meaning of the Securities and Exchange Act of Taiwan that requires a registration or approval of the Financial Supervisory Commission of Taiwan. No person or entity in Taiwan has been authorized to offer, sell, give advice regarding or otherwise intermediate the offering and sale of the shares in Taiwan.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

 

Certain legal matters, including our qualification and taxation as a REIT, will be passed upon for us by Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Los Angeles, California and New York, New York.  Certain legal matters relating to Maryland law, including the validity of the shares of common stock to be issued and offered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, will be passed upon for us by Venable LLP, Baltimore, Maryland. Certain legal matters in connection with this offering will be passed upon for the underwriters by Latham & Watkins LLP, Los Angeles, California.

 

EXPERTS

 

The consolidated financial statements of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation appearing in Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation’s Annual Report (Form 10-K) for the year ended December 31, 2018, and the effectiveness of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018, have been audited by Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, as set forth in their reports thereon, included therein, and incorporated herein by reference. Such consolidated financial statements are incorporated herein by reference in reliance upon such reports given on the authority of such firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

 

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN INFORMATION BY REFERENCE

 

The SEC allows us to “incorporate by reference” information into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.  This means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to another document. Any information referred to in this way is considered part of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus from the date we file that document.  Any reports filed by us with the SEC after the date of this prospectus supplement and before the date that this offering is terminated will automatically update and, where applicable, supersede any information contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or documents incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.  We incorporate by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus the following documents or information filed with the SEC (other than, in each case, documents or information deemed to have been furnished and not filed in accordance with SEC rules):

 

·                  Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 (filed February 21, 2019);

 

·                  Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2019 (filed May 1, 2019), June 30, 2019 (filed July 26, 2019) and September 30, 2019 (filed November 8, 2019);

 

·                  our Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A filed on March 14, 2019;

 

·                  Current Reports on Form 8-K dated January 11, 2019, March 1, 2019, April 29, 2019, June 7, 2019, July 26, 2019 (SEC Accession No. 0001529377-19-000068), November 22, 2019, January 2, 2020, and January 22, 2020; and

 

·                  the description of our common stock included in our registration statement on Form 8-A (filed April 18, 2012).

 

We are also incorporating by reference all documents that we file with the SEC pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act on or after the date of this prospectus supplement and prior to the termination of this offering. We are not, however, incorporating by reference any documents or portions thereof or exhibits thereto, whether specifically listed above or filed in the future, that are deemed to have been “furnished to,” rather than “filed” with, the SEC, including our compensation committee report and performance graph included or incorporated by reference in any Annual Report on Form 10-K or proxy statement, or any information or related exhibits furnished pursuant to Items 2.02 or 7.01 of Form 8-K, or any exhibits filed pursuant to Item 9.01 of Form 8-K that are not deemed “filed” with the SEC.

 

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If you request, either orally or in writing, we will provide you with a copy of any or all documents that are incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference. Such documents will be provided to you free of charge, but will not contain any exhibits, unless those exhibits are incorporated by reference into the document. Requests should be addressed to us at 245 Park Avenue, 42nd Floor, New York, NY, Attention: General Counsel, or contact our offices at (212) 750-7300. The documents may also be accessed on our website at www.arescre.com. The contents of our website are not a part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of, and is not incorporated into, this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.

 

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PROSPECTUS

 

$1,250,000,000

 

 

Common Stock
Preferred Stock

Debt Securities

Subscription Rights

Warrants

Units

 

Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation is a Maryland corporation that was formed and commenced investment operations in late 2011.  We are primarily focused on originating, managing and servicing a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate debt-related investments for our own account.  We are externally managed by Ares Commercial Real Estate Management LLC, a Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment adviser and a subsidiary of Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES), or “Ares Management,” a publicly traded, leading global alternative asset manager.

 

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ACRE.” On July 31, 2019, the last reported sales price of our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange was $15.17 per share.

 

Investing in our securities involves material risks and uncertainties that should be considered. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 39 of our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2019.

 

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings or series, up to $1,250,000,000 of our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, subscription rights to purchase shares of our common stock, warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, or units comprised of any combination of the foregoing, which we refer to, collectively, as the “securities.” The preferred stock, debt securities, subscription rights and warrants (including as part of a unit) offered hereby may be convertible or exchangeable into shares of our common stock. The securities may be offered at prices and on terms to be described in one or more supplements to this prospectus.

 

You should carefully read this prospectus and the accompanying prospectus supplement, as well as any documents incorporated by reference herein or therein, before you invest in our securities. This prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of securities unless accompanied by a prospectus supplement.

 


 

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 


 

The date of this prospectus is August 2, 2019.

 


Table of Contents

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Page

 

 

About This Prospectus

1

 

 

Prospectus Summary

1

 

 

Risk Factors

2

 

 

Forward-Looking Statements

2

 

 

Use of Proceeds

4

 

 

Description of Securities

5

 

 

Description of Our Capital Stock

5

 

 

Summary of Our Charter and Bylaws

10

 

 

Description of Our Preferred Stock

14

 

 

Description of Our Subscription Rights

15

 

 

Description of Our Warrants

16

 

 

Description of Our Debt Securities

17

 

 

Description of Our Units

27

 

 

Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer

28

 

 

Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

30

 

 

Plan of Distribution

50

 

 

Legal Matters

52

 

 

Experts

52

 

 

Where You Can Find More Information

52

 

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

 

This prospectus is part of a shelf registration statement. Under this shelf registration statement, we may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings or series, up to $1,250,000,000 of our common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, subscription rights to purchase shares of our common stock, warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, or units. You should rely only on the information provided or incorporated by reference in this prospectus or any applicable prospectus supplement. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with different or additional information. We are not making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale of these securities is not permitted. You should not assume that the information appearing in this prospectus or any applicable prospectus supplement or the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein is accurate as of any date other than their respective dates. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates. You should read carefully the entire prospectus, as well as the documents incorporated by reference in the prospectus, before making an investment decision.

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

 

This summary description about us and our business highlights selected information contained elsewhere in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus. This summary does not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in our securities. You should read in their entirety this prospectus, any accompanying prospectus supplement and any other offering materials, together with all documents incorporated by reference herein and therein and the additional information described under the heading “Where You Can Find More Information.” Except where the context suggests otherwise, the terms “ACRE,” the “Company,” “we,” “us,” and “our” refer to Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation, a Maryland corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries; our “Manager” refers to Ares Commercial Real Estate Management LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, our external manager and an affiliate of Ares Management; “Ares Management” refers to Ares Management Corporation, together with its consolidated subsidiaries; “ACRE Capital” refers to ACRE Capital LLC, our wholly owned subsidiary; and “Ares Investments” refers to Ares Investments Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Ares Management.

 

Our Company

 

We are a specialty finance company that is primarily focused on directly originating, managing and servicing a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate (“CRE”) debt-related investments for our own account.  Our target investments include senior mortgage loans, subordinated debt, preferred equity, mezzanine loans and other CRE investments. We are externally managed by Ares Commercial Real Estate Management LLC (our “Manager”), a subsidiary of Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES) (“Ares Management”), a publicly traded, leading global alternative asset manager, pursuant to the terms of the management agreement dated April 25, 2012, as amended, between us and our Manager (the “Management Agreement”). Through our Manager, we have investment professionals strategically located across the United States and in Europe who directly source new loan opportunities for us with owners, operators and sponsors of CRE properties. This is our primary business segment, referred to as the principal lending business.

 

We were formed and commenced operations in late 2011. We are a Maryland corporation and completed our initial public offering in May 2012. We have elected and qualified to be taxed as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes (“REIT”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2012. We generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes on our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains, to the extent that we annually distribute all of our REIT taxable income to stockholders and comply with various other requirements as a REIT. We also operate our business in a manner that is intended to permit us to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).

 

Corporate Information

 

We are a Maryland corporation. Our principal executive offices are located at 245 Park Avenue, 42nd Floor, New York, NY 10167. Our telephone number is (212) 750-7300. Our website is www.arescre.com. The contents of our website are not a part of this prospectus. The information contained on, or that can be accessed through, our website is not part of, and is not incorporated into, this prospectus. We own or have rights to trademarks or trade names that we use in conjunction with the operation of our business. Any trademark, trade name or service mark of any other company appearing in this prospectus or any document incorporated by reference herein belongs to its holder. Use or display by us of other parties’ trademarks, trade names or service marks is not intended to and does not imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship by us of, the trademark, trade name or service mark owner.

 

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RISK FACTORS

 

Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks described in the section “Risk Factors” contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, which has been filed with the SEC, as well as other information in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2019 and June 30, 2019, this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement before making a decision to invest in our securities. Each of the risks described could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or ability to make distributions to our stockholders. In such case, you could lose all or a portion of your original investment. See “Where You Can Find More Information” in this prospectus.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

We make forward-looking statements in this prospectus that are subject to risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, plans and objectives.  We use words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “will,” “should,” “may” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Statements regarding the following subjects, among others, may be forward-looking:

 

·                  the use of proceeds of any offering pursuant to this prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement;

 

·                  our business and investment strategy;

 

·                  our projected operating results;

 

·                  the return or impact of current and future investments;

 

·                  the timing of cash flows, if any, from our investments;

 

·                  estimates relating to our ability to make distributions to our stockholders in the future;

 

·                  defaults by borrowers in paying amounts due on outstanding indebtedness and our ability to collect all amounts due according to the contractual terms of our investments;

 

·                  our ability to obtain and maintain financing arrangements, including securitizations;

 

·                  market conditions and our ability to access alternative debt markets and additional debt and equity capital;

 

·                  the amount of commercial mortgage loans requiring refinancing;

 

·                  our expected investment capacity and available capital;

 

·                  financing and advance rates for our target investments;

 

·                  our expected leverage;

 

·                  changes in interest rates, credit spreads and the market value of our investments;

 

·                  the impact of changes in London Interbank Offered Rate on our operating results;

 

·                  effects of hedging instruments on our target investments;

 

·                  rates of default or decreased recovery rates on our target investments;

 

·                  rates of prepayments on our mortgage loans and the effect on our business of such prepayments;

 

·                  the degree to which our hedging strategies may or may not protect us from interest rate volatility;

 

·                  availability of investment opportunities in mortgage-related and real estate-related investments and securities;

 

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·                  the ability of Ares Commercial Real Estate Management LLC (our “Manager”) to locate suitable investments for us, monitor, service and administer our investments and execute our investment strategy;

 

·                  our opportunity to purchase mortgage loans from the $200 million real estate debt warehouse investment vehicle;

 

·                  allocation of investment opportunities to us by our Manager;

 

·                  our ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate any acquisitions;

 

·                  our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes;

 

·                  our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940;

 

·                  our understanding of our competition;

 

·                  general volatility of the securities markets in which we may invest;

 

·                  adverse changes in the real estate, real estate capital and credit markets and the impact of a protracted decline in the liquidity of credit markets on our business;

 

·                  the conditions and strength of the commercial real estate property market;

 

·                  changes in governmental regulations, tax laws and rates, and similar matters (including interpretation thereof);

 

·                  authoritative or policy changes from standard-setting bodies such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, the stock exchange where we list our common stock, and other authorities that we are subject to, as well as their counterparts in any foreign jurisdictions where we might do business;

 

·                  actions and initiatives of the U.S. Government and changes to U.S. Government policies;

 

·                  the state of the United States, European Union and Asian economies generally or in specific geographic regions;

 

·                  global economic trends and economic recoveries; and

 

·      market trends in our industry, interest rates, real estate values, the debt securities markets or the general economy;

 

The forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available to us. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These beliefs, assumptions and expectations can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us. Some of these factors are included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 or our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2019 and June 30, 2019, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus. If a change occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. New risks and uncertainties arise over time, and it is not possible for us to predict those events or how they may affect us. Such new risks and uncertainties may be included in the documents that we file pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act after the date of this prospectus which will be considered to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus. Except as required by law, we are not obligated to, and do not intend to, update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You should carefully consider these risks before you make an investment decision with respect to our securities.

 

For more information regarding risks that may cause our actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statements, see the section “Risk Factors” contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, as well as the other information in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2019 and June 30, 2019 and in the other documents that we file pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act after the date of this prospectus, which will be considered to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

 

Unless otherwise specified in the applicable prospectus supplement, we intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of the securities to acquire target assets, repay indebtedness or for general corporate purposes. Further details relating to the use of the net proceeds will be set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES

 

This prospectus contains a summary of our capital stock, preferred stock, subscription rights, debt securities, warrants and units. These summaries are not meant to be a complete description of each security. However, this prospectus and the accompanying prospectus supplement will contain the material terms and conditions for each security.

 

DESCRIPTION OF OUR CAPITAL STOCK

 

General

 

We were formed under the laws of the state of Maryland. The rights of our stockholders are governed by Maryland law as well as our charter and bylaws. The following summary of the terms of our capital stock is only a summary, and you should refer to the Maryland General Corporation Law (the “MGCL”), and our charter and bylaws for a full description. The following summary is qualified in its entirety by the detailed information contained in our charter and bylaws. Copies of our charter and bylaws are filed as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part. See “Where You Can Find More Information.”

 

Our charter authorizes us to issue up to 450,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.01 par value per share, and 50,000,000 shares of undesignated preferred stock, $0.01 par value per share. Our charter authorizes our board of directors to amend our charter from time to time to increase or decrease the aggregate number of authorized shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue without stockholder approval. Under Maryland law, stockholders are not generally liable for our debts or obligations.

 

Our charter also contains a provision permitting our board of directors, by resolution, to classify or reclassify any unissued common stock or preferred stock into one or more classes or series by setting or changing the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions, qualifications, or terms or conditions of redemption of any new class or series of stock, subject to certain restrictions, including the express terms of any class or series of stock outstanding at the time. We believe that the power to classify or reclassify unissued shares of stock and thereafter issue the classified or reclassified shares provides us with increased flexibility in structuring possible future financings and acquisitions and in meeting other needs that might arise.

 

Our charter and bylaws contain certain provisions that could make it more difficult to acquire control of the Company by means of a tender offer, a proxy contest or otherwise. These provisions are expected to discourage certain types of coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of the Company to negotiate first with our board of directors. We believe that these provisions increase the likelihood that proposals initially will be on more attractive terms than would be the case in their absence and facilitate negotiations that may result in improvement of the terms of an initial offer that might involve a premium price for our common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Organization and Structure” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Common Stock

 

Subject to any preferential rights of any other class or series of stock and to the provisions of our charter regarding the restrictions on the ownership and transfer of stock, the holders of common stock are entitled to such distributions as may be authorized from time to time by our board of directors out of legally available funds and declared by us and, upon our liquidation, are entitled to receive all assets available for distribution to our stockholders. Holders of common stock generally will not have preemptive rights, which means that they will not have an automatic option to purchase any new shares that we issue, or preference, conversion, exchange, sinking fund or redemption rights. Holders of common stock generally will have no appraisal rights unless our board of directors determines that appraisal rights apply, with respect to all or any classes or series of stock, to one or more transactions occurring after the date of such determination in connection with which stockholders would otherwise be entitled to exercise appraisal rights.

 

The holders of common stock vote together as a single class on all matters. Holders of shares of common stock are entitled to vote for the election of directors. Directors may be removed from office, only for cause, by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast not less than two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors. Vacancies on the board of directors resulting from death, resignation, removal or otherwise and newly created directorships resulting from any increase in the number of directors may be filled only by a majority of the directors then in office (although less than a quorum). Any such director elected to fill a vacancy will serve for the remainder of the full term of the class in which such vacancy occurred and until his or her successor is elected and qualifies or until his or her earlier death, resignation or removal.

 

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Preferred Stock

 

Our charter authorizes our board of directors, without stockholder approval, to designate and issue one or more classes or series of preferred stock and to set or change the voting, conversion or other rights, preferences, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions and qualifications or terms or conditions of redemption of each class or series of shares so issued. If any preferred stock is offered, the terms and conditions of such preferred stock, including any convertible preferred stock, will be set forth in articles supplementary and if such preferred stock is offered pursuant to a registration statement, described in a registration statement registering the issuance of such preferred stock. Because our board of directors has the power to establish the preferences and rights of each class or series of preferred stock, it may afford the holders of any series or class of preferred stock preferences, powers, and rights senior to the rights of holders of common stock or other preferred stock. If we ever create and issue additional preferred stock with a distribution preference over common stock or preferred stock, payment of any distribution preferences of new outstanding preferred stock would reduce the amount of funds available for the payment of distributions on the common stock and junior preferred stock. Further, holders of preferred stock are normally entitled to receive a preference payment if we liquidate, dissolve or wind up before any payment is made to the common stockholders, likely reducing the amount common stockholders would otherwise receive upon such an occurrence. In addition, under certain circumstances, the issuance of additional preferred stock may delay, prevent, render more difficult or tend to discourage the following:

 

·                  a merger, tender offer, or proxy contest;

 

·                  the assumption of control by a holder of a large block of our securities; or

 

·                  the removal of incumbent management.

 

Also, our board of directors, without stockholder approval, may issue additional preferred stock with voting and conversion rights that could adversely affect the holders of common stock or preferred stock.

 

Meetings and Special Voting Requirements

 

Subject to our charter restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock and except as may otherwise be specified in our charter, including with respect to the vote by the common stock for the election of directors, each holder of common stock is entitled at each meeting of stockholders to one vote per share owned by such stockholder on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders. There is no cumulative voting in the election of our board of directors, which means that the holders of a majority of shares of our outstanding common stock can elect all the directors then standing for election and the holders of the remaining shares of common stock will not be able to elect any directors.

 

Under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation generally cannot dissolve, amend its charter, merge, convert, sell all or substantially all of its assets, engage in a share exchange or engage in similar transactions outside the ordinary course of business, unless declared advisable by the board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of all 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 the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Except for certain amendments of our charter relating to the removal of directors and the vote required to amend certain provisions of the charter, our charter provides for a majority vote in these situations.

 

An annual meeting of our stockholders is held each year. Special meetings of stockholders may be called upon the request of a majority of our directors, the chairman of the board of directors, the president or the chief executive officer and must be called by our secretary to act on any matter that may properly be considered at a meeting of stockholders upon the written request of stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on such matter at the meeting (subject to the stockholders’ compliance with certain procedures set forth in our bylaws). The presence of stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast at such meeting on any matter, either in person or by proxy, will constitute a quorum.

 

One or more persons who together are and for at least six months have been stockholders of record of at least five percent of the outstanding shares of any class of our stock are entitled to receive a copy of our stockholder list upon request in accordance with Maryland law. The list provided by us will include each stockholder’s name and address and the number of shares owned by each stockholder and will be made available within 20 days of the receipt by us of the request. Stockholders and their representatives shall also be given access to our bylaws, the minutes of stockholder proceedings, our annual statements of affairs and any voting trust agreements on file at our principal office during usual business hours. We have the right to request that a requesting stockholder represent to us that the list and records will not be used to pursue commercial interests.

 

Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer

 

Our charter contains restrictions on the ownership and transfer of our stock. The relevant sections of our charter provide that, subject to certain exceptions, no person or entity may own, or be deemed to own, beneficially or by virtue of the applicable

 

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constructive ownership provisions of the Code, more than 9.8% in value of the aggregate of our outstanding shares of stock or 9.8% by value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our stock. For a description of these ownership limits and other restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock, see “Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer.”

 

Stockholder Liability

 

The MGCL provides that our stockholders:

 

·                  are not liable personally or individually in any manner whatsoever for any debt, act, omission or obligation incurred by us or our board of directors; and

 

·                  are under no obligation to us or our creditors with respect to their shares other than the obligation to pay to us the full amount of the consideration for which their shares were issued.

