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Form N-2 Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.

November 19, 2020 7:46 AM EST

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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 19, 2020

Securities Act Registration No. 333-        

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM N-2

 

 

 

  Registration Statement under the Securities Act of 1933
  Pre-Effective Amendment No.
  Post-Effective Amendment No.

 

 

GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in the Charter)

 

 

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (212) 902-0300

Jonathan Lamm

Caroline Kraus

Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

Copies of information to:

 

Joshua Wechsler, Esq.

Ashar Qureshi, Esq.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver &

Jacobson LLP

One New York Plaza
New York, New York 10004
Telephone: (212) 859-8000
Facsimile: (212) 859-4000

 

Geoffrey R.T. Kenyon, Esq.

Thomas J. Friedmann, Esq.

Dechert LLP
One International Place, 40th Floor

100 Oliver Street

Boston, Massachusetts 02110

Telephone: (617) 728-7100
Facsimile: (617) 426-6567

 

 

Approximate date of proposed public offering:

From time to time after the effective date of this Registration Statement

 

 

If the only securities being registered on this Form are being offered pursuant to dividend or interest reinvestment plans, check the following box  ☐

If any securities being registered on this Form will be offered on a delayed or continuous basis in reliance on Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), other than securities offered in connection with dividend or interest reinvestment plans, check the following box  ☒

If this Form is a registration statement pursuant to General Instruction A.2 or a post-effective amendment thereto, check the following box  ☐

If this Form is a registration statement pursuant to General Instruction B or a post-effective amendment thereto that will become effective upon filing with the Commission pursuant to Rule 462(e) under the Securities Act, check the following box  ☒


If this Form is a post-effective amendment to a registration statement filed pursuant to General Instruction B to register additional securities or additional classes of securities pursuant to Rule 413(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box  ☐

It is proposed that this filing will become effective (check appropriate box):

 

when declared effective pursuant to section 8(c) of the Securities Act

Check each box that appropriately characterizes the Registrant:

 

Registered Closed-End Fund (closed-end company that is registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “Investment Company Act”)).

 

Business Development Company (closed-end company that intends or has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act.

 

Interval Fund (Registered Closed-End Fund or a Business Development Company that makes periodic repurchase offers under Rule 23c-3 under the Investment Company Act).

 

A.2 Qualified (qualified to register securities pursuant to General Instruction A.2 of this Form).

 

Well-Known Seasoned Issuer (as defined by Rule 405 under the Securities Act).

 

Emerging Growth Company (as defined by Rule 12b-2 under the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934).

 

If an Emerging Growth Company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.

 

New Registrant (registered or regulated under the Investment Company Act for less than 12 calendar months preceding this filing).

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

Title of Securities Being Registered   Amount Being
Registered (1)
  Proposed
Maximum
Offering
Price per Unit
  Proposed Maximum
Aggregate Offering
Price (1)
  Amount of
Registration Fee (2)

Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share (3)(4)

               

Preferred Stock, $0.001 par value per share (3)

               

Warrants (5)

               

Debt Securities (6)

               

Subscription Rights (3)

               

Total

               

 

 

 

(1)

An unspecified amount of securities or aggregate principal amount, as applicable, of each identified class is being registered as may from time to time be sold at unspecified prices.

(2)

In accordance with Rules 456(b) and 457(r) promulgated under the Securities Act, the Registrant is deferring payment of all of the registration fees. Registration fees will be paid subsequently on a pay-as-you-go basis.

(3)

Subject to Note 1 above, there is being registered hereunder an indeterminate number of shares of common stock or preferred stock, or subscription rights to purchase shares of common stock as may be sold, from time to time.

(4)

Includes such indeterminate number of shares of common stock as may, from time to time, be issued upon conversion or exchange of other securities registered hereunder, to the extent any such securities are, by their terms, convertible or exchangeable for common stock.

(5)

Subject to Note 1 above, there is being registered hereunder an indeterminate number of warrants as may be sold, from time to time, representing rights to purchase common stock, preferred stock or debt securities.

(6)

Subject to Note 1 above, there is being registered hereunder an indeterminate principal amount of debt securities as may be sold, from time to time.

 

 

 


PROSPECTUS  

GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

Common Stock

Preferred Stock

Warrants

Debt Securities

Subscription Rights

We are an externally managed specialty finance company that is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”). We are focused on lending to “middle-market companies,” a term we generally use to refer to companies with between $5 million and $200 million of annual earnings before interest expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) excluding certain one-time, and non-recurring items that are outside the operations of these companies. Our investment objective is to generate current income and, to a lesser extent, capital appreciation primarily through direct originations of secured debt, including first lien, unitranche, including last out portions of such loans, and second lien debt, and unsecured debt, including mezzanine debt, as well as through select equity investments.

We are managed by our investment adviser, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. (“GSAM” or “Investment Adviser”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (“Group Inc.”). Group Inc., together with Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC (including its predecessors, “GS & Co.”), GSAM and its other subsidiaries and affiliates, is referred to herein as “Goldman Sachs.”

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings, together or separately, our common stock, preferred stock, warrants, debt securities or subscription rights representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, which we refer to, collectively, as the “securities.” The securities may be offered at prices and on terms to be described in one or more supplements to this prospectus.

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “GSBD.” On November 17, 2020, the last reported sales price for our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange was $17.42 per share. The net asset value (“NAV”) of our common stock reported by us as of September 30, 2020 was $15.49.

This prospectus describes some of the general terms that may apply to an offering of our securities that a prospective investor ought to know before investing. We will provide the specific terms of these offerings and securities in one or more supplements to this prospectus. We may also authorize one or more free writing prospectuses to be provided to you in connection with these offerings. The prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus may also add, update, or change information contained in this prospectus. You should carefully read and retain for future reference this prospectus, the applicable prospectus supplement, and any related free writing prospectus, and the documents incorporated by reference, before buying any of the securities being offered. We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information about us with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), which we incorporate by reference herein. See “Incorporation by Reference.” You may obtain this information or make stockholder inquiries by written or oral request and free of charge by contacting us at 200 West Street, New York, NY 10282, on our website at http://www.goldmansachsbdc.com, or by calling us collect at (212) 902-0300. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus, and you should not consider that information to be a part of this prospectus. The SEC also maintains a website at http://www.sec.gov that contains this information.

Shares of closed-end investment companies, including business development companies, that are listed on an exchange frequently trade at a discount to their NAV per share. If our shares trade at a discount to our NAV, it may increase the risk of loss for purchasers in any offering. Investing in our securities involves a high degree of risk, including credit risk and the risk of the use of leverage, and is


highly speculative. Before buying any securities, you should read the discussion of the material risks of investing in our securities in “Risk Factors” in this prospectus, “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our recent annual report on Form 10-K, “Part II—Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, “Risk Factors” in our joint proxy statement and prospectus that forms a part of a registration statement on Form N-14 filed with the SEC on August 4, 2020, as well as in any of our subsequent SEC filings, for more information.

The securities in which we invest are generally not rated by any rating agency, and if they were rated, they would be below investment grade (rated lower than “Baa3” by Moody’s Investors Service and lower than BBB-” by Fitch Ratings or Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”)). These securities, which may be referred to as “junk bonds,” “high yield bonds” or “leveraged loans,” have predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal.

Neither the SEC 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.

This prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of securities unless accompanied by a prospectus supplement.

 

 

The date of this prospectus is November 19, 2020


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

FEES AND EXPENSES

     11  

RISK FACTORS

     15  

POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

     16  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     31  

PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK AND DISTRIBUTIONS

     32  

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL DATA OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

     35  

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL DATA OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

     35  

UNAUDITED PRO FORMA CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

     35  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     36  

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

     38  

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

     38  

SENIOR SECURITIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

     38  

SENIOR SECURITIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

     38  

BUSINESS OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

     38  

BUSINESS OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

     38  

MANAGEMENT

     38  

RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS AND CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS

     39  

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS

     39  

PORTFOLIO COMPANIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

     39  

PORTFOLIO COMPANIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

     39  

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

     40  

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

     42  

CERTAIN U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

     44  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR CAPITAL STOCK

     58  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR PREFERRED STOCK

     66  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR WARRANTS

     68  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR DEBT SECURITIES

     70  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR SUBSCRIPTION RIGHTS

     86  

REGULATION

     88  

CUSTODIAN, TRANSFER AND DIVIDEND DISBURSING AGENT AND REGISTRAR

     88  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     88  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     90  

LEGAL MATTERS

     92  

EXPERTS

     92  

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

     92  

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

     93  

GSAM Proxy Voting Guidelines Summary

     A-1  

You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplements, and the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein. We have not authorized any other person to provide you with different information or to make any representations not contained in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplements, and the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We are not making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplements, and the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein, is accurate only as of the dates on their respective covers. Our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows and prospects may have changed since such dates.


TRADEMARKS

This prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplements, and the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein, contains trademarks and service marks owned by Goldman Sachs. This prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplements, and the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein, may also contain trademarks and service marks owned by third parties.


ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is part of an automatic “shelf” registration statement that we have filed with the SEC as a “well-known seasoned issuer” as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). Under the shelf registration process, we may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings or series, our common stock, preferred stock, warrants, debt securities or subscription rights representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities on the terms to be determined at the time of the offering. The securities may be offered at prices and on terms described in one or more supplements to this prospectus. We may sell our securities through underwriters or dealers, “at-the-market” to or through a market maker, into an existing trading market or otherwise directly to one or more purchasers or through agents or through a combination of methods of sale. The identities of such underwriters, dealers, market makers or agents, as the case may be, will be described in one or more supplements to this prospectus. This prospectus provides you with a general description of the securities that we may offer. Each time we use this prospectus to offer securities, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain specific information about the terms of that offering.

We may also authorize one or more free writing prospectuses to be provided to you that may contain material information relating to these offerings. In a prospectus supplement or free writing prospectus, we may also add, update, or change any of the information contained in this prospectus or in the documents we incorporate by reference into this prospectus. This prospectus, together with the applicable prospectus supplement, any related free writing prospectus, and the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement, will include all material information relating to the applicable offering. Before buying any of the securities being offered, you should carefully read both this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, together with any exhibits and the additional information described in the sections titled “Available Information,” “Incorporation By Reference,” “Prospectus Summary” and “Risk Factors” before making an investment decision.

This prospectus includes summaries of certain provisions contained in some of the documents described in this prospectus, but reference is made to the actual documents for complete information. All of the summaries are qualified in their entirety by the actual documents. Copies of some of the documents referred to herein have been filed, will be filed, or will be incorporated by reference as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part, and you may obtain copies of those documents as described in the section titled “Available Information.”


PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This summary highlights some of the information contained elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary may not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in the securities offered by this prospectus. You should review the more detailed information contained in this prospectus, together with any applicable prospectus supplements or free writing prospectuses, especially the information set forth under the heading “Risk Factors” in this prospectus, “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K, “Part II—Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, “Risk Factors” in our joint proxy statement and prospectus that forms a part of the registration statement on Form N-14 filed with the SEC on August 4, 2020 (the “Form N-14”), as well as any of our subsequent SEC filings, and the information set forth under the caption “Available Information” in this prospectus.

Unless indicated otherwise in this prospectus or the context requires otherwise, the terms “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or “GS BDC” refer to Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, as the context may require, or for periods prior to our conversion from a limited liability company to a corporation (the “Conversion”), Goldman Sachs Liberty Harbor Capital, LLC.

Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.

We are a specialty finance company focused on lending to middle-market companies. We are a closed-end management investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company (“BDC”) under the Investment Company Act. In addition, we have elected to be treated, and expect to qualify annually, as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2013. From our formation in 2012 through September 30, 2020, we originated more than $3.78 billion in aggregate principal amount of debt and equity investments prior to any subsequent exits and repayments. We seek to generate current income and, to a lesser extent, capital appreciation primarily through direct originations of secured debt, including first lien, unitranche, including last-out portions of such loans, and second lien debt, and unsecured debt, including mezzanine debt, as well as through select equity investments.

“Unitranche” loans are first lien loans that may extend deeper in a company’s capital structure than traditional first lien debt and may provide for a waterfall of cash flow priority between different lenders in the unitranche loan. In a number of instances, we may find another lender to provide the “first-out” portion of such loan and retain the “last-out” portion of such loan, in which case, the “first-out” portion of the loan would generally receive priority with respect to payment of principal, interest and any other amounts due thereunder over the “last-out” portion that we would continue to hold. In exchange for the greater risk of loss, the “last-out” portion generally earns a higher interest rate than the “first-out” portion. We use the term “mezzanine” to refer to debt that ranks senior only to a borrower’s equity securities and ranks junior in right of payment to all of such borrower’s other indebtedness. We may make multiple investments in the same portfolio company.

We invest primarily in U.S. middle-market companies, which we believe are underserved by traditional providers of capital such as banks and the public debt markets. In describing our business, we generally use the term “middle-market companies” to refer to companies with between $5 million and $200 million of annual earnings before interest expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) excluding certain one-time and non-recurring items that are outside the operations of these companies. However, we may from time to time invest in larger or smaller companies. We generate revenues primarily through receipt of interest income from the investments we hold. In addition, we generate income from various loan origination and other fees, dividends on direct equity investments and capital gains on the sales of investments. Fees received from portfolio companies (directors’ fees, consulting fees, administrative fees, tax advisory fees and other similar compensation) are paid to us, unless, to the extent required by applicable law or exemptive relief therefrom, we only receive our allocable portion of such fees when invested in the same portfolio company as another client



 

1


account managed by our Investment Adviser (including Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit LLC (“GS PMMC”) and Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit II LLC (“GS PMMC II”), collectively with other such client accounts managed by our Investment Adviser, the “Accounts”). The companies in which we invest use our capital for a variety of purposes, including to support organic growth, fund acquisitions, make capital investments or refinance indebtedness.

Investment Strategy

Our origination strategy focuses on leading the negotiation and structuring of the loans or securities in which we invest and holding the investments in our portfolio to maturity. In many cases we are the sole investor in the loan or security in our portfolio. Where there are multiple investors, we generally seek to control or obtain significant influence over the rights of investors in the loan or security. We generally seek to make investments that have maturities between three and ten years and range in size between $10 million and $75 million, although we may make larger or smaller investments on occasion.

Investment Portfolio

As of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019, our portfolio (excluding our investment in a money market fund, if any, managed by an affiliate of Group Inc.) consisted of the following:

 

    

As of

 
    

September 30, 2020

   

December 31, 2019

 
Investment Type   

Amortized
Cost

    

Fair Value

    

Percentage
of Total
Portfolio at
Fair Value

   

Amortized

Cost

    

Fair Value

    

Percentage

of Total

Portfolio at

Fair Value

 
     ($ in millions)                   (in millions)         

First Lien/Senior Secured Debt

   $ 1,121.28      $ 1,080.52        75.5   $ 1,094.89      $ 1,080.67        74.3

First Lien/Last-Out Unitranche

     35.16        34.98        2.4       35.31        35.28        2.4  

Second Lien/Senior Secured Debt

     247.40        218.49        15.3       263.44        234.02        16.1  

Unsecured Debt

     7.33        7.21        0.5       7.41        7.41        0.5  

Preferred Stock

     16.69        41.14        2.9       41.66        48.76        3.4  

Common Stock

     60.13        47.66        3.3       67.14        48.11        3.3  

Warrants

     0.76        1.20        0.1       —          —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Investments

   $ 1,488.75      $ 1,431.20        100.0   $ 1,509.85      $ 1,454.25        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

As of September 30, 2020, GS BDC’s portfolio consisted of 218 investments in 110 portfolio companies across 38 different industries. The largest industries in GS BDC’s portfolio, based on fair value as of September 30, 2020, were Health Care Providers & Services, Software, Interactive Media & Services and Health Care Technology, which represented 9.3%, 7.7%, 7.4% and 7.2%, respectively, of GS BDC’s portfolio at fair value.

As of December 31, 2019, GS BDC’s portfolio consisted of 206 investments in 106 portfolio companies across 38 different industries. The largest industries in GS BDC’s portfolio, based on fair value as of December 31, 2019, were Health Care Providers & Services, Software, Interactive Media & Services and IT Services, which represented 10.9%, 8.2%, 7.4% and 6.5%, respectively, of GS BDC’s portfolio at fair value.

The geographic composition of GS BDC’s portfolio at fair value as of September 30, 2020 was United States 95.6%, Canada 2.7%, Ireland 1.4%, Germany 0.2% and Singapore 0.1%.

The geographic composition of GS BDC’s portfolio at fair value as of December 31, 2019 was United States 95.7%, Canada 2.6%, Ireland 1.4%, Germany 0.2% and Singapore 0.1%.



 

2


As of September 30, 2020, the weighted average yield of our total portfolio (excluding our investment in a money market fund managed by an affiliate of Group Inc.), at amortized cost and fair value (both of which include interest income and amortization of fees and discounts), was 7.7% and 9.7%, as compared to 8.2% and 8.9% as of December 31, 2019. The change in weighted average yield at fair value both on the total portfolio level and individual lien type was driven primarily by the increased market volatility, economic disruption, and wider credit spreads resulting from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic. For further discussion of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our portfolio, please see “—Recent Developments—Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The following table presents certain selected information regarding our investment portfolio (excluding its investment in a money market fund, if any, managed by an affiliate of Group Inc.) as of September 30, 2020:

 

    

September 30, 2020

 

Number of portfolio companies

     110  

Percentage of performing debt bearing a floating rate (1)

     98.6

Percentage of performing debt bearing a fixed rate (1)(2)

     1.4

Weighted average yield on debt and income producing investments, at amortized cost (3)

     8.3

Weighted average yield on debt and income producing investments, at fair value (3)

     10.4

Weighted average leverage (net debt/EBITDA) (4)

     5.7x  

Weighted average interest coverage (4)

     2.6x  

Median EBITDA (4)

   $ 34.68 million  

 

(1)

Measured on a fair value basis. Excludes investments, if any, placed on non-accrual.

(2)

Includes income producing preferred stock investments.

(3)

Computed based on (a) the annual actual interest rate or yield earned plus amortization of fees and discounts on the performing debt and other income producing investments as of the reporting date, divided by (b) the total performing debt and other income producing investments (excluding investments on non-accrual).

(4)

For a particular portfolio company, we calculate the level of contractual indebtedness net of cash (“net debt”) owed by the portfolio company and compare that amount to measures of cash flow available to service the net debt. To calculate net debt, we include debt that is both senior and pari passu to the tranche of debt owned by us but exclude debt that is legally and contractually subordinated in ranking to the debt owned by us. We believe this calculation method assists in describing the risk of our portfolio investments, as it takes into consideration contractual rights of repayment of the tranche of debt owned by us relative to other senior and junior creditors of a portfolio company. We typically calculate cash flow available for debt service at a portfolio company by taking EBITDA for the trailing twelve month period. Weighted average net debt to EBITDA is weighted based on the fair value of our debt investments and excluding investments where net debt to EBITDA may not be the appropriate measure of credit risk, such as cash collateralized loans and investments that are underwritten and covenanted based on recurring revenue.

For a particular portfolio company, we also calculate the level of contractual interest expense owed by the portfolio company, and compare that amount to EBITDA (“interest coverage ratio”). We believe this calculation method assists in describing the risk of our portfolio investments, as it takes into consideration contractual interest obligations of the portfolio company. Weighted average interest coverage is weighted based on the fair value of our performing debt investments, excluding investments where interest coverage may not be the appropriate measure of credit risk, such as cash collateralized loans and investments that are underwritten and covenanted based on recurring revenue.

Median EBITDA is based on our debt investments, excluding investments where net debt to EBITDA may not be the appropriate measure of credit risk, such as cash collateralized loans and investments that are underwritten and covenanted based on recurring revenue.



 

3


Portfolio company statistics are derived from the most recently available financial statements of each portfolio company as of the reported end date. Statistics of the portfolio companies have not been independently verified by us and may reflect a normalized or adjusted amount. As of September 30, 2020, investments where net debt to EBITDA may not be the appropriate measure of credit risk represented 29.1% of total debt investments at fair value. Portfolio company statistics are derived from the most recently available financial statements of each portfolio company as of the respective reported end date. Portfolio company statistics have not been independently verified by us and may reflect a normalized or adjusted amount.

Corporate Structure

We were formed as a private fund in September 2012 and commenced operations in November 2012, using seed capital contributions we received from Group Inc. In March 2013, we elected to be treated as a BDC. We have elected to be treated, and expect to qualify annually, as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2013. On March 18, 2015, our common stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “GSBD.” On March 23, 2015, we closed our initial public offering (“IPO”), issuing 6,000,000 shares of common stock at a public offering price of $20.00 per share. Net of offering and underwriting costs, we received cash proceeds of $114.57 million. On April 21, 2015, we issued an additional 900,000 shares of our common stock pursuant to the exercise of the underwriters’ over-allotment option in connection with the IPO. Net of underwriting costs, we received additional cash proceeds of $17.27 million. On May 24, 2017, we sold 3,250,000 shares of our common stock at a public offering price of $22.50 per share. Net of underwriting costs and offering expenses, we received cash proceeds of $69.65 million. On May 26, 2017, we issued an additional 487,500 shares of our common stock pursuant to the underwriters’ exercise of the option to purchase additional shares that we granted in connection with the May 24, 2017 sale of our common stock. Net of underwriting costs, we received additional cash proceeds of $10.64 million. As a result of the Conversion, subsequent share repurchases, the IPO and the follow-on equity offering completed in May 2017, as of October 15, 2020, Group Inc. owned approximately 6.4% of our common stock after the Merger (as defined below) and shares being issued pursuant to our dividend reinvestment plan.

Our Investment Adviser

GSAM serves as our Investment Adviser and has been registered as an investment adviser with the SEC since 1990. Subject to the supervision of our Board of Directors (the “Board of Directors”), a majority of which is made up of independent directors (including an independent Chairman), GSAM manages our day-to-day operations and provides us with investment advisory and management services and certain administrative services. GSAM has been registered as an investment adviser with the SEC since 1990 and is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Group Inc. and affiliate of GS & Co. Founded in 1869, Group, Inc. is a publicly-held financial holding company (a “FHC”) and a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. As of September 30, 2020, GSAM, including its investment advisory affiliates, had assets under supervision of approximately $1.9 trillion.

The Private Credit Group of GSAM (the “GSAM Private Credit Group”) is responsible for identifying investment opportunities, conducting research and due diligence on prospective investments, negotiating and

structuring our investments and monitoring and servicing our investments. The GSAM Private Credit Group was comprised of 28 investment professionals, as of September 30, 2020, all of whom are dedicated to the Company’s investment strategy and other funds that share a similar investment strategy with the Company. The GSAM Private Credit Group sits with a broader team known as the “GSAM Credit Alternatives Team” which has additional responsibilities other than those relating to the Company. In addition, GSAM has risk management, legal, accounting, tax, information technology and compliance personnel, among others, who provide services to us. We benefit from the expertise provided by these personnel in our operations.



 

4


The GSAM Private Credit Group is dedicated primarily to private corporate credit investment opportunities in North America, and utilizes a bottom-up, fundamental research approach to lending. The senior members of the GSAM Private Credit Group have been working together since 2006 and have an average of over 17 years of experience in leveraged finance and private transactions.

All investment decisions are made by the Investment Committee of GSAM’s Private Credit Group (the “Investment Committee”), which currently consists of five voting members: Brendan McGovern, Jon Yoder, David Yu, Jordan Walter and Michael Mastropaolo as well as three non-voting members with operational and/or legal expertise. The Investment Committee is responsible for approving all of our investments. The Investment Committee also monitors investments in our portfolio and approves all asset dispositions. We expect to benefit from the extensive and varied relevant experience of the investment professionals serving on the Investment Committee, which includes expertise in privately originated and publicly traded leveraged credit, stressed and distressed debt, bankruptcy, mergers and acquisitions and private equity. The voting members of the Investment Committee collectively have over 50 years of experience in middle-market investment and activities related to middle-market investing. The membership of the Investment Committee may change from time to time.

Allocation of Opportunities

Our investment objectives and investment strategies are similar to those of other Accounts, and an investment appropriate for us may also be appropriate for those Accounts. This creates potential conflicts in allocating investment opportunities among us and such other Accounts, particularly in circumstances where the availability of such investment opportunities is limited, where the liquidity of such investment opportunities is limited or where co-investments by us and other Accounts are not permitted under applicable law. For a further explanation of the allocation of opportunities and other conflicts and the risks related thereto, please see “Business of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.—Allocation of Opportunities” in our Form N-14 and “Business—Allocation of Opportunities” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K.

Market Opportunity

According to the National Center for the Middle Market and the CIA World Fact Book, the U.S. middle market is comprised of approximately 200,000 companies that represent approximately 33% of the private sector gross domestic product, employing approximately 47.9 million people.1 This makes the U.S. middle market equivalent to the world’s third largest global economy on a stand-alone basis. Collectively, the U.S. middle market generates more than $6 trillion in annual revenue. The GSAM Private Credit Group believes that there is an attractive investment environment for us to provide loans to U.S. middle market companies. For a further discussion of the market opportunities associated with the Company’s focus on middle market companies, see “Business of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.—Market Opportunity” in our Form N-14 and “Business—Market Opportunity” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K.

Competitive Advantages

The Goldman Sachs Platform: Goldman Sachs is a leading global financial institution that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base, including companies and high net worth individuals, among others. The firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices across the United States and in all major financial centers around the world. Group Inc.’s asset management subsidiary, GSAM, is one of the world’s leading investment managers with over 710 investment professionals and approximately

 

1 

Estimate for 2019 by the National Center for the Middle Market, which defined middle market as companies with annual revenue of $10 million—$1 billion. See http://www.middlemarketcenter.org (relying on data from the CIA World Factbook, available at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/).



 

5


$1.86 trillion of assets under supervision, in each case as of September 30, 2020. GSAM’s investment teams, including the GSAM Private Credit Group, capitalize on the relationships, market insights, risk management expertise, technology and infrastructure of Goldman Sachs. We believe the Goldman Sachs platform delivers a meaningful competitive advantage to us. For a detailed discussion of the Company’s competitive advantages, see “Business of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.—Competitive Advantages” in our Form N-14 and “Business—Competitive Advantages” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K.

Operating and Regulatory Structure

We have elected to be treated as a BDC under the Investment Company Act. As a BDC, we are generally prohibited from acquiring assets other than qualifying assets unless, after giving effect to any acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets. Qualifying assets generally include securities of eligible portfolio companies, cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high-quality debt instruments maturing in one year or less from the time of investment. Under the rules of the Investment Company Act, “eligible portfolio companies” include (i) private U.S. operating companies, (ii) public U.S. operating companies whose securities are not listed on a national securities exchange (e.g., the NYSE) or registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and (iii) public U.S. operating companies having a market capitalization of less than $250 million. Public U.S. operating companies whose securities are quoted on the over-the-counter bulletin board and through OTC Markets Group Inc. are not listed on a national securities exchange and therefore are eligible portfolio companies. See “Regulation.”

We have elected to be treated, and expect to qualify annually, as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2013. As a RIC, we generally will not be required to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income taxes on any net ordinary income or capital gains that we timely distribute to our stockholders as dividends if we meet certain source of income, distribution and asset diversification requirements. We intend to timely distribute to our stockholders substantially all of our annual taxable income for each year, except that we may retain certain net capital gains for reinvestment and we may choose to carry forward taxable income for distribution in the following year and pay any applicable tax. In addition, the distributions we pay to our stockholders in a year may exceed our net ordinary income and capital gains for that year and, accordingly, a portion of such distributions may constitute a return of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes. See “Price Range of Common Stock and Distributions.”

Use of Leverage

Our senior secured revolving credit agreement (as amended, the “Revolving Credit Facility”) with Truist Bank (formerly known as SunTrust Bank), as administrative agent, and Bank of America, N.A., as syndication agent, our 4.50% Convertible Notes due 2022 (the “Convertible Notes”) and our 3.75% Notes due 2025 (the “2025 Notes”) allow us to borrow money and lever our investment portfolio, subject to the limitations of the Investment Company Act, with the objective of increasing our yield. This is known as “leverage” and could increase or decrease returns to our stockholders. The use of leverage involves significant risks. We are permitted to borrow amounts such that our asset coverage ratio, as defined in the Investment Company Act, is at least 150% after such borrowing (if certain requirements are met). As of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019, our asset coverage ratio based on the aggregate amount outstanding of our senior securities was 168% and 187%, respectively.

Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered borrowings or involve leverage and thus may be subject to Investment Company Act restrictions. In accordance with applicable SEC staff guidance and interpretations, when we engage in such transactions, instead of maintaining an asset coverage ratio of at least 150% (if certain requirements are met), we will segregate or earmark liquid assets, or enter into an offsetting position, in an amount at least equal to our exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to such transactions (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Short-term credits



 

6


necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered borrowings for these purposes. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered borrowings are not subject to the Investment Company Act’s asset coverage requirement, and we will not otherwise segregate or earmark liquid assets or enter into offsetting positions for such transactions. The amount of leverage that we employ will depend on our Investment Adviser’s and our Board of Directors’ assessment of market conditions and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing.

Recent Developments

Merger with Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.

On October 12, 2020, we completed our previously announced merger (the “Merger”) with Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp. (“GS MMLC”) pursuant to the Amended and Restated Agreement and Plan of Merger, by and among us, GS MMLC, Evergreen Merger Sub, Inc. and GSAM, dated as of June 11, 2020 (the “Merger Agreement”). In accordance with the terms of the Merger Agreement, at the effective time of the Merger, each outstanding share of GS MMLC common stock was converted into the right to receive, for each share of GS MMLC common stock, that number of shares of our common stock, par value $0.001 per share, with a NAV equal to the NAV per share of GS MMLC common stock, in each case calculated as of October 9, 2020. As a result of the Merger, GS BDC issued an aggregate of 61,037,311 shares of GS BDC common stock to former GS MMLC stockholders.

The Merger is accounted for as an asset acquisition of GS MMLC by GS BDC in accordance with the asset acquisition method of accounting as detailed in ASC 805-50, Business Combinations-Related Issues, with the fair value of total consideration paid in conjunction with the Merger allocated to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their relative fair values as of the date of the Merger. Generally, under asset acquisition accounting, acquiring assets in groups not only requires ascertaining the cost of the asset (or net assets), but also allocating that cost to the individual assets (or individual assets and liabilities) that make up the group. The cost of the group of assets acquired in an asset acquisition is allocated to the individual assets acquired or liabilities assumed based on their relative fair values of net identifiable assets acquired other than certain “non-qualifying” assets (for example cash) and does not give rise to goodwill. GS BDC is the accounting survivor of the Merger.

With the consummation of the Merger, the aggregate commitments under our Revolving Credit Facility are $1.695 billion and the uncommitted accordion feature allows us to increase the borrowing capacity of our Revolving Credit Facility up to $2.25 billion.

On November 4, 2020, in connection with the consummation of the Merger, our Board of Directors declared special distributions of $0.15 per share in total, and payable in three equal quarterly installments, as follows:

 

Record Date

  

Payment Date

    

Amount Per Share

 

February 15, 2021

     March 15, 2021      $ 0.05  

May 14, 2021

     June 15, 2021      $ 0.05  

August 16, 2021

     September 15, 2021      $ 0.05  

In connection with the announcement of our financial results for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, we also disclosed certain financial highlights as of October 9, 2020 (the last business day prior to the Merger). As of that date, our investment portfolio, at fair value, was valued at $3,130.2 million, our total debt outstanding was $1,764.2 million, our net assets were $1,580.1 million, our debt to equity ratio (excluding



 

7


unfunded commitments) was 1.12x, our net debt to equity ratio (excluding unfunded commitments) was 0.93x and our NAV per share was $15.57.2

New 10b5-1 Plan

On November 4, 2020, our Board of Directors authorized the adoption of a new common stock repurchase plan (the “new 10b5-1 plan”), which provides for the Company to repurchase up to $75.0 million of shares of the Company’s common stock if the common stock trades below the most recently announced quarter-end NAV per share, subject to limitations. Under the new 10b5-1 plan, no purchases will be made if such purchases would cause the Company’s Debt/Equity Ratio to exceed the lower of (a) 1.30 or (b) the Maximum Debt/Equity Ratio (as defined below). In the new 10b5-1 Plan, “Debt/Equity Ratio” means the sum of debt on the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities and the total notional value of the Company’s unfunded commitments divided by net assets, as of the most recent reported financial statement end date, and “Maximum Debt/Equity Ratio” means the sum of debt on the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities and committed uncalled debt divided by net assets, as of the most recent reported financial statement end date; provided, however, that when referring to the Company’s financial statements for the period ending September 30, 2020 for the purposes of the new 10b5-1 plan, reference will be made to the publicly available combined pro forma financial information of the Company and GS MMLC as of September 30, 2020 and, provided further, that for calculations made in such period, (A) “Debt/Equity Ratio” will mean the sum of pro forma debt on the Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities and the total notional value of the pro forma Company’s unfunded commitments minus cash and cash equivalents available on the pro forma Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities divided by the pro forma net assets, as of the most recent reported financial statement end date and (B) “Maximum Debt/Equity Ratio” will mean the sum of debt on the pro forma Consolidated Statements of Assets and Liabilities and the pro forma committed uncalled debt divided by pro forma net assets, as of the most recent reported financial statement end date.

The new 10b5-1 plan was adopted and took effect on November 9, 2020. The new 10b5-1 plan will expire on November 9, 2021. Purchases under the new 10b5-1 plan will be conducted on a programmatic basis in accordance with Rules 10b5-1 and 10b-18 under the Exchange Act and other applicable securities laws.

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

The persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic poses ongoing challenges for the global economy. While economic activity has generally accelerated from earlier in the year when widespread lockdown measures were in place, progress has been uneven across countries and the sustainability of global economic recovery is vulnerable to the risk of a resurgence in infections. Governments and central banks around the world have remained proactive in responding to the crisis through unprecedented accommodative monetary policy and fiscal stimulus. The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to affect our business, financial condition, liquidity, our portfolio companies’ results of operations and by extension our operating results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.

Our investment portfolio continues to be focused on industries and sectors that are generally expected to be more durable than industries and sectors that are more prone to economic cycles. Given the unprecedented

 

2 

The October 9, 2020 financial information described herein was prepared pursuant to the requirements of, and solely for the purposes of, the Merger. The underlying components are subject to the completion of GS BDC’s financial closing procedures and were not reviewed or approved for purposes of financial statement preparation or as part of a comprehensive statement of GS BDC’s financial results. The final results may differ materially from these components as a result of the completion of GS BDC’s financial closing procedures, and final adjustments and other developments arising between now and the time that GS BDC’s financial results for the three months ended December 31, 2020 are finalized.



 

8


nature of COVID-19 and the difficulty in predicting future government responses and restrictions, the operating environment of our portfolio companies is evolving rapidly. Business disruption experienced by our portfolio companies may reduce, over time, the amount of interest and dividend income that we receive from our investments companies and may require us to contribute additional capital to such portfolio companies. We may need to restructure our investments in some portfolio companies, which could result in reduced interest payments from or permanent impairments of our investments, and could result in the restructuring of certain of our investments from income paying investments into non-income paying equity investments. Any such decrease in our net investment income would increase the percentage of our cash flows dedicated to our debt obligations and distribution payments to our stockholders. As a result, we may be required to reduce the future amount of distributions to our stockholders. We continue to closely monitor our investment portfolio in order to be positioned to respond appropriately.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Goldman Sachs has continued to successfully execute on its Business Continuity Planning (the “BCP”) strategy since initially activating it in the first quarter of 2020. Goldman Sachs’ priority has been to safeguard its employees and to ensure continuity of business operations. Goldman Sachs has a central team that continues to manage its COVID-19 response, which is led by its chief administrative officer and chief medical officer. As a result of the execution of Goldman Sachs’ BCP, the majority of its employees continue to work remotely. Goldman Sachs has established policies and protocols that will enable a phased return to office, taking into account the readiness of people, communities and facilities. As communities where Goldman Sachs operate began to reopen, Goldman Sachs took the necessary steps to enable employees to start to return to the office in a safe manner. Our systems and infrastructure have continued to support our business operations. We have maintained regular and active communication across senior management, the rest of our private credit group and our Board of Directors. Furthermore, we have ongoing dialogues with our vendors to ensure they continue to meet our criteria for business continuity.

For further information about the risks associated with COVID-19, see “Risk Factors” included in this prospectus, in any accompanying prospectus supplement and in the documents that we file with the SEC and which are incorporated by reference herein.

Summary Risk Factors

Investing in us involves a high degree of risk and you could lose all or part of your investment. We refer to certain of these risks below:

 

   

Political, social and economic uncertainty, including uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, creates and exacerbates risks.

 

   

The capital markets are currently in a period of disruption and economic uncertainty. Such market conditions have materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets, which have had, and may continue to have, a negative impact on our business and operations.

 

   

Our operation as a BDC imposes numerous constraints on us and significantly reduces our operating flexibility. In addition, if we fail to maintain our status as a BDC, we might be regulated as a closed-end investment company, which would subject us to additional regulatory restrictions.

 

   

We will be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on all of our income if we are unable to maintain our status as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial performance.

 

   

We are dependent upon management personnel of our Investment Adviser for our future success.

 

   

Our ability to grow depends on our ability to raise additional capital.



 

9


   

We borrow money, which may magnify the potential for gain or loss and may increase the risk of investing in us.

 

   

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.

 

   

Potential conflicts of interest with other businesses of Goldman Sachs could impact our investment returns.

 

   

Goldman Sachs has influence, and may continue to exert influence, over our management and affairs and over most votes requiring stockholder approval.

   

Our Board of Directors may change our investment objective, operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval.

 

   

Our Investment Adviser can resign on 60 days’ notice. We may not be able to find a suitable replacement within that time, resulting in a disruption in our operations that could adversely affect our financial condition, business and results of operations.

 

   

Our ability to enter into transactions with our affiliates is restricted.

 

   

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates.

 

   

Our activities may be limited as a result of potentially being deemed to be controlled by Group Inc., a bank holding company (a “BHC”).

 

   

Our investments are very risky and highly speculative.

 

   

The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business.

 

   

Declines in market prices and liquidity in the corporate debt markets can result in significant net unrealized depreciation of our portfolio, which in turn would reduce our NAV.

 

   

Investing in our common stock involves an above average degree of risk.

 

   

We may be unable to realize the benefits anticipated by the Merger, or it may take longer than anticipated to achieve such benefits.

Corporate Information

Our principal executive offices are located at 200 West Street, New York, New York 10282 and our telephone number is (212) 902-0300. We maintain a website located at www.goldmansachsbdc.com. Information on our website is not incorporated into or a part of this prospectus.



 

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FEES AND EXPENSES

The following table is intended to assist you in understanding the fees and expenses that an investor in our common stock will bear, directly or indirectly, based on the assumptions set forth below. We caution you that some of the percentages indicated in the table below are estimates and may vary. The expenses shown in the table under “annual expenses” are based on estimated amounts for our current fiscal year. The following table should not be considered a representation of our future expenses. Actual expenses may be greater or less than shown. Except where the context suggests otherwise, whenever this prospectus contains a reference to fees or expenses paid by “us” or that “we” will pay fees or expenses, the holders of our common stock will indirectly bear such fees or expenses.

 

Stockholder transaction expenses (as a percentage of offering price):

  

Sales load (as a percentage of offering price)

     None  (1) 

Offering expenses (as a percentage of offering price)

     None  (1) 

Dividend reinvestment plan expenses

     None  (2) 
  

 

 

 

Total stockholder transaction expenses (as a percentage of offering price)

     None  
  

 

 

 

Estimated annual expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common stock):(3)

  

Base management fees (4)

     2.35

Incentive fees (5)

     0.16

Interest payments on borrowed funds (6)

     4.80

Other expenses (7)

     2.17

Acquired fund fees and expenses (8)

     0.02
  

 

 

 

Total annual expenses

     9.50
  

 

 

 

 

(1)

In the event that the securities to which this prospectus relates are sold to or through underwriters or agents, a corresponding prospectus supplement will disclose the applicable sales load (underwriting discount or commission).

(2)

The related prospectus supplement will disclose the estimated amount of offering expenses, the offering price and the offering expenses borne by us as a percentage of the offering price.

(3)

“Net assets attributable to common stock” equals average net assets as of September 30, 2020.

(4)

We pay the Investment Adviser a management fee (the “Management Fee”), which accrues and is payable quarterly in arrears. The Management Fee is calculated at (i) an annual rate of 1.00% (0.25% per quarter) thereafter, in each case, of the average value of our gross assets (excluding cash or cash equivalents but including assets purchased with borrowed amounts) at the end of each of the two most recently completed calendar quarters. The Management Fee for any partial quarter will be appropriately prorated based on the actual number of days elapsed relative to the total number of days in such calendar quarter. See “Management—Investment Management Agreement.” The Management Fee referenced in the table above is annualized and based on actual amounts incurred during the nine months ended September 30, 2020.