 

Business Combinations

 

Under the MGCL, “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: (a) any person who beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of the voting power of the then-outstanding voting stock of the corporation; or (b) 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 stock of the corporation.

 

A person is not an interested stockholder under the statute if the board of directors approved in advance the transaction by which the person otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, the board of directors 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 of directors.

 

After the expiration of the five-year period described above, any business combination between the Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder must generally be recommended by the board of directors of the corporation and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:

 

·                  80% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of the then-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 supermajority vote requirements do not apply if the corporation’s common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under the MGCL, 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 MGCL also permits various exemptions from these provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the board of directors before the time that the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Pursuant to the statute, our board of directors has adopted a resolution exempting any business combination with Ares Investments or any of its affiliates. Consequently, the five-year prohibition and the supermajority vote requirements will not apply to business combinations between us and Ares Investments or any of its affiliates. As a result, Ares Investments or any of its affiliates may be able to enter into business combinations with us that may not be in the best interest of our stockholders, without compliance with the supermajority vote requirements and the other provisions of the statute. The business combination statute may discourage others from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating any offer.

 

Control Share Acquisitions

 

With some exceptions, Maryland law 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 stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of all the votes entitled to be cast on the matter, excluding “control shares”:

 

·                  owned by the acquiring person;

 

·                  owned by our officers; and

 

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·                  owned by our employees who are also directors.

 

“Control shares” mean voting shares of stock which, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquirer in respect of which the acquirer can exercise or direct the exercise of voting power, would entitle the acquiring person to exercise voting power in electing directors within one of the following ranges of voting power:

 

·                  one-tenth or more, but less than one-third of all voting power;

 

·                  one-third or more, but less than a majority of all voting power; or

 

·                  a majority or more of all 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 occurs when, subject to some exceptions, a person directly or indirectly acquires ownership or the power to direct the exercise of voting power (except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy) of issued and outstanding control shares. A person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition, upon satisfaction of some specific conditions, including an undertaking to pay expenses, may compel our board of directors to call a special meeting of our stockholders to be held within 50 days of a request to consider the voting rights of the control shares. If no request for a meeting is made, we may present the question at any stockholders’ meeting.

 

If voting rights are not approved at the meeting or if the acquiring person does not deliver an acquiring person statement on or before the 10th day after the control share acquisition as required by the statute, then, subject to some conditions and limitations, we may redeem any or all the control shares (except those for which voting rights have been previously approved) for fair value, determined without regard to the absence of voting rights for the control shares, as of the date of any meeting of stockholders at which the voting rights of such shares are considered and not approved, or, if no such meeting is held, as of the date of the last control share acquisition by the acquiror. If voting rights for control shares are approved at a stockholders meeting and the acquirer becomes entitled to vote a majority of the shares entitled to vote, all other stockholders may exercise appraisal rights. The fair value of the shares as determined for purposes of such appraisal rights may not be less than the highest price per share paid by the acquirer in the control share acquisition. The control share acquisition statute does not apply to shares acquired in a merger, consolidation, or share exchange if we are a party to the transaction or to acquisitions approved or exempted by our charter or bylaws.

 

As permitted by the MGCL, our bylaws contain a provision exempting from the control share acquisition statute any and all acquisitions of our stock. There can be no assurance that this provision will not be amended or eliminated at any time in the future.

 

Subtitle 8

 

Subtitle 8 of Title 3 of the MGCL permits a Maryland corporation with a class of equity securities registered under the Exchange Act and at least three independent directors to elect to be subject, by provision in its charter or bylaws or a resolution of its board of directors and notwithstanding any contrary provision in the charter or bylaws, to any or all of five provisions:

 

·                  a classified board;

 

·                  a two-thirds vote requirement for removing a director;

 

·                  a requirement that the number of directors be fixed only by vote of the directors;

 

·                  a requirement that a vacancy on the board of directors be filled only by affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining directors in office and for the remainder of the full term of the class of directors in which the vacancy occurred; and

 

·                  a majority requirement for the calling of a stockholder-requested special meeting of stockholders.

 

Pursuant to Subtitle 8, we have elected in our charter and bylaws to provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled by the remaining directors and any such director elected to fill a vacancy will serve for the remainder of the full term of the class in which such vacancy occurred and until his or her successor is elected and qualifies or until his or her earlier death, resignation or removal. Through provisions unrelated to Subtitle 8, our charter also vests in the board of directors the exclusive power to fix the number of directorships, provides that any director may be removed from office, only for cause, by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast not less than two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors, and requires (unless called upon the request of a majority of our directors, the chairman of the board of directors, the president or the chief executive officer) the written request of stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on any matter that may properly be considered at a meeting of stockholders to call a special meeting to act on such matter.

 

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Transfer Agent and Registrar

 

The transfer agent and registrar for our shares of common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A.

 

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SUMMARY OF OUR CHARTER AND BYLAWS

 

Each stockholder is bound by and deemed to have agreed to the terms of our organizational documents by virtue of the election to become a stockholder. Our organizational documents consist of our charter and bylaws. The following is a summary of material provisions of our organizational documents and does not contain all of the information about our charter and bylaws that you should consider before investing in our common stock. Our organizational documents are filed as exhibits to our registration statement, of which this prospectus is part. See “Where You Can Find More Information.”

 

Charter and Bylaw Provisions

 

The rights of stockholders and related matters are governed by our organizational documents and Maryland law. Certain provisions of these documents or of Maryland law, summarized below, may make it difficult to change the composition of our board of directors and could have the effect of delaying, deferring, or preventing a change in control of us, including an extraordinary transaction (such as a merger, tender offer or sale of all or substantially all of our assets) that might provide a premium price for holders of our common stock. See generally “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Organization and Structure” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Stockholders’ Meetings and Voting Rights

 

We hold an annual meeting of stockholders each year. The purpose of each annual meeting is to elect directors and to transact any other business. The chairman, the chief executive officer, the president or a majority of the directors also may call a special meeting of the stockholders. The secretary must call a special meeting to act on any matter that may properly be considered at a meeting of stockholders when stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of all votes entitled to be cast on such matter at the meeting make a written request (subject to the stockholders’ compliance with certain procedures set forth in our bylaws).

 

We will give notice of any annual or special meeting of stockholders not less than ten nor more than ninety days before the meeting. The notice must state the purpose of a special meeting. At any meeting of the stockholders, each stockholder is entitled to one vote for each share owned of record on the applicable record date. In general, the presence in person or by proxy of stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast at the meeting on any matter will constitute a quorum. Directors are elected by a plurality of the votes cast and a majority of votes cast will be sufficient to approve any other matter that may properly come before the meeting, unless more than a majority of the votes cast is required by law or our charter.

 

Classified Board of Directors

 

Pursuant to our charter, our board of directors is divided into three classes of directors. Directors of each class are chosen for three-year terms upon the expiration of their current terms with the term of office of only one of the three classes expiring each year. 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 a classified board of directors helps to ensure the continuity and stability of our management and policies. Under our organizational documents, we must have at least the minimum number of directors required by the MGCL but not more than 15 directors. We currently have eight directors. A director may resign at any time. A director may be removed from office only for cause by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast not less than two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors. A vacancy on the board of directors caused by the death, removal or resignation of a director or by an increase in the number of directors, within the limits described above, may be filled only by the vote of a majority of the remaining directors whether or not the voting directors constitute a quorum.

 

These provisions preclude stockholders from (a) removing incumbent directors except upon a substantial affirmative vote, and (b) filling the vacancies created by such removal with their own nominees.

 

Maryland law provides that any action required or permitted to be taken at a meeting of the board of directors also may be taken without a meeting by the unanimous written or electronic consent of all directors.

 

The approval by our board of directors and by holders of a majority of our outstanding voting shares of stock is generally necessary for us to do any of the following:

 

·                  amend certain provisions of our charter;

 

·                  transfer all or substantially all of our assets other than in the ordinary course of business;

 

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·                  engage in mergers, consolidations, conversions or share exchanges; or

 

·                  liquidate and dissolve.

 

Inspection of Books and Records; Stockholder Lists

 

Any stockholder or his or her designated representative will be permitted, during usual business hours, to inspect and obtain copies of our bylaws, the minutes of stockholder proceedings, our annual statements of affairs and any voting trust agreements on file at our principal office. One or more persons who together are and for at least six months have been stockholders of record of at least five percent of the outstanding shares of any class of our stock may also request a copy of our stockholder list, although the request cannot be made to secure a copy of our stockholder list or other information for the purpose of selling the list or using the list or other information for a commercial purpose.

 

Amendment of the Charter and Bylaws

 

Except for those amendments permitted to be made without stockholder approval and certain amendments relating to the removal of directors and the vote required to amend certain provisions of our charter (which require the approval of stockholders entitled to cast two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter), our charter may be amended only if the amendment is declared advisable by our board of directors and approved by the stockholders entitled to cast a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Our bylaws may be amended in any manner not inconsistent with the charter by a majority vote of our directors present at a board meeting at which a quorum is present.

 

Dissolution or Termination of the Company

 

As a Maryland corporation, we may be dissolved at any time after a determination by a majority of the entire board of directors that dissolution is advisable and the approval of stockholders entitled to cast at least a majority of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.

 

Advance Notice of Director Nominations and New Business

 

Proposals to elect directors or conduct other business at an annual or special meeting must be brought in accordance with our bylaws. The bylaws provide that any business may be transacted at the annual meeting without being specifically designated in the notice of meeting. However, with respect to special meetings of stockholders, only the business specified in the notice of the special meeting may be brought at that meeting.

 

Our bylaws also provide that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of individuals for election to the board of directors and the proposal of business to be considered by stockholders may be made only (a) pursuant to the Company’s notice of meeting, (b) by or at the direction of our board of directors or (c) by any stockholder who is a stockholder of record both at the time of giving of notice pursuant to the bylaws and at the time of the annual meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual so nominated or on any such other business and who has complied with the advance notice procedures set forth in our bylaws.

 

A notice of a director nomination or stockholder proposal to be considered at an annual meeting must be delivered to our secretary at our principal executive offices:

 

·                  not later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, on the 120th day nor earlier than 150 days prior to the first anniversary of the date of release of the proxy statement for the previous year’s annual meeting; or

 

·                  if the date of the meeting is advanced or delayed by more than 30 days from the anniversary date of the preceding year’s annual meeting or if an annual meeting has not yet been held, not earlier than 150 days prior to the annual meeting or not later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, on the later of the 120th day prior to the annual meeting or the tenth day following the day on which public announcement of the date of such meeting is first made.

 

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 any other proposed business and, to the extent deemed necessary or desirable by our 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

 

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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.

 

Nominations of individuals for election to the board of directors may be made at a special meeting, (a) by or at the direction of our board of directors or (b) provided that the special meeting has been called for the purpose of electing directors, by any stockholder who is a stockholder of record both at the time of giving of notice and at the time of the special meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual so nominated and who complies with the notice procedures set forth in our bylaws.

 

A notice of a director nomination to be considered at a special meeting must be delivered to our secretary at our principal executive offices:

 

·                  not earlier than 150 days prior to the special meeting; and

 

·                  not later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern time, on the later of either:

 

·                  120 days prior to the special meeting; or

 

·                  ten days following the day of our first public announcement of the date of the special meeting and the nominees proposed by our board of directors to be elected at the meeting.

 

Indemnification and Limitation of Directors’ and Officers’ Liability

 

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 actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or active and deliberate dishonesty established by a final judgment as being material to the cause of action. Our charter contains such a provision that eliminates such liability to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland 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 is made or threatened to be made a party by reason of his service in that capacity. The MGCL 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:

 

·                  the act or omission of the director or officer was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding and (a) was committed in bad faith or (b) 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.

 

However, under the MGCL, a Maryland corporation may not indemnify a director or officer 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 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 in our right, or for a judgment of liability on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received, is limited to expenses.

 

In addition, the MGCL permits a corporation to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer upon the corporation’s 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 the corporation; and

 

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·                  a written undertaking by the director or officer or on the director’s or officer’s behalf to repay the amount paid or reimbursed by the corporation if it is ultimately determined that the director or officer did not meet the standard of conduct.

 

Our charter authorizes us to obligate ourselves and our bylaws obligate us, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law in effect from time to time, to indemnify and, without requiring a preliminary determination of the ultimate entitlement to indemnification, pay or reimburse reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding to:

 

·                  any present or former director or officer who is made or threatened to be made a party to the proceeding by reason of his or her service in that capacity; or

 

·                  any individual who, while a director or officer of the Company and at our request, serves or has served another corporation, REIT, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or any other enterprise as a director, officer, partner, trustee, member or manager of such corporation, REIT, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise and who is made or threatened to be made a party to the proceeding by reason of his or her service in that capacity.

 

Our charter and bylaws also permit us to indemnify and advance expenses to any person who served a predecessor of ours in any of the capacities described above and to any employee or agent of the Company or a predecessor of the Company.

 

We have also entered into indemnification agreements with each of our directors and executive officers that provide for indemnification to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law.

 

Insofar as the foregoing provisions permit indemnification of directors, officers or persons controlling us for liability arising under the Securities Act, we have been informed that, in the opinion of the SEC, this indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Securities Act and is therefore unenforceable.

 

REIT Qualification

 

Our charter provides that our board of directors may revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election, without approval of our stockholders, if it determines that it is no longer in our best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR PREFERRED STOCK

 

In addition to shares of common stock, our charter authorizes the issuance of preferred stock. If we offer preferred stock under this prospectus, we will issue an appropriate prospectus supplement. We may issue preferred stock from time to time in one or more classes or series, without stockholder approval. Prior to issuance of shares of each class or series, our board of directors 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. Any such an issuance must adhere to the requirements of Maryland law and any other limitations imposed by law.

 

For any class or series of preferred stock that we may issue, our board of directors will determine and the articles supplementary and the prospectus supplement relating to such class or series will describe:

 

·                  the designation and number of shares of such class or series;

 

·                  the rate and time at which, and the preferences and conditions under which, any dividends will be paid on shares of such class or series, as well as whether such dividends are participating or non-participating;

 

·                  any provisions relating to convertibility or exchangeability of the shares of such class or series, including adjustments to the conversion price of such class or series;

 

·                  the rights and preferences, if any, of holders of shares of such class or series upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up of our affairs;

 

·                  the voting powers, if any, of the holders of shares of such class or series;

 

·                  any provisions relating to the redemption of the shares of such class or series;

 

·                  any limitations on our ability to pay dividends or make distributions on, or acquire or redeem, other securities while shares of such class or series are outstanding;

 

·                  any conditions or restrictions on our ability to issue additional shares of such class or series or other securities;

 

·                  if applicable, a discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations; and

 

·                  any other relative powers, preferences and participating, optional or special rights of shares of such class or series, and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions thereof.

 

All shares of preferred stock that we may issue will be identical and of equal rank except as to the particular terms thereof that may be fixed by our board of directors, and all shares of each class or series of preferred stock will be identical and of equal rank except as to the dates from which dividends, if any, thereon will be cumulative.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR SUBSCRIPTION RIGHTS

 

General

 

We may issue subscription rights to our stockholders to purchase common stock. Subscription rights may be issued independently or together with any other offered security and may or may not be transferable by the person purchasing or receiving the subscription rights. In connection with a subscription rights offering to our stockholders, we will distribute certificates evidencing the subscription rights and a prospectus supplement to our stockholders on the record date that we set for receiving subscription rights in such subscription rights offering.

 

The applicable prospectus supplement will describe the following terms of subscription rights in respect of which this prospectus is being delivered:

 

·                  the period of time the offering would remain open (which shall be open a minimum number of days such that all record holders would be eligible to participate in the offering and shall not be open longer than 120 days);

 

·                  the title of such subscription rights;

 

·                  the exercise price for such subscription rights (or method of calculation thereof);

 

·                  the ratio of the offering (which, in the case of transferable rights, will require a minimum of three shares to be held of record before a person is entitled to purchase an additional share);

 

·                  the number of such subscription rights issued to each stockholder;

 

·                  the extent to which such subscription rights are transferable and the market on which they may be traded if they are transferable;

 

·                  if applicable, a discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the issuance or exercise of such subscription rights;

 

·                  the date on which the right to exercise such subscription rights shall commence, and the date on which such right shall expire (subject to any extension);

 

·                  the extent to which such subscription rights include an over-subscription privilege with respect to unsubscribed securities and the terms of such over-subscription privilege;

 

·                  any termination right we may have in connection with such subscription rights offering; and

 

·                  any other terms of such subscription rights, including exercise, settlement and other procedures and limitations relating to the transfer and exercise of such subscription rights.

 

We will not offer any subscription rights to purchase shares of our common stock under this prospectus or an accompanying prospectus supplement without first filing a new post-effective amendment to the registration statement.

 

Exercise Of Subscription Rights

 

Each subscription right will entitle the holder of the subscription right to purchase for cash such amount of shares of common stock at such exercise price as shall in each case be set forth in, or be determinable as set forth in, the prospectus supplement relating to the subscription rights offered thereby. Subscription rights may be exercised at any time up to the close of business on the expiration date for such subscription rights set forth in the prospectus supplement. After the close of business on the expiration date, all unexercised subscription rights will become void.

 

Subscription rights may be exercised as set forth in the prospectus supplement relating to the subscription rights offered thereby. Upon receipt of payment and the subscription rights certificate properly completed and duly executed at the corporate trust office of the subscription rights agent or any other office indicated in the prospectus supplement we will forward, as soon as practicable, the shares of common stock purchasable upon such exercise. To the extent permissible under applicable law, we may determine to offer any unsubscribed offered securities directly to persons other than stockholders, to or through agents, underwriters or dealers or through a combination of such methods, as set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR WARRANTS

 

The following is a general description of the terms of the warrants we may issue from time to time. Particular terms of any warrants we offer will be described in the prospectus supplement relating to such warrants.

 

We may issue warrants to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities. Such warrants may be issued independently or together with shares of common stock, preferred stock or debt securities and may be attached or separate from such securities. We will issue each series of warrants under a separate warrant agreement to be entered into between us and a warrant agent. The warrant agent will act solely as our agent and will not assume any obligation or relationship of agency for or with holders or beneficial owners of warrants.

 

A prospectus supplement will describe the particular terms of any series of warrants we may issue, including the following:

 

·                  the title of such warrants;

 

·                  the aggregate number of such warrants;

 

·                  the price or prices at which such warrants will be issued;

 

·                  the currency or currencies, including composite currencies, in which the price of such warrants may be payable;

 

·                  if applicable, the designation and terms of the securities with which the warrants are issued and the number of warrants issued with each such security or each principal amount of such security;

 

·                  in the case of warrants to purchase debt securities, the principal amount of debt securities purchasable upon exercise of one warrant and the price at which and the currency or currencies, including composite currencies, in which this principal amount of debt securities may be purchased upon such exercise;

 

·                  in the case of warrants to purchase common stock or preferred stock, the number of shares of common stock or preferred stock, as the case may be, purchasable upon exercise of one warrant and the price at which and the currency or currencies, including composite currencies, in which these shares may be purchased upon such exercise;

 

·                  the date on which the right to exercise such warrants shall commence and the date on which such right will expire;

 

·                  whether such warrants will be issued in registered form or bearer form;

 

·                  if applicable, the minimum or maximum amount of such warrants which may be exercised at any one time;

 

·                  if applicable, the date on and after which such warrants and the related securities will be separately transferable;

 

·                  information with respect to book-entry procedures, if any;

 

·                  the terms of the securities issuable upon exercise of the warrants;

 

·                  if applicable, a discussion of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations; and

 

·                  any other terms of such warrants, including terms, procedures and limitations relating to the exchange and exercise of such warrants.