(5)

The incentive fee (the “Incentive Fee”) payable to our Investment Adviser is based on actual amounts of the income component of the Incentive Fee incurred during the nine months ended September 30, 2020, annualized for a full year, and the amount payable under our Investment Management Agreement, for the capital gains component as of September 30, 2020.

Incentive Fees under our Investment Management Agreement: The incentive fee payable to GSAM consists of two components that are determined independent of each other, with the result that one component may be payable even if the other is not.

A portion of the Incentive Fee is based on income and a portion is based on capital gains, as described below. Our Investment Adviser is entitled to receive the Incentive Fee based on income from us if “Ordinary

Income” (as defined below) exceeds a quarterly “hurdle rate” of 1.75%. For this purpose, the hurdle is

 

11


computed by reference to our NAV and does not take into account changes in the market price of our common stock.

Beginning with the calendar quarter that commenced on January 1, 2015, the Incentive Fee based on income is determined and paid quarterly in arrears at the end of each calendar quarter by reference to our aggregate net investment income, as adjusted as described below, from the calendar quarter then ending and the eleven preceding calendar quarters (the “Trailing Twelve Quarters”). The incentive fee based on capital gains is determined and paid annually in arrears at the end of each calendar year by reference to an Annual Period (as defined below).

The hurdle amount for the Incentive Fee based on income is determined on a quarterly basis, and is equal to 1.75% multiplied by our NAV at the beginning of each applicable calendar quarter comprising the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters. The hurdle amount is calculated after making appropriate adjustments for subscriptions (which includes all issuances by us of shares of our common stock, including issuances pursuant to our dividend reinvestment plan) and distributions that occurred during the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters. The incentive fee for any partial period will be appropriately prorated.

For the portion of the Incentive Fee based on income, we pay our Investment Adviser a quarterly Incentive Fee based on the amount by which (A) aggregate net investment income (“Ordinary Income”) in respect of the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters exceeds (B) the hurdle amount for such Trailing Twelve Quarters. The amount of the excess of (A) over (B) described in this paragraph for such Trailing Twelve Quarters is referred to as the “Excess Income Amount.” For the avoidance of doubt, Ordinary Income is net of all fees and expenses, including the Management Fee but excluding any Incentive Fee.

The Incentive Fee based on income for each quarter is determined as follows:

 

   

No Incentive Fee based on income is payable to our Investment Adviser for any calendar quarter for which there is no Excess Income Amount.

 

   

100% of the Ordinary Income, if any, that exceeds the hurdle amount, but is less than or equal to an amount, which we refer to as the “Catch-up Amount,” determined as the sum of 2.1875% multiplied by our NAV at the beginning of each applicable calendar quarter comprising the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters is included in the calculation of the Incentive Fee based on income; and

 

   

20% of the Ordinary Income that exceeds the Catch-up Amount is included in the calculation of the Incentive Fee based on income.

The amount of the Incentive Fee based on income that will be paid to our Investment Adviser for a particular quarter will equal the excess of the Incentive Fee so calculated minus the aggregate Incentive Fees based on income that were paid in respect of the first eleven calendar quarters (or the portion thereof) included in the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters but not in excess of the Incentive Fee Cap (as described below).

The Incentive Fee based on income that is paid to our Investment Adviser for a particular quarter is subject to a cap (the “Incentive Fee Cap”). The Incentive Fee Cap for any quarter is an amount equal to (a) 20% of the Cumulative Net Return (as defined below) during the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters minus (b) the aggregate Incentive Fees based on income that were paid in respect of the first eleven calendar quarters (or the portion thereof) included in the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters.

“Cumulative Net Return” means (x) the Ordinary Income in respect of the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters minus (y) any Net Capital Loss, as defined below, if any, in respect of the relevant Trailing Twelve Quarters. If, in any quarter, the Incentive Fee Cap is zero or a negative value, we will pay no Incentive Fee based on income to our Investment Adviser for such quarter. If, in any quarter, the Incentive Fee Cap for such quarter

 

12


is a positive value but is less than the Incentive Fee based on income that is payable to our Investment Adviser for such quarter (before giving effect to the Incentive Fee Cap) calculated as described above, we will pay an Incentive Fee based on income to our Investment Adviser equal to the Incentive Fee Cap for such quarter. If, in any quarter, the Incentive Fee Cap for such quarter is equal to or greater than the Incentive Fee based on income that is payable to our Investment Adviser for such quarter (before giving effect to the Incentive Fee Cap) calculated as described above, we will pay an Incentive Fee based on income to our Investment Adviser equal to the Incentive Fee calculated as described above for such quarter without regard to the Incentive Fee Cap.

“Net Capital Loss” in respect of a particular period means the difference, if positive, between (i) aggregate capital losses, whether realized or unrealized, in such period and (ii) aggregate capital gains, whether realized or unrealized, in such period.

 

(6)

Interest payments on borrowed funds represents an estimate of our annualized interest expense based on borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility as of September 30, 2020, the $155.0 million of our Convertible Notes and the $360.0 million aggregate principal amount of our 2025 Notes. As of September 30, 2020, the weighted average interest rate on our total debt outstanding was 3.38%. For the nine months ended September 30, 2020, the Revolving Credit Facility bore a weighted average interest rate of 2.69%, the $155.0 million aggregate principal amount of Convertible Notes bore interest at an annual rate of 4.50% and the $360.0 million aggregate principal amount of our 2025 Notes bore interest at an annual rate of 3.75%. We may borrow additional funds from time to time to make investments to the extent we determine that the economic situation is conducive to doing so. We may also issue additional debt securities or preferred stock, subject to our compliance with applicable requirements under the Investment Company Act.

(7)

“Other Expenses” includes overhead expenses, including payments under the administration agreement with our administrator (the “Administration Agreement”), and is estimated for the current fiscal year. See “Management—Administration Agreement.”

(8)

Our stockholders indirectly bear the expenses of underlying funds or other investment vehicles in which we invest that (1) are investment companies or (2) would be investment companies under section 3(a) of the Investment Company Act but for the exceptions to that definition provided for in sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act (“Acquired Funds”). This amount includes the estimated annual fees and expenses of a money market fund managed by an affiliate of Group Inc., which was our only Acquired Fund as of September 30, 2020.

Although not reflected above, the Investment Adviser expects to continue to waive a portion of its management fee payable by us in an amount equal to any management fees it earns as an investment adviser for any affiliated money market funds in which we invest.

Example

The following example demonstrates the projected dollar amount of total cumulative expenses that would be incurred over various periods with respect to a hypothetical investment in our common stock. In calculating the following expense amounts, we have assumed that our annual operating expenses remain at the

levels set forth in the table above, except for the Incentive Fee based on income. Transaction expenses are not included in the following example.

 

    

1 year

    

3 years

    

5 years

    

10 years

 

You would pay the following expenses on a $1,000 common stock investment, assuming a 5% annual return (none of which is subject to the Incentive Fee based on capital gains)

   $ 91      $ 262      $ 419      $ 754  

You would pay the following expenses on a $1,000 common stock investment, assuming a 5% annual return resulting entirely from net realized capital gains (all of which is subject to the Incentive Fee based on capital gains)

   $ 101      $ 291      $ 464      $ 833  

 

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The foregoing table is to assist you in understanding the various costs and expenses that an investor in our common stock will bear directly or indirectly. While the example assumes, as required by the SEC, a 5% annual return, our performance will vary and may result in a return greater or less than 5%. The Incentive Fee under our Investment Management Agreement, which, assuming a 5% annual return, would either not be payable or would have an insignificant impact on the expense amounts shown above, is not included in the example. The example assumes reinvestment of all distributions at NAV. In addition, while the example assumes reinvestment of all dividends and distributions at NAV, under certain circumstances, reinvestment of dividends and other distributions under our dividend reinvestment plan may occur at a price per share that differs from NAV. See “Dividend Reinvestment Plan” for additional information regarding our dividend reinvestment plan.

This example and the expenses in the table above should not be considered a representation of our future expenses, and actual expenses (including the cost of debt, if any, and other expenses) may be greater or less than those shown.

 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our securities involves certain risks relating to our structure and investment objective. You should carefully consider these the risks and uncertainties in the section titled “Risk Factors” in the applicable prospectus supplement and any related free writing prospectus, and discussed in the sections titled “Item 1A.—Risk Factors” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K, “Item 1A.—Risk Factors” in our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, “Risk Factors” in our Form N-14, and in any subsequent filings we have made with the SEC that are incorporated by reference into this prospectus, together with other information in this prospectus, the documents incorporated by reference, and any free writing prospectus that we may authorize for use in connection with this offering, before you decide whether to make an investment in our securities. The risks in these documents are not the only risks we face, and we may face other risks that we have not yet identified, which we do not currently deem material or which are not yet predictable. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, our NAV and the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

 

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POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

General Categories of Conflicts Associated with the Company

Goldman Sachs (which, for purposes of this “Potential Conflicts of Interest” section, shall mean, collectively, Group Inc., the Investment Adviser and their affiliates, directors, partners, trustees, managers, members, officers and employees) is a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management and financial services organization and a major participant in global financial markets. As such, it provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base. In those and other capacities, Goldman Sachs advises clients in all markets and transactions and purchases, sells, holds and recommends a broad array of investments for its own accounts and for the accounts of clients and of its personnel, through client accounts and the relationships and products it sponsors, manages and advises. Goldman Sachs has direct and indirect interests in the global fixed income, currency, commodity, equities, bank loan and other markets, and the securities and issuers, in which the Company may directly and indirectly invest. As a result, Goldman Sachs’ activities and dealings, including on behalf of the Company, may affect the Company in ways that may disadvantage or restrict the Company and/or benefit Goldman Sachs or other Accounts. In managing conflicts of interest that may arise as a result of the foregoing, GSAM generally will be subject to fiduciary requirements.

The following are descriptions of certain conflicts and potential conflicts of interest that may be associated with the financial or other interests that the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs may have in transactions effected by, with or on behalf of the Company. The conflicts herein do not purport to be a complete list or explanation of the conflicts or potential conflicts associated with the financial or other interests the Company or Goldman Sachs may have now or in the future. Additional information about potential conflicts of interest regarding the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs is set forth in the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV. A copy of Part 1 and Part 2A of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV is available on the SEC’s website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov). A copy of Part 2 of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV will be provided to investors or prospective investors upon request.

Other Activities of Goldman Sachs, the Sale of the Company’s Stock and the Allocation of Investment Opportunities

Sales Incentives and Related Conflicts Arising from Goldman Sachs’ Financial and Other Relationships with Intermediaries

Goldman Sachs and its personnel, including employees of the Investment Adviser, may receive benefits and earn fees and compensation for services provided to Accounts (including the Company). Moreover, Goldman Sachs and its personnel, including employees of the Investment Adviser, may have relationships (both involving and not involving the Company, and including without limitation placement, brokerage, advisory and board relationships) with distributors, consultants and others who recommend, or engage in transactions with or for, the Company. Such distributors, consultants and other parties may receive compensation from Goldman Sachs or the Company in connection with such relationships. As a result of these relationships, distributors, consultants and other parties may have conflicts that create incentives for them to promote the Company.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Company and Goldman Sachs may make payments to authorized dealers and other financial intermediaries and to salespersons (collectively, “Intermediaries”) from time to time to promote the Company. These payments may be made out of Goldman Sachs’ assets, or amounts payable to Goldman Sachs. These payments may create an incentive for a particular Intermediary to highlight, feature or recommend the Company.

Allocation of Investment Opportunities and Expenses Among the Company and Other Accounts

The Company’s investment objectives and investment strategies are similar to those of other Accounts managed by the Investment Adviser (including GS PMMC and GS PMMC II) (including Accounts in which

 

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Goldman Sachs and its personnel have an interest), and an investment appropriate for the Company may also be appropriate for those Accounts (including GS PMMC and GS PMMC II). This creates potential conflicts in allocating investment opportunities among the Company and such other Accounts, particularly in circumstances where the availability or liquidity of such investment opportunities is limited or where co-investments by the Company and other Accounts are not permitted under applicable law.

The Company is prohibited under the Investment Company Act from participating in certain transactions with its affiliates without the prior approval of the Independent Directors and, in some cases, of the SEC. Any person that owns, directly or indirectly, five percent or more of the Company’s outstanding voting securities will be an affiliate of the Company for purposes of the Investment Company Act, and the Company is generally prohibited from buying or selling any assets from or to, or entering into certain “joint” transactions (which could include investments in the same portfolio company) with such affiliates, absent the prior approval of the Independent Directors. The Investment Adviser and its affiliates, including persons that control, or are under common control with, the Company or the Investment Adviser, are also considered to be affiliates of the Company under the Investment Company Act, and the Company is generally prohibited from buying or selling any assets from or to, or entering into “joint” transactions with, such affiliates without exemptive relief from the SEC.

Subject to applicable law, we may invest alongside Goldman Sachs and its Accounts. In certain circumstances, negotiated co-investments by us and other Accounts may be made only pursuant to an order from the SEC permitting us to do so. Together with our Investment Adviser, GS PMMC and GS MMLC (which was merged with GS BDC on October 12, 2020), we applied for and received an exemptive order from the SEC that permits us to participate in negotiated co-investment transactions with certain affiliates (including GS PMMC and GS PMMC II), each of whose investment adviser is GSAM, after the date of the exemptive order, subject to certain conditions, such as that co-investments be made in a manner consistent with our investment objectives, positions, policies, strategies and restrictions, as well as regulatory requirements and pursuant to the conditions required by the exemptive relief, and are allocated fairly among participants. As a result of such order, there could be significant overlap in our investment portfolio and the investment portfolios of GS PMMC and GS PMMC II and/or other funds managed by our Investment Adviser. If our Investment Adviser identifies an investment and we are unable to rely on our exemptive relief for that particular opportunity, our Investment Adviser will be required to determine which Accounts should make the investment at the potential exclusion of other Accounts. In such circumstances, the Investment Adviser will adhere to its investment allocation policy in order to determine the Account to which to allocate the opportunity. The policy provides that our Investment Adviser allocate opportunities through a rotation system or in such other manner as our Investment Adviser determines to be equitable. Accordingly, it is possible that we may not be given the opportunity to participate in certain investments made by other Accounts.

The Company may also invest alongside other Accounts advised by the Investment Adviser and its affiliates in certain circumstances where doing so is consistent with applicable law and SEC staff guidance and interpretations. For example, the Company may invest alongside such Accounts consistent with guidance promulgated by the staff of the SEC permitting the Company and such other Accounts to purchase interests in a single class of privately placed securities so long as certain conditions are met. The Company may also invest alongside the Investment Adviser’s other clients as otherwise permissible under SEC staff guidance and interpretations, applicable regulations and the allocation policy of the Investment Adviser.

To address these potential conflicts, the Investment Adviser has developed allocation policies and procedures that provide that personnel of the Investment Adviser making portfolio decisions for Accounts will make purchase and sale decisions for, and allocate investment opportunities among, Accounts consistent with its fiduciary obligations. To the extent permitted by applicable law, these policies and procedures may result in the pro rata allocation of limited opportunities across eligible Accounts managed by a particular portfolio management team, but in many other cases such allocations reflect numerous other factors as described below. Accounts managed outside the GSAM Private Credit Group are generally viewed separately for allocation

 

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purposes. There will be cases where certain Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs and its personnel have an interest) receive an allocation of an investment opportunity when the Company does not and vice versa.

Personnel of the Investment Adviser involved in decision-making for Accounts may make allocation related decisions for the Company and other Accounts by reference to one or more factors, including: the Account’s portfolio and its investment horizons, objectives, guidelines and restrictions (including legal and regulatory restrictions); strategic fit and other portfolio management considerations, including different desired levels of investment for different strategies; client instructions; the expected future capacity of the applicable Accounts; cash and liquidity needs and considerations; the availability of other appropriate or substantially similar investment opportunities; and differences in benchmark factors and hedging strategies among Accounts. Suitability considerations, reputational matters and other considerations may also be considered. The application of these considerations may cause differences in the performance of different Accounts that have similar strategies. In addition, in some cases the Investment Adviser may make investment recommendations to Accounts where the Accounts make the investment independently of the Investment Adviser, which may result in a reduction in the availability of the investment opportunity for other Accounts (including the Company) irrespective of the Investment Adviser’s policies regarding allocation of investments. Additional information about the Investment Adviser’s allocation policies is set forth in Item 6 (“Performance-based Fees and Side-by-Side Management—Side-by-Side Management of Advisory Accounts; Allocation of Opportunities”) of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV.

The Investment Adviser, including the GSAM Credit Alternatives investment team, may, from time to time, develop and implement new trading strategies or seek to participate in new investment opportunities and trading strategies. These opportunities and strategies may not be employed in all Accounts or pro rata among Accounts where they are employed, even if the opportunity or strategy is consistent with the objectives of such Accounts. Further, a trading strategy employed for the Company that is similar to, or the same as that of, another Account may be implemented differently, sometimes to a material extent. For example, the Company may invest in different securities or other assets, or invest in the same securities and other assets but in different proportions, than another Account with the same or similar trading strategy. The implementation of the Company’s trading strategy will depend on a variety of factors, including the portfolio managers involved in managing the trading strategy for the Account, the time difference associated with the location of different portfolio management teams, and the factors described above.

During periods of unusual market conditions, the Investment Adviser may deviate from its normal trade allocation practices. For example, this may occur with respect to the management of unlevered and/or long-only Accounts that are typically managed on a side-by-side basis with levered and/or long-short Accounts.

The Company may receive opportunities referred by Goldman Sachs businesses and affiliates, but in no event does the Company have any rights with respect to such opportunities. Subject to applicable law, including the Investment Company Act, such opportunities or any portion thereof may be offered to other Accounts, Goldman Sachs, all or certain investors in the Company, or such other persons or entities as determined by Goldman Sachs in its sole discretion. The Company will have no rights and will not receive any compensation related to such opportunities. Certain of such opportunities may be referred to the Company by employees or other personnel of GS & Co., or by third-parties. If the Company invests in any such opportunities, GS & Co. or such third-parties may be entitled, to the extent permitted by applicable law, including the limitations set forth in Section 57(k) of the Investment Company Act, to compensation from the Company or from the borrowers in connection with such investments. Any compensation the Company pays in connection with such referrals will be an operating expense and will accordingly be borne by the Company (and will not serve to offset any Management Fee or Incentive Fee payable to the Investment Adviser). For a further explanation of the allocation of opportunities and other conflicts and the risks related thereto, please see “Risk Factors.”

Expenses are generally allocated to Accounts (including the Company) based on whose behalf the expenses are incurred. Where the Company and one or more other Accounts participate in a particular investment

 

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or collectively incur other expenses, the Investment Adviser generally allocates investment-related and other expenses in a manner the Investment Adviser determines to be fair and equitable, which may be pro rata or on a different basis.

The Company and other Accounts may contract for and incur expenses in connection with certain services provided by third parties, including valuation agents, rating agencies, attorneys, accountants and other professional service providers, while other Accounts that did not contract for such services may not incur such expenses even though they directly or indirectly receive benefit from such services. For example, the work of valuation firms retained by us at the request of the our Board of Directors benefit certain Accounts that invest in the same assets as us, but because such other Accounts did not request such services they are not allocated any costs associated therewith. While it is generally expected that the Accounts requesting third party services will bear the full expense associated therewith, GSAM may in its sole discretion determine to bear the portion of such expenses that would be allocable to the non-requesting Accounts had such Accounts requested the services.

Goldman Sachs’ Financial and Other Interests May Incentivize Goldman Sachs to Promote the Sale of Our Common Stock or Favor Other Accounts.

The Investment Adviser receives performance-based compensation in respect of its investment management activities on the Company’s behalf, which rewards the Investment Adviser for positive performance of the Company’s investment portfolio. As a result, the Investment Adviser may make investments for the Company that present a greater potential for return but also a greater risk of loss or that are more speculative than would be the case in the absence of performance-based compensation. In addition, the Investment Adviser may simultaneously manage other Accounts (including other BDCs (including GS PMMC and GS PMMC II)) for which the Investment Adviser may be entitled to receive greater fees or other compensation (as a percentage of performance or otherwise) than it receives in respect of us. In addition, subject to applicable law, Goldman Sachs may invest in other Accounts (including other BDCs (including GS PMMC and GS PMMC II)), and such investments may constitute substantial percentages of such other Accounts’ outstanding equity interests. Therefore, the Investment Adviser may have an incentive to favor such other Accounts over us. To address these types of conflicts, the Investment Adviser has adopted policies and procedures under which investment opportunities will be allocated in a manner that it believes is consistent with its obligations as an investment adviser. However, the amount, timing, structuring or terms of an investment by the Company may differ from, and performance may be different than, the investments and performance of other Accounts.

Management of the Company by the Investment Adviser

Considerations Relating to Information Held by Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs has established certain information barriers and other policies to address the sharing of information between different businesses within Goldman Sachs. As a result of information barriers, the Investment Adviser generally will not have access, or will have limited access, to information and personnel in other areas of Goldman Sachs, and generally will not be able to manage the Company with the benefit of information held by such other areas. Such other areas, including without limitation, Goldman Sachs’ prime brokerage and administration businesses, will have broad access to detailed information that is not available to the Investment Adviser, including information in respect of markets and investments, which, if known to the Investment Adviser, might cause the Investment Adviser to seek to dispose of, retain or increase interests in investments held by the Company or acquire certain positions on the Company’s behalf, or take other actions. Goldman Sachs will be under no obligation or fiduciary or other duty to make any such information available to the Investment Adviser or personnel of the Investment Adviser involved in decision-making for the Company. There may be circumstances in which, as a result of information held by certain of the Investment Adviser’s portfolio management teams, the Investment Adviser limits an activity or a transaction for the Company, including if the team holding such information is not managing the Company. In addition, regardless of the existence of information barriers, Goldman Sachs will not have any obligation or other duty to make available

 

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any information regarding its trading activities, strategies or views, or the activities, strategies or views used for other Accounts, for the benefit of the Company. Different areas of the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs may take views, and make decisions or recommendations, that are different than those of other areas of the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs. Different portfolio management teams within the Investment Adviser may make decisions based on information or take (or refrain from taking) actions with respect to Accounts they advise in a manner that may be different than with respect, or adverse, to the Company. Such teams may not share information with the Company’s portfolio management team, including as a result of certain information barriers and other policies and will not have any obligation to do so.

Valuation of the Company’s Investments

The Investment Adviser performs certain valuation services related to securities and assets held in the Company. The Investment Adviser, pursuant to delegated authority, and subject to the supervision of the Board of Directors, values the Company’s securities and assets according to the Company’s valuation policies, and may value an identical asset differently than another division or unit within Goldman Sachs or another Account values the asset, including because such other division or unit or Account has information or uses valuation techniques and models that it does not share with, or that are different than those of, the Investment Adviser or the Company. This is particularly the case in respect of difficult-to-value assets. The Investment Adviser may face a conflict with respect to valuations generally because of their effect on the Investment Adviser’s fees and other compensation.

Goldman Sachs’ and the Investment Adviser’s Activities on Behalf of Other Accounts

The Investment Adviser’s decisions and actions on behalf of the Company may differ from those on behalf of other Accounts. Advice given to, or investment or voting decisions made for, one or more Accounts, may compete with, affect, differ from, conflict with, or involve timing different from, advice given to or investment or voting decisions made for the Company.

Goldman Sachs engages in a variety of activities in the global financial markets. The extent of Goldman Sachs’ activities in the global financial markets, including without limitation in its capacity as an investment banker, market maker, financier, lender, investor, prime broker, derivatives dealer, adviser, counterparty, agent, principal and research provider, may have potential adverse effects on the Company. Goldman Sachs, the clients it advises, and its personnel have interests in and advise Accounts which have investment objectives or portfolios similar to, related to or opposed to those of the Company.

Goldman Sachs (including GSAM), the clients it advises, and its personnel have interests in and advise Accounts that have investment objectives or portfolios similar to, related to or opposed to those of the Company. Goldman Sachs may receive greater fees or other compensation (including performance-based fees) from such Accounts than it does from the Company. In addition, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM), the clients it advises, and its personnel may engage (or consider engaging) in commercial arrangements or transactions with Accounts, and/or may compete for commercial arrangements or transactions in the same types of companies, assets, securities and other instruments, as the Company. Decisions and actions of the Investment Adviser on behalf of the Company may differ from those by Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) on behalf of other Accounts. Advice given to, or investment or voting decisions made for, the Company may compete with, affect, differ from, conflict with, or involve timing different from, advice given to, or investment or voting decisions made for, other Accounts. Transactions by, advice to and activities of such Accounts may involve the same or related companies, securities or other assets or instruments as those in which the Company invests, and such Accounts may engage in a strategy while the Company is undertaking the same or a differing strategy, any of which could directly or indirectly disadvantage the Company (including its ability to engage in a transaction or other activities) or the prices or terms at which the Company’s transactions or other activities may be effected. For example, Goldman Sachs may be engaged to provide advice to an Account that is considering entering into a transaction with the Company, and Goldman Sachs may advise the Account not to pursue the transaction with the

 

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Company, or otherwise in connection with a potential transaction provide advice to the Account that would be adverse to the Company. Additionally, the Company may buy a security and Goldman Sachs may establish a short position in that same security or in similar securities. This short position may result in the impairment of the price of the security that the Company holds or may be designed to profit from a decline in the price of the security. The Company could similarly be adversely impacted if it establishes a short position, following which Goldman Sachs takes a long position in the same security or in similar securities. To the extent the Company engages in transactions in the same or similar types of securities or other investments as other Accounts, the Company and other Accounts may compete for such transactions or investments, and transactions or investments by such other Accounts may negatively affect the investments of the Company (including the ability of the Company to engage in such a transaction or investment or other activities), or the price or terms at which the Company’s transactions or investments or other activities may be effected. Moreover, Goldman Sachs or Accounts, on the one hand, and the Company, on the other hand, may vote differently on or take or refrain from taking different actions with respect to the same security, which may be disadvantageous to the Company.

Goldman Sachs (including, as applicable, the Investment Adviser) and its personnel, when acting as an investment banker, market maker, financier, lender, investor, prime broker, derivatives dealer, adviser, counterparty, agent, principal or research provider, or in other capacities, may advise on transactions, may make investment decisions or recommendations, provide differing investment views or have views with respect to research or valuations that are inconsistent with, or adverse to, the Company’s interests and activities. Members may be offered access to advisory services through several different Goldman Sachs advisory businesses (including GS & Co. and GSAM). Different advisory businesses within Goldman Sachs manage Accounts according to different strategies and may also apply different criteria to the same or similar strategies and may have differing investment views in respect of an issuer or a security or other investment. Similarly, within the Investment Adviser, certain portfolio management teams may have differing or opposite investment views in respect of an issuer or a security, and the actions the Company’s portfolio management team takes in respect of the Company’s investments may be inconsistent with, or adversely affected by, the interests and activities of the Accounts advised by other portfolio management teams of the Investment Adviser. Research analyses or viewpoints may be available to clients or potential clients at different times. Goldman Sachs will not have any obligation or other duty to make available to the Company any research or analysis prior to its public dissemination. The Investment Adviser is responsible for making investment decisions on the Company’s behalf, and such investment decisions can differ from investment decisions or recommendations by Goldman Sachs on behalf of other Accounts. Goldman Sachs may, on behalf of other Accounts and in accordance with its management of such Accounts, implement an investment decision or strategy ahead of, or contemporaneously with, or behind similar investment decisions or strategies made for the Company. The relative timing for the implementation of investment decisions or strategies among Accounts and the Company may disadvantage the Company. Certain factors, for example, market impact, liquidity constraints, or other circumstances, could result in the Company receiving less favorable trading results or incurring increased costs associated with implementing such investment decisions or strategies, or being otherwise disadvantaged.

Subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser may cause the Company to invest in securities, loans or other obligations of companies affiliated with Goldman Sachs or in which Goldman Sachs or Accounts have an equity, debt or other interest, or to engage in investment transactions that may result in other Accounts being relieved of obligations or otherwise divesting of investments, which may enhance the profitability of Goldman Sachs’ or other Accounts’ investments in and activities with respect to such companies.

Goldman Sachs may, in its discretion, recommend that the Company have ongoing business dealings, arrangements or agreements with persons who are former employees of Goldman Sachs. The Company may bear, directly or indirectly, the costs of such dealings, arrangements or agreements. These recommendations and recommendations relating to continuing any such dealings, arrangements or agreements may pose conflicts of interest.

 

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Potential Conflicts Relating to Follow-On Investments

To the extent permitted by law, from time to time, the Investment Adviser may provide opportunities to Accounts (including potentially the Company) to make investments in companies in which certain Accounts have already invested. Such follow-on investments can create conflicts of interest, such as the determination of the terms of the new investment and the allocation of such opportunities among Accounts (including the Company). Follow-on investment opportunities may be available to the Company notwithstanding that the Company has no existing investment in the issuer, resulting in the assets of the Company potentially providing value to, or otherwise supporting the investments of, other Accounts. Accounts (including the Company) may also participate in releveraging, recapitalization, and similar transactions involving companies in which other Accounts have invested or will invest. Conflicts of interest in these and other transactions may arise between Accounts (including the Company) with existing investments in a company and Accounts making subsequent investments in the company, which may have opposing interests regarding pricing and other terms. The subsequent investments may dilute or otherwise adversely affect the interests of the previously-invested Accounts (including the Company).

Diverse Interests

The various types of investors in and beneficiaries of the Company, including to the extent applicable the Investment Adviser and its affiliates, may have conflicting investment, tax and other interests with respect to their interest in the Company. When considering a potential investment for the Company, the Investment Adviser will generally consider the investment objectives of the Company, not the investment objectives of any particular investor or beneficiary. The Investment Adviser may make decisions, including with respect to tax matters, from time to time that may be more beneficial to one type of investor or beneficiary than another, or to the Investment Adviser and its affiliates than to investors or beneficiaries unaffiliated with the Investment Adviser. In addition, Goldman Sachs may face certain tax risks based on positions taken by the Company, including as a withholding agent. Goldman Sachs reserves the right on behalf of itself and its affiliates to take actions adverse to the Company or other Accounts in these circumstances, including withholding amounts to cover actual or potential tax liabilities.

Selection of Service Providers

The Company expects to engage service providers (including attorneys and consultants) that may also provide services to other Goldman Sachs affiliates. The Investment Adviser intends to select these service providers based on a number of factors, including expertise and experience, knowledge of related or similar products, quality of service, reputation in the marketplace, relationships with the Investment Adviser, Goldman Sachs or others, and price. These service providers may have business, financial, or other relationships with Goldman Sachs, which may or may not influence the Investment Adviser’s selection of these service providers for the Company. In such circumstances, there may be a conflict of interest between Goldman Sachs (acting on behalf of the Company) and the Company, if the Company determines not to engage or continue to engage these service providers. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the selection of service providers for the Company will be conducted in accordance with the Investment Adviser’s fiduciary obligations to the Company. The service providers selected by the Investment Adviser may charge different rates to different recipients based on the specific services provided, the personnel providing the services, or other factors. As a result, the rates paid to these service providers by the Company, on the one hand, may be more or less favorable than the rates paid by Goldman Sachs or other Accounts, on the other hand. Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) may hold investments in companies that provide services to entities in which the Company invests generally, and, subject to applicable law, GSAM may refer or introduce such companies’ services to entities that have issued securities held by the Company.

 

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Investments in Goldman Sachs Funds

To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Company may invest in money market and other funds sponsored, managed or advised by Goldman Sachs. Advisory fees paid to the Investment Adviser by the Company will not be reduced by any fees payable by the Company to Goldman Sachs as manager of such money market funds (i.e., there could be “double fees” involved in making any such investment because Goldman Sachs could receive fees with respect to both the Company’s management and such money market fund), other than in certain specified cases. In such circumstances, as well as in all other circumstances in which Goldman Sachs receives any fees or other compensation in any form relating to the provision of services, no accounting or repayment to the Company will be required.

Goldman Sachs May In-Source or Outsource

Subject to applicable law, Goldman Sachs, including the Investment Adviser, may from time to time and without notice to investors in-source or outsource certain processes or functions in connection with a variety of services that it provides to the Company in its administrative or other capacities. Such in-sourcing or outsourcing may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.

Potential Merger with or Asset Sale to Another Fund Managed by GSAM

Our Investment Adviser recommended the Merger to our Board of Directors and may in the future recommend to the Board of Directors that we merge with or acquire all or substantially all of the assets of one or more funds including a fund that could be managed by our Investment Adviser (including another BDC). We do not expect that our Investment Adviser would recommend any such merger or asset purchase unless it determines that it would be in our best interests, with such determination dependent on factors it deems relevant, which may include historical and projected financial performance of us and any proposed merger partner, portfolio composition, potential synergies from the merger or asset purchase, available alternative options and market conditions. In addition, no such merger or asset sale would be consummated absent the meeting of various conditions required by applicable law or contract, at such time, which may include approval of the board of directors and common equity holders of both funds and/or accounts. If our Investment Adviser is the investment adviser of both funds, as is the case in the Merger, various conflicts of interest exist with respect to such transaction. Such conflicts of interest may potentially arise from, among other things, differences between the compensation payable to the Investment Adviser by us and by the entity resulting from such a merger or asset purchase or efficiencies or other benefits to our Investment Adviser as a result of managing a single, larger fund or account instead of two separate funds and/or accounts.

Goldman Sachs May Act in a Capacity Other Than Investment Adviser to the Company

Investments in Different Parts of an Issuer’s Capital Structure

When permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs or Accounts, on the one hand, and the Company, on the other hand, may invest in or extend credit to different classes of securities or different parts of the capital structure of a single issuer. As a result, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or Accounts may take actions that adversely affect the Company. In addition, when permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) may advise Accounts with respect to different parts of the capital structure of the same issuer, or classes of securities that are subordinate or senior to securities, in which the Company invests. Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) may pursue rights, provide advice or engage in other activities, or refrain from pursuing rights, providing advice or engaging in other activities, on behalf of itself or other Accounts with respect to an issuer in which the Company has invested, and such actions (or refraining from action) may have a material adverse effect on the Company.

For example, in the event that Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or an Account holds loans, securities or other positions in the capital structure of an issuer that ranks senior in preference to the holdings of the

 

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Company in the same issuer, and the issuer experiences financial or operational challenges, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM), acting on behalf of itself or the Account, may seek a liquidation, reorganization or restructuring of the issuer, or terms in connection with the foregoing, that may have an adverse effect on or otherwise conflict with the interests of the Company’s holdings in the issuer. In connection with any such liquidation, reorganization or restructuring, the Company’s holdings in the issuer may be extinguished or substantially diluted, while Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or another Account may receive a recovery of some or all of the amounts due to them. In addition, in connection with any lending arrangements involving the issuer in which Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or an Account participates, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or the Account may seek to exercise its rights under the applicable loan agreement or other document, which may be detrimental to the Company. Alternatively, in situations in which the Company holds a more senior position in the capital structure of an issuer experiencing financial or other difficulties as compared to positions held by other Accounts (which may include those of Goldman Sachs, including GSAM), the Investment Adviser may determine not to pursue actions and remedies that may be available to the Company or particular terms that might be unfavorable to the Accounts holding the less senior position. In addition, in the event that Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or the Accounts hold voting securities of an issuer in which the Company holds loans, bonds or other credit-related assets or securities, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or the Accounts may vote on certain matters in a manner that has an adverse effect on the positions held by the Company. Conversely, Accounts may hold voting securities of an issuer in which Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or Accounts hold credit-related assets or securities, and the Investment Adviser may determine on behalf of the Accounts not to vote in a manner adverse to Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or the Accounts. These potential issues are examples of conflicts that Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) will face in situations in which the Company and Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) or other Accounts invest in or extend credit to different parts of the capital structure of a single issuer. Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) addresses these issues based on the circumstances of particular situations. For example, Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) may determine to rely on information barriers between different Goldman Sachs (including GSAM) business units or portfolio management teams. Also in connection with a conflicted situation regarding the Company, or an Account other than the Company or its own account, Goldman Sachs may determine to rely on the actions of similarly situated holders of loans or securities rather than, or in connection with, taking such actions itself on behalf of the Account. As a result of the various conflicts and related issues described in this paragraph, the Company could sustain losses during periods in which Goldman Sachs and other Accounts achieve profits generally or with respect to particular holdings, or could achieve lower profits or higher losses than would have been the case had the conflicts described above not existed. The negative effects described above may be more pronounced in connection with transactions in, or the Company’s use of, small capitalization, emerging market, distressed or less liquid strategies.

Cross Transactions

When permitted by applicable law and the Investment Adviser’s and the Company’s policies, the Investment Adviser, acting on behalf of the Company, may enter into transactions in securities and other instruments with or through Goldman Sachs or in Accounts managed by the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, and may (but is under no obligation or other duty to) cause the Company to engage in transactions in which the Investment Adviser, advises both sides of a transaction (cross transactions) and acts as broker for, and receives a commission from, the Company on one side of a transaction and a brokerage account on the other side of the transaction (agency cross transactions). There may be potential conflicts of interest or regulatory restrictions relating to these transactions which could limit the Investment Adviser’s decision to engage in these transactions for the Company. Goldman Sachs will have potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions, including with respect to a decision to enter into such transactions as well as with respect to valuation, pricing and other terms. The Investment Adviser has developed policies and procedures in relation to such transactions and conflicts. However, there can be no assurance that such transactions will be effected, or that such transactions will be effected in the manner that is most favorable to the Company as a party to any such transaction. Cross transactions may disproportionately benefit some Accounts relative to other

 

24


Accounts, including the Company, due to the relative amount of market savings obtained by the Accounts. Cross or agency cross transactions will be effected in accordance with fiduciary requirements and applicable law.

Goldman Sachs May Act in Multiple Commercial Capacities

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs may act as broker, dealer, agent, lender or advisor or in other commercial capacities for the Company or issuers of securities held by the Company. Goldman Sachs may be entitled to compensation in connection with the provision of such services, and the Company will not be entitled to any such compensation. Goldman Sachs will have an interest in obtaining fees and other compensation in connection with such services that are favorable to Goldman Sachs, and may take commercial steps in its own interests, or may advise the parties to which it is providing such services to take steps or engage in transactions, that negatively affect the Company. For example, Goldman Sachs may require repayment of all or part of a loan at any time and from time to time or declare a default under an agreement with the Company or a portfolio company of the Company, liquidate the Company’s assets or redeem positions more rapidly (and at significantly lower prices) than might otherwise be desirable. In addition, due to its access to and knowledge of funds, markets and securities based on its other businesses, Goldman Sachs may make decisions based on information or take (or refrain from taking) actions with respect to interests in investments of the kind held directly or indirectly by the Company in a manner that may be adverse to the Company. Goldman Sachs may also derive benefits from providing services to the Company, which may enhance Goldman Sachs’ relationships with various parties, facilitate additional business development and enable Goldman Sachs to obtain additional business and generate additional revenue.

Goldman Sachs has acted in the past, and is expected to act in the future, as an underwriter, placement agent, dealer or in other capacities in connection with fundraising by the Company. Goldman Sachs has been compensated by the Company for such activities in the past and would be compensated by the Company for any such activities undertaken in the future. For example, Goldman Sachs served as joint bookrunning manager in an offering of the Company’s common stock in May 2017, for which Goldman Sachs received underwriting discounts and commissions of $0.675 per share with respect to its allocation of 260,000 shares plus its allocable portion of the option to purchase additional shares of our common stock, in July 2016 and October 2016, Goldman Sachs served as joint bookrunning manager in offerings of our Convertible Notes, and in February 2020, Goldman Sachs served as joint bookrunning manager in the offering of our 2025 Notes.

Goldman Sachs’ activities on behalf of its clients may also restrict investment opportunities that may be available to the Company. For example, Goldman Sachs is often engaged by companies as a financial advisor, or to provide financing or other services, in connection with commercial transactions that may be potential investment opportunities for the Company. There may be circumstances in which the Company is precluded from participating in such transactions as a result of Goldman Sachs’ engagement by such companies. Goldman Sachs reserves the right to act for these companies in such circumstances, notwithstanding the potential adverse effect on the Company. Goldman Sachs may also represent creditor or debtor companies in proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (and equivalent non-U.S. bankruptcy laws) or prior to these proceedings. From time to time, Goldman Sachs may serve on creditor or equity committees. These actions, for which Goldman Sachs may be compensated, may limit or preclude the flexibility that the Company may otherwise have to buy or sell securities issued by those companies, as well as certain other assets. Please also refer to “—Management of the Company by the Investment Adviser—Considerations Relating to Information Held by Goldman Sachs” above and “—Potential Limitations and Restrictions on Investment Opportunities and Activities of the Investment Adviser and the Company” below.