 

We and the warrant agent may amend or supplement the warrant agreement for a series of warrants without the consent of the holders of the warrants issued thereunder to effect changes that are not inconsistent with the provisions of the warrants and that do not materially and adversely affect the interests of the holders of the warrants.

 

Prior to exercising their warrants, holders of warrants will not have any of the rights of holders of the securities purchasable upon such exercise, including, in the case of warrants to purchase debt securities, the right to receive principal, premium, if any, or interest payments, on the debt securities purchasable upon exercise or to enforce covenants in the applicable indenture or, in the case of warrants to purchase common stock or preferred stock, the right to receive dividends, if any, or payments upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up or to exercise any voting rights.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR DEBT SECURITIES

 

We may issue debt securities in one or more series. The specific terms of each series of debt securities will be described in the particular prospectus supplement relating to that series. The prospectus supplement may or may not modify the general terms found in this prospectus and will be filed with the SEC. For a complete description of the terms of a particular series of debt securities, prospective holders should read both this prospectus and the prospectus supplement relating to that particular series.

 

As required by federal law for all bonds and notes of companies that are publicly offered, the debt securities are governed by a document called an “indenture.” An indenture is a contract between us and a trustee to be specified in the applicable prospectus supplement acting as trustee on the holders’ behalf, and is subject to and governed by the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended. The trustee has two main roles. First, the trustee can enforce a holder’s rights against us if we default. There are some limitations on the extent to which the trustee acts on a holder’s behalf, described in the second paragraph under “Events of Default—Remedies if an Event of Default Occurs.” Second, the trustee performs certain administrative duties for us.

 

Because this section is a summary, it does not describe every aspect of the debt securities and the indenture. We urge prospective holders to read the indenture because it, and not this description, will define the rights of a holder of debt securities. For example, in this section, we use capitalized words to signify terms that will be specifically defined in the indenture. Some of the definitions are repeated in this prospectus, but for the rest a prospective holder will need to read the indenture. In connection with an offering of debt securities, we will have filed the form of the indenture with the SEC. See “Where You Can Find More Information” for information on how to obtain a copy of the indenture.

 

The prospectus supplement, which will accompany this prospectus, will describe the particular series of debt securities being offered, including:

 

·                  the designation or title of the series of debt securities;

 

·                  the total principal amount of the series of debt securities;

 

·                  the percentage of the principal amount at which the series of debt securities will be offered;

 

·                  the date or dates on which principal will be payable;

 

·                  the rate or rates (which may be either fixed or variable) and/or the method of determining such rate or rates of interest, if any;

 

·                  the date or dates from which any interest will accrue, or the method of determining such date or dates, and the date or dates on which any interest will be payable;

 

·                  the terms for redemption, extension or early repayment, if any;

 

·                  the currencies in which the series of debt securities will be issued and payable;

 

·                  whether the amount of payments of principal, premium or interest, if any, on a series of debt securities will be determined with reference to an index, formula or other method (which could be based on one or more currencies, commodities, equity indices or other indices) and how these amounts will be determined;

 

·                  the place or places, if any, other than or in addition to the City of New York, of payment, transfer, conversion and/or exchange of the debt securities;

 

·                  the denominations in which the offered debt securities will be issued;

 

·                  the provision for any sinking fund;

 

·                  any restrictive covenants;

 

·                  any Events of Default;

 

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·                  whether the series of debt securities are issuable in certificated form;

 

·                  any provisions for defeasance or covenant defeasance;

 

·                  if applicable, U.S. federal income tax considerations relating to original issue discount;

 

·                  whether and under what circumstances we will pay additional amounts in respect of any tax, assessment or governmental charge and, if so, whether we will have the option to redeem the debt securities rather than pay the additional amounts (and the terms of this option);

 

·                  any provisions for convertibility or exchangeability of the debt securities into or for any other securities;

 

·                  whether the debt securities will be subject to subordination and the terms of such subordination;

 

·                  any security or collateral provisions;

 

·                  the listing, if any, on a securities exchange; and

 

·                  any other terms.

 

The debt securities may be secured or unsecured obligations. Unless the prospectus supplement states otherwise, principal (and premium, if any) and interest, if any, will be paid by us in immediately available funds.

 

General

 

The indenture will provide that any debt securities proposed to be sold under this prospectus and the attached prospectus supplement (“offered debt securities”) and any debt securities issuable upon the exercise of warrants or upon conversion or exchange of other offered securities (“underlying debt securities”) may be issued under the indenture in one or more series.

 

For purposes of this prospectus, any reference to the payment of principal of or premium or interest, if any, on debt securities will include additional amounts if required by the terms of the debt securities.

 

The indenture will not limit the amount of debt securities that may be issued thereunder from time to time. Debt securities issued under the indenture, when a single trustee is acting for all debt securities issued under the indenture, will be called the “indenture securities.” The indenture will also provide that there may be more than one trustee thereunder, each with respect to one or more different series of indenture securities. See “Resignation of Trustee” below. At a time when two or more trustees are acting under the indenture, each with respect to only certain series, the term “indenture securities” will mean the one or more series of debt securities with respect to which each respective trustee is acting. In the event that there is more than one trustee under the indenture, the powers and trust obligations of each trustee described in this prospectus will extend only to the one or more series of indenture securities for which it is trustee. If two or more trustees are acting under the indenture, then the indenture securities for which each trustee is acting will be treated as if issued under separate indentures.

 

The indenture will not contain any provisions that give holders protection in the event we issue a large amount of debt or we are acquired by another entity.

 

We refer prospective holders to the prospectus supplement for information with respect to any deletions from, modifications of or additions to the Events of Default or our covenants that are described below, including any addition of a covenant or other provision providing event risk or similar protection.

 

We will have the ability to issue indenture securities with terms different from those of indenture securities previously issued and, without the consent of the holders thereof, to reopen a previous issue of a series of indenture securities and issue additional indenture securities of that series unless the reopening was restricted when that series was created.

 

We expect that we will usually issue debt securities in book-entry-only form represented by global securities.

 

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Conversion And Exchange

 

If any debt securities are convertible into or exchangeable for other securities, the prospectus supplement will explain the terms and conditions of the conversion or exchange, including the conversion price or exchange ratio (or the calculation method), the conversion or exchange period (or how the period will be determined), if conversion or exchange will be mandatory or at the option of the holder or us, provisions for adjusting the conversion price or the exchange ratio and provisions affecting conversion or exchange in the event of the redemption of the underlying debt securities. These terms may also include provisions under which the number or amount of other securities to be received by the holders of the debt securities upon conversion or exchange will be calculated according to the market price of the other securities as of a time stated in the prospectus supplement.

 

Payment And Paying Agents

 

The following information is applicable to payment and paying agent terms unless the prospectus supplement relating to a series of debt securities states otherwise.

 

We will pay interest to the person listed in the applicable trustee’s records as the owner of the debt security at the close of business on a particular day in advance of each due date for interest, even if that person no longer owns the debt security on the interest due date. That day, usually about two weeks in advance of the interest due date, is called the “record date.” Because we will pay all the interest for an interest period to the holders on the record date, holders buying and selling debt securities must work out between themselves the appropriate purchase price. The most common manner is to adjust the sales price of the debt securities to prorate interest fairly between buyer and seller based on their respective ownership periods within the particular interest period. This prorated interest amount is called “accrued interest.”

 

Payments on Global Securities

 

We will make payments on a global security in accordance with the applicable policies of the depositary as in effect from time to time. Under those policies, we will make payments directly to the depositary, or its nominee, and not to any indirect holders who own beneficial interests in the global security. An indirect holder’s right to those payments will be governed by the rules and practices of the depositary and its participants.

 

Payments on Certificated Securities

 

We will make payments on a certificated debt security as follows. We will pay interest that is due on an interest payment date by check mailed on the interest payment date to the holder at his or her address shown on the trustee’s records as of the close of business on the regular record date. We will make all payments of principal and premium, if any, by check at the office of the applicable trustee in New York, NY and/or at other offices that may be specified in the prospectus supplement or in a notice to holders against surrender of the debt security.

 

Alternatively, if the holder asks us to do so, we will pay any amount that becomes due on the debt security by wire transfer of immediately available funds to an account at a bank in New York City, on the due date. To request payment by wire, the holder must give the applicable trustee or other paying agent appropriate transfer instructions at least 15 business days before the requested wire payment is due. In the case of any interest payment due on an interest payment date, the instructions must be given by the person who is the holder on the relevant regular record date. Any wire instructions, once properly given, will remain in effect unless and until new instructions are given in the manner described above.

 

Payment When Offices Are Closed

 

If any payment is due on a debt security on a day that is not a business day, we will make the payment on the next day that is a business day. Payments made on the next business day in this situation will be treated under the indenture as if they were made on the original due date, except as otherwise indicated in the attached prospectus supplement. Such payment will not result in a default under any debt security or the indenture, and no interest will accrue on the payment amount from the original due date to the next day that is a business day.

 

Book-entry and other indirect holders should consult their banks or brokers for information on how they will receive payments on their debt securities.

 

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Events Of Default

 

Holders will have rights if an Event of Default occurs in respect of the debt securities of their series and is not cured, as described later in this subsection unless the prospectus supplement relating to such series of debt securities states otherwise.

 

The term “Event of Default” in respect of a series of debt securities will mean any of the following:

 

·                  We do not pay the principal of, or any premium on, a debt security of the series on its due date, and do not cure this default within 5 days.

 

·                  We do not pay interest on a debt security of the series when due, and such default is not cured within 30 days.

 

·                  We do not deposit any sinking fund payment in respect of debt securities of the series on its due date, and do not cure this default within 5 days.

 

·                  We remain in breach of a covenant in respect of debt securities of the series for 60 days after we receive a written notice of default stating we are in breach in accordance with the terms of the indenture.

 

·                  We file for bankruptcy or certain other events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization occur and remain undischarged or unstayed for a period of 60 days.

 

·                  Any other Event of Default in respect of debt securities of the series described in the applicable prospectus supplement occurs.

 

An Event of Default for a particular series of debt securities will not necessarily constitute an Event of Default for any other series of debt securities issued under the same or any other indenture. The trustee may withhold notice to the holders of debt securities of any default, except in the payment of principal, premium or interest, if it considers 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 has occurred and has not been cured, the trustee or the holders of at least 25% in principal amount of the debt securities of the affected series may declare the entire principal amount of all the debt securities of that series to be due and immediately payable. This is called a declaration of acceleration of maturity. In certain circumstances, a declaration of acceleration of maturity may be canceled by the holders of a majority in principal amount of the debt securities of the affected series.

 

The trustee will not be required to take any action under the indenture at the request of any holders unless the holders offer the trustee reasonable protection from expenses and liability (called an “indemnity”) (Section 315 of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939). If reasonable indemnity is provided, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of the relevant series may direct the time, method and place of conducting any lawsuit or other formal legal action seeking any remedy available to the trustee. The trustee may refuse to follow those directions in certain circumstances. No delay or omission in exercising any right or remedy will be treated as a waiver of that right, remedy or Event of Default.

 

Before a holder is allowed to bypass its trustee and bring its own lawsuit or other formal legal action or take other steps to enforce its rights or protect its interests relating to the debt securities, the following must occur:

 

·                  The holder must give its trustee written notice that an Event of Default has occurred and remains uncured.

 

·                  The holders of at least 25% in principal amount of all outstanding debt securities of the relevant series must make a written request that the trustee take action because of the default and must offer reasonable indemnity to the trustee against the cost and other liabilities of taking that action.

 

·                  The trustee must not have taken action for 60 days after receipt of the above notice and offer of indemnity.

 

·                  The holders of a majority in principal amount of the debt securities must not have given the trustee a direction inconsistent with the above notice during that 60 day period.

 

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However, a holder is entitled at any time to bring a lawsuit for the payment of money due on debt securities its holds on or after the due date.

 

Holders of a majority in principal amount of the debt securities of the affected series may waive any past defaults other than:

 

·                  the payment of principal, any premium or interest; or

 

·                  in respect of a covenant that cannot be modified or amended without the consent of each holder.

 

Book-entry and other indirect holders should consult their banks or brokers for information on how to give notice or direction to or make a request of the trustee and how to declare or cancel an acceleration of maturity.

 

Each year, we will furnish to each trustee a written statement of certain of our officers certifying that to their knowledge we are in compliance with the indenture and the debt securities, or else specifying any default.

 

Merger Or Consolidation

 

Under the terms of the indenture, we will generally be permitted to consolidate or merge with another entity. We will also be permitted to sell all or substantially all of our assets to another entity. However, unless the prospectus supplement relating to certain debt securities states otherwise, we may not take any of these actions unless all the following conditions are met:

 

·                  Where we merge out of existence or sell our assets, the resulting entity must agree to be legally responsible for our obligations under the debt securities.

 

·                  Immediately after giving effect to such transaction, no default or Event of Default shall have happened and be continuing.

 

·                  No merger or sale of assets may be made if as a result any of our property or assets or any property or assets of one of our subsidiaries, if any, would become subject to any mortgage, lien or other encumbrance unless either (a) the mortgage, lien or other encumbrance could be created pursuant to the limitation on liens covenant in the indenture without equally and ratably securing the indenture securities or (b) the indenture securities are secured equally and ratably with or prior to the debt secured by the mortgage, lien or other encumbrance.

 

·                  We must deliver certain certificates and documents to the trustee.

 

·                  We must satisfy any other requirements specified in the prospectus supplement relating to a particular series of debt securities.

 

Modification Or Waiver

 

Unless the prospectus supplement relating to a series of debt securities states otherwise, there are three types of changes we will be able to make to the indenture and the debt securities issued thereunder.

 

Changes Requiring a Holder’s Approval

 

First, there are changes that we will not be able to make to a series of debt securities without a holder’s specific approval. The following is a list of those types of changes:

 

·                  change the stated maturity of the principal of or the fixed date on which interest is due on a debt security;

 

·                  reduce any amounts due on a debt security;

 

·                  reduce the amount of principal payable upon acceleration of the maturity of a security following a default;

 

·                  change the place (except as otherwise described in the prospectus or prospectus supplement) or currency of payment on a debt security;

 

·                  impair a holder’s right to sue for payment;

 

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·                  reduce the percentage of holders of debt securities whose consent is needed to modify or amend the indenture;

 

·                  reduce the percentage of holders of debt securities whose consent is needed to waive compliance with certain provisions of the indenture or to waive certain defaults;

 

·                  modify any other aspect of the provisions of the indenture dealing with supplemental indentures, modification and waiver of past defaults, changes to the quorum or voting requirements or the waiver of certain covenants; and

 

·                  change any obligation we have to pay additional amounts.

 

Changes Not Requiring Approval

 

The second type of change will not require any vote by the holders of the debt securities. This type is limited to clarifications and certain other changes that would not adversely affect holders of the outstanding debt securities in any material respect. We also will not need any approval to make any change that affects only debt securities to be issued under the indenture after the change takes effect.

 

Changes Requiring Majority Approval

 

Any other change to the indenture and the debt securities will require the following approval:

 

·                  If the change affects only one series of debt securities, it must be approved by the holders of a majority in principal amount of that series.

 

·                  If the change affects more than one series of debt securities issued under the same indenture, it must be approved by the holders of a majority in principal amount of all of the series affected by the change, with all affected series voting together as one class for this purpose.

 

The holders of a majority in principal amount of all of the series of debt securities issued under an indenture, voting together as one class for this purpose, may waive our compliance with some of our covenants in that indenture. However, we cannot obtain a waiver of a payment default or of any of the matters covered by the bullet points included above under “—Changes Requiring a Holder’s Approval.”

 

Further Details Concerning Voting

 

When taking a vote, we will use the following rules to decide how much principal to attribute to a debt security:

 

·                  For original issue discount securities, we will use the principal amount that would be due and payable on the voting date if the maturity of these debt securities were accelerated to that date because of a default.

 

·                  For debt securities whose principal amount is not known (for example, because it is based on an index), we will use a special rule for that debt security described in the prospectus supplement.

 

·                  For debt securities denominated in one or more foreign currencies, we will use the U.S. dollar equivalent.

 

Debt securities will not be considered outstanding, and therefore not eligible to vote, if we have deposited or set aside in trust money for their payment or redemption. Debt securities will also not be eligible to vote if they have been fully defeased as described later under “Defeasance—Full Defeasance.”

 

We will generally be entitled to set any day as a record date for the purpose of determining the holders of outstanding indenture securities that are entitled to vote or take other action under the indenture. If we set a record date for a vote or other action to be taken by holders of one or more series, that vote or action may be taken only by persons who are holders of outstanding indenture securities of those series on the record date and must be taken within eleven months following the record date.

 

Book-entry and other indirect holders should consult their banks or brokers for information on how approval may be granted or denied if we seek to change the indenture or the debt securities or request a waiver.

 

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Defeasance

 

The following provisions will be applicable to each series of debt securities unless the applicable prospectus supplement states otherwise.

 

Covenant Defeasance

 

If certain conditions are satisfied, we will be able to make the deposit described below and be released from some of the restrictive covenants in the indenture under which the particular series was issued. This is called “covenant defeasance.” In that event, a holder of such debt securities will lose the protection of those restrictive covenants but would gain the protection of having money and government securities set aside in trust to repay its debt securities. If applicable, such holder also will be released from the subordination provisions described under “Indenture Provisions—Subordination” below. In order to achieve covenant defeasance, we must do the following:

 

·                  If the debt securities of the particular series are denominated in U.S. dollars, we must deposit in trust for the benefit of all holders of such debt securities a combination of money and U.S. government or U.S. government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash to make interest, principal and any other payments on the debt securities on their various due dates.

 

·                  We must deliver to the trustee a legal opinion of our counsel confirming that, under current U.S. federal income tax law, we may make the above deposit without causing holders to be taxed on the debt securities any differently than if we did not make the deposit and just repaid the debt securities ourselves at maturity.

 

If we accomplish covenant defeasance, a holder can still look to us for repayment of the debt securities if there were a shortfall in the trust deposit or the trustee is prevented from making payment. For example, if one of the remaining Events of Default occurred (such as our bankruptcy) and the debt securities became immediately due and payable, there might be a shortfall. Depending on the event causing the default, holders may not be able to obtain payment of the shortfall.

 

Full Defeasance

 

If there is a change in U.S. federal tax law, as described below, we will be able to legally release ourselves from all payment and other obligations on the debt securities of a particular series (called “full defeasance”) if we put in place the following other arrangements for holders to be repaid:

 

·                  If the debt securities of the particular series are denominated in U.S. dollars, we must deposit in trust for the benefit of all holders of such debt securities a combination of money and U.S. government or U.S. government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash to make interest, principal and any other payments on the debt securities on their various due dates.

 

·                  We must deliver to the trustee a legal opinion confirming that there has been a change in current U.S. federal tax law or an IRS ruling that allows us to make the above deposit without causing holders to be taxed on the debt securities any differently than if we did not make the deposit and just repaid the debt securities ourselves at maturity. Under current U.S. federal tax law, the deposit and our legal release from the debt securities would be treated as though we paid holders their share of the cash and notes or bonds at the time the cash and notes or bonds were deposited in trust in exchange for such holders’ debt securities and holders would recognize gain or loss on the debt securities at the time of the deposit.

 

If we ever did accomplish full defeasance, as described above, holders would have to rely solely on the trust deposit for repayment of the debt securities. Holders could not look to us for repayment in the unlikely event of any shortfall. Conversely, the trust deposit would most likely be protected from claims of our lenders and other creditors if we ever became bankrupt or insolvent. If applicable, holders will also be released from the subordination provisions described later under “Indenture Provisions—Subordination.”

 

Form, Exchange And Transfer Of Certificated Registered Securities

 

The following provisions will be applicable to each series of debt securities unless the applicable prospectus supplement states otherwise.

 

Holders may exchange their certificated securities, if any, for debt securities of smaller denominations or combined into fewer debt securities of larger denominations, as long as the total principal amount is not changed.

 

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Holders may exchange or transfer their certificated securities, if any, at the office of their trustee. We have appointed the trustee to act as our agent for registering debt securities in the names of holders transferring debt securities. We may appoint another entity to perform these functions or perform them ourselves.

 

Holders will not be required to pay a service charge to transfer or exchange their certificated securities, if any, but they may be required to pay any tax or other governmental charge associated with the transfer or exchange. The transfer or exchange will be made only if our transfer agent is satisfied with the holder’s proof of legal ownership.

 

If we have designated additional transfer agents for a particular debt security, they will be named in the prospectus supplement. We may appoint additional transfer agents or cancel the appointment of any particular transfer agent. We may also approve a change in the office through which any transfer agent acts.

 

If any certificated securities of a particular series are redeemable and we redeem less than all the debt securities of that series, we may block the transfer or exchange of those debt securities during the period beginning 15 days before the day we mail the notice of redemption and ending on the day of that mailing, in order to freeze the list of holders to prepare the mailing. We may also refuse to register transfers or exchanges of any certificated securities selected for redemption, except that we will continue to permit transfers and exchanges of the unredeemed portion of any debt security that will be partially redeemed.

 

Resignation Of Trustee

 

Each trustee may resign or be removed with respect to one or more series of indenture securities provided that a successor trustee is appointed to act with respect to these series. In the event that two or more persons are acting as trustee with respect to different series of indenture securities under the indenture, each of the trustees will be a trustee of a trust separate and apart from the trust administered by any other trustee.

 

Indenture Provisions—Subordination

 

The following provisions will be applicable to each series of debt securities unless the applicable prospectus supplement states otherwise:

 

Upon any distribution of our assets upon our dissolution, winding up, liquidation or reorganization, the payment of the principal of (and premium, if any) and interest, if any, on any indenture securities denominated as subordinated debt securities will be subordinated to the extent provided in the indenture in right of payment to the prior payment in full of all Senior Indebtedness (as defined below), but our obligation to holders to make payment of the principal of (and premium, if any) and interest, if any, on such subordinated debt securities will not otherwise be affected. In addition, no payment on account of principal (or premium, if any), sinking fund or interest, if any, may be made on such subordinated debt securities at any time unless full payment of all amounts due in respect of the principal (and premium, if any), sinking fund and interest on Senior Indebtedness has been made or duly provided for in money or money’s worth.

 

In the event that, notwithstanding the foregoing, any payment by us is received by the trustee in respect of subordinated debt securities or by the holders of any of such subordinated debt securities before all Senior Indebtedness is paid in full, the payment or distribution must be paid over to the holders of the Senior Indebtedness or on their behalf for application to the payment of all the Senior Indebtedness remaining unpaid until all the Senior Indebtedness has been paid in full, after giving effect to any concurrent payment or distribution to the holders of the Senior Indebtedness. Subject to the payment in full of all Senior Indebtedness upon this distribution by us, the holders of such subordinated debt securities will be subrogated to the rights of the holders of the Senior Indebtedness to the extent of payments made to the holders of the Senior Indebtedness out of the distributive share of such subordinated debt securities.

 

By reason of this subordination, in the event of a distribution of our assets upon our insolvency, certain of our senior creditors may recover more, ratably, than holders of any subordinated debt securities. The indenture will provide that these subordination provisions will not apply to money and securities held in trust under the defeasance provisions of the indenture.

 

“Senior Indebtedness” will be defined in the indenture as the principal of (and premium, if any) and unpaid interest on:

 

·                  our indebtedness (including indebtedness of others guaranteed by us), whenever created, incurred, assumed or guaranteed, for money borrowed (other than indenture securities issued under the indenture and denominated as subordinated debt securities), unless in the instrument creating or evidencing the same or under which the same is outstanding it is provided that this indebtedness is not senior or prior in right of payment to the subordinated debt securities; and

 

·                  renewals, extensions, modifications and refinancings of any of this indebtedness.

 

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If this prospectus is being delivered in connection with the offering of a series of indenture securities denominated as subordinated debt securities, the accompanying prospectus supplement will set forth the approximate amount of our Senior Indebtedness outstanding as of a recent date.

 

The Trustee Under The Indenture

 

A trustee to serve as the trustee under the indenture will be disclosed in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

Certain Considerations Relating To Foreign Currencies

 

Debt securities denominated or payable in foreign currencies may entail significant risks. These risks include the possibility of significant fluctuations in the foreign currency markets, the imposition or modification of foreign exchange controls and potential illiquidity in the secondary market. These risks will vary depending upon the currency or currencies involved and will be more fully described in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

Book-Entry Debt Securities

 

The following provisions will be applicable to each series of debt securities unless the applicable prospectus supplement states otherwise.

 

The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”), New York, NY will act as securities depository for the debt securities. The debt securities will be issued as fully registered securities registered in the name of Cede & Co. (DTC’s partnership nominee) or such other name as may be requested by an authorized representative of DTC. One fully registered certificate will be issued for the debt securities, in the aggregate principal amount of such issue, and will be deposited with DTC.  If, however, the aggregate principal amount of any issue exceeds $500 million, one certificate will be issued with respect to each $500 million of principal amount, and an additional certificate will be issued with respect to any remaining principal amount of such issue.

 

DTC is a limited-purpose trust company organized under the New York Banking Law, a “banking organization” within the meaning of the New York Banking Law, a member of the Federal Reserve System, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the New York Uniform Commercial Code, and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the Exchange Act. DTC holds and provides asset servicing for over 3.5 million issues of U.S. and non-U.S. equity, corporate and municipal debt issues, and money market instruments from over 100 countries that DTC’s participants (“Direct Participants”) deposit with DTC. DTC also facilitates the post-trade settlement among Direct Participants of sales and other securities transactions in deposited securities through electronic computerized book-entry transfers and pledges between Direct Participants’ accounts. This eliminates the need for physical movement of securities certificates. Direct Participants include both U.S. and non-U.S. securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations, and certain other organizations. DTC is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (“DTCC”).

 

DTCC is the holding company for DTC, National Securities Clearing Corporation and Fixed Income Clearing Corporation, all of which are registered clearing agencies. DTCC is owned by the users of its regulated subsidiaries. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as both U.S. and non-U.S. securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies and clearing corporations that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a Direct Participant, either directly or indirectly (“Indirect Participants”). DTC has a Standard & Poor’s rating of AA+. The DTC Rules applicable to its Direct and Indirect Participants are on file with the SEC. More information about DTC can be found at www.dtcc.com.

 

Purchases of debt securities under the DTC system must be made by or through Direct Participants, which will receive a credit for the debt securities on DTC’s records. The ownership interest of each actual purchaser of each security (“Beneficial Owner”) is in turn to be recorded on the Direct and Indirect Participants’ records. Beneficial Owners will not receive written confirmation from DTC of their purchase. Beneficial Owners are, however, expected to receive written confirmations providing details of the transaction, as well as periodic statements of their holdings, from the Direct or Indirect Participant through which the Beneficial Owner entered into the transaction. Transfers of ownership interests in the debt securities are to be accomplished by entries made on the books of Direct and Indirect Participants acting on behalf of Beneficial Owners. Beneficial Owners will not receive certificates representing their ownership interests in debt securities, except in the event that use of the book-entry system for the debt securities is discontinued.

 

To facilitate subsequent transfers, all debt securities deposited by Direct Participants with DTC are registered in the name of DTC’s partnership nominee, Cede & Co., or such other name as may be requested by an authorized representative of DTC. The deposit of debt securities with DTC and their registration in the name of Cede & Co. or such other DTC nominee do not effect any change in beneficial ownership. DTC has no knowledge of the actual Beneficial Owners of the debt securities; DTC’s records reflect only the identity of the Direct Participants to whose accounts such debt securities are credited, which may or may not be the Beneficial Owners. The Direct and Indirect Participants will remain responsible for keeping account of their holdings on behalf of their customers.

 

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Conveyance of notices and other communications by DTC to Direct Participants, by Direct Participants to Indirect Participants and by Direct Participants and Indirect Participants to Beneficial Owners will be governed by arrangements among them, subject to any statutory or regulatory requirements as may be in effect from time to time.

 

Redemption notices shall be sent to DTC. If less than all of the debt securities within an issue are being redeemed, DTC’s practice is to determine by lot the amount of the interest of each Direct Participant in such issue to be redeemed.

 

Neither DTC nor Cede & Co. (nor any other DTC nominee) will consent or vote with respect to the debt securities unless authorized by a Direct Participant in accordance with DTC’s Procedures. Under its usual procedures, DTC mails an Omnibus Proxy to us as soon as possible after the record date. The Omnibus Proxy assigns Cede & Co.’s consenting or voting rights to those Direct Participants to whose accounts the debt securities are credited on the record date (identified in a listing attached to the Omnibus Proxy).

 

Redemption proceeds, distributions, and dividend payments on the debt securities will be made to Cede & Co., or such other nominee as may be requested by an authorized representative of DTC. DTC’s practice is to credit Direct Participants’ accounts upon DTC’s receipt of funds and corresponding detail information from us or the trustee on the payment date in accordance with their respective holdings shown on DTC’s records. Payments by Direct or Indirect Participants to Beneficial Owners will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in “street name,” and will be the responsibility of such Direct or Indirect Participant and not of DTC nor its nominee, the trustee, or us, subject to any statutory or regulatory requirements as may be in effect from time to time. Payment of redemption proceeds, distributions, and dividend payments to Cede & Co. (or such other nominee as may be requested by an authorized representative of DTC) is the responsibility of us or the trustee, but disbursement of such payments to Direct Participants will be the responsibility of DTC, and disbursement of such payments to the Beneficial Owners will be the responsibility of Direct and Indirect Participants.

 

DTC may discontinue providing its services as depository with respect to the debt securities at any time by giving reasonable notice to us or to the trustee. Under such circumstances, in the event that a successor depository is not obtained, certificates are required to be printed and delivered. We may decide to discontinue use of the system of book-entry-only transfers through DTC (or a successor securities depository). In that event, certificates will be printed and delivered to DTC.

 

The information in this section concerning DTC and DTC’s book-entry system has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, but we take no responsibility for the accuracy thereof.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR UNITS

 

The following is a general description of the terms of the units we may issue from time to time. Particular terms of any units we offer will be described in the prospectus supplement relating to such units. For a complete description of the terms of particular units, a prospective holder should read both this prospectus and the prospectus supplement relating to those particular units.

 

We may issue units comprised of one or more of the other securities described in this prospectus in any combination. Each unit may also include debt obligations of third parties, such as U.S. Treasury securities. Each unit will be issued so that the holder of the unit is also the holder of each security included in the unit. Thus, the holder of a unit will have the rights and obligations of a holder of each included security.

 

A prospectus supplement will describe the particular terms of any series of units we may issue, including the following:

 

·                  the designation and terms of the units and of the securities comprising the units, including whether and under what circumstances the securities comprising the units may be held or transferred separately;

 

·                  a description of the terms of any unit agreement governing the units;

 

·                  a description of the provisions for the payment, settlement, transfer or exchange of the units; and

 

·                  whether the units will be issued in fully registered or global form.

 

We will not offer any units under this prospectus or an accompanying prospectus supplement without first filing a new post-effective amendment to the registration statement.

 

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RESTRICTIONS ON OWNERSHIP AND TRANSFER

 

In order for us to qualify as a REIT, we must meet the following criteria regarding our stockholders’ ownership of our shares:

 

·                  we cannot be “closely held” under Code Section 856(h); that is, five or fewer individuals (as specially defined in the Code to include specified private foundations, employee benefit plans and trusts and charitable trusts and subject to certain constructive ownership rules) may not own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% in value of our outstanding shares during the last half of a taxable year, other than our first REIT taxable year; and

 

·                  100 or more persons must beneficially own our shares during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year, other than our first REIT taxable year.

 

See “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” for further discussion of this topic. We may prohibit certain acquisitions and transfers of shares so as to ensure our initial and continued qualification as a REIT under the Code. However, there can be no assurance that this prohibition will be effective. Because we believe it is essential for us to continue to qualify, among other purposes, our charter provides (subject to certain exceptions) that no person may own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, more than 9.8% in value of the aggregate of our outstanding shares of stock or more than 9.8% (in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of any class or series of our shares of our stock.

 

Our board of directors, in its sole discretion, may waive this ownership limit (prospectively or retroactively) if evidence satisfactory to our directors, including certain representations and undertakings required by our charter, is presented that such ownership will not then or in the future jeopardize our status as a REIT. Also, these restrictions on transferability and ownership will not apply if our directors determine that it is no longer in our best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT or that compliance with such restrictions is no longer required in order for us to qualify as a REIT.

 

Our board of directors has established an excepted holder limit for Ares Investments, an affiliate of our Manager, that allows Ares Investments to own, subject to certain conditions, up to 22% of the outstanding shares of our common stock.

 

In addition to prohibiting the transfer or ownership of our stock that would result in any person owning, directly or indirectly, shares of our stock in excess of the foregoing ownership limitations, our charter prohibits the transfer or ownership of our stock if such transfer or ownership would:

 

·                  with respect to transfers only, result in our capital stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons, determined without reference to any rules of attribution;

 

·                  result in our being “closely held” within the meaning of Code Section 856(h) (regardless of whether the ownership interest is held during the last half of a taxable year);

 

·                  result in our owning, directly or indirectly, more than 9.8% of the ownership interests in any tenant or subtenant; or

 

·                  otherwise result in our disqualification as a REIT.

 

In the case of any attempted transfer of our stock which, if effective, would result in a violation of these limitations, then the number of shares causing the violation (rounded up to the nearest whole share) will be automatically transferred to a trust for the exclusive benefit of one or more charitable beneficiaries (or, in the case of a transfer that would result in our stock being beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons, be void), and the proposed transferee will not acquire any rights in the shares. To avoid confusion, these shares so transferred to a beneficial trust will be referred to in this prospectus as “Excess Securities.” Excess Securities will remain issued and outstanding shares and will be entitled to the same rights and privileges as all other shares of the same class or series. The trustee of the beneficial trust, as holder of the Excess Securities, will be entitled to receive all distributions authorized by the board of directors on such securities for the benefit of the charitable beneficiary. Our charter further entitles the trustee of the beneficial trust to vote all Excess Securities. Subject to Maryland law, the trustee will have the authority (a) to rescind as void any vote cast by the proposed transferee prior to our discovery that the shares have been transferred to the beneficial trust and (b) to recast the vote in accordance with the desires of the trustee acting for the benefit of the charitable beneficiary. However, if we have already taken irreversible corporate action, then the trustee will not have the authority to rescind and recast the vote. If a transfer to the trust would be ineffective for any reason to prevent a violation of any of the foregoing restrictions, the transfer resulting in such violation will be void from the time of such purported transfer.

 

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The trustee of the beneficial trust will select a transferee to whom the Excess Securities may be sold as long as such sale does not violate the 9.8% ownership limit or the other restrictions on ownership and transfer. Upon sale of the Excess Securities, the intended transferee (the transferee of the Excess Securities whose ownership would have violated the 9.8% ownership limit or the other restrictions on ownership and transfer) will receive from the trustee of the beneficial trust the lesser of such sale proceeds, or the price per share the intended transferee paid for the Excess Securities (or, in the case of a gift or devise to the intended transferee, the price per share equal to the market value per share on the date of the transfer to the beneficial trust). The trustee may reduce the amount payable to the intended transferee by the amount of dividends and other distributions which have been paid to the intended transferee and are owed by the intended transferee to the trustee. The trustee of the beneficial trust will distribute to the charitable beneficiary any amount the trustee receives in excess of the amount to be paid to the intended transferee.

 

In addition, we have the right to purchase any Excess Securities at the lesser of (a) the price per share paid in the transfer that created the Excess Securities (or, in the case of a devise or gift, the market price at the time of such devise or gift) and (b) the market price on the date we, or our designee, exercise such right. We may reduce the amount payable to the intended transferee by the amount of dividends and other distributions which have been paid to the intended transferee and are owed by the intended transferee to the trustee. We will have the right to purchase the Excess Securities until the trustee has sold the shares. Upon a sale to us, the interest of the charitable beneficiary in the shares sold will terminate and the trustee will distribute the net proceeds of the sale to the intended transferee.

 

Any person who (a) acquires or attempts or intends to acquire shares in violation of the foregoing ownership limitations, or (b) would have owned shares that resulted in a transfer to a charitable trust, is required to give us immediate written notice or, in the case of a proposed or intended transaction, 15 days’ written notice. In both cases, such persons must provide to us such other information as we may request in order to determine the effect, if any, of such transfer on our status as a REIT. The foregoing restrictions will continue to apply until our board of directors determines it is no longer in our best interest to continue to qualify as a REIT or that compliance with such restrictions is no longer required in order for us to qualify as a REIT.

 

The 9.8% ownership limit does not apply to the underwriters in a public offering of shares. Any person who owns more than 5% of the outstanding shares during any taxable year will be asked to deliver a statement or affidavit setting forth the name and address of such owner, the number of shares beneficially owned, directly or indirectly, and a description of the manner in which such shares are held. Each such person also must provide us with such additional information as we may request in order to determine the effect of such ownership on our status as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the 9.8% ownership limit.

 

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MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

 

The following is a summary of the material U.S. federal income tax consequences associated with our qualification and taxation as a REIT and the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our shares of common stock. This summary is based upon the Code, the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (the “Treasury”), rulings and other administrative pronouncements issued by the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”), and judicial decisions, all as currently in effect, and all of which are subject to differing interpretations or to change, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax consequences described below. We have not sought and do not intend to seek an advance ruling from the IRS regarding our ability to qualify as a REIT. The summary is also based upon the assumption that we and our subsidiaries and affiliated entities will operate in accordance with our and their applicable organizational documents. This summary is for general information only and is not tax advice. It does not discuss any state, local, or non-U.S. tax consequences relevant to us or to holders of our shares of common stock, and it does not purport to discuss all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be important to a particular investor in light of its investment or tax circumstances or to investors subject to special tax rules, such as:

 

·                                          financial institutions;

 

·                                          partnerships or entities treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes, S corporations or other pass-through entities, and investors therein;

 

·                                          insurance companies;

 

·                                          broker-dealers;

 

·                                          pension plans or other tax-exempt organizations, except to the extent discussed below;

 

·                                          regulated investment companies;

 

·                                          persons who hold our stock on behalf of other persons as nominees;

 

·                                          persons who receive our stock through the exercise of employee stock options or otherwise as compensation; and

 

·                                          persons holding our stock as part of a “straddle,” “hedge,” “conversion transaction,” “synthetic security” or other integrated investment; and

 

·                                          foreign investors, except to the extent discussed below.

 

This summary assumes that security holders hold our common stock as a capital asset, which generally means as property held for investment.

 

The U.S. federal income tax treatment of holders of our common stock depends in some instances on determinations of fact and interpretations of complex provisions of U.S. federal income tax law for which no clear precedent or authority may be available. In addition, the tax consequences to any particular stockholder of holding and disposing of our common stock will depend on the stockholder’s particular tax circumstances. You are urged to consult your tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal, state, local, and foreign income and other tax consequences to you in light of your particular investment or tax circumstances of acquiring, holding, exchanging, or otherwise disposing of our common stock.