Subject to applicable law, Goldman Sachs or Accounts may invest in the Company and such investments may constitute substantial percentages of the Company’s outstanding equity interests.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs may create, write, sell, issue, invest in or act as placement agent or distributor of derivative instruments related to the Company, or with respect to the

 

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Company’s underlying securities or assets, or which may be otherwise based on or seek to replicate or hedge the Company’s performance. Such derivative transactions, and any associated hedging activity, may differ from and be adverse to the interests of the Company.

Goldman Sachs may make loans or enter into margin, asset-based or other credit facilities or similar transactions that may be secured by a client’s assets or interests, including the Company’s equity, interests in an Account or assets in which the Company or an Account has an interest. Some of these borrowers may be public or private companies, or founders, officers or shareholders in companies in which the Company (directly or indirectly) invests, and such loans may be secured by securities of such companies, which may be the same as, pari passu with, or more senior or junior to, interests held (directly or indirectly) by the Company. In connection with its rights as lender, Goldman Sachs may take actions that adversely affect the Account and which may in turn adversely affect the Company (e.g., if the Company holds the same type of security that is providing the credit support to the borrower Account, such holding may be disadvantaged when the borrower Account liquidates assets in response to an action taken by Goldman Sachs).

Code of Ethics and Personal Trading

Each of the Company, GSAM, as the Company’s investment adviser, and GS & Co. and Goldman Sachs International, as principal underwriters (if applicable), has adopted a Code of Ethics (the “Code of Ethics”) in compliance with Section 17(j) of the Investment Company Act designed to provide that the Company’s directors, personnel of the Investment Adviser, and certain additional Goldman Sachs personnel who support the Investment Adviser, comply with applicable federal securities laws and place the interests of clients first in conducting personal securities transactions. The Code of Ethics imposes certain restrictions on securities transactions in the personal accounts of covered persons to help avoid conflicts of interest. Subject to the limitations of the Code of Ethics, covered persons may buy and sell securities or other investments for their personal accounts, including investments in the Company, and may also take positions that are the same as, different from, or made at different times than, positions taken by the Company. Additionally, Goldman Sachs personnel, including personnel of the Investment Adviser, are subject to firm-wide policies and procedures regarding confidential and proprietary information, information barriers, private investments, outside business activities and personal trading.

Related Party Transaction Review Policy

The Audit Committee will review any potential related party transactions brought to its attention and, during these reviews, will consider any conflicts of interest brought to its attention pursuant to the Company’s Code of Ethics. Each of the Company’s directors and executive officers completes a questionnaire on an annual basis designed to elicit information about any potential related party transactions.

Proxy Voting by the Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser has implemented processes designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing proxy voting decisions that it makes on behalf of advisory clients, including the Company, and to help ensure that such decisions are made in accordance with its fiduciary obligations to its clients. Notwithstanding such proxy voting processes, proxy voting decisions made by the Investment Adviser with respect to securities held by the Company may benefit the interests of Goldman Sachs and Accounts other than the Company.

Potential Limitations and Restrictions on Investment Opportunities and Activities of the Investment Adviser and the Company

The Investment Adviser may restrict its investment decisions and activities on behalf of the Company in various circumstances, including as a result of applicable regulatory requirements, information held by Goldman

 

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Sachs, Goldman Sachs’ roles in connection with other clients and in the capital markets (including in connection with advice it may give to such clients or commercial arrangements or transactions that may be undertaken by such clients or by Goldman Sachs), Goldman Sachs’ internal policies and/or potential reputational risk or disadvantage to Accounts, including the Company, and Goldman Sachs. The Investment Adviser might not engage in transactions or other activities for, or enforce certain rights in favor of, the Company due to Goldman Sachs’ activities outside services provided to the Company and regulatory requirements, policies and reputational risk assessments.

In addition, the Investment Adviser may restrict or limit the amount of the Company’s investment, or restrict the type of governance or voting rights it acquires or exercises, where the Company (potentially together with Goldman Sachs and other Accounts) exceeds a certain ownership interest, or possesses certain degrees of voting or control or have other interests. For example, such limitations may exist if a position or transaction could require a filing or license or other regulatory or corporate consent, which could, among other things, result in additional costs and disclosure obligations for, or impose regulatory restrictions on, Goldman Sachs, including GSAM, or on other Accounts, or where exceeding a threshold is prohibited or may result in regulatory or other restrictions. In certain cases, restrictions and limitations will be applied to avoid approaching such threshold. Circumstances in which such restrictions or limitations may arise include, without limitation: (i) a strict prohibition against owning more than a certain percentage of an issuer’s securities; (ii) a “poison pill” that would have a material dilutive impact on the holdings of the Company in the issuer should a threshold be exceeded; (iii) provisions that would cause Goldman Sachs to be considered an “interested stockholder” of an issuer should a threshold be exceeded; (iv) provisions that may cause Goldman Sachs to be considered an “affiliate” or “control person” of the issuer; and (v) the imposition by an issuer (through charter amendment, contract or otherwise) or governmental, regulatory or self-regulatory organization (through law, rule, regulation, interpretation or other guidance) of other restrictions or limitations.

When faced with the foregoing limitations, Goldman Sachs will generally avoid exceeding the threshold because exceeding the threshold could have an adverse impact on the ability of Goldman Sachs to conduct its business activities. The Investment Adviser may also reduce the Company’s interest in, or restrict the Company from participating in, an investment opportunity that has limited availability or where Goldman Sachs has determined to cap its aggregate investment in consideration of certain regulatory or other requirements so that other Accounts that pursue similar investment strategies may be able to acquire an interest in the investment opportunity. The Investment Adviser may determine not to engage in certain transactions or activities which may be beneficial to the Company because engaging in such transactions or activities in compliance with applicable law would result in significant cost to, or administrative burden on, the Investment Adviser or create the potential risk of trade or other errors. In circumstances in which the Company and one or more registered investment funds are permitted under applicable law to make side-by-side investments, Goldman Sachs, acting on behalf of the Company, may be limited in the terms of the transactions that it may negotiate under applicable law. This may have the effect of limiting the ability of the Company from participating in certain transactions or result in terms to the Company that are less favorable than would have otherwise been the case.

The Investment Adviser is not permitted to use material non-public information in effecting purchases and sales in public securities transactions for the Company. The Investment Adviser may limit an activity or transaction (such as a purchase or sale transaction) which might otherwise be engaged in by the Company, including as a result of information held by Goldman Sachs (including information held by a portfolio management team in GSAM other than the team managing the Company). For example, directors, officers and employees of Goldman Sachs may take seats on the boards of directors of, or have board of directors observer rights with respect to, companies in which Goldman Sachs invests on behalf of the Company. To the extent a director, officer or employee of Goldman Sachs were to take a seat on the board of directors of, or have board of directors observer rights with respect to, a public company, the Investment Adviser (or certain of its investment teams) would be limited and/or restricted in its or their ability to trade in the securities of the company.

The Investment Adviser may also limit the activities and transactions engaged in by the Company, and may limit its exercise of rights on the Company’s behalf or in respect of the Company, for reputational or other

 

27


reasons, including where Goldman Sachs is providing (or may provide) advice or services to an entity involved in such activity or transaction, where Goldman Sachs or an Account is or may be engaged in the same or a related activity or transaction to that being considered on behalf of the Company, where Goldman Sachs or an Account has an interest in an entity involved in such activity or transaction, or where such activity or transaction or the exercise of such rights on behalf of the Company or in respect of the Company could affect Goldman Sachs, the Investment Adviser or their activities.

Furthermore, GSAM operates a program reasonably designed to ensure compliance generally with economic and trade sanctions-related obligations applicable directly to its activities (although such obligations are not necessarily the same obligations that the Company may be subject to). Such economic and trade sanctions prohibit, among other things, transactions with and the provision of services to, directly or indirectly, certain countries, territories, entities and individuals. These economic and trade sanctions, and the application by GSAM of its compliance program in respect thereof, may significantly restrict or limit the Company’s intended investment activities.

In light of the BHCA and the Volcker Rule, the Investment Adviser may be required to, or may choose to, dispose of certain investments on behalf of the Company earlier or at a different time than the Investment Adviser would otherwise have determined to do so (or earlier or at a different time than may be the case for Accounts that are not pooled investment vehicles).

In order to engage in certain transactions on behalf of the Company, the Investment Adviser will also be subject to (or cause the Company to become subject to) the rules, terms and/or conditions of any venues through which it trades securities, derivatives or other instruments. This includes, but is not limited to, where the Investment Adviser and/or the Company may be required to comply with the rules of certain exchanges, execution platforms, trading facilities, clearinghouses and other venues, or may be required to consent to the jurisdiction of any such venues. The rules, terms and/or conditions of any such venue may result in the Investment Adviser and/or the Company being subject to, among other things, margin requirements, additional fees and other charges, disciplinary procedures, reporting and recordkeeping, position limits and other restrictions on trading, settlement risks and other related conditions on trading set out by such venues.

From time to time, the Company, the Investment Adviser or its affiliates and/or their service providers or agents may be required, or may determine that it is advisable, to disclose certain information about the Company, including, but not limited to, investments held by the Company, and the names and percentage interest of beneficial owners thereof, to third parties, including local governmental authorities, regulatory organizations, taxing authorities, markets, exchanges, clearing facilities, custodians, brokers and trading counterparties of, or service providers to, the Investment Adviser or the Company. The Investment Adviser generally expects to comply with requests to disclose such information as it so determines, including through electronic delivery platforms; however, the Investment Adviser may determine to cause the sale of certain assets for the Company rather than make certain required disclosures, and such sale may be at a time that is inopportune from a pricing or other standpoint.

Pursuant to the BHCA, for so long as GSAM acts as Investment Adviser of the Company or in certain other capacities, the periods during which certain investments may be held are limited. As a result, the Company may be required to dispose of investments at an earlier date than would otherwise have been the case had the BHCA not been applicable. In addition, under the Volcker Rule, the size of Goldman Sachs’ and Goldman Sachs’ personnel’s ownership interest in certain types of funds is limited, and as a result, Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs’ personnel may be required to dispose of all or a portion of its investment in the Company, if applicable, including at times that other investors in the Company may not have the opportunity to dispose of their investments in the Company. Any such sale of Company interests by Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs’ personnel could reduce the alignment of interest of Goldman Sachs with other investors in the Company.

 

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Goldman Sachs may become subject to additional restrictions on its business activities that could have an impact on the Company’s activities. In addition, to the extent permitted by law, the Investment Adviser may restrict its investment decisions and activities on behalf of the Company and not other Accounts.

Brokerage Transactions

The Investment Adviser may select broker-dealers (including affiliates of the Investment Adviser) that furnish the Investment Adviser, the Company, their affiliates and other Goldman Sachs personnel with proprietary or third-party brokerage and research services (collectively, “brokerage and research services”) that provide, in the Investment Adviser’s view, appropriate assistance to the Investment Adviser in the investment decision-making process. The Investment Adviser may pay for such brokerage and research services with “soft” or commission dollars.

Subject to applicable law, brokerage and research services may be used to service the Company and any or all other Accounts, including Accounts that do not pay commissions to the broker-dealer relating to the brokerage and research service arrangements. As a result, the brokerage and research services (including soft dollar benefits) may disproportionately benefit other Accounts relative to the Company based on the amount of commissions paid by the Company in comparison to such other Accounts. The Investment Adviser does not attempt to allocate soft dollar benefits proportionately among clients or to track the benefits of brokerage and research services to the commissions associated with a particular Account or group of Accounts.

Since the Company will generally acquire and dispose of investments in privately negotiated transactions, it will infrequently use brokers in the normal course of its business. Subject to policies established by the Company’s Board of Directors, the Investment Adviser will be primarily responsible for the execution of the publicly traded securities portion of its portfolio transactions and the allocation of brokerage commissions. The Investment Adviser does not expect to execute transactions through any particular broker or dealer, but will seek to obtain the best net results for the Company, taking into account such factors as price (including the applicable brokerage commission or dealer spread), size of order, difficulty of execution, and operational facilities of the firm and the firm’s risk and skill in positioning blocks of securities. While the Investment Adviser generally will seek reasonably competitive trade execution costs, the Company will not necessarily pay the lowest spread or commission available. Subject to applicable legal requirements, the Investment Adviser may select a broker based partly upon brokerage or research services provided to the Investment Adviser and the Company and any other Accounts. In return for such services, the Company may pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if the Investment Adviser determines in good faith that such commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

Aggregation of Trades by the Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser follows policies and procedures pursuant to which, subject to applicable law, it may combine or aggregate purchase or sale orders for the same security or other instrument for multiple clients (sometimes referred to as “bunching”) (including Accounts that are proprietary to Goldman Sachs), so that the orders can be executed at the same time and block trade treatment of any such orders can be elected when available. The Investment Adviser aggregates orders, when subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser considers doing so appropriate and in the interests of its clients generally and may elect block trade treatment when available. In addition, under certain circumstances and subject to applicable law, trades for the Company may be aggregated with Accounts that contain Goldman Sachs assets.

When a bunched order or block trade is completely filled, or, if the order is only partially filled, at the end of the day, the Investment Adviser generally will allocate the securities or other instruments purchased or the proceeds of any sale pro rata among the participating Accounts, based on the Company’s relative size order. If an order is filled at several different prices, through multiple trades (whether at a particular broker-dealer or among multiple broker-dealers), generally all participating Accounts will receive the average price and pay the average

 

29


commission. However, this may not always be the case (due to, e.g., odd lots, rounding, market practice or constraints applicable to particular Accounts).

Although it may do so in certain circumstances, the Investment Adviser does not always bunch or aggregate orders for different Accounts, elect block trade treatment or net buy and sell orders for the same Account, if portfolio management decisions relating to the orders are made separately, or if bunching, aggregating, electing block trade treatment or netting is not appropriate or practicable from the Investment Adviser’s operational or other perspective. The Investment Adviser may be able to negotiate a better price and lower commission rate on aggregated trades than on trades that are not aggregated, and incur lower transaction costs on netted trades than trades that are not netted. Where transactions for an Account are not aggregated with other orders, or not netted against orders for the Company or other Accounts, the Company may not benefit from a better price and lower commission rate or lower transaction cost. Aggregation and netting of trades may disproportionately benefit some Accounts relative to other Accounts, including the Company, due to the relative amount of market savings obtained by the Accounts.

Other present and future activities of Goldman Sachs may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.

Certain Business Relationships

Certain of our current directors and officers are directors or officers of affiliated Goldman Sachs entities.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

Unless otherwise specified in a prospectus supplement, we intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of our securities pursuant to this prospectus to invest in portfolio companies in accordance with our investment objective and strategies and for general corporate purposes. We may also use a portion of the net proceeds from any sale of our securities to repay amounts outstanding under our Revolving Credit Facility, which bore a weighted average annual interest rate of 2.69% as of September 30, 2020 and matures on February 25, 2025.

We anticipate that substantially all of the net proceeds of an offering of securities pursuant to this prospectus will be used for the above purposes within six months after the completion of any offering of our securities, depending on the availability of appropriate investment opportunities consistent with our investment objective and market conditions. We cannot assure you that we will achieve our targeted investment pace.

Until appropriate investment opportunities can be found, we may also invest the net proceeds of any offering of our securities primarily in cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less from the date of investment. These temporary investments may have lower yields than our other investments and, accordingly, may result in lower distributions, if any, during such period. Our ability to achieve our investment objective may be limited to the extent that the net proceeds from an offering, pending full investment, are held in lower yielding interest-bearing deposits or other short-term instruments.

The supplement to this prospectus relating to an offering will more fully identify the use of the proceeds from such offering.

 

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PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK AND DISTRIBUTIONS

Our common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “GSBD.” Our common stock has historically traded at prices both above and below our NAV per share. It is not possible to predict whether our common stock will trade at, above or below NAV in the future. See “Risk Factors.”

The following table sets forth, for each fiscal quarter beginning January 1, 2018, the NAV per share of our common stock, the range of high and low closing sales prices of our common stock reported on the NYSE, the closing sales price as a premium (discount) to NAV and distributions declared by us. On November 17, 2020, the last reported closing sales price of our common stock on the NYSE was $17.42 per share, which represented a premium of approximately 12.5% to the NAV per share reported by us as of September 30, 2020.

 

     NAV (1)      Closing Sales
Price
     Premium or
Discount of
High Sales
Price to
NAV (2)
    Premium or
Discount of
Low Sales
Price to
NAV  (2)
    Declared
Distribution (3)
 
     High      Low  

Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 2020

               

Fourth Fiscal Quarter (through November 17, 2020)

     *      $ 17.42      $ 14.95        *       *     $ 0.45  

Third Fiscal Quarter

   $ 15.49      $ 16.35      $ 14.99        5.55     (3.2 )%    $ 0.45  

Second Fiscal Quarter

   $ 15.14      $ 18.09      $ 11.40        19.5     (24.7 )%    $ 0.45  

First Fiscal Quarter

   $ 14.72      $ 22.45      $ 8.38        52.5     (43.1 )%    $ 0.45  

Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2019

               

Fourth Fiscal Quarter

   $ 16.75      $ 22.30      $ 19.25        33.1     14.9   $ 0.45  

Third Fiscal Quarter

   $ 16.98      $ 20.70      $ 19.31        21.9     13.7   $ 0.45  

Second Fiscal Quarter

   $ 17.21      $ 20.97      $ 18.71        21.8     8.7   $ 0.45  

First Fiscal Quarter

   $ 17.25      $ 21.23      $ 18.75        23.1     8.7   $ 0.45  

Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2018

               

Fourth Fiscal Quarter

   $ 17.65      $ 22.23      $ 18.10        25.9     2.5   $ 0.45  

Third Fiscal Quarter

   $ 18.13      $ 22.64      $ 20.70        24.9     14.2   $ 0.45  

Second Fiscal Quarter

   $ 18.08      $ 21.00      $ 18.95        16.2     4.8   $ 0.45  

First Fiscal Quarter

   $ 18.10      $ 22.61      $ 19.02        24.9     5.1   $ 0.45  

 

(1)

NAV per share is determined as of the last day in the relevant quarter and therefore may not reflect the NAV per share on the date of the high and low closing sales prices. The NAVs shown are based on outstanding shares at the end of the relevant quarter.

(2)

Calculated as the respective high or low closing sales price less NAV divided by NAV as of the last day in the relevant quarter.

(3)

Represents the dividend or distribution declared in the relevant quarter.

*

NAV has not yet been calculated for this period.

We intend to continue to pay quarterly distributions to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution. Future quarterly distributions, if any, will be determined by our Board of Directors. All future distributions will be subject to lawfully available funds therefor, and no assurance can be given that we will be able to declare such distributions in future periods.

We have elected to be treated, and expect to qualify annually, as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2013. To maintain our tax treatment as a RIC, we must, among other things, timely distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our investment company taxable income for each taxable year. We intend to timely distribute to our stockholders substantially all of our annual taxable income for each year, except that we may retain certain net capital gains (i.e., realized net long-term capital gains in excess of realized net short-term capital losses) for reinvestment and, depending upon the level of taxable

 

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income earned in a year, we may choose to carry forward taxable income for distribution in the following year and pay any applicable U.S. federal excise tax. We generally will be required to pay such U.S. federal excise tax if our distributions during a calendar year do not exceed the sum of (1) 98.0% of our net ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for the calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gains in excess of capital losses for the one-year period ending on October 31 of the calendar year and (3) any net ordinary income and capital gains in excess of capital losses for preceding years that were not distributed during such years. We will not be subject to excise taxes on amounts on which we are required to pay corporate income taxes (such as retained net capital gains). If we retain net capital gains, we may treat such amounts as deemed distributions to our stockholders. In that case, you will be treated as if you had received an actual distribution of the capital gains we retained and then you reinvested the net after-tax proceeds in our common stock. In general, you also will be eligible to claim a tax credit (or, in certain circumstances, obtain a tax refund) equal to your allocable share of the tax we paid on the capital gains deemed distributed to you. Stockholders should read carefully any written disclosure accompanying a distribution from us and should not assume that the source of any distribution is our net ordinary income or capital gains. The distributions we pay to our stockholders in a year may exceed our net ordinary income and capital gains for that year and, accordingly, a portion of such distributions may constitute a return of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The specific tax characteristics of our distributions will be reported to stockholders after the end of the calendar year. Please refer to “Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” for further information regarding the tax treatment of our distributions and the tax consequences of our retention of net capital gains. See also “Risk Factors.”