 

Taxation of the Company

 

We elected to be subject to tax as a REIT commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2012. We believe that, commencing with such taxable year, we have been organized and have operated in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the applicable provisions of the Code. We intend to continue to operate in such a manner to continue to qualify for taxation as a REIT.

 

The law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP has acted as our tax counsel in connection with this registration statement. In connection with this registration statement, Kirkland & Ellis LLP has rendered an opinion to us, as of August 1, 2019, to the effect that, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2012, we have been organized in conformity with the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Code, and that our actual method of operation has enabled us and our proposed method

 

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of operation will enable us to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT. It must be emphasized that the opinion of Kirkland & Ellis LLP was based on various assumptions relating to our organization and operation, and was conditioned upon fact-based representations and covenants made by our management regarding our organization, assets, and income, and the present and future conduct of our business operations. While we intend to operate so that we will qualify as a REIT, given the highly complex nature of the rules governing REITs, the ongoing importance of factual determinations, and the possibility of future changes in our circumstances, no assurance can be given by Kirkland & Ellis LLP or by us that we will qualify as a REIT for any particular year. The opinion was expressed as of the date issued. Kirkland & Ellis LLP has no obligation to advise us or our stockholders of any subsequent change in the matters stated, represented or assumed, or of any subsequent change in the applicable law. You should be aware that opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS, and no assurance can be given that the IRS will not challenge the conclusions set forth in such opinions. In addition, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s opinion did not foreclose the possibility that we may have to utilize one or more REIT savings provisions discussed below, which could require the payment of an excise or penalty tax (which could be significant in amount) in order to maintain our REIT qualification.

 

Our qualification and taxation as a REIT depends on our ability to meet on a continuing basis, through actual operating results, distribution levels, and diversity of stock and asset ownership, various qualification requirements imposed upon REITs by the Code, the compliance with which will not be reviewed by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Our ability to qualify as a REIT also requires that we satisfy certain asset tests, some of which depend upon the fair market values of assets that we own directly or indirectly. Such values may not be susceptible to a precise determination. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that the actual results of our operations for any taxable year will satisfy such requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT.

 

Taxation of REITs in general

 

As indicated above, our qualification and taxation as a REIT depends upon our ability to meet, on a continuing basis, various qualification requirements imposed upon REITs by the Code. The material qualification requirements are summarized below under “—Requirements for qualification—General.” While we intend to operate so that we qualify as a REIT, no assurance can be given that the IRS will not challenge our qualification, or that we will be able to operate in accordance with the REIT requirements in the future. See “—Failure to qualify.”

 

Provided that we qualify as a REIT, we will be entitled to a deduction for dividends that we pay and therefore will not be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on our taxable income that is currently distributed to our stockholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” at the corporate and stockholder levels that generally results from investment in a corporation. In general, the income that we generate is taxed only at the stockholder level upon a distribution of dividends to our stockholders.

 

Currently, most U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts or estates are taxed on corporate dividends at a maximum regular U.S. federal income tax rate of 20%. With limited exceptions, however, dividends from us or from other entities that are taxed as REITs are generally not eligible for this rate and will continue to be taxed at rates applicable to ordinary income, which are as high as 37%. However, for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026, non-corporate taxpayers may deduct up to 20% of certain qualified business income, including “qualified REIT dividends” (generally, dividends received by a REIT stockholder that are not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income), subject to certain limitations, resulting in an effective maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 29.6% on such income. See “—Taxation of stockholders—Taxation of taxable U.S. Holders—Distributions.”

 

Any net operating losses, foreign tax credits and other tax attributes generally do not pass through to our stockholders, subject to special rules for certain items such as the capital gains that we recognize. See “—Taxation of stockholders—Taxation of taxable U.S. Holders—Distributions.” Provided we qualify as a REIT, we will nonetheless be subject to U.S. federal tax in the following circumstances:

 

·                                          We will be taxed at regular corporate rates on any undistributed net taxable income, including undistributed net capital gain.

 

·                                          If we have net income from prohibited transactions, which are, in general, sales or other dispositions of inventory or property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, other than foreclosure property, such income will be subject to a 100% tax. See “—Prohibited transactions,” and “—Foreclosure property” below.

 

·                                          If we elect to treat property that we acquire in connection with a foreclosure of a mortgage loan or certain leasehold terminations as “foreclosure property,” we may thereby avoid the 100% tax on gain from a resale of that property (if

 

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the sale would otherwise constitute a prohibited transaction), but the income from the sale or operation of the property may be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax at the applicable rate (currently 21%).

 

·                                          If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as discussed below, but nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because there is reasonable cause for the failure and we satisfy other applicable requirements, we will be subject to a 100% tax on an amount based on the magnitude of the failure of the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test (whichever is higher), as adjusted to reflect the profit margin associated with our gross income.

 

·                                          If we derive “excess inclusion income” from an interest in certain mortgage loan securitization structures (i.e., a taxable mortgage pool (“TMP”) or a residual interest in a real estate mortgage investment conduit (“REMIC”)), we could be subject to corporate level U.S. federal income tax at the applicable rate to the extent that such income is allocable to specified types of tax exempt stockholders known as “disqualified organizations” that are not subject to unrelated business income tax (“UBIT”). See “—Taxable mortgage pools and excess inclusion income” below.

 

·                                          If we violate the asset tests (other than certain de minimis violations) or other requirements applicable to REITs, as described below, and yet maintain our qualification as a REIT because there is reasonable cause for the failure and other applicable requirements are met, we may be subject to a penalty tax. In that case, the amount of the penalty tax will be at least $50,000 per failure, and, in the case of certain asset test failures, will be determined as the amount of net income generated by the assets in question multiplied by the corporate tax rate (currently 21%) if that amount exceeds $50,000 per failure.

 

·                                          If we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of: (i) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year; (ii) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year; and (iii) any undistributed net taxable income from prior periods, we will be subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the sum of: (a) the amounts that we actually distributed and (b) the amounts we retained and upon which we paid income tax at the corporate level.

 

·                                          We may be required to pay monetary penalties to the IRS in certain circumstances, including if we fail to meet record-keeping requirements intended to monitor our compliance with rules relating to the composition of a REIT’s stockholders, as described below in “—Requirements for qualification—General.”

 

·                                          A 100% tax may be imposed on transactions between us and a taxable REIT subsidiary, or “TRS,” that do not reflect arm’s-length terms.

 

·                                          If we sell any of our existing appreciated assets or if we acquire appreciated assets from a corporation that is not a REIT (i.e., a corporation taxable under subchapter C of the Code) in a transaction in which the adjusted tax basis of the assets in our hands is determined by reference to the adjusted tax basis of the assets in the hands of the subchapter C corporation, we may be subject to tax on such appreciation at the highest U.S. federal corporate income tax rate then applicable if we subsequently recognize gain on a disposition of any such assets during the five-year period following their acquisition from the subchapter C corporation.

 

·                                          The earnings of our TRSs generally will be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax.

 

In addition, we and our subsidiaries may be subject to a variety of other taxes, including payroll taxes and state, local, and foreign income, property and other taxes on our assets and operations. We could also be subject to tax in situations and on transactions not presently contemplated.

 

Requirements for qualification—General

 

The Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:

 

1.                                      that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;

 

2.                                      the beneficial ownership of which is evidenced by transferable shares, or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest;

 

3.                                      that would be taxable as a domestic corporation but for its election to be subject to tax as a REIT;

 

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4.                                      that is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company subject to specific provisions of the Code;

 

5.                                      the beneficial ownership of which is held by 100 or more persons;

 

6.                                      in which, during the last half of each taxable year, not more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer “individuals” (as defined in the Code to include specified tax-exempt entities); and

 

7.                                      that meets other tests described below, including with respect to the nature of its income and assets.

 

The Code provides that conditions (1) through (4) must be met during the entire taxable year, and that condition (5) must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months, or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year. For purposes of condition (6), the term “individual” includes a supplemental unemployment compensation benefit plan, a private foundation or a portion of a trust permanently set aside or used exclusively for charitable purposes, but generally does not include a qualified pension plan or profit sharing trust. Conditions (5) and (6) need not be met during a corporation’s initial tax year as a REIT (which, in our case, was 2012). Our charter provides restrictions regarding the ownership and transfers of our stock, which are intended to assist us in satisfying the stock ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above.

 

To monitor compliance with the stock ownership requirements, we generally are required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our stock. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of significant percentages of our stock pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the stock (i.e., the persons required to include our dividends in their gross income). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record-keeping requirements. If you fail or refuse to comply with the demands, you will be required by Treasury regulations to submit a statement with your tax return disclosing your actual ownership of our stock and other information.

 

In addition, a corporation generally may not elect to become a REIT unless its taxable year is the calendar year. We adopted December 31 as our year-end, and thereby satisfy this requirement.

 

Effect of subsidiary entities

 

Ownership of partnership interests.   Treasury regulations provide that a REIT that is a partner in a partnership or a member in a limited liability company treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes will be deemed to own its proportionate share of the assets of the partnership or limited liability company, as the case may be, based on its interest in partnership capital, and will be deemed to earn a proportionate share of the income of that entity, for purposes of the asset and gross income tests applicable to REITs. In addition, the assets and gross income of the entity are deemed to retain the same character in our hands. Thus, our proportionate share of the assets and items of income of any subsidiary partnerships generally will be treated as our assets and items of income for purposes of applying the REIT requirements.

 

We expect to control our subsidiary partnerships and limited liability companies, if any, and intend to operate them in a manner consistent with the requirements for our qualification as a REIT. If we become a limited partner or non-managing member in any partnership or limited liability company and such entity takes or expects to take actions that could jeopardize our status as a REIT or require us to pay tax, we may be forced to dispose of our interest in such entity. In addition, it is possible that a partnership or limited liability company could take an action which could cause us to fail a gross income or asset test, and that we would not become aware of such action in time to dispose of our interest in the partnership or limited liability company or take other corrective action on a timely basis. In that case, we could fail to qualify as a REIT unless we were entitled to relief, as described below.

 

Disregarded subsidiaries.  If we own a corporate subsidiary that is a “qualified REIT subsidiary,” that subsidiary is generally disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and all of the subsidiary’s assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit are treated as our assets, liabilities and items of income, deduction and credit, including for purposes of the gross income and asset tests applicable to REITs. A qualified REIT subsidiary is any corporation, other than a TRS (as described below), that is directly or indirectly wholly-owned by a REIT. Other entities that are wholly-owned by us, including single member limited liability companies that have not elected to be taxed as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, are also generally disregarded as separate entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests. Disregarded subsidiaries, along with any partnerships in which we hold an equity interest, are sometimes referred to herein as “pass-through subsidiaries.”

 

In the event that a disregarded subsidiary of ours ceases to be wholly-owned—for example, if any equity interest in the subsidiary is acquired by a person other than us or another disregarded subsidiary of ours—the subsidiary’s separate existence would

 

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no longer be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, the subsidiary would have multiple owners and would be treated as either a partnership or a taxable corporation. Such an event could, depending on the circumstances, adversely affect our ability to satisfy the various asset and gross income requirements applicable to REITs, including the requirement that REITs generally may not own, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the securities of another corporation. See “—Asset tests” and “—Income tests.”

 

Taxable subsidiaries.  In general, we may jointly elect with a subsidiary corporation, whether or not wholly-owned, to treat such subsidiary corporation as a TRS. If a TRS owns more than 35% of the total voting power or value of the outstanding securities of another corporation, such other corporation will also be treated as a TRS. Other than some activities relating to lodging and health care facilities, a TRS may generally engage in any business. We generally may not own more than 10% of the securities of a taxable corporation, as measured by voting power or value, unless we and such corporation elect to treat such corporation as a TRS. The separate existence of a TRS or other taxable corporation is not ignored for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporation generally is subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax on its earnings, which may reduce the cash flow that we and our subsidiaries generate in the aggregate, and may reduce our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

 

We are not treated as holding the assets of a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporation or as receiving any income that the subsidiary earns. Rather, the stock issued by a taxable subsidiary to us is an asset in our hands, and we treat the dividends paid to us from such taxable subsidiary, if any, as income. This treatment can affect our income and asset test calculations, as described below. Because we do not include the assets and income of TRSs or other taxable subsidiary corporations on a look-through basis in determining our compliance with the REIT requirements, we may use such entities to undertake indirectly activities that the REIT rules might otherwise preclude us from doing directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. For example, we may use TRSs or other taxable subsidiary corporations to perform services or conduct activities that give rise to certain categories of income such as management fees or to conduct activities that, if conducted by us directly, would be treated in our hands as prohibited transactions.

 

The TRS rules impose a 100% excise tax on transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT or the REIT’s tenants (if any) that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis. We intend that all of our transactions with our TRSs, if any, will be conducted on an arm’s-length basis. We may make loans to certain of our TRSs. Deductions for interest paid on any such loan by a TRS may be limited to the sum of (i) the interest income of the TRS for the taxable year, and (ii) 30% of the adjusted taxable income for the taxable year.

 

Ownership of interests in Subsidiary REITs

 

We own and may acquire direct or indirect interests in one or more entities that have elected or will elect to be taxed as REITs under the Code (each, a “Subsidiary REIT”). A Subsidiary REIT is subject to the various REIT qualification requirements and other limitations described herein that are applicable to us. If a Subsidiary REIT were to fail to qualify as a REIT, then (i) that Subsidiary REIT would become subject to U.S. federal income tax and (ii) the Subsidiary REIT’s failure to qualify could have an adverse effect on our ability to comply with the REIT income and asset tests, and thus could impair our ability to qualify as a REIT unless we could avail ourselves of certain relief provisions.

 

Income tests

 

To qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income requirements on an annual basis. First, at least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year, excluding gross income from sales of inventory or dealer property in “prohibited transactions,” discharge of indebtedness, certain hedging transactions and certain foreign currency gains, generally must be derived from investments relating to real property or mortgages on real property, including interest income derived from mortgage loans secured by real property (including certain types of mortgage-backed securities), “rents from real property,” dividends received from other REITs, and gains from the sale of real property, mortgages on real property, and shares in other REITs, as well as specified income from temporary investments. Second, at least 95% of our gross income in each taxable year, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, discharge of indebtedness, certain hedging transactions and certain foreign currency gains, must be derived from some combination of income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test described above, as well as other dividends, interest, and gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities, which need not have any relation to real property. Income and gain from certain hedging transactions will be excluded from both the numerator and the denominator for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

 

Interest income.  Interest income constitutes qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the 75% gross income test to the extent that the obligation upon which such interest is paid is secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property. If we receive interest income with respect to a mortgage loan that is secured by both real property and other property, and the highest principal amount of the loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property on the date that we acquired or originated the mortgage loan, the interest income generally will be apportioned between the real property and the other collateral, and our income from the arrangement will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test only to the extent that the

 

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interest is allocable to the real property.  Under Revenue Procedure 2014-51, the “principal amount” of the loan is treated as the face amount of the loan, despite the Code requiring taxpayers to treat any market discount (i.e. the difference between the purchase price of the loan and its face amount) for all purposes (other than certain withholding and information reporting purposes) as interest rather than principal. Under this position, a portion of the income generated by the instrument would not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test in cases where the underlying real property has declined in value. Any mortgage loan that we invest in that is not fully secured by real property may therefore be subject to the interest apportionment rules and the position taken in Revenue Procedure 2014-51 as described above. In certain cases, personal property collateral securing a loan that we hold may be treated as real property for purposes of the foregoing rules. In addition, in certain cases (unless a safe harbor applies pursuant to IRS guidance), the modification of a debt instrument could result in the conversion of the interest paid on the instrument from qualifying income to wholly or partially non-qualifying income, which may require that we dispose of the debt instrument or contribute it to a TRS in order to satisfy the income tests described above. Even if a loan is not secured by real property, or is undersecured, the income that it generates may nonetheless qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test.

 

In the case of mortgage-backed securities treated as interests in grantor trusts, we would be treated as owning an undivided beneficial ownership interest in the mortgage loans held by the grantor trust. The interest on such mortgage loans would be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test to the extent that the obligation is secured by real property, as discussed above. In the case of mortgage-backed securities treated as interests in a REMIC, income derived from REMIC interests will generally be treated as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income tests. If less than 95% of the assets of the REMIC are real estate assets, however, then only a proportionate part of our interest in the REMIC and income derived from the interest will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test. In addition, some REMIC securitizations include imbedded interest swap or cap contracts or other derivative instruments that potentially could produce non-qualifying income for the holder of the related REMIC securities. We expect that substantially all of our income from mortgage-backed securities will be qualifying income for purposes of the REIT gross income tests.

 

To the extent that the terms of a loan provide for contingent interest that is based on the cash proceeds realized upon the sale of the property securing the loan, income attributable to the participation feature will be treated as gain from sale of the underlying property, which generally will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests provided that the property is not held as inventory or dealer property. To the extent that we derive interest income from a mortgage loan, or income from the rental of real property, where all or a portion of the amount of interest or rental income payable is contingent, such income generally will qualify for purposes of the gross income tests only if it is based upon the gross receipts or sales, and not the net income or profits, of the borrower or lessee. This limitation does not apply, however, where the borrower or lessee leases substantially all of its interest in the property to tenants or subtenants, to the extent that the rental income derived by the borrower or lessee, as the case may be, would qualify as rents from real property had we earned the income directly.

 

We may invest in mezzanine loans, which are loans secured by equity interests in an entity that directly or indirectly owns real property, rather than by a direct mortgage of the real property. The IRS has issued Revenue Procedure 2003-65, which provides a safe harbor applicable to mezzanine loans. Under Revenue Procedure 2003-65, if a mezzanine loan meets each of the requirements contained in that Revenue Procedure, (1) the mezzanine loan will be treated by the IRS as a real estate asset for purposes of the asset tests described below, and (2) interest derived from the mezzanine loan will be treated as qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Although Revenue Procedure 2003-65 provides a safe harbor on which taxpayers may rely, it does not prescribe rules of substantive tax law. We intend to structure any investments in mezzanine loans in a manner that complies with the various requirements applicable to our qualification as a REIT. To the extent that any of our mezzanine loans do not meet all of the requirements for reliance on the safe harbor set forth in Revenue Procedure 2003-65, however, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not challenge the tax treatment of these loans.

 

Rents from real property.  Rents received by us, if any, will qualify as “rents from real property” in satisfying the gross income requirements described above only if several conditions are met. If rent is partly attributable to personal property leased in connection with a lease of real property, the portion of the rent that is attributable to the personal property will not qualify as “rents from real property” unless it constitutes 15% or less of the total rent received under the lease. In addition, the amount of rent must not be based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. Amounts received as rent, however, generally will not be excluded from rents from real property solely by reason of being based on fixed percentages of gross receipts or sales. Moreover, for rents received by us, if any, to qualify as “rents from real property,” we generally must not operate or manage the property or furnish or render services to the tenants of such property, other than through an “independent contractor” from which we derive no revenue. We are permitted, however, to perform services that are “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and which are not otherwise considered rendered to the occupant of the property. In addition, we may directly or indirectly provide non customary services to tenants of our properties without disqualifying all of the rent from the property if the payments for such services does not exceed 1% of the total gross income from the property. For purposes of this test, we are deemed to have received income from such non customary services in an amount at least 150% of the direct cost of providing the services. Moreover, we are generally permitted to provide services to tenants or others through a TRS without disqualifying the rental income

 

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received from tenants for purposes of the income tests. Also, rental income will qualify as rents from real property only to the extent that we do not directly or constructively hold a 10% or greater interest, as measured by vote or value, in the lessee’s equity, except in certain situations involving TRSs.

 

Dividend income.  We may directly or indirectly receive distributions from TRSs or other corporations that are not REITs or qualified REIT subsidiaries. These distributions generally are treated as dividend income to the extent of the earnings and profits of the distributing corporation. Such distributions will generally constitute qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test, but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Any dividends that we receive from a REIT, however, will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 95% and 75% gross income tests. Income inclusions from equity investments in certain foreign corporations, such as controlled foreign corporations and passive foreign investment companies, as defined in the Code, are technically neither dividends nor any of the other enumerated categories of income specified in the 95% gross income test for U.S. federal income tax purposes. However, under IRS guidance, certain of such inclusions generally will constitute qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test.

 

We will monitor the amount of the dividend and other income from our TRSs and will take actions intended to keep this income, and any other non-qualifying income, within the limitations of the gross income tests. Although we intend to take these actions to prevent a violation of the gross income tests, we cannot guarantee that such actions will in all cases prevent such a violation.

 

Fee income.  Fees will generally be qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests if they are received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by real property and the fees are not determined by income or profits. Other fees generally will not be qualifying income for purposes of either gross income test. Any fees earned by a TRS, however, will not be included for purposes of the gross income tests.

 

Hedging transactions.  Any income or gain that we or our pass-through subsidiaries derive from instruments that hedge certain specified risks will be excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests, provided that specified requirements are met, including the requirement that the instrument is entered into in the normal course of our business and that the instrument be properly identified as a hedge along with the risk that it hedges within prescribed time periods. Income and gain from all other hedging transactions will not be qualifying income for either the 95% or 75% gross income test. See “—Derivatives and Hedging Transactions.”

 

Foreign Currency Gain.  From time to time we may acquire non-U.S. investments. These investments could cause us to incur foreign currency gains or losses. Any foreign currency gains we recognize that are attributable to specified assets or items of qualifying income or gain for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test generally will not constitute gross income for purposes of the applicable test, and therefore will be exempt from such test, provided we do not deal in or engage in substantial and regular trading such securities.

 

Failure to satisfy the gross income tests.  If we fail to satisfy one or both of the 75% or 95% gross income tests for any taxable year, we may still qualify as a REIT for such year if we are entitled to relief under applicable provisions of the Code. These relief provisions will generally be available if: (i) our failure to meet these tests was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect; and (ii) following our identification of the failure to meet the 75% or 95% gross income test for any taxable year, we file a schedule with the IRS setting forth each item of our gross income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test for such taxable year in accordance with Treasury regulations yet to be issued. It is not possible to state whether we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions in all circumstances. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances, we will not qualify as a REIT. Even where these relief provisions apply, the Code imposes a tax based upon the amount by which we fail to satisfy the particular gross income test.

 

Timing differences between receipt of cash and recognition of income.  Due to the nature of the assets in which we will invest, we may be required to recognize taxable income from those assets in advance of our receipt of cash flow on or proceeds from disposition of such assets, and may be required to report taxable income in early periods that exceeds the economic income ultimately realized on such assets.

 

We may acquire debt instruments, including mortgage-backed securities, in the secondary market for less than their face amount. The discount at which such securities or debt instruments are acquired may reflect doubts about their ultimate collectability rather than current market interest rates. The amount of such discount may nevertheless generally be treated as “market discount” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accrued market discount is generally recognized as income when, and to the extent that, any payment of principal on the mortgage-backed security or debt instrument is made, unless we elect to include accrued market discount in income as it accrues. We expect to accrue market discount on the basis of a constant yield to maturity of a debt instrument.  Principal payments on certain loans are made monthly, and consequently accrued market discount may have to be included in income each month as if the debt instrument were assured of ultimately being collected in full.  If we collect less on the mortgage-backed

 

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security or debt instrument than our purchase price plus the market discount we had previously reported as income, we may not be able to benefit from any offsetting loss deductions.

 

Moreover, some of the mortgage-backed securities that we acquire may have been issued with original issue discount. In general, we will be required to accrue original issue discount based on the constant yield to maturity of the securities, and to treat it as taxable income in accordance with applicable U.S. federal income tax rules even though smaller or no cash payments are received on such securities. As in the case of the market discount discussed in the preceding paragraph, the constant yield in question will be determined and we will be taxed based on the assumption that all future payments due on the mortgage-backed securities in question will be made, with consequences similar to those described in the previous paragraph if all payments on the securities are not made.

 

In addition, we may acquire distressed debt investments, including mortgage-backed securities, that are subsequently modified by agreement with the borrower. If the amendments to the outstanding debt are “significant modifications” under the applicable Treasury regulations, the modified debt may be considered to have been reissued to us in a debt-for-debt exchange with the borrower. In that event, we may be required to recognize taxable gain to the extent the issue price (generally, the principal amount) of the modified debt exceeds our adjusted tax basis in the unmodified debt, even if the value of the debt or the payment expectations have not changed. Following such a taxable modification, we would hold the modified loan with a cost basis equal to its issue price for U.S. federal tax purposes. To the extent that such modifications are made with respect to a debt instrument held by a TRS that is treated as a dealer or trader and that makes an election to use mark-to-market accounting, such TRS would be required at the end of each taxable year, including the taxable year in which any such modification were made, to mark the modified debt instrument to its fair market value as if the debt instrument were sold. In that case, the TRS could recognize a loss at the end of the taxable year in which the modifications were made to the extent that the fair market value of such debt instrument at such time was less than the instrument’s tax basis.

 

In addition, in the event mortgage-backed securities, or any debt instruments we are treated as holding pursuant to our investments in mortgage-backed securities, are delinquent as to mandatory principal and interest payments, we may nonetheless be required to continue to recognize the unpaid interest as taxable income as it accrues, despite doubt as to its ultimate collectability. Similarly, we may be required to accrue interest income with respect to subordinate mortgage-backed securities at the stated rate regardless of whether corresponding cash payments are received.

 

We may be required under the terms of indebtedness that we incur to use cash received from interest payments to make principal payments on that indebtedness, with the effect of recognizing income but not having a corresponding amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

 

Finally, we are required to recognize certain items of income for U.S. federal income tax purposes no later than when we would report such items on our financial statements. This requirement generally applies to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, but applies with respect to income from a debt instrument having original issue discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes only for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2018.

 

Due to each of these potential timing differences between income recognition or expense deduction and cash receipts or disbursements, there is a significant risk that we may have substantial taxable income in excess of cash available for distribution. In that event, we may need to borrow funds or take other action to satisfy the REIT distribution requirements for the taxable year in which this “phantom income” is recognized. See “—Taxation of the Company—Annual distribution requirements.”

 

Asset tests

 

At the close of each calendar quarter, we must also satisfy five tests relating to the nature of our assets. First, at least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by some combination of “real estate assets,” cash, cash items, U.S. government securities, and, under some circumstances, stock or debt instruments purchased with new capital. For this purpose, real estate assets include some kinds of mortgage-backed securities and mortgage loans, as well as interests in real property (and certain ancillary personal property), stock of other corporations that qualify as REITs, debt instruments (whether or not secured by real property) that are issued by a “publicly offered REIT” (i.e., a REIT that is required to file annual and periodic reports with the SEC under the Exchange Act) and personal property leased in connection with a lease of real property for which the rent attributable to personal property is not greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease. Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.

 

Second, the value of any one issuer’s securities that we own may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets.

 

Third, we may not own more than 10% of any one issuer’s outstanding securities, as measured by either voting power or value. The 5% and 10% asset tests do not apply to real estate assets, securities of TRSs and qualified REIT subsidiaries and the value

 

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prong of the 10% asset test does not apply to “straight debt” having specified characteristics and to certain other securities described below. Solely for purposes of the value prong of the 10% asset test, the determination of our interest in the assets of a partnership or limited liability company in which we own an interest will be based on our proportionate interest in any securities issued by the partnership or limited liability company, excluding for this purpose certain securities described in the Code.

 

Fourth, the aggregate value of all securities of TRSs that we hold may not exceed 20% (or, for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018, 25%) of the value of our total assets. We believe that the aggregate value of our TRSs will not exceed 20% of the aggregate value of our gross assets. No independent appraisals have been obtained to support these conclusions. In addition, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not disagree with our determinations of value.

 

Fifth, no more than 25% of the total value of our assets may be represented by “nonqualified publicly offered REIT debt instruments” (i.e., real estate assets that would cease to be real estate assets if debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs were not included in the definition of real estate assets).

 

Notwithstanding the general rule, as noted above, that for purposes of the REIT income and asset tests we are treated as owning our proportionate share of the underlying assets of a subsidiary partnership, if we hold indebtedness issued by a partnership, the indebtedness will generally be subject to, and may cause a violation of, the asset tests unless the indebtedness is a qualifying mortgage asset, satisfies the rules for “straight debt” or other conditions are met. Similarly, although stock of a non-publicly offered REIT is a qualifying asset for purposes of the REIT asset tests, any non-mortgage debt that is issued by a non-publicly offered REIT may not so qualify (such debt, however, will not be treated as “securities” for purposes of the value prong of the 10% asset value test, as explained below).

 

Certain securities will not cause a violation of the 10% asset value test described above. Such securities include instruments that constitute “straight debt,” which term generally excludes, among other things, securities having certain contingency features. A security does not qualify as “straight debt” where a REIT (or a controlled TRS of the REIT) owns other securities of the same issuer which do not qualify as straight debt, unless the value of those other securities constitute, in the aggregate, 1% or less of the total value of that issuer’s outstanding securities. In addition to straight debt, the Code provides that certain other securities will not violate the 10% asset value test. Such securities include: (i) any loan made to an individual or an estate; (ii) certain rental agreements pursuant to which one or more payments are to be made in subsequent years (other than agreements between a REIT and certain persons related to the REIT under attribution rules); (iii) any obligation to pay rents from real property; (iv) securities issued by governmental entities that are not dependent in whole or in part on the profits of (or payments made by) a non-governmental entity; (v) any security (including debt securities) issued by another REIT; and (vi) any debt instrument issued by a partnership if the partnership’s income is of a nature that it would satisfy the 75% gross income test described above under “—Income tests.” In applying the 10% asset value test, a debt security issued by a partnership is not taken into account to the extent, if any, of the REIT’s proportionate interest in the equity and certain debt securities issued by that partnership.

 

In the case of mortgage-backed securities treated as interests in grantor trusts, we would be treated as owning an undivided beneficial ownership interest in the mortgage loans held by the grantor trust. Such mortgage loans will generally qualify as real estate assets to the extent that they are secured by real property.

 

In the case of mortgage-backed securities treated as interests in a REMIC, such interests will generally qualify as real estate assets. If less than 95% of the assets of a REMIC are real estate assets, however, then only a proportionate part of our interest in the REMIC and income derived from the interest will qualify for purposes of the REIT asset tests.

 

If we invest in a mortgage loan that is not fully secured by real property, Revenue Procedure 2014-51 may apply to determine what portion of the mortgage loan will be treated as a real estate asset for purposes of the 75% asset test. Pursuant to this guidance, the IRS has announced that it will not challenge a REIT’s treatment of a loan as a real estate asset in its entirety to the extent that the value of the loan is equal to or less than the value of the real property securing the loan at the relevant testing date.

 

If we hold a “residual interest” in a REMIC from which we derive “excess inclusion income,” we will be required to either distribute the excess inclusion income or pay tax on it (or a combination of the two), even though we may not receive the income in cash. To the extent that distributed excess inclusion income is allocable to a particular stockholder, the income: (i) would not be allowed to be offset by any net operating losses otherwise available to the stockholder; (ii) would be subject to tax as unrelated business taxable income in the hands of most types of stockholders that are otherwise generally exempt from U.S. federal income tax; and (iii) would result in the application of U.S. federal income tax withholding at the maximum rate (30%), without reduction pursuant to any otherwise applicable income tax treaty or other exemption, to the extent allocable to most types of foreign stockholders. Moreover, any excess inclusion income that we receive that is allocable to specified categories of tax-exempt investors which are not subject to UBIT, such as government entities or charitable remainder trusts, may be subject to corporate-level income tax in our hands, whether or not it is distributed.

 

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In addition, certain of our mezzanine loans may qualify for the safe harbor in Revenue Procedure 2003-65 pursuant to which certain loans secured by a first priority security interest in ownership interests in a partnership or limited liability company will be treated as qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% real estate asset test and the 10% vote or value test. See “—Income tests.” We may make some mezzanine loans that do not qualify for that safe harbor and that do not qualify as “straight debt” securities or for one of the other exclusions from the definition of “securities” for purposes of the 10% asset value test. We intend to make such investments in such a manner as not to fail the asset tests described above, and we believe that our existing investments satisfy such requirements. We believe that our holdings of securities and other assets will comply with the foregoing REIT asset requirements, and we intend to monitor compliance on an ongoing basis.

 

We may acquire certain participation interests, or “B-Notes,” in mortgage loans originated by other lenders. A B-Note is an interest created in an underlying loan by virtue of a participation or similar agreement, to which the originator of the loan is a party, along with one or more participants.  The borrower on the underlying loan is typically not a party to the participation agreement. The performance of a participant’s investment depends upon the performance of the underlying loan, and if the underlying borrower defaults, the participant typically has no recourse against the originator of the loan. The originator often retains a senior position in the underlying loan, and grants junior participations, which will be a first loss position in the event of a default by the borrower. We may invest in participations in real estate loans that we believe qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test, and that interest derived from such investments will be treated as qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the 75% income test. The appropriate treatment of participation interests for U.S. federal income tax purposes is not entirely certain, and no assurance can be given that the IRS will not challenge our treatment of participation interests.

 

We enter into sale and repurchase agreements under which we nominally sell certain of our mortgage-backed securities to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase the sold assets in exchange for a purchase price that reflects a financing charge. Economically, these agreements are financings, which are secured by the securities “sold” pursuant thereto. We believe that we will be treated for REIT asset and income test purposes as the owner of the securities that are the subject of any such agreement notwithstanding that such agreements may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we did not own the mortgage-backed securities during the term of the sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to qualify as a REIT.

 

No independent appraisals have been obtained to support our conclusions as to the value of our total assets or the value of any particular security or securities. Moreover, values of some assets, including instruments issued in securitization transactions, may not be susceptible to a precise determination, and values are subject to change in the future. Furthermore, the proper classification of an instrument as debt or equity for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be uncertain in some circumstances, which could affect the application of the REIT asset requirements. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not contend that our interests in our subsidiaries or in the securities of other issuers will not cause a violation of the REIT asset tests.

 

However, certain relief provisions are available to allow REITs to satisfy the asset requirements or to maintain REIT qualification notwithstanding certain violations of the asset and other requirements. One such provision allows a REIT which fails one or more of the asset requirements to nevertheless maintain its REIT qualification if: (i) the REIT provides the IRS with a description of each asset causing the failure; (ii) the failure is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect; (iii) the REIT pays a tax equal to the greater of (a) $50,000 per failure, and (b) the product of the net income generated by the assets that caused the failure multiplied by the highest applicable corporate tax rate (currently 21%); and (iv) the REIT either disposes of the assets causing the failure within six months after the last day of the quarter in which it identifies the failure, or otherwise satisfies the relevant asset tests within that time frame.

 

In the case of de minimis violations of the 10% and 5% asset tests, a REIT may maintain its qualification despite a violation of such requirements if: (i) the value of the assets causing the violation does not exceed the lesser of 1% of the REIT’s total assets and $10,000,000; and (ii) the REIT either disposes of the assets causing the failure within six months after the last day of the quarter in which it identifies the failure, or the relevant tests are otherwise satisfied within that time frame.

 

If we should fail to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a calendar quarter, such a failure would not cause us to lose our REIT qualification if we: (i) satisfied the asset tests at the close of the preceding calendar quarter; and (ii) the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset requirements was not wholly or partly caused by an acquisition of non-qualifying assets, but instead arose from changes in the market value of our assets. If the condition described in (ii) were not satisfied, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose or by making use of relief provisions described below.

 

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Annual distribution requirements

 

In order to qualify as a REIT, we are required to distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends, to our stockholders in an amount at least equal to:

 

(a)                                 the sum of:

 

(i)                                     90% of our net taxable income, computed without regard to our net capital gain and the deduction for dividends paid, and

 

(ii)                                  90% of our net income, if any, (after tax) from foreclosure property (as described below), minus

 

(b)                                 the sum of specified items of non-cash income.

 

We generally must make these distributions in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if declared before we timely file our tax return for the year and if paid with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration.

 

In addition, our REIT taxable income will be reduced by any taxes we are required to pay on any gain we recognize from the disposition of any asset we acquired from a corporation which was or had been a C corporation in a transaction in which our tax basis in the asset was less than the fair market value of the asset, in each case determined as of the date on which we acquired the asset, within the five-year period following our acquisition of such asset, as described above under “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation of the Company—General.”

 

To the extent that we distribute at least 90%, but less than 100%, of our REIT taxable income, as adjusted, we will be subject to tax at ordinary corporate tax rates on the retained portion. We may elect to retain, rather than distribute, our net long-term capital gains and pay tax on such gains. In this case, we could elect for our stockholders to include their proportionate shares of such undistributed long-term capital gains in income, and to receive a corresponding credit for their share of the tax that we paid. Our stockholders would then increase their adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between: (a) the amounts of capital gain dividends that we designated and that they include in their taxable income, and (b) the tax that we paid on their behalf with respect to that income.

 

To the extent that in the future we may have available net operating losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Such losses, however, will generally not affect the character, in the hands of our stockholders, of any distributions that are actually made as ordinary dividends or capital gains. See “—Taxation of stockholders—Taxation of taxable U.S. Holders—Distributions.”

 

If we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of: (i) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year; (ii) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year; and (iii) any undistributed net taxable income from prior periods, we will be subject to a non-deductible 4% excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the sum of: (a) the amounts actually distributed, plus (b) the amounts of income we retained and on which we have paid U.S. federal corporate income tax.

 

As discussed above under “—Income tests—Timing differences between receipt of cash and recognition of income,” it is possible that, from time to time, we may not have sufficient cash to meet the distribution requirements due to timing differences between our actual receipt of cash and our inclusion of items in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In the event that such timing differences occur, in order to meet the distribution requirements, it might be necessary for us to arrange for short-term, or possibly long-term, borrowings, or to pay dividends in the form of taxable in-kind distributions of property. Alternatively, we may declare a taxable dividend payable in cash or stock at the election of each stockholder, where the aggregate amount of cash to be distributed in such dividend may be subject to limitation. In such case, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits.

 

We may be able to rectify a failure to meet the distribution requirements for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to stockholders in a later year, which may be included in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. In this case, we may be able to avoid losing REIT qualification or being taxed on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends, subject to the 4% excise tax described above. We will be required to pay interest based on the amount of any deduction taken for deficiency dividends.

 

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It may not be possible for us to distribute all of our REIT taxable income or net capital gain. From time to time we may elect to not distribute all of our REIT taxable income (other than net capital gain) and pay the applicable tax thereon, while still satisfying the annual distribution requirements. It is possible that we may not have sufficient cash or other liquid assets to meet the annual distribution requirements due to tax accounting rules and other timing differences. Other potential sources of non-cash taxable income include:

 

·                  “residual interests” in REMICs or TMPs

 

·                  loans or mortgage based securities held as assets that are issued at a discount and require the accrual of taxable economic interest in advance of receipt in cash; and

 

·                  loans which the borrower is permitted to defer cash payment of interest, distressed loans on which we may be required to accrue taxable interest income even though the borrower is unable to make current servicing payments in cash, and debt securities purchased at a discount.