Unless our stockholders elect to receive their distributions in cash, we intend to make such distributions in additional shares of our common stock under our dividend reinvestment plan. Distributions paid in the form of additional shares of our common stock will generally be subject to U.S. federal, state and local taxes in the same manner as cash distributions; however, investors participating in our dividend reinvestment plan will not receive any corresponding cash with which to pay any such applicable taxes. If you hold shares of our common stock through a broker or financial intermediary, you may elect to receive distributions in cash by notifying your broker or financial intermediary of your election to receive distributions in cash in lieu of shares of our common stock. Any distributions reinvested through the issuance of shares through our dividend reinvestment plan will increase our assets on which the Management Fee and the Incentive Fee are determined and paid to the Investment Adviser. See “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.”

 

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The following table lists the quarterly distributions that we have declared per share of our common stock since January 1, 2018.

 

Period

   Payment Date      Declared
Distributions
 

First Quarter 2018

     April 16, 2018      $ 0.45  

Second Quarter 2018

     July 16, 2018      $ 0.45  

Third Quarter 2018

     October 15, 2018      $ 0.45  

Fourth Quarter 2018

     January 15, 2019      $ 0.45  
     

 

 

 

Total Declared for 2018

      $ 1.80  
     

 

 

 

First Quarter 2019

     April 15, 2019      $ 0.45  

Second Quarter 2019

     July 15, 2019      $ 0.45  

Third Quarter 2019

     October 15, 2019      $ 0.45  

Fourth Quarter 2019

     January 15, 2020      $ 0.45  
     

 

 

 

Total Declared for 2019

      $ 1.80  
     

 

 

 

First Quarter 2020

     April 15, 2020      $ 0.45  

Second Quarter 2020

     July 15, 2020      $ 0.45  

Third Quarter 2020

     October 15, 2020      $ 0.45  

Fourth Quarter 2020

     January 15, 2021      $ 0.45  
     

 

 

 

Total Declared for 2020

      $ 1.80  
     

 

 

 

In connection with the consummation of the Merger, we announced special distributions aggregating to $0.15 per share which will be payable in $0.05 increments on March 15, 2021, June 15, 2021 and September 15, 2021, to shareholders of record as of February 15, 2021, May 14, 2021, and August 16, 2021, respectively.

 

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SELECTED CONSOLIDATED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL DATA OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

The information in “Selected Consolidated Historical Financial Data of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” of our Form N-14 and in “Item 6–Selected Financial Data” of our most recent annual report on Form 10-K, are incorporated by reference herein.

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED HISTORICAL FINANCIAL DATA OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

The information in “Selected Consolidated Historical Financial Data of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.” of our Form N-14 is incorporated by reference herein.

UNAUDITED PRO FORMA CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The information in “Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements” in Exhibit 99.2 of our Form 8-K, filed with the SEC on November 19, 2020 is incorporated by reference herein.

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus, including the documents that we incorporate by reference herein, contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. You can identify these statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project,” “target,” “estimate,” “intend,” “continue” or “believe” or the negatives of, or other variations on, these terms or comparable terminology. You should read statements that contain these words carefully because they discuss our plans, strategies, prospects and expectations concerning our business, operating results, financial condition and other similar matters. We believe that it is important to communicate our future expectations to our investors. Our forward-looking statements include information in this prospectus regarding general domestic and global economic conditions, our future financing plans, our ability to operate as a BDC and the expected performance of, and the yield on, our portfolio companies. In particular, there are forward-looking statements under “Prospectus Summary—Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.,” “Business” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” There may be events in the future, however, that we are not able to predict accurately or control. The factors listed under “Risk Factors,” as well as any cautionary language in this prospectus, provide examples of risks, uncertainties and events that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations we describe in our forward-looking statements. The occurrence of the events described in these risk factors and elsewhere in this prospectus could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial position. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this prospectus speaks only as of the date of this prospectus. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ from our forward-looking statements may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. You are advised to consult any additional disclosures that we may make directly to you or through reports that we have filed or in the future may file with the SEC, including our joint proxy statement and prospectus that forms part of a registration statement on Form N-14, filed with the SEC on August 4, 2020, and our annual reports on Form 10-K, registration statements on Form N-2, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Under Section 27A(b)(2)(B) and (D) of the Securities Act and Section 21E(b)(2)(B) and (D) of the Exchange Act, the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 do not apply to statements made in connection with any offering of securities pursuant to this prospectus or in the periodic reports we file under the Exchange Act.

The following factors are among those that may cause actual results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements:

 

   

our future operating results;

 

   

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and our portfolio companies, including our and their ability to access capital and liquidity;

 

   

changes in political, economic or industry conditions, the interest rate environment or conditions affecting the financial and capital markets;

 

   

uncertainty surrounding the financial and political stability of the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union and China;

 

   

our business prospects and the prospects of our portfolio companies;

 

   

the impact of investments that we expect to make;

 

   

the impact of increased competition;

 

   

our contractual arrangements and relationships with third parties;

 

36


   

the dependence of our future success on the general economy and its impact on the industries in which we invest;

 

   

the ability of our current and prospective portfolio companies to achieve their objectives;

 

   

the relative and absolute performance of our Investment Adviser;

 

   

the use of borrowed money to finance a portion of our investments;

 

   

our ability to make distributions;

 

   

the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;

 

   

the timing of cash flows, if any, from the operations of our portfolio companies;

 

   

changes in interest rates, including the decommissioning of London InterBank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”);

 

   

the impact of future acquisitions and divestitures;

 

   

the effect of changes in tax laws and regulations and interpretations thereof;

 

   

our ability to maintain our status as a BDC and a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code;

 

   

actual and potential conflicts of interest with GSAM and its affiliates;

 

   

general price and volume fluctuations in the stock market;

 

   

the ability of our Investment Adviser to attract and retain highly talented professionals;

 

   

the impact on our business from new or amended legislation or regulations;

 

   

the availability of credit and/or our ability to access the equity and capital markets;

 

   

currency fluctuations, particularly to the extent that we receive payments denominated in foreign currency rather than U.S. dollars;

 

   

the ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Merger;

 

   

the effects of disruption on our business from the Merger; and

 

   

the combined company’s plans, expectations, objectives and intentions, as a result of the Merger.

 

37


MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

The information in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” of our Form N-14, in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q and in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of our most recent annual report on Form 10-K is incorporated by reference herein.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

The information in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.” of our Form N-14 and in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.” of Exhibit 99.1 of our Form 8-K, filed with the SEC on September 17, 2020 is incorporated by reference herein.

SENIOR SECURITIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

The information in “Senior Securities of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” of our Form N-14 is incorporated by reference herein. For a further explanation of the effects of our use of leverage, please see “Risks Relating to GSBD’s Business and Structure—GSBD borrows money, which may magnify the potential gain or loss and may increase the risk of investing in GSBD” in our Form N-14, which is incorporated by reference herein.

SENIOR SECURITIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

The information in “Senior Securities of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.” of our Form N-14 is incorporated by reference herein. For a further explanation of the effects of GS MMLC’s use of leverage, please see “Risks Relating to MMLC’s Business and Structure—MMLC borrows money, which may magnify the potential gain or loss and may increase the risk of investing in MMLC” in our Form N-14, which is incorporated by reference herein.

BUSINESS OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

Our business is described in “Business of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” of our Form N-14 and in “Item 1—Business” of our most recent annual report on Form 10-K, which are incorporated by reference herein.

BUSINESS OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

GS MMLC’s business is described in “Business of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.” of our Form N-14, which is incorporated by reference herein.

MANAGEMENT

Please refer to “Management of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” in our Form N-14 and to our most recent definitive proxy statement, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus, for information relating to the management of the Company.

On October 12, 2020, Timothy J. Leach, Richard A. Mark and Carlos E. Evans (the “Appointed Directors”) were appointed to our Board of Directors, which increased the size of our Board of Directors by three directors (to a total size of eight directors), effective upon the closing of the Merger. Mr. Leach will hold office

 

38


as a Class I director until the date of GS BDC’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and until his successor shall be elected and qualified or until his earlier death, resignation, retirement, disqualification or removal. Mr. Mark will hold office as a Class II director until the date of GS BDC’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and until his successor shall be elected and qualified or until his earlier death, resignation, retirement, disqualification or removal. Mr. Evans will hold office as a Class I director until the date of GS BDC’s 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders and until his successor shall be elected and qualified or until his earlier death, resignation, retirement, disqualification or removal. The Appointed Directors also serve on the Audit, Compliance, Compensation, Contract Review and Governance and Nominating Committees of our Board of Directors. Mr. Mark now serves as chairperson of the Audit Committee.

RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS AND CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS

Please refer to “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” in our Form N-14 and to our most recent definitive proxy statement, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus, for information relating to our related party transactions.

GS MMLC was party to similar agreements with GSAM and other affiliates of Group Inc., other than the 10b5-1 plan and the common stock repurchase plans described “Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” in our Form N-14. GSAM and other affiliates of Group Inc. also perform services for other clients, which creates various conflicts of interest. See “Potential Conflicts of Interest” and “Risk Factors.”

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS

Please refer to “Control Persons and Principal Stockholders of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” in our Form N-14 and to our most recent definitive proxy statement, which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus, for information relating to the control persons and principal stockholders of the Company.

PORTFOLIO COMPANIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

Please refer to “Portfolio Companies of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.” in our Form N-14 and to “Consolidated Schedule of Investments” in our most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q for certain information as of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019 regarding each portfolio company in which we had a debt or equity investment, which are incorporated by reference herein.

PORTFOLIO COMPANIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS MIDDLE MARKET LENDING CORP.

Please refer to “Portfolio Companies of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.” in our Form N-14 and to “Consolidated Schedule of Investments” in Exhibit 99.1 of our Form 8-K, filed with the SEC on November 19, 2020 for certain information as of September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2019 regarding each portfolio company in which GS MMLC had a debt or equity investment, which is incorporated by reference herein.

 

39


DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

In accordance with the procedures adopted by our Board of Directors, the NAV per share of our outstanding shares of common stock is determined by dividing the value of total assets minus liabilities by the total number of shares outstanding.

As a BDC, we generally invest in illiquid securities including debt and equity investments of middle-market companies. Under procedures adopted by our Board of Directors market quotations are generally used to assess the value of our investments for which market quotations are readily available. We obtain these market values from independent pricing services or at the bid prices obtained from at least two brokers/dealers if available, otherwise by a principal market maker or a primary market dealer. If the Board of Directors or its delegate has a bona fide reason to believe any such market quotation does not reflect the fair value of an investment, it may independently value such investments by using the valuation procedure that it uses with respect to assets for which market quotations are not readily available.

Currently, the majority of our investments fall within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Critical Accounting Policies—Valuation of Portfolio Investments” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K We do not expect that there will be readily available market values for most of the investments which are in our portfolio, and we value such investments at fair value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board of Directors using a documented valuation policy, described below, and a consistently applied valuation process. The factors that may be taken into account in pricing our investments at fair value include, as relevant, the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings and discounted cash flow, and the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparison to publicly traded securities and other relevant factors. Available current market data are considered such as applicable market yields and multiples of publicly traded securities, comparison of financial ratios of peer companies, and changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets that may affect the price at which similar investments would trade in their principal market, and other relevant factors. When an external event such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we consider the pricing indicated by the external event to corroborate or revise our valuation. Under current auditing standards, the notes to our financial statements refer to the uncertainty with respect to the possible effect of such valuations, and any change in such valuations, on our financial statements. For more information, see “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Portfolio Company Investments—Many of our portfolio securities do not have a readily available market price and we value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith under procedures adopted by our Board of Directors. Valuation is inherently subjective and may not reflect what we may actually realize for the sale of the investment” our most recent annual report on Form 10-K

With respect to investments for which market quotations are not readily available, or for which market quotations are deemed not reflective of the fair value, the valuation procedures adopted by our Board of Directors contemplates a multi-step valuation process each quarter, as described below:

 

  (1)

Our quarterly valuation process begins with each portfolio company or investment being initially valued by the investment professionals of our Investment Adviser responsible for the portfolio investment;

 

  (2)

Our Board of Directors also engages the Independent Valuation Advisors to provide independent valuations of the investments for which market quotations are not readily available, or are readily available but deemed not reflective of the fair value of an investment. The Independent Valuation Advisors independently value such investments using quantitative and qualitative information provided by the investment professionals of the Investment Adviser as well as any market quotations obtained from independent pricing services, brokers, dealers or market dealers. The Independent Valuation Advisors also provide analyses to support their valuation methodology and

 

40


  calculations. The Independent Valuation Advisors provide an opinion on a final range of values on such investments to our Board of Directors or the Audit Committee. The Independent Valuation Advisors define fair value in accordance with ASC 820 and utilize valuation approaches including the market approach, the income approach or both. A portion of the portfolio is reviewed on a quarterly basis, and all investments in the portfolio for which market quotations are not readily available, or are readily available, but deemed not reflective of the fair value of an investment, are reviewed at least annually by an Independent Valuation Advisor;

 

  (3)

The Independent Valuation Advisors’ preliminary valuations are reviewed by our Investment Adviser and the VOG, a team that is part of the Controllers Department within the Finance Division of Goldman Sachs. The Independent Valuation Advisors’ ranges are compared to our Investment Adviser’s valuations to ensure our Investment Adviser’s valuations are reasonable. VOG presents the valuations to the Private Investment Valuation and Side Pocket Working Group of the Investment Management Division Valuation Committee, which is comprised of representatives from GSAM who are independent of the investment making decision process;

 

  (4)

The Investment Management Division Valuation Committee ratifies fair valuations and makes recommendations to the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors;

 

  (5)

The Audit Committee of our Board of Directors reviews valuation information provided by the Investment Management Division Valuation Committee, our Investment Adviser and the Independent Valuation Advisors. The Audit Committee then assesses such valuation recommendations; and

 

  (6)

Our Board of Directors discusses the valuations and, within the meaning of the Investment Company Act, determines the fair value of our investments in good faith, based on the input of our Investment Adviser, the Independent Valuation Advisors and the Audit Committee.

ASC 820 defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Fair value is a market-based measurement, not an entity-specific measurement. For some assets and liabilities, observable market transactions or market information might be available. For other assets and liabilities, observable market transactions and market information might not be available. However, the objective of a fair value measurement in both cases is the same—to estimate the price when an orderly transaction to sell the asset or transfer the liability would take place between market participants at the measurement date under current market conditions (that is, an exit price at the measurement date from the perspective of a market participant that holds the asset or owes the liability).

ASC 820 establishes a hierarchal disclosure framework which ranks the observability of inputs used in measuring financial instruments at fair value. The observability of inputs is impacted by a number of factors, including the type of financial instruments and their specific characteristics. Financial instruments with readily available quoted prices, or for which fair value can be measured from quoted prices in active markets, generally will have a higher degree of market price observability and a lesser degree of judgment applied in determining fair value. The levels used for classifying investments are not necessarily an indication of the risk associated with investing in these securities.

 

41


DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

We have adopted a dividend reinvestment plan, pursuant to which we will reinvest all cash distributions declared by our Board of Directors on behalf of investors who do not elect to receive their cash distributions in cash as provided below. As a result, if our Board of Directors declares a cash distribution, then our stockholders who have not elected (or have not previously been deemed to have elected) to “opt out” of our dividend reinvestment plan will have their cash distributions automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock as described below. We intend to continue to pay quarterly distributions to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution. Future quarterly distributions, if any, will be determined by our Board of Directors. All future distributions will be subject to lawfully available funds therefor, and no assurance can be given that we will be able to declare such distributions in future periods.

Each registered stockholder may elect to have distributions distributed in cash rather than participate in the plan. For any registered stockholder that does not so elect, distributions on such stockholder’s shares will be reinvested by Computershare Trust Company, N.A., as the plan agent, in additional shares. The number of shares to be issued to the stockholder will be determined based on the total dollar amount of the cash distribution payable, net of applicable withholding taxes. The plan agent maintains all participants’ accounts in the plan and furnishes written confirmation of all transactions in the accounts. Shares in the account of each participant are held by the plan agent on behalf of the participant in book entry form in the plan agent’s name or the plan agent’s nominee. Those stockholders whose shares are held through a broker or other nominee may receive cash distributions in cash by notifying their broker or nominee of their election.

The shares are acquired by the plan agent for the participants’ accounts either through (i) newly issued shares or (ii) by purchase of outstanding shares on the open market. If, on the payment date for any distribution, the most recently computed NAV per share as of the dividend payment date is equal to or less than the closing market price plus estimated per share fees (which include any applicable brokerage commissions the plan agent is required to pay) (such condition often referred to as a “premium”), the plan agent will invest the distribution amount in newly issued shares on behalf of the participants. The number of newly issued shares to be credited to a participant’s account will be determined by dividing the dollar amount of the distribution by the most recently computed NAV per share as of the dividend payment date; provided that, if the most recently computed NAV per share as of the dividend payment date is less than or equal to 95% of the closing market price on the dividend payment date, the dollar amount of the distribution will be divided by 95% of the closing market price per share on the dividend payment date. If on the dividend payment date, the most recently computed NAV per share as of that date is greater than the closing market price per share plus per share fees (such condition referred to as a “market discount”), the plan agent will invest the dividend amount in shares acquired on behalf of the participants by purchasing shares on the open market. Such open market purchases will continue on each successive business day until the entire dividend amount has been invested pursuant to open market purchases; provided, however, that if (a) the market discount shifts to a market premium, or (b) the open market purchases have not been completed by the last business day before the next date on which the common stock trades on an “ex-dividend” basis or 30 days after the dividend payment date, whichever is sooner, the plan agent will cease making open market purchases and will invest the entire uninvested portion of the dividend amount in newly issued common stock in the manner contemplated above.

Open-market purchases may be made on any securities exchange where shares are traded, in the over-the-counter market or in negotiated transactions, and may be on such terms as to price, delivery and otherwise as the plan agent will determine. Shares purchased in open market transactions by the plan agent will be allocated to a participant based on the average purchase price, excluding any brokerage charges or other charges, of all shares purchased in the open market with respect to any such distribution. The number of shares of our common stock to be outstanding after giving effect to payment of the distribution cannot be established until the value per share at which additional shares will be issued has been determined and elections of our stockholders have been tabulated.

If a participant elects by telephone, Internet, or written notice to the plan agent to have the plan agent sell all or a part of his or her shares and remit the proceeds to the participant, the plan agent will process all sale

 

42


instructions received no later than five business days after the date on which the order is received. Such sale will be made through the plan agent’s broker on the relevant market and the sale price will not be determined until such time as the broker completes the sale. In each case, the price to each participant will be the weighted average sale price obtained by the plan agent’s broker net of fees for each aggregate order placed by the plan agent and executed by the broker.

The plan agent’s fees for the handling of the reinvestment of distributions will be paid by us. However, each participant will pay a per share fee (currently $0.05) incurred in connection with open market purchases. If a participant elects by telephone, Internet, or written notice to the plan agent to have the plan agent sell all or a part of his or her shares and remit the proceeds to the participant, the plan agent is authorized to deduct a $15 sales fee per trade and a per share fee of $0.12 from such proceeds. All per share fees include any applicable brokerage commissions the plan agent is required to pay.

Participation in the plan is completely voluntary and may be terminated or resumed at any time without penalty. Participants may terminate their accounts under the plan by notifying the plan agent by telephone, Internet, or written notice prior to the distribution record date. Such termination will be effective immediately if received by the plan agent prior to a distribution record date; otherwise such termination or resumption will be effective with respect to any subsequently declared dividend or other distribution. The plan agent seeks to process termination notices received after the dividend record date but before the dividend payment date prior to such dividend payment date to the extent practicable but may in its sole discretion reinvest the participant’s dividends in common stock, as described above. If such dividends are reinvested, the plan agent will process the late termination notice as soon as practicable, but in no event later than five business days after the reinvestment is completed.

A stockholder who does not opt out of the dividend reinvestment plan will generally be subject to the same U.S. federal, state and local tax consequences as a stockholder who elects to receive its distributions in cash, and, for this purpose, a stockholder receiving a distribution in the form of additional shares will generally be treated as receiving a distribution in the amount of cash that the stockholder would have received if it had elected to receive the distribution in cash. If we issue additional shares with a fair market value equal to or greater than net asset value, however, stockholders will be treated as receiving a distribution in the amount of the fair market value of the distributed shares. Because a stockholder that participates in the dividend reinvestment plan will not actually receive any cash, such a stockholder will not have such cash available to pay any applicable taxes on the deemed distribution. A stockholder that participates in the dividend reinvestment plan and thus is treated as having invested in additional shares of our stock will have a basis in such additional shares of stock equal to the total dollar amount treated as a distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The stockholder’s holding period for such stock will commence on the day following the day on which the shares are credited to the stockholder’s account. Stockholders that participate in the dividend reinvestment plan will receive tax information annually for their personal records and to help them prepare their federal income tax return. For further information as to tax consequences of participation in the plan, participants should consult with their own tax advisers.

We reserve the right to amend or terminate the plan upon notice in writing to each participant at least 30 days prior to any record date for the payment of any dividend or distribution by us. There is no direct transaction fee to participants with regard to purchases in the plan; however, we reserve the right to amend the plan to include a transaction fee payable by the participants. Notice will be sent to participants of any amendments as soon as practicable after such action by us.

All correspondence concerning the plan should be directed to the plan agent at Computershare Trust Company, N.A, P.O. Box 505000, Louisville, KY 40233, with overnight correspondence being directed to the plan agent at Computershare Trust Company, N.A, 462 South 4th Street, Suite 1600, Louisville, KY 40202; by calling 855-807-2742; or through the plan agent’s website at www.computershare.com/investor. Participants who hold their shares through a broker or other nominee should direct correspondence or questions concerning the dividend reinvestment plan to their broker or nominee.

 

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CERTAIN U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following discussion is a general summary of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to us and an investment in shares of our common stock or preferred stock. The discussion is based upon the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, which we refer to as the “Code,” the regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury promulgated thereunder, which we refer to as the “Treasury regulations,” the legislative history of the Code, current administrative interpretations and practices of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which we refer to as the “IRS” (including administrative interpretations and practices of the IRS expressed in private letter rulings which are binding on the IRS only with respect to the particular taxpayers that requested and received those rulings) and judicial decisions, each as of the date of this prospectus and all of which are subject to change or differing interpretations, possibly retroactively, which could affect the continuing validity of this discussion. Subsequent developments and changes in the tax laws of the United States and any countries in which we directly or indirectly invest could have a material effect on the tax consequences to us, beneficial owners of shares of our common stock or preferred stock, which we refer to as “stockholders,” and/or any intermediate vehicle through which we invest. We have not sought, and will not seek, any ruling from the IRS or any other U.S. federal, state, local, or non-U.S. taxing authority with respect to any of the tax issues affecting us, or our stockholders, or regarding any other matter discussed in this summary, and this summary is not binding on the IRS. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the IRS or any other taxing authority will not assert, and a court will not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax considerations discussed below.

You should note that this summary is necessarily general and does not purport to be a complete description of all the tax aspects affecting us or our stockholders. For example, this summary does not describe all of the U.S. federal income tax consequences and other considerations that may be relevant to certain types of stockholders subject to special treatment under the U.S. federal income tax laws, including stockholders subject to the alternative minimum tax, tax-exempt organizations, insurance companies, partnerships or other pass-through entities and their owners, Non-U.S. stockholders (as defined below) engaged in a trade or business in the United States or entitled to claim the benefits of an applicable income tax treaty, persons who have ceased to be U.S. citizens or to be taxed as residents of the United States, U.S. stockholders (as defined below) whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar, persons holding our common stock or preferred stock in connection with a hedging, straddle, conversion or other integrated transaction, dealers in securities, traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for securities holdings, pension plans, trusts, and financial institutions. This summary assumes that our stockholders hold shares of our common stock or preferred stock as capital assets for U.S. federal income tax purposes (generally, assets held for investment). This summary does not discuss any aspects of U.S. estate or gift taxation, U.S. state or local taxation or non-U.S. taxation. It does not discuss the special treatment under U.S. federal income tax laws that could result if we invest in tax-exempt securities or certain other investment assets.

U.S. stockholders that use an accrual method of accounting for U.S. federal income tax purposes generally are required to include certain amounts in income no later than the time such amounts are reflected on certain applicable financial statements. The application of this rule may require the accrual of income earlier than would be the case under the general U.S. federal income tax rules described below, although it is not clear to what types of income this rule applies. U.S. stockholders that use an accrual method of accounting for U.S. federal income tax purposes should consult with their tax advisers regarding the potential applicability of this rule to their particular situation.

For purposes of this discussion, a “U.S. stockholder” is a beneficial owner of shares of our common stock or preferred stock that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

44


   

a trust if (i) a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of the trust and one or more “United States persons” (as defined in the Code) have the authority to control all substantive decisions of the trust, or (ii) the trust has in effect a valid election to be treated as a domestic trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes; or

 

   

an estate, the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source.

For purposes of this discussion, a “Non-U.S. stockholder” is a beneficial owner of shares of our common stock or preferred stock that is not a U.S. stockholder and not a partnership (or an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership) for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

If a partnership (or other entity or arrangement treated as a partnership) for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds shares of our common stock or preferred stock, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner in the partnership generally will depend on the status of the partner, the activities of the partnership and certain determinations made at the partner level. A stockholder that is a partnership holding shares of our common stock or preferred stock, and each partner in such a partnership, should consult his, her or its own tax adviser with respect to the tax consequences of the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of our common stock or preferred stock.

If we issue preferred stock that may be convertible into or exercisable or exchangeable for securities or other property or preferred stock with other terms that may have different U.S. federal income tax consequences than those described in this summary, the U.S. federal income tax consequences of such preferred stock will be described in the relevant prospectus supplement. This summary does not discuss the consequences of an investment in our subscription rights, debt securities or warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our preferred stock, common stock or debt securities. The U.S. federal income tax consequences of such an investment will be discussed in the relevant prospectus supplement.

Tax matters are very complicated and the tax consequences to each stockholder of the ownership and disposition of shares of our common stock or preferred stock will depend on the facts of his, her or its particular situation. You should consult your own tax adviser regarding the specific tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of shares of our common stock or preferred stock to you, including tax reporting requirements, the applicability of U.S. federal, state and local tax laws and non-U.S. tax laws, eligibility for the benefits of any applicable income tax treaty and the effect of any possible changes in the tax laws.

We intend to pay quarterly distributions to our stockholders out of assets legally available for distribution, but will reinvest distributions on behalf of those investors that do not elect to receive their distributions in cash. See “Price Range of Common Stock and Distributions” and “Dividend Reinvestment Plan” for a description of our dividend policy and obligations.

Election to be Taxed as a RIC

We have elected to be treated, and expect to qualify annually, as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. As a RIC, we generally will not be required to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income taxes on any net ordinary income or capital gains that we timely distribute to our stockholders as dividends. Rather, dividends we distribute generally will be taxable to our stockholders, and any net operating losses, foreign tax credits and other of our tax attributes generally will not pass through to our stockholders, subject to special rules for certain items such as net capital gains and qualified dividend income we recognize. See “—Taxation of U.S. Stockholders” and “—Taxation of Non-U.S. Stockholders” below.

To maintain our status as a RIC, we must, among other things, meet certain source-of-income and asset diversification requirements (as described below). In addition, to maintain our status as a RIC, we must timely distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our investment company taxable income (determined without

 

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regard to the dividends paid deduction), which is generally our net ordinary income plus the excess of realized net short-term capital gains over realized net long-term capital losses, if any, for each taxable year (the “Annual Distribution Requirement”).

Taxation as a RIC

If we maintain our status as a RIC and satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, then we will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the portion of our investment company taxable income and net capital gain (generally, realized net long-term capital gain in excess of realized net short-term capital loss) that we timely distribute (or are deemed to timely distribute) to our stockholders. We will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the regular corporate rates on any income or capital gain not distributed (or deemed distributed) to our stockholders.

We generally will be subject to a 4% nondeductible U.S. federal excise tax on certain undistributed income for a calendar year unless we distribute in a timely manner an amount at least equal to the sum of (1) 98% of our net ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for the calendar year, (2) 98.2% of our capital gains in excess of capital losses for the one-year period ending October 31 in that calendar year and (3) any net ordinary income and capital gains in excess of capital losses recognized, but not distributed, in preceding years (the “Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement”). We will not be subject to the U.S. federal excise tax on amounts on which we are required to pay U.S. federal income tax (such as retained net capital gains). Depending upon the level of taxable income and net capital gain earned in a year, we may retain certain net capital gain for reinvestment and carry forward taxable income for distribution in the following year and pay any applicable tax.

In order to maintain our status as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must, among other things:

 

   

qualify and have in effect an election to be treated as a BDC under the Investment Company Act at all times during each taxable year;

 

   

derive in each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from dividends, interest, payments with respect to loans of certain securities, gains from the sale of stock or other securities or foreign currencies, net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership” (as defined in the Code), or other income derived with respect to our business of investing in such stock or securities or foreign currencies (the “90% Income Test”); and

 

   

diversify our holdings so that at the end of each quarter of the taxable year:

 

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at least 50% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs and other securities if such other securities of any one issuer do not represent more than 5% of the value of our assets or more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of the issuer; and

 

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no more than 25% of the value of our assets is invested in (a) the securities, other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs, of one issuer or of two or more issuers that are controlled, as determined under applicable Code rules, by us and that are engaged in the same or similar or related trades or businesses or (b) the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (the “Diversification Tests”).

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, we will include in our taxable income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash. For example, if we hold debt obligations that are treated under applicable U.S. federal income tax rules as having original issue discount (such as debt instruments with PIK interest or, in

 

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certain cases, that have increasing interest rates or are issued with warrants), we must include in our taxable income in each year a portion of the original issue discount that accrues over the life of the obligation, regardless of whether we receive cash representing such income in the same taxable year. We may also be required to include in our taxable income other amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as accruals on a contingent payment debt instrument, accruals of interest income and/or original issue discount on defaulted debt or deferred loan origination fees that are paid after origination of the loan or are paid in non-cash compensation such as warrants or stock. Moreover, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, we generally will be required to take certain amounts in income no later than the time such amounts are reflected on our financial statements. Because such original issue discount or other amounts accrued will be included in our investment company taxable income for the year of accrual, we may be required to make distributions to our stockholders in order to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement and/or the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement, even though we will have not received any corresponding cash payments. Accordingly, to enable us to make distributions to our stockholders that will be sufficient to enable us to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, we may need to sell some of our assets at times and/or at prices that we would not consider advantageous, we may need to raise additional equity or debt capital or we may need to forego new investment opportunities or otherwise take actions that are disadvantageous to our business (or be unable to take actions that are advantageous to our business). If we are unable to obtain cash in the amount required for us to make, or if we are restricted from making, sufficient distributions to our stockholders to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, we may fail to qualify for the U.S. federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs and, thus, become subject to a corporate-level U.S. federal income tax (and any applicable state and local taxes).

Because we expect to use debt financing, we may be prevented by covenants contained in our debt financing agreements from making distributions to our stockholders in certain circumstances. In addition, under the Investment Company Act, we are generally not permitted to make distributions to our stockholders while our debt obligations and other senior securities are outstanding unless certain “asset coverage” tests are met. See “Regulation—Indebtedness and Senior Securities.” Restrictions on our ability to make distributions to our stockholders may prevent us from satisfying the Annual Distribution Requirement and, therefore, may jeopardize our qualification for taxation as a RIC, or subject us to the 4% U.S. federal excise tax.

Although we do not presently expect to do so, we may borrow funds and sell assets in order to make distributions to our stockholders that are sufficient for us to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement. However, our ability to dispose of assets may be limited by (1) the illiquid nature of our portfolio and/or (2) other requirements relating to our status as a RIC, including the Diversification Tests. If we dispose of assets in order to meet the Annual Distribution Requirement or the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement, we may make such dispositions at times and/or values that, from an investment standpoint, are not advantageous. Alternatively, although we currently do not intend to do so, to satisfy the Annual Distribution Requirement, we may declare a taxable dividend payable in our stock or cash at the election of each stockholder. In such case, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the amount of the dividend paid in our common stock will generally be equal to the amount of cash that could have been received instead of our stock. See “—Taxation of U.S. Stockholders” below for a discussion of the tax consequences to stockholders upon receipt of such dividends.

A RIC is limited in its ability to deduct expenses in excess of its investment company taxable income. If our expenses in a given year exceed our investment company taxable income, we would experience a net operating loss for that year. However, a RIC is not permitted to carry forward net operating losses to subsequent years and such net operating losses do not pass through to its stockholders. In addition, expenses can be used only to offset investment company taxable income, not net capital gain. A RIC may not use any net capital losses (that is, realized capital losses in excess of realized capital gains) to offset the RIC’s investment company taxable income, but may carry forward such losses, and use them to offset future capital gains, indefinitely. As a result of these limits on the deductibility of expenses and net capital losses, we may for tax purposes have aggregate taxable income for several years that we are required to distribute and that is taxable to our stockholders even if such income is greater than the aggregate net income we actually earned during those years. In addition, if future capital gains are offset by carried forward capital losses, such future capital gains are not subject to any

 

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corporate-level U.S. federal income tax, regardless of whether they are distributed to our stockholders. Accordingly, we do not expect to distribute any such offsetting capital gains.

Distributions we make to our stockholders may be made from our cash assets or by liquidation of our investments, if necessary. We may recognize gains or losses from such liquidations. In the event we recognize net capital gains from such transactions, you may receive a larger capital gain distribution than you would have received in the absence of such transactions.

Failure to Qualify as a RIC

If we were to fail to satisfy the 90% Income Test for any taxable year or the Diversification Tests for any quarter of a taxable year, we might nevertheless continue to qualify as a RIC for such year if certain relief provisions of the Code applied (which might, among other things, require us to pay certain corporate-level U.S. federal taxes or to dispose of certain assets). If we were to fail to qualify for treatment as a RIC and such relief provisions did not apply to us, we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax on all of our taxable income at regular corporate U.S. federal income tax rates (and we also would be subject to any applicable state and local taxes), regardless of whether we make any distributions to our stockholders. We would not be able to deduct distributions to our stockholders, nor would distributions to our stockholders be required to be made for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Any distributions we make generally would be taxable to our U.S. stockholders as ordinary dividend income and, subject to certain limitations under the Code, would be eligible for the 20% maximum rate applicable to individuals and other non-corporate U.S. stockholders, to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits. Subject to certain limitations under the Code, U.S. stockholders that are corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes would be eligible for the dividends-received deduction. Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits would be treated first as a return of capital that would reduce the stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in its common stock or preferred stock (and correspondingly increase such stockholder’s gain, or reduce such stockholder’s loss, on disposition of such common stock or preferred stock), and any remaining distributions in excess of the stockholder’s adjusted tax basis would be treated as a capital gain.

Subject to a limited exception applicable to RICs that qualified as such under Subchapter M of the Code for at least one year prior to disqualification and that requalify as a RIC no later than the second year following the non-qualifying year, we could be subject to U.S. federal income tax on any unrealized net built-in gains in the assets held by us during the period in which we failed to qualify as a RIC that are recognized during the 5-year period after our requalification as a RIC, unless we made a special election to pay corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on such net built-in gains at the time of our requalification as a RIC. We may decide to be taxed as a regular corporation even if we would otherwise qualify as a RIC if we determine that treatment as a corporation for a particular year would be in our best interests.

Our Investments—General

Certain of our investment practices may be subject to special and complex U.S. federal income tax provisions that may, among other things, (1) treat dividends that would otherwise constitute qualified dividend income as non-qualified dividend income, (2) disallow, suspend or otherwise limit the allowance of certain losses or deductions, (3) convert lower-taxed long-term capital gain into higher-taxed short-term capital gain or ordinary income, (4) convert an ordinary loss or a deduction into a capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited), (5) cause us to recognize income or gain without receipt of a corresponding cash payment, (6) adversely affect the time as to when a purchase or sale of stock or securities is deemed to occur, (7) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions and (8) produce income that will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 90% Income Test. We intend to monitor our transactions and may make certain tax elections to mitigate the potential adverse effect of these provisions, but there can be no assurance that we will be eligible for any such tax elections or that any adverse effects of these provisions will be mitigated.

 

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Gain or loss recognized by us from warrants or other securities acquired by us, as well as any loss attributable to the lapse of such warrants, generally will be treated as capital gain or loss. Such gain or loss generally will be long-term or short-term depending on how long we held a particular warrant or security.

A portfolio company in which we invest may face financial difficulties that require us to work-out, modify or otherwise restructure our investment in the portfolio company. Any such transaction could, depending upon the specific terms of the transaction, result in unusable capital losses and future non-cash income. Any such transaction could also result in our receiving assets that give rise to non-qualifying income for purposes of the 90% Income Test or otherwise would not count toward satisfying the Diversification Tests.

Our investment in non-U.S. securities may be subject to non-U.S. income, withholding and other taxes. In that case, our yield on those securities would be decreased. Stockholders generally will not be entitled to claim a U.S. foreign tax credit or deduction with respect to non-U.S. taxes paid by us.

If we purchase shares in a “passive foreign investment company” (a “PFIC”), we may be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a portion of any “excess distribution” received on, or any gain from the disposition of, such shares even if we distribute such income as a taxable dividend to our stockholders. Additional charges in the nature of interest generally will be imposed on us in respect of deferred taxes arising from any such excess distribution or gain. If we invest in a PFIC and elect to treat the PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” under the Code (a “QEF”), in lieu of the foregoing requirements, we will be required to include in income each year our proportionate share of the ordinary earnings and net capital gain of the QEF, even if such income is not distributed by the QEF. Alternatively, we may be able to elect to mark-to-market at the end of each taxable year our shares in a PFIC; in this case, we will recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent that any such decrease does not exceed prior increases included in our income. Our ability to make a QEF election will depend on factors beyond our control, and is subject to restrictions which may limit the availability of the benefit of this election. Under either election, we may be required to recognize in a year income in excess of any distributions we receive from PFICs and any proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock during that year, and such income will nevertheless be subject to the Annual Distribution Requirement and will be taken into account for purposes of determining whether we satisfy the Excise Tax Avoidance Requirement. See “—Taxation as a RIC” above.

Under Section 988 of the Code, gains or losses attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the time we accrue income, expenses or other liabilities denominated in a foreign currency and the time we actually collect such income or pay such expenses or liabilities are generally treated as ordinary income or loss. Similarly, gains or losses on foreign currency forward contracts and the disposition of debt obligations denominated in a foreign currency, to the extent attributable to fluctuations in exchange rates between the acquisition and disposition dates, are also treated as ordinary income or loss.

Some of the income that we might otherwise earn, such as fees for providing managerial assistance, certain fees earned with respect to our investments, income recognized in a work-out or restructuring of a portfolio investment or income recognized from an equity investment in an operating partnership, may not be qualifying income for purposes of the 90% Income Test. To manage the risk that such income might disqualify us as a RIC for failure to satisfy the 90% Income Test, one or more subsidiary entities treated as U.S. corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be employed to earn such income and (if applicable) hold the related asset. Such subsidiary entities will be required to pay U.S. federal income tax on their earnings, which ultimately will reduce the yield to our stockholders on such fees and income.

The remainder of this discussion assumes that we qualify as a RIC for each taxable year.

Taxation of U.S. Stockholders

The following discussion only applies to U.S. stockholders. Prospective stockholders that are not U.S. stockholders should refer to “—Taxation of Non-U.S. Stockholders” below.

 

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Distributions

Distributions by us (including distributions where stockholders can elect to receive cash or stock) generally are taxable to U.S. stockholders as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions of our investment company taxable income will be taxable as ordinary income to U.S. stockholders to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, whether paid in cash or stock. To the extent that such distributions paid by us to non-corporate U.S. stockholders (including individuals) are attributable to dividends from U.S. corporations and certain qualified foreign corporations, such distributions (“Qualifying Dividends”) may be eligible for a reduced maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20%. In this regard, it is anticipated that our distributions generally will not be attributable to dividends received by us and, therefore, generally will not qualify for the 20% maximum rate applicable to Qualifying Dividends. Distributions of net capital gain (which is generally realized net long-term capital gains in excess of realized net short-term capital losses) properly reported by us as “capital gain dividends” will be taxable to U.S. stockholders as long-term capital gains (currently taxable at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% in the case of non-corporate U.S. stockholders (including individuals)), regardless of the U.S. stockholder’s holding period for his, her or its common stock or preferred stock and regardless of whether paid in cash or stock. Distributions in excess of our earnings and profits first will reduce a U.S. stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in such stockholder’s common stock or preferred stock and, after the adjusted tax basis is reduced to zero, will constitute capital gains to such U.S. stockholder.