 

Prohibited transactions

 

Net income that we derive from a prohibited transaction is subject to a 100% tax. The term “prohibited transaction” generally includes a sale or other disposition of property (other than foreclosure property, as discussed below) that is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business by us or by a borrower that has issued a shared appreciation mortgage or similar debt instrument to us. We intend to conduct our operations so that no asset that we own (or are treated as owning) will be treated as, or as having been, held as inventory or for sale to customers, and that a sale of any such asset will not be treated as having been in the ordinary course of our business. Whether property is held as inventory or “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” depends on the particular facts and circumstances. No assurance can be given that any property that we sell will not be treated as inventory or property held for sale to customers, or that we can comply with certain safe-harbor provisions of the Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% tax does not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular corporate rates.

 

Foreclosure property

 

Foreclosure property is real property and any personal property incident to such real property: (i) that we acquire as the result of having bid on the property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced the property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after a default (or upon imminent default) on a lease of the property or a mortgage loan held by us and secured by the property; (ii) for which we acquired the related loan or lease at a time when default was not imminent or anticipated; and (iii) with respect to which we made a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property. We generally will be subject to tax at the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate (currently 21%) on any net income from foreclosure property, including any gain from the disposition of the foreclosure property, other than income that would otherwise be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Any gain from the sale of property for which a foreclosure property election has been made will not be subject to the 100% tax on gains from prohibited transactions described above, even if the property would otherwise constitute inventory or dealer property. If we believe we will receive any income from foreclosure property that is not qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, we intend to elect to treat the related property as foreclosure property.

 

Derivatives and hedging transactions

 

We may enter into hedging transactions with respect to interest rate exposure on one or more of our assets or liabilities. Any such hedging transactions could take a variety of forms, including the use of derivative instruments such as interest rate swap contracts, interest rate cap or floor contracts, futures or forward contracts, and options. Except to the extent provided by Treasury regulations, any income from a hedging transaction (including gain from the sale, disposition, or termination of a position in such a transaction) will not constitute gross income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test if we properly identify the transaction as specified in applicable Treasury regulations and we enter into such transaction (i) in the normal course of our business primarily to manage risk of interest rate changes or currency fluctuations with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets; (ii) primarily to manage risk of currency fluctuations with respect to any item of income or gain that would be qualifying income under the 75% or 95% income tests; or (iii) in connection with the extinguishment of indebtedness with respect to which we have entered into a qualified hedging position described in clause (i) or the disposition of property with respect to which we have entered into a qualified hedging position described in clause (ii), primarily to manage the risks of such hedging positions. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both of the 75% and 95% gross income tests. We intend to

 

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structure any hedging transactions in a manner that will not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT. We may conduct some or all of our hedging activities (including hedging activities relating to currency risk) through a TRS or other corporate entity, the income from which may be subject to U.S. federal income tax, rather than by participating in the arrangements directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. No assurance can be given, however, that our hedging activities will not give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of either or both of the REIT gross income tests, or that our hedging activities will not adversely affect our ability to satisfy the REIT qualification requirements.

 

Taxable mortgage pools and excess inclusion income

 

An entity, or a portion of an entity, may be classified as a TMP, under the Code if:

 

·                                          substantially all of its assets consist of debt obligations or interests in debt obligations;

 

·                                          more than 50% of those debt obligations are real estate mortgages or interests in real estate mortgages as of specified testing dates;

 

·                                          the entity has issued debt obligations (liabilities) that have two or more maturities; and

 

·                                          the payments required to be made by the entity on its debt obligations (liabilities) “bear a relationship” to the payments to be received by the entity on the debt obligations that it holds as assets.

 

Under Treasury regulations, if less than 80% of the assets of an entity (or a portion of an entity) consist of debt obligations, these debt obligations are considered not to comprise “substantially all” of its assets, and therefore the entity would not be treated as a TMP. Our financing and securitization arrangements may give rise to TMPs, with the consequences as described below.

 

Where an entity, or a portion of an entity, is classified as a TMP, it is generally treated as a taxable corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In the case of a REIT, or a portion of a REIT, or a disregarded subsidiary of a REIT, that is a TMP, however, special rules apply. The TMP is not treated as a corporation that is subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax, and the TMP classification does not adversely affect the qualification of the REIT. Rather, the consequences of the TMP classification would, in general, except as described below, be limited to the stockholders of the REIT.

 

A portion of the REIT’s income from the TMP arrangement could be treated as “excess inclusion income.” The REIT’s excess inclusion income, including any excess inclusion income from a residual interest in a REMIC, must be allocated among its stockholders in proportion to dividends paid. The REIT is required to notify stockholders of the amount of “excess inclusion income” allocated to them. A stockholder’s share of excess inclusion income:

 

·                                          cannot be offset by any net operating losses otherwise available to the stockholder;

 

·                                          in the case of a shareholder that is a REIT, a regulated investment company, or a common trust fund or other pass-through entity, is considered excess inclusion income of such entity;

 

·                                          is subject to tax as “unrelated business taxable income, or “UBTI” in the hands of most types of stockholders that are otherwise generally exempt from U.S. federal income tax; and

 

·                                          results in the application of U.S. federal income tax withholding at the maximum rate (30%), without reduction for any otherwise applicable income tax treaty or other exemption, to the extent allocable to most types of foreign stockholders.

 

See “—Taxation of stockholders.” To the extent that excess inclusion income is allocated to a tax-exempt stockholder of a REIT that is not subject to UBIT (such as a government entity or charitable remainder trust), the REIT may be subject to tax on this income at the applicable corporate tax rate (currently 21%). In that case, the REIT could reduce distributions to such stockholders by the amount of such tax paid by the REIT attributable to such stockholder’s ownership. Treasury regulations provide that such a reduction in distributions does not give rise to a preferential dividend that could adversely affect the REIT’s compliance with its distribution requirements. See “—Taxation of the Company—Annual distribution requirements.”

 

The manner in which excess inclusion income is calculated, or would be allocated to stockholders, including allocations among shares of different classes of stock, is not clear under current law. As required by IRS guidance, we intend to make such

 

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determinations using a reasonable method. Tax-exempt investors, foreign investors and taxpayers with net operating losses should carefully consider the tax consequences described above, and are urged to consult their tax advisors.

 

If a subsidiary partnership of ours that we do not wholly-own, directly or through one or more disregarded entities, were a TMP, the foregoing rules would not apply. Rather, the partnership that is a TMP would be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes and potentially would be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax or withholding tax. In addition, this characterization would alter our income and asset test calculations, and could adversely affect our compliance with those requirements. We intend to monitor the structure of any TMPs in which we have an interest to ensure that they will not adversely affect our qualification as a REIT.

 

Asset-backed securities

 

Investments in asset-backed securities, or “ABS”, generally are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test applicable to REITs and generally do not generate qualifying income for purposes of the 75% income test applicable to REITs. As a result, we may be limited in our ability to invest in such assets.

 

Failure to qualify

 

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification other than the income or asset tests, we could avoid disqualification if our failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and we pay a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure. Relief provisions are available for failures of the income tests and asset tests, as described above in “—Income tests” and “—Asset tests.”

 

If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year, and the relief provisions described above do not apply, we would be subject to tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We cannot deduct distributions to stockholders in any year in which we are not a REIT, nor would we be required to make distributions in such a year. In this situation, to the extent of current and accumulated earnings and profits, distributions to most domestic stockholders that are U.S. individuals, trusts or estates will generally be taxable at preferential income tax rates for qualified dividends (which are the U.S. income tax rates applicable to long-term capital gains). In addition, subject to the limitations of the Code, corporate distributees may be eligible for the dividends received deduction. Unless we are entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we would also be disqualified from re-electing to be taxed as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we lost qualification. It is not possible to state whether, in all circumstances, we would be entitled to this statutory relief.

 

Characterization of Property Leases

 

We may purchase either new or existing properties and lease them to tenants. Our ability to claim certain tax benefits associated with ownership of these properties, such as depreciation, would depend on a determination that the lease transactions are true leases, under which we would be the owner of the leased property for U.S. federal income tax purposes, rather than a conditional sale of the property or a financing transaction. A determination by the IRS that we are not the owner of any properties for U.S. federal income tax purposes may have adverse consequences to us, such as the denial of depreciation deductions (which could affect the determination of our REIT taxable income subject to the distribution requirements) or the aggregate value of our assets invested in real estate (which could affect REIT asset testing).

 

Taxation of stockholders

 

Taxation of taxable U.S. Holders

 

As used herein, the term “U.S. Holder” means a holder of our common stock who for U.S. federal income tax purposes is:

 

·                                          an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States;

 

·                                          a corporation (or entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States, or of any state thereof, or the District of Columbia;

 

·                                          an estate, the income of which is includable in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes regardless of its source; or

 

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·                                          a trust if (i) a U.S. court is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of such trust and one or more U.S. fiduciaries have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust, or (ii) the trust has a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person.

 

If a partnership, including for this purpose any entity or arrangement that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, holds our common stock, the tax treatment of a partner in the partnership will generally depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. An investor that is a partnership and the partners in such partnership should consult their tax advisors about the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our common stock.

 

Distributions.  So long as we qualify as a REIT, the distributions that we make to our U.S. Holders out of current or accumulated earnings and profits that we do not designate as capital gain dividends will generally be taken into account by such stockholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporations. With limited exceptions, our dividends are not eligible for taxation at preferential income tax rates (which are U.S. federal income tax rates applicable to long-term capital gains) for qualified dividends received by most domestic U.S. Holders that are individuals, trusts and estates from taxable C corporations. However, for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026, non-corporate taxpayers may deduct up to 20% of certain qualified business income, including “qualified REIT dividends” (generally, dividends received by a REIT stockholder that are not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income), subject to certain limitations, resulting in an effective maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 29.6% on such income. Additionally, such U.S. Holders are taxed at the preferential rates on dividends designated by and received from REITs to the extent that the dividends are attributable to:

 

·                                          income retained by the REIT in the prior taxable year on which the REIT was subject to corporate level income tax (less the amount of tax);

 

·                                          dividends received by the REIT from TRSs or other taxable C corporations; or

 

·                                          income in the prior taxable year from the sales of “built-in gain” property acquired by the REIT from C corporations in carryover basis transactions (less the amount of corporate tax on such income).

 

Distributions that we designate as capital gain dividends generally will be taxed to our U.S. Holders as long-term capital gains, to the extent that such distributions do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year, without regard to the period for which the U.S. Holder that receives such distribution has held its stock. We may elect to retain and pay taxes on some or all of our net long-term capital gains, in which case provisions of the Code will treat our U.S. Holders as having received, solely for tax purposes, our undistributed capital gains, and the U.S. Holders will receive a corresponding credit for taxes that we paid on such undistributed capital gains. See “—Taxation of the Company—Annual distribution requirements.” Corporate U.S. Holders may be required to treat up to 20% of some capital gain dividends as ordinary income. Long-term capital gains are generally taxable at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% in the case of stockholders that are individuals, trusts or estates, and a flat rate of 21% in the case of stockholders that are corporations. Capital gains attributable to the sale of depreciable real property held for more than 12 months are subject to a 25% regular U.S. federal income tax rate for taxpayers who are taxed as individuals, to the extent of previously claimed depreciation deductions.

 

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will generally represent a return of capital and will not be taxable to a U.S. Holder to the extent that the amount of such distributions does not exceed the adjusted basis of the U.S. Holder’s shares in respect of which the distributions were made. Rather, the distribution will reduce the adjusted basis of the U.S. Holder’s shares. To the extent that such distributions exceed the adjusted basis of a U.S. Holder’s shares, such holder generally must include such distributions in income as long-term capital gain, or short-term capital gain if the shares have been held for one year or less. In addition, any dividend that we declare in October, November or December of any year and that is payable to a stockholder of record on a specified date in any such month will be treated as both paid by us and received by the stockholder on December 31 of such year, provided that we actually pay the dividend before the end of January of the following calendar year.

 

To the extent that we have available net operating losses and capital losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Any net operating losses generated in years beginning after December 31, 2017 will only be able to offset 80% of our net taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction). See “—Taxation of the Company—Annual distribution requirements.” Such losses, however, are not passed through to stockholders and do not offset income of stockholders from other sources, nor would such losses affect the character of any distributions that we make, which are generally subject to tax in the hands of stockholders to the extent that we have current or accumulated earnings and profits.

 

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Dispositions of Company stock.  If a U.S. Holder sells or disposes of shares of our stock, it will generally recognize gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash and the fair market value of any property received on the sale or other disposition and the stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in the shares of Company stock. In general, capital gains recognized by individuals, trusts or estates upon the sale or disposition of our stock will be subject to a maximum regular U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% if the stock is held for more than one year, and will be taxed at ordinary income rates (of up to 37%) if the stock is held for one year or less. Gains recognized by U.S. Holders that are corporations are subject to U.S. federal income tax at a rate of 21%, whether or not such gains are classified as long-term capital gains. Capital losses recognized by a U.S. Holder upon the disposition of our stock that was held for more than one year at the time of disposition will be considered long-term capital losses, and capital losses are generally available only to offset capital gain income of the U.S. Holder but not ordinary income (except in the case of non-corporate taxpayers, who may offset up to $3,000 of ordinary income each year). In addition, any loss upon a sale or exchange of shares of our stock by a U.S. Holder who has held the shares for six months or less, after applying holding period rules, will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of distributions that we make that are required to be treated by the stockholder as long-term capital gain.

 

If an investor recognizes a loss upon a subsequent disposition of our stock or other securities in an amount that exceeds a prescribed threshold, it is possible that the provisions of Treasury regulations involving “reportable transactions” could apply, with a resulting requirement to separately disclose the loss-generating transaction to the IRS. These regulations, though directed towards “tax shelters,” are broadly written and apply to transactions that would not typically be considered tax shelters. The Code imposes significant penalties for failure to comply with these requirements. You should consult your tax advisor concerning any possible disclosure obligation with respect to the receipt or disposition of our stock or securities or transactions that we might undertake directly or indirectly. Moreover, you should be aware that we and other participants in the transactions in which we are involved (including their advisors) might be subject to disclosure or other requirements pursuant to these regulations.

 

Passive activity losses and investment interest limitations.  Distributions that we make and gain arising from the sale or exchange by a U.S. Holder will not be treated as passive activity income. As a result, U.S. Holders will not be able to apply any “passive losses” against income or gain relating to our stock. To the extent that distributions we make do not constitute a return of capital, they will be treated as investment income for purposes of computing the investment interest limitation.

 

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding Tax. We will report to a U.S. holder and the IRS the amount of distributions we pay during each calendar year and the amount of tax we withhold, if any. Under the backup withholding rules, a U.S. holder of our common stock may be subject to backup withholding (currently at a rate of 24%) with respect to distributions unless such U.S. holder:

 

·                            is a corporation or comes within certain other exempt categories and, when required, demonstrates this fact; or

 

·                            provides an accurate taxpayer identification number, certifies as to no loss of exemption from backup withholding, and otherwise complies with the applicable requirements of the backup withholding rules.

 

Any amount paid as backup withholding will be creditable against a U.S. holder’s income tax liability, which may entitle a U.S. Holder to a refund, provided that proper information is timely provided to the IRS.

 

Taxation of foreign stockholders

 

The rules governing U.S. federal income taxation of the ownership and disposition of our common stock by persons that are, for purposes of such taxation, nonresident alien individuals, foreign corporations, foreign partnerships or foreign estates or trusts (collectively, “Non-U.S. Holders”) are complex, and no attempt is made herein to provide more than a brief summary of such rules. Accordingly, the discussion does not address all aspects of U.S. federal income tax law and does not address state, local or foreign tax consequences that may be relevant to a Non-U.S. Holder in light of its particular circumstances. In addition, this discussion is based on current law, which is subject to change, and assumes that the Company will qualify for taxation as a REIT. Non-U.S. Holders should consult their tax advisors to determine the impact of U.S. federal, state, local and foreign tax laws with regard to the ownership and disposition of our common stock (including reporting requirements) in light of their individual circumstances.

 

Ordinary dividends.  The portion of dividends received by Non-U.S. Holders that is: (i) payable out of our earnings and profits; (ii) which is not attributable to our capital gains; and (iii) which is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the Non-U.S. Holder, will be subject to U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30%, unless reduced or eliminated by treaty.

 

In general, Non-U.S. Holders will not be considered to be engaged in a U.S. trade or business solely as a result of their ownership of our stock. In cases where the dividend income from a Non-U.S. Holder’s investment in our stock is, or is treated as, effectively connected with the Non-U.S. Holder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the Non-U.S. Holder generally will be subject

 

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to U.S. federal income tax at graduated rates, in the same manner as domestic stockholders are taxed with respect to such dividends. Such income must generally be reported on a U.S. federal income tax return filed by or on behalf of the Non-U.S. Holder. The income may also be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the case of a Non-U.S. Holder that is a corporation.

 

Non-dividend distributions.  Unless our stock constitutes a U.S. real property interest (a “USRPI”) (as described below), distributions that we make which are not dividends out of our earnings and profits will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax. If we cannot determine at the time a distribution is made whether or not the distribution will exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, the distribution will be subject to withholding at the rate applicable to dividends. The Non-U.S. Holder may seek a refund from the IRS of any amounts withheld if it is subsequently determined that the distribution was, in fact, in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. If our stock constitutes a USRPI, as described below, distributions that we make in excess of the sum of: (a) the stockholder’s proportionate share of our earnings and profits, plus (b) the stockholder’s basis in its stock, will be taxed under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (“FIRPTA”), at the rate of tax, including any applicable capital gains rates, that would apply to a domestic stockholder of the same type (e.g., an individual or a corporation, as the case may be), and the collection of the tax will be enforced by a withholding at a rate of 15% of the amount by which the distribution exceeds the stockholder’s share of our earnings and profits.

 

Capital gain dividends.  Under FIRPTA, a distribution that we make to a Non-U.S. Holder, to the extent attributable to gains from dispositions of USRPIs that we held directly or through pass-through subsidiaries, or USRPI capital gains, will, except as described below, be considered effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the Non-U.S. Holder and will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the rates applicable to U.S. individuals or corporations, without regard to whether we designate the distribution as a capital gain dividend. See above under “—Taxation of foreign stockholders—Ordinary dividends,” for a discussion of the consequences of income that is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. In addition, we will be required to withhold tax equal to 21% of the maximum amount that could have been designated as USRPI capital gains dividends. Distributions subject to FIRPTA may also be subject to a 30% branch profits tax in the hands of a Non-U.S. Holder that is a corporation. A distribution is not attributable to USRPI capital gain if we held an interest in the underlying asset solely as a creditor. Capital gain dividends received by a Non-U.S. Holder that are attributable to dispositions of our assets other than USRPIs are not subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax, unless: (i) the gain is effectively connected with the Non-U.S. Holder’s U.S. trade or business, in which case the Non-U.S. Holder would be subject to the same treatment as U.S. holders with respect to such gain; or (ii) the Non-U.S. Holder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, in which case the Non-U.S. Holder will incur a 30% tax on his capital gains.

 

A capital gain dividend that would otherwise have been treated as a USRPI capital gain will not be so treated or be subject to FIRPTA, and generally will not be treated as income that is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, and instead will generally be treated in the same manner as an ordinary dividend (see “—Taxation of foreign stockholders—Ordinary dividends”), if: (i) the capital gain dividend is received with respect to a class of stock that is regularly traded on an established securities market located in the United States; and (ii) the recipient Non-U.S. Holder does not own more than 10% of that class of stock at any time during the year ending on the date on which the capital gain dividend is received. We anticipate that our common stock will be “regularly traded” on an established securities exchange.

 

Dispositions of Company stock.  Unless our stock constitutes a USRPI, a sale of our stock by a Non-U.S. Holder generally will not be subject to U.S. taxation under FIRPTA. Our stock will be treated as a USRPI if 50% or more of our assets throughout a prescribed testing period consist of interests in real property located within the United States, excluding, for this purpose, interests in real property solely in a capacity as a creditor. It is not currently anticipated that our stock will constitute a USRPI. However, we cannot assure you that our stock will not become a USRPI.

 

Even if the foregoing 50% test is met, our stock will not constitute a USRPI if we are a “domestically controlled qualified investment entity.” A domestically controlled qualified investment entity includes a REIT, less than 50% of the value of which is held directly or indirectly by Non-U.S. Holders at all times during a specified testing period (after applying certain presumptions regarding the ownership of our stock, as described in the Code). We believe that we are a domestically controlled qualified investment entity, and that a sale of our stock should not be subject to taxation under FIRPTA. However, no assurance can be given that we will be or will remain a domestically controlled qualified investment entity.

 

In the event that we are not a domestically controlled qualified investment entity, but our stock is “regularly traded,” as defined by applicable Treasury regulations, on an established securities market, a Non-U.S. Holder’s sale of our common stock nonetheless also would not be subject to tax under FIRPTA as a sale of a USRPI, provided that the selling Non-U.S. Holder held 10% or less of our outstanding common stock throughout the shorter of the five-year period ending on the date of the sale or the Non-U.S. Holder’s holding period. We expect that our common stock will be regularly traded on an established securities market.

 

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In addition, if a Non U.S. Holder disposes of such common stock during the 30-day period preceding the ex-dividend date of any dividend payment, and such Non U.S. Holder acquires or enters into a contract or option to acquire our common stock within 61 days of the first day of such 30-day period described above, and any portion of such dividend payment would, but for the disposition, be treated as USRPI capital gain to such Non U.S. Holder under FIRPTA, then such Non U.S. Holder will be treated as having USRPI capital gain in an amount that, but for the disposition, would have been treated as USRPI capital gain.

 

If gain on the sale of our stock were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the Non-U.S. Holder would be required to file a U.S. federal income tax return and would be subject to the same treatment as a domestic stockholder with respect to such gain, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of non-resident alien individuals, and the purchaser of the stock could be required to withhold 15% of the purchase price and remit such amount to the IRS.

 

Gain from the sale of our stock that would not otherwise be subject to FIRPTA will nonetheless be taxable in the United States to a Non-U.S. Holder in two cases: (i) if the Non-U.S. Holder’s investment in our stock is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business conducted by such Non-U.S. Holder, the Non-U.S. Holder will be subject to the same treatment as a domestic stockholder with respect to such gain; or (ii) if the Non-U.S. Holder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gain.

 

Special FIRPTA Rules.  In addition, there are special rules that modify the application of the foregoing FIRPTA rules for particular types of foreign investors, including “qualified foreign pension funds” and their wholly owned foreign subsidiaries and certain widely held, publicly traded “qualified collective investment vehicles.” Non U.S. stockholders are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding the applicability of these or any other special FIRPTA rules to their particular investment in our common stock.

 

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding Tax

 

Dividends paid to a Non-U.S. Holder may be subject to U.S. information reporting and backup withholding. A Non-U.S. Holder will be exempt from backup withholding if the Non-U.S. Holder provides a properly executed IRS Form W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E, as applicable, or otherwise meets documentary evidence requirements for establishing its status as a Non-U.S. Holder or otherwise establishes an exemption.

 

The gross proceeds from the disposition of our common stock may be subject to U.S. information reporting and backup withholding. If a Non-U.S. Holder sells our common stock outside the United States through a non-U.S. office of a non-U.S. broker and the sales proceeds are paid to the Non-U.S. Holder outside the United States, then the U.S. backup withholding and information reporting requirements generally will not apply to that payment. However, U.S. information reporting, but not U.S. backup withholding, will apply to a payment of sales proceeds, even if that payment is made outside the United States, if a Non-U.S. Holder sells our common stock through a non-U.S. office of a broker that is a United States person or has certain enumerated connections with the United States, unless the broker has documentary evidence in its files that the Non-U.S. Holder is not a United States person and certain other conditions are met or the Non-U.S. Holder otherwise establishes an exemption.

 

If a Non-U.S. Holder receives payments of the proceeds of a sale of our common stock to or through a U.S. office of a broker, the payment is subject to both U.S. backup withholding and information reporting unless the Non-U.S. Holder provides a properly executed IRS Form W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E, as applicable, certifying that the Non-U.S. Holder is not a “United States person” or the Non-U.S. Holder otherwise establishes an exemption.

 

A Non-U.S. Holder generally may obtain a refund of any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules that exceed the Non-U.S. Holder’s U.S. federal income tax liability by timely filing a refund claim with the IRS.

 

Estate tax.  If our stock is owned or treated as owned by an individual who is not a citizen or resident (as specially defined for U.S. federal estate tax purposes) of the United States at the time of such individual’s death, the stock will be includable in the individual’s gross estate for U.S. federal estate tax purposes, unless an applicable estate tax treaty provides otherwise, and may therefore be subject to U.S. federal estate tax.

 

Foreign stockholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income and other tax consequences of owning Company stock.

 

Taxation of tax-exempt stockholders

 

Tax-exempt entities, including qualified employee pension and profit sharing trusts and individual retirement accounts, generally are exempt from U.S. federal income taxation. However, they may be subject to taxation on their UBTI. While some

 

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investments in real estate may generate UBTI, the IRS has ruled that dividend distributions from a REIT to a tax-exempt entity do not constitute UBTI. Based on that ruling, and provided that: (i) a tax-exempt stockholder has not held our stock as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code (i.e., where the acquisition or holding of the property is financed through a borrowing by the tax-exempt stockholder); and (ii) our stock is not otherwise used in an unrelated trade or business, distributions that we make and income from the sale of our stock generally should not give rise to UBTI to a tax-exempt stockholder.

 

Tax-exempt stockholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations or supplemental unemployment benefit trusts exempt from U.S. federal income taxation under sections 501(c)(7), (c)(9) or (c)(17) of the Code are subject to different UBTI rules, which generally require such stockholders to characterize distributions that we make as UBTI.

 

In certain circumstances, a pension trust that owns more than 10% of our stock could be required to treat a percentage of the dividends as UBTI if we are a “pension-held REIT.” We will not be a pension-held REIT unless: (i) we are required to “look through” one or more of our pension trust stockholders in order to satisfy the REIT “closely-held” test; and (ii) either (a) one pension trust owns more than 25% of the value of our stock, or (b) one or more pension trusts, each individually holding more than 10% of the value of our stock, collectively owns more than 50% of the value of our stock. Certain restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock generally should prevent a tax-exempt entity from owning more than 10% of the value of our stock and generally should prevent us from becoming a pension-held REIT.

 

Tax-exempt stockholders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income and other tax consequences of owning Company stock.

 

Other tax considerations

 

Legislative or other actions affecting REITs

 

The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time. The REIT rules are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department which may result in statutory changes as well as revisions to regulations and interpretations. We cannot predict how changes in the tax laws might affect our investors or us. New legislation, Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions could significantly and negatively affect our ability to qualify as a REIT or the U.S. federal income tax consequences to our investors and us of such qualification.

 

In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA enacted at the end of 2017, made substantial changes to the Code. Among those changes are a significant permanent reduction in the previously applicable corporate tax rate, changes in the taxation of individuals and other non-corporate taxpayers that generally but not universally reduce their taxes on a temporary basis subject to “sunset” provisions, the elimination or modification of various previously allowed deductions (including additional limitations on the deductibility of business interest and substantial limitation on the deduction for state and local taxes imposed on individuals), and preferential taxation of income (including REIT dividends) derived by non-corporate taxpayers from “pass-through” entities. The TCJA also imposes certain additional limitations on the deduction of net operating losses, which may in the future cause us to make distributions that will be taxable to our stockholders to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits in order to comply with the annual REIT distribution requirements. The effect of these, and the many other, changes made in the TCJA is highly uncertain, both in terms of their direct effect on the taxation of an investment in our common stock and their indirect effect on the value of our assets. Furthermore, many of the provisions of the TCJA will require guidance through the issuance of. Treasury regulations in order to assess their effect. There may be a substantial delay before such regulations are promulgated, increasing the uncertainty as to the ultimate effect of the statutory amendments on us. It is also likely that there will be technical corrections legislation proposed with respect to the TCJA, the timing and effect of which cannot be predicted and may be adverse to us or our stockholders.

 

Medicare 3.8% tax on investment income

 

Certain U.S. holders who are individuals, estates or trusts and whose income exceeds certain thresholds are required to pay a 3.8% Medicare tax on their “net investment income,” which includes dividends received from us and capital gains from the sale or other disposition of our common stock. The temporary 20% deduction currently allowed with respect to ordinary REIT dividends received by non-corporate taxpayers is not allowed as a deduction allocable to such dividends for purposes of determining the amount of net investment income subject to the 3.8% Medicare tax. U.S. stockholders should consult their tax advisors regarding this tax on net investment income.

 

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Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

 

Withholding at a rate of 30% generally will be required on dividends, and gross proceeds from the sale of, our common stock held by or through certain foreign financial institutions (including investment funds), unless such institution enters into an agreement with the Treasury to report, on an annual basis, information with respect to shares in, and the accounts maintained by, the institution held by certain U.S. persons and by certain non-U.S. entities that are wholly or partially owned by U.S. persons and to withhold on certain payments. Accordingly, the entity through which our common stock is held will affect the determination of whether such withholding is required. Similarly, dividends, and gross proceeds from the sale of, our common stock held by an investor that is a non-financial non-U.S. entity which does not qualify under certain exemptions will be subject to withholding at a rate of 30%, unless such entity either (i) certifies that such entity does not have any “substantial United States owners” or (ii) provides certain information regarding the entity’s “substantial United States owners,” which the applicable withholding agent will in turn provide to the Secretary of the Treasury. Under recently proposed Treasury regulations that may be relied upon pending finalization, the withholding tax on gross proceeds would be eliminated and, consequently, FATCA withholding on gross proceeds is not expected to apply.  An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an applicable foreign country may modify these requirements. We will not pay any additional amounts to stockholders in respect of any amounts withheld. Non-U.S. Holders are encouraged to consult their tax advisors regarding the possible implications of these withholding taxes on their investment in our common stock.

 

State, local and foreign taxes

 

We and our subsidiaries and stockholders may be subject to state, local or foreign taxation in various jurisdictions including those in which we or they transact business, own property or reside. Our state, local or foreign tax treatment and that of our stockholders may not conform to the U.S. federal income tax treatment discussed above. Any foreign taxes that we incur do not pass through to stockholders as a credit against their U.S. federal income tax liability. Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the application and effect of state, local and foreign income and other tax laws on an investment in our stock.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

 

We may sell the securities to one or more underwriters for public offering and sale by them or may sell the securities to investors directly or through agents. Any underwriter or agent involved in the offer and sale of the securities will be named in the applicable prospectus supplement. Underwriters and agents in any distribution contemplated hereby may from time to time be designated on terms to be set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

Underwriters or agents could make sales in privately negotiated transactions and any other method permitted by law. Securities may be sold in one or more of the following transactions: (a) block transactions (which may involve crosses) in which a broker-dealer may sell all or a portion of the securities as agent but may position and resell all or a portion of the block as principal to facilitate the transaction; (b) purchases by a broker-dealer as principal and resale by the broker-dealer for its own account pursuant to a prospectus supplement; (c) a special offering, an exchange distribution or a secondary distribution in accordance with applicable New York Stock Exchange or other stock exchange rules; (d) ordinary brokerage transactions and transactions in which a broker-dealer solicits purchasers; (e) “at the market” offerings or sales “at the market,” within the meaning of Rule 415(a)(4) of the Securities Act, to or through a market maker or into an existing trading market on an exchange or otherwise; (f) sales in other ways not involving market makers or established trading markets, including direct sales to purchasers; or (g) through a combination of any of these methods. Broker-dealers may also receive compensation from purchasers of these securities which is not expected to exceed those customary in the types of transactions involved.

 

Underwriters or agents may offer and sell the securities at a fixed price or prices, which may be changed in relation to the prevailing market prices at the time of sale or at negotiated prices. We also may, from time to time, authorize underwriters acting as our agents to offer and sell the securities upon the terms and conditions as are set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement. In connection with the sale of securities, underwriters or agents may be deemed to have received compensation from us in the form of underwriting discounts or commissions and may also receive commissions from purchasers of securities for whom they may act as agent. Underwriters or agents may sell securities to or through dealers, and the dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters or the agents and/or commissions from the purchasers for whom they may act as agent.

 

Any underwriting compensation paid by us to underwriters or agents in connection with the offering of securities, and any discounts, concessions or commissions allowed by underwriters or agents to participating dealers, will be set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement. Underwriters, dealers and agents participating in the distribution of the securities may be deemed to be underwriters, and any discounts and commissions received by them and any profit realized by them on resale of the securities may be deemed to be underwriting discounts and commissions, under the Securities Act. Underwriters, dealers and agents may be entitled, under agreements entered into with us or our Manager, to indemnification against and contribution toward civil liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act.

 

We may have agreements with the underwriters, dealers, agents and remarketing firms to indemnify them against certain civil liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or to contribute with respect to payments that the underwriters, dealers, agents or remarketing firms may be required to make. Underwriters, dealers, agents and remarketing firms may be customers of, engage in transactions with or perform services for us in the ordinary course of their businesses.

 

In compliance with the guidelines of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or “FINRA,” the aggregate maximum discount, commission or agency fees or other items constituting underwriting compensation to be received by any FINRA member or independent broker-dealer will not exceed 8% of any offering pursuant to this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement or pricing supplement, as the case may be; and it is anticipated that the maximum commission or discount to be received in any particular offering of securities will be less than this amount.

 

Any securities issued hereunder (other than common stock) will be new issues of securities with no established trading market. Any underwriters or agents to or through whom such securities are sold by us for public offering and sale may make a market in such securities, but such underwriters or agents will not be obligated to do so and may discontinue any market making at any time without notice. We cannot assure you as to the liquidity of the trading market for any such securities.

 

If indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, we may authorize underwriters, dealers, or other persons acting as our agents to solicit offers by certain institutions or other suitable persons to purchase the securities from us at the public offering price set forth in the prospectus supplement pursuant to delayed delivery contracts providing for payment and delivery on the date or dates stated in the prospectus supplement. We may make delayed delivery with various institutions, including commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, pension funds, investment companies, and educational and charitable institutions. Delayed delivery contracts will be subject to the condition that the purchase of the securities covered by the delayed delivery contracts will not at the

 

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time of delivery be prohibited under the laws of any jurisdiction in the United States to which the purchaser is subject. The underwriters and agents will not have any responsibility with respect to the validity or performance of these contracts.

 

To facilitate an offering of the securities, certain persons participating in the offering may engage in transactions that stabilize, maintain, or otherwise affect the price of the securities. This may include over-allotments or short sales of the securities, which involves the sale by persons participating in the offering of more securities than we sold to them. In these circumstances, these persons would cover the over-allotments or short positions by making purchases in the open market or by exercising their over-allotment option. In addition, these persons may stabilize or maintain the price of the securities by bidding for or purchasing securities in the open market or by imposing penalty bids, whereby selling concessions allowed to dealers participating in the offering may be reclaimed if securities sold by them are repurchased in connection with stabilization transactions. The effect of these transactions may be to stabilize or maintain the market price of the securities at a level above that which might otherwise prevail in the open market. These transactions may be discontinued at any time.

 

The underwriters and the agents and their respective affiliates may be customers of, engage in transactions with and perform services for us, Ares Management or our Manager in the ordinary course of business.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

 

The legality of the securities offered hereby and certain U.S. federal income tax matters will be passed upon for the Company by Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Los Angeles, California and New York, New York and Venable LLP, Baltimore, Maryland. Certain legal matters in connection with the offering will be passed upon for the underwriters, if any, by the counsel named in the prospectus supplement.

 

EXPERTS

 

The consolidated financial statements of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation appearing in Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation’s Annual Report (Form 10-K) for the year ended December 31, 2018, and the effectiveness of Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018, have been audited by Ernst & Young LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, as set forth in their reports thereon included therein, and incorporated herein by reference. Such financial statements are, and audited financial statements to be included in subsequently filed documents will be, incorporated herein in reliance upon such reports of Ernst & Young LLP pertaining to such financial statements and the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of the respective dates (to the extent covered by consents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission) given on the authority of such firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

 

WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

 

We are subject to the informational requirements of the Exchange Act and, in accordance therewith, we file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. You may read and copy any reports, statements or other information we file at the SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room. Our SEC filings are also available to the public from commercial document retrieval services and at the website maintained by the SEC, containing reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC, at www.sec.gov.

 

This prospectus is a part of a registration statement on Form S-3 that we have filed with the SEC under the Securities Act covering securities that may be offered under this prospectus. This prospectus does not contain all of the information set forth in the registration statement, certain parts of which are omitted in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC.

 

The SEC allows us to “incorporate by reference” information into this prospectus.  This means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to another document. Any information referred to in this way is considered part of this prospectus from the date we file that document.  Any reports filed by us with the SEC after the date of this prospectus and before the date that the offering of securities by means of this prospectus is terminated will automatically update and, where applicable, supersede any information contained in this prospectus or incorporated by reference into this prospectus.  We incorporate by reference into this prospectus the following documents or information filed with the SEC (other than, in each case, documents or information deemed to have been furnished and not filed in accordance with SEC rules):

 

·                  Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 (filed February 21, 2019);

 

·                  Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2019 (filed May 1, 2019);

 

 

·                  Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2019 (filed July 26, 2019);

 

 

·                  our Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A filed on March 14, 2019;

 

 

·                  Current Reports on Form 8-K dated January 11, 2019 (filed January 11, 2019), February 26, 2019 (filed March 1, 2019), April 23, 2019 (filed April 29, 2019), June 5, 2019 (filed June 7, 2019) and July 22, 2019, only as to Item 5.02 (filed July 26, 2019); and

 

 

·                  the description of our common stock included in our registration statement on Form 8-A (filed April 18, 2012).

 

All documents that we file (but not those that we furnish) pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act after the date of the initial registration statement of which this prospectus is a part and prior to the effectiveness of the registration statement shall be deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus and will automatically update and supersede the information in this prospectus, and any previously filed documents.  In addition, all documents that we file (but not those that we furnish) pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act on or after the date of this prospectus and prior to the termination of the offering of any of the securities covered under this prospectus shall be deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus and will automatically update and supersede the information in this prospectus, the applicable prospectus supplement and any previously filed documents.

 

If you request, either orally or in writing, we will provide you with a copy of any or all documents that are incorporated by reference. Such documents will be provided to you free of charge, but will not contain any exhibits, unless those exhibits are incorporated by reference into the document. Requests should be addressed to us at 245 Park Avenue, 42nd Floor, New York, NY, Attention: General Counsel, or contact our offices at (212) 750-7300. The documents may also be accessed on our website at www.arescre.com.

 

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4,000,000 shares

Common Stock

 


 

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wells Fargo Securities

Citigroup

Morgan Stanley

JMP Securities

Raymond James

 

, 2020