We may decide to retain some or all of our net capital gain for reinvestment, but designate the retained net capital gain as a “deemed distribution.” In that case, among other consequences, (i) we will pay tax on the retained amount, (ii) each U.S. stockholder will be required to include his, her or its share of the deemed distribution in income as if it had been actually distributed to the U.S. stockholder and (iii) the U.S. stockholder will be entitled to claim a credit equal to his, her or its allocable share of the tax paid thereon by us. Because we expect to pay tax on any retained net capital gains at the regular corporate U.S. federal income tax rate, and because that rate is in excess of the maximum U.S. federal income tax rate currently payable by individuals (and other non-corporate U.S. stockholders) on long-term capital gains, the amount of tax that individuals (and other non-corporate U.S. stockholders) will be treated as having paid will exceed the tax they owe on the capital gain distribution. Such excess generally may be claimed as a credit against the U.S. stockholder’s other federal income tax obligations or may be refunded to the extent it exceeds the U.S. stockholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability. The amount of the deemed distribution net of such tax will be added to the U.S. stockholder’s tax basis for his, her or its common stock or preferred stock. In order to utilize the deemed distribution approach, we must provide written notice to our stockholders prior to the expiration of 60 days after the close of the relevant taxable year. We cannot treat any of our investment company taxable income as a “deemed distribution.”

For purposes of determining (1) whether the Annual Distribution Requirement is satisfied for any year and (2) the amount of capital gain dividends paid for that year, under certain circumstances, we may elect to treat a dividend that is paid during the following taxable year as if it had been paid during the taxable year in question. If we make such an election, U.S. stockholders will still be treated as receiving the dividend in the taxable year in which the distribution is made. However, any dividend declared by us in October, November or December of any calendar year, payable to stockholders of record on a specified date in such a month and actually paid during January of the following year, will be treated as if it had been received by our U.S. stockholders on December 31 of the year in which the dividend was declared.

Although we currently do not intend to do so, we have the ability to declare a large portion of a distribution in shares of our stock. We are not subject to restrictions on the circumstances in which we may declare a portion of a distribution in shares of our stock, but would generally anticipate doing so only in unusual situations, such as, for example, if we did not have sufficient cash to meet our RIC distribution requirements under the Code. Generally, were we to declare such a distribution, we would allow stockholders to elect payment in cash and/or shares of equivalent value. Under published IRS guidance, the entire distribution will generally be treated as a taxable distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and count towards our RIC distribution requirements under the Code, if certain conditions are satisfied. Among other things, the aggregate amount of

 

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cash available to be distributed to all stockholders is required to be at least 20% (or, under recently published IRS guidance, for distributions declared on or after April 1, 2020, and on or before December 31, 2020, at least 10%) of the aggregate declared distribution. If too many stockholders elect to receive cash, the cash available for distribution is required to be allocated among the stockholders electing to receive cash (with the balance of the distribution paid in stock) under a formula provided in the applicable IRS guidance. Each stockholder electing to receive cash would be entitled to receive cash in an amount equal to at least the lesser of (i) the portion of the distribution such stockholder elected to receive in cash and (ii) such stockholder’s entire distribution multiplied by the percentage limitation on cash available for distribution. The number of shares of our stock distributed would thus depend on the applicable percentage limitation on cash available for distribution, the stockholders’ individual elections to receive cash or stock, and the value of the shares of stock. Each U.S. stockholder generally would be treated as having received a taxable distribution on the date the distribution is received in an amount equal to the cash that such U.S. stockholder would have received if the entire distribution had been paid in cash, even if such U.S. stockholder received all or most of the distribution in shares of our stock. This may result in a U.S. stockholder having to pay tax on such distribution, even if no cash is received.

We expect to be treated as a “publicly offered regulated investment company” (within the meaning of Section 67 of the Code) as a result of either (i) shares of our stock being held by at least 500 persons at all times during a taxable year or (ii) shares of our stock being treated as regularly traded on an established securities market. However, we cannot assure you that we will be treated as a publicly offered regulated investment company for all years. If we are not treated as a publicly offered regulated investment company for any calendar year, for purposes of computing the taxable income of U.S. stockholders that are individuals, trusts or estates, (i) our earnings and profits will be computed without taking into account such U.S. stockholders’ allocable shares of the management and incentive fees paid to our Investment Adviser and certain of our other expenses, (ii) each such U.S. stockholder will be treated as having received or accrued a dividend from us in the amount of such U.S. stockholder’s allocable share of these fees and expenses for the calendar year, (iii) each such U.S. stockholder will be treated as having paid or incurred such U.S. stockholder’s allocable share of these fees and expenses for the calendar year, and (iv) each such U.S. stockholder’s allocable share of these fees and expenses will be treated as miscellaneous itemized deductions by such U.S. stockholder. Miscellaneous itemized deductions of a U.S. stockholder that is an individual, trust or estate are disallowed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for tax years beginning before January 1, 2026, and thereafter generally are (i) deductible by such U.S. stockholders only to the extent that the aggregate of such U.S. stockholder’s miscellaneous itemized deductions exceeds 2% of such U.S. stockholder’s adjusted gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, (ii) not deductible for purposes of the alternative minimum tax and (iii) subject to the overall limitation on itemized deductions under Section 67 of the Code.

If an investor purchases shares of our common stock or preferred stock shortly before the record date of a distribution, the price of the shares will include the value of the distribution, and the investor will be subject to tax on the distribution, even though economically it may represent a return of his, her or its investment. We have the potential to build up large amounts of unrealized gain which, when realized and distributed, could have the effect of a taxable return of capital to U.S. stockholders.

The IRS currently requires that a RIC that has two or more classes of stock allocate to each such class proportionate amounts of each type of its income (such as ordinary income and capital gains) based upon the percentage of total dividends paid to each class for the tax year. Accordingly, if we issue preferred stock, we intend each year to allocate capital gain dividends, if any, between our common shares and shares of preferred stock in proportion to the total dividends paid to each class with respect to such tax year.

Each U.S. stockholder will receive, as promptly as possible after the end of each calendar year, a notice reporting the amounts includible in such U.S. stockholder’s taxable income for such year as ordinary income and as long-term capital gain. In addition, the U.S. federal tax status of each year’s distributions from us generally will be reported to the IRS (including the amount of any distributions that are Qualifying Dividends eligible for the 20% maximum capital gains tax rate). Dividends paid by us generally will not be eligible for the dividends-

 

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received deduction or the preferential tax rate applicable to Qualifying Dividends because our income generally will not consist of dividends. Distributions may also be subject to additional state, local and non-U.S. taxes depending on a U.S. stockholder’s particular situation.

We have adopted a dividend reinvestment plan under which stockholders who do not “opt out” will receive distributions in the form of additional shares instead of in cash. If a U.S. stockholder reinvests distributions in additional shares, such U.S. stockholder will generally be subject to the same U.S. federal, state and local tax consequences as if it had received a distribution in cash and, for this purpose, a U.S. stockholder receiving a distribution in the form of additional shares will generally be treated as receiving a distribution in the amount of cash that the U.S. stockholder would have received if it had elected to receive the distribution in cash. If we issue additional shares with a fair market value equal to or greater than net asset value, however, stockholders will be treated as receiving a distribution in the amount of the fair market value of the distributed shares. Any such additional shares will have a tax basis equal to the amount treated as a distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The additional shares will have a new holding period commencing on the day following the day on which the shares are credited to the U.S. stockholder’s account.

We or your financial intermediary is also generally required by law to report to each U.S. stockholder and to the IRS cost basis information for shares of our stock sold by or redeemed from the U.S. stockholder. This information includes the adjusted cost basis of the shares, the gross proceeds from disposition and whether the gain or loss is long-term or short-term. The adjusted cost basis of shares will be based on the default cost basis reporting method selected by us, unless a U.S. stockholder, before the sale or redemption, informs us that it has selected a different IRS-accepted method offered by us. These requirements, however, will not apply for investments through an IRA or other tax-advantaged account. U.S. stockholders should consult their financial intermediaries and tax advisers to determine the best cost basis method for their tax situation, and to obtain more information about how these cost basis reporting requirements apply to them.

Dispositions

A U.S. stockholder generally will recognize taxable gain or loss if the U.S. stockholder sells or otherwise disposes of his, her or its shares of our common stock or preferred stock. The amount of gain or loss will be measured by the difference between such stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in the common stock or preferred stock sold and the amount of the proceeds received in exchange for such stock. Any gain or loss arising from such sale or disposition generally will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the U.S. stockholder has held his, her or its shares for more than one year; otherwise, any such gain or loss will be classified as short-term capital gain or loss. However, any capital loss arising from the sale or disposition of shares of our common stock or preferred stock held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of the amount of capital gain dividends received, or undistributed capital gain deemed received, with respect to such shares. In addition, all or a portion of any loss recognized upon a disposition of shares of our common stock or preferred stock may be disallowed if other shares of such common stock or preferred stock are purchased (whether through reinvestment of distributions or otherwise) within 30 days before or after the disposition.

In general, non-corporate U.S. stockholders (including individuals) currently are subject to a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% on their net capital gain (i.e., the excess of realized net long-term capital gains over realized net short-term capital losses), including any long-term capital gain derived from an investment in shares of our common stock or preferred stock. Such rate is lower than the maximum rate on ordinary income currently payable by individuals. Corporate U.S. stockholders currently are subject to U.S. federal income tax on net capital gain at the maximum 21% rate also applied to ordinary income. Non-corporate U.S. stockholders (including individuals) with net capital losses for a year (i.e., capital losses in excess of capital gains) generally may deduct up to $3,000 of such losses against their ordinary income each year; any net capital losses of a non-corporate U.S. stockholder (including an individual) in excess of $3,000 generally may be carried forward and used in subsequent years as provided in the Code. Corporate U.S. stockholders generally may not deduct any net capital losses for a year, but may carry back such losses for three years or carry forward such losses for five years.

 

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Medicare Tax on Net Investment Income

A U.S. stockholder that is an individual or estate, or a trust that does not fall into a special class of trusts that is exempt from such tax, will generally be subject to a 3.8% tax on the lesser of (i) the U.S. stockholder’s “net investment income” (or “undistributed net investment income” for an estate or trust) for a taxable year and (ii) the excess of the U.S. stockholder’s modified adjusted gross income for such taxable year, over a certain threshold, which for individuals is $200,000 in the case of single filers ($250,000 in the case of joint filers). For these purposes, “net investment income” will generally include taxable distributions and deemed distributions paid with respect to stock, including our common stock or preferred stock, and net gain attributable to the disposition of stock, including our common stock or preferred stock (in each case, unless such stock is held in connection with certain trades or businesses), but will be reduced by any deductions properly allocable to such distributions or net gain.

Tax Shelter Reporting Regulations

Under applicable Treasury regulations, if a U.S. stockholder recognizes a loss with respect to our common stock or preferred stock of $2 million or more for a non-corporate U.S. stockholder or $10 million or more for a corporate U.S. stockholder in any single taxable year (or a greater loss over a combination of years), the U.S. stockholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on Form 8886. Direct U.S. stockholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but, under current guidance, U.S. stockholders of a RIC are not excepted. Future guidance may extend the current exception from this reporting requirement to U.S. stockholders of most or all RICs. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Significant monetary penalties apply to a failure to comply with this reporting requirement. States may also have a similar reporting requirement. U.S. stockholders should consult their own tax advisers to determine the applicability of these Treasury regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

Backup Withholding

The relevant withholding agent may be required to withhold U.S. federal income tax (“backup withholding”), at a current rate of 24%, from any taxable distribution to a U.S. stockholder (other than a corporation, a financial institution or a stockholder that otherwise qualifies for an exemption) (1) that fails to provide a correct taxpayer identification number or a certification that such stockholder is exempt from backup withholding or (2) with respect to whom the IRS notifies the withholding agent that such stockholder has failed to properly report certain interest and dividend income to the IRS and to respond to notices to that effect. An individual’s taxpayer identification number is his or her social security number. Backup withholding is not an additional tax, and any amount withheld under the backup withholding rules is allowed as a credit against the U.S. stockholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability (which may entitle the U.S. stockholder to a refund), provided that proper information is timely provided to the IRS.

Withholding and Information Reporting on Foreign Financial Accounts

Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act rules of the Code and applicable Treasury regulations (collectively referred to as “FATCA”), the applicable withholding agent generally will be required to withhold 30% of (a) any dividends on our common stock or preferred stock and (b) the gross proceeds from a sale or other disposition of our common stock or preferred stock, in each case, paid to (i) a non-U.S. financial institution (whether such financial institution is the beneficial owner or an intermediary) unless such non-U.S. financial institution agrees to verify, report and disclose its U.S. accountholders and meets certain other specified requirements or (ii) a non-financial non-U.S. entity (whether such entity is the beneficial owner or an intermediary) unless such entity certifies that it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or provides the name, address and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner and such entity meets certain other specified requirements. Proposed Treasury regulations that may be relied on pending finalization provide that

 

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FATCA withholding on gross proceeds will be eliminated and, consequently, this withholding tax on gross proceeds is not currently expected to apply. An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an applicable foreign country, or future Treasury regulations or other guidance, may modify these requirements. We will not pay any additional amounts in respect of any amounts withheld.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Stockholders

The following discussion applies only to Non-U.S. stockholders. Whether an investment in shares of our common stock or preferred stock is appropriate for a Non-U.S. stockholder will depend upon that stockholder’s particular circumstances. An investment in shares of our common stock or preferred stock by a Non-U.S. stockholder may have adverse tax consequences to such Non-U.S. stockholder. Non-U.S. stockholders should consult their own tax advisers before investing in our common stock or preferred stock.

Distributions; Dispositions

Subject to the discussion below, distributions of our investment company taxable income to a Non-U.S. stockholder that are not effectively connected with the Non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States will be subject to withholding of U.S. federal income tax at a 30% rate (or lower rate provided by an applicable income tax treaty) to the extent paid out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits.

Certain properly reported distributions are generally exempt from withholding of U.S. federal income tax where they are paid in respect of our (i) “qualified net interest income” (generally, U.S.-source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which we or the Non-U.S. stockholder are at least a 10% shareholder, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income) or (ii) “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss for such taxable year), and certain other requirements are satisfied. No assurance can be given as to whether any of our distributions will be eligible for this exemption from withholding of U.S. federal income tax or, if eligible, will be reported as such by us. In particular, this exemption will not apply to our distributions paid in respect of our non-U.S. source interest income or our dividend income (or any other type of income other than generally our non-contingent U.S.-source interest income received from unrelated obligors and our qualified short-term capital gains). In the case of our common stock or preferred stock held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold U.S. federal income tax even if we report the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gain.

Distributions of our investment company taxable income to a Non-U.S. stockholder that are effectively connected with the Non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States (and, if required by an applicable income tax treaty, are attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment of the Non-U.S. stockholder) generally will not be subject to withholding of U.S. federal income tax if the Non-U.S. stockholder complies with applicable certification and disclosure requirements, although the distributions (to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits) will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net basis at the rates and in the manner applicable to U.S. stockholders generally.

Actual or deemed distributions of our net capital gains to a Non-U.S. stockholder, and gains realized by a Non-U.S. stockholder upon the sale of our common stock or preferred stock, will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax or any withholding of such tax, unless (a) the distributions or gains, as the case may be, are effectively connected with the Non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States (and, if required by an applicable income tax treaty, are attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment of the Non-U.S. stockholder), in which case the distributions or gains will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net basis at the rates and in the manner applicable to U.S. stockholders generally, or (b) the Non-U.S. stockholder is an individual who has been present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and satisfies certain other conditions, in which case, except as otherwise provided by an applicable income tax treaty, the

 

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distributions or gains, which may be offset by certain U.S.-source capital losses, generally will be subject to a flat 30% U.S. federal income tax, even though the Non-U.S. stockholder is not considered a resident alien under the Code.

If we distribute our net capital gains in the form of deemed rather than actual distributions, a Non-U.S. stockholder will be entitled to a U.S. federal income tax credit or tax refund equal to the stockholder’s allocable share of the tax we pay on the capital gains deemed to have been distributed. In order to obtain the refund, the Non-U.S. stockholder must obtain a U.S. taxpayer identification number and file a U.S. federal income tax return, even if the Non-U.S. stockholder would not otherwise be required to obtain a U.S. taxpayer identification number or file a U.S. federal income tax return.

For a corporate Non-U.S. stockholder, both distributions (actual or deemed) and gains realized upon the sale of our common stock or preferred stock that are effectively connected with the Non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States may, under certain circumstances, be subject to an additional “branch profits tax” at a 30% rate (or at a lower rate if provided for by an applicable income tax treaty).

Although we currently do not intend to do so, we have the ability to declare a large portion of a distribution in shares of our stock. We are not subject to restrictions on the circumstances in which we may declare a portion of a distribution in shares of our stock, but would generally anticipate doing so only in unusual situations, such as, for example, if we did not have sufficient cash to meet our RIC distribution requirements under the Code. Generally, were we to declare such a distribution, we would allow stockholders to elect payment in cash and/or shares of equivalent value. Under published IRS guidance, the entire distribution will generally be treated as a taxable distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and count towards our RIC distribution requirements under the Code, if certain conditions are satisfied. Among other things, the aggregate amount of cash available to be distributed to all stockholders is required to be at least 20% (or, under recently published IRS guidance, for distributions declared on or after April 1, 2020, and on or before December 31, 2020, at least 10%) of the aggregate declared distribution. If too many stockholders elect to receive cash, the cash available for distribution is required to be allocated among the stockholders electing to receive cash (with the balance of the distribution paid in stock) under a formula provided in the applicable IRS guidance. Each stockholder electing to receive cash would be entitled to receive cash in an amount equal to at least the lesser of (i) the portion of the distribution such stockholder elected to receive in cash and (ii) such stockholder’s entire distribution multiplied by the percentage limitation on cash available for distribution. The number of shares of our stock distributed would thus depend on the applicable percentage limitation on cash available for distribution, the stockholders’ individual elections to receive cash or stock, and the value of the shares of stock. Each Non-U.S. stockholder generally would be treated as having received a taxable distribution (including for purposes of the application of the withholding tax rules discussed above) on the date the distribution is received in an amount equal to the cash that such Non-U.S. stockholder would have received if the entire distribution had been paid in cash, even if such Non-U.S. stockholder received all or most of the distribution in shares of our stock. In such a circumstance, all or substantially all of the cash that would otherwise be distributed to a Non-U.S. stockholder may be withheld or shares of our stock may be withheld and sold to fund the applicable withholding.

We have adopted a dividend reinvestment plan under which stockholders who do not “opt out” receive distributions in the form of additional shares instead of in cash. If a Non-U.S. stockholder reinvests distributions in additional shares, such Non-U.S. stockholder will generally be subject to the same U.S. federal, state and local tax consequences as if it had received a distribution in cash and, for this purpose, a Non-U.S. stockholder receiving a distribution in the form of additional shares will generally be treated as receiving a distribution in the amount of cash that the Non-U.S. stockholder would have received if it had elected to receive the distribution in cash. If we issue additional shares with a fair market value equal to or greater than net asset value, however, a Non-U.S. stockholder will be treated as receiving a distribution in the amount of the fair market value of the distributed shares. If the distribution is subject to withholding tax as described above, only the net after-tax amount will be reinvested in additional shares. If the distribution is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or

 

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business of the Non-U.S. stockholder (and, if required by an applicable income tax treaty, is attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment of the Non-U.S. stockholder), and the Non-U.S. stockholder complies with the applicable certification and disclosure requirements, the full amount of the distribution generally will be reinvested in additional shares and will nevertheless be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the rates and in the manner applicable to U.S. stockholders generally. The Non-U.S. stockholder will have an adjusted tax basis in the additional shares of our common stock purchased through the dividend reinvestment plan equal to the total dollar amount treated as a distribution for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The additional shares will have a new holding period commencing on the day following the day on which the shares are credited to the Non-U.S. stockholder’s account.

Jurisdiction of Tax Residence

The tax treatment of a Non-U.S. stockholder in its jurisdiction of tax residence will depend entirely on the laws of such jurisdiction, and may vary considerably from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Depending on (i) the laws of such Non-U.S. stockholder’s jurisdiction of tax residence, (ii) how we are treated in such jurisdiction, and (iii) our activities, an investment in us could result in such Non-U.S. stockholder recognizing adverse tax consequences in its jurisdiction of tax residence, including with respect to any generally required or additional tax filings and/or additional disclosure required in such filings in relation to the treatment for tax purposes in the relevant jurisdiction of an interest in us and/or of distributions from us and any uncertainties arising in that respect (our not being established under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction), the possibility of taxable income significantly in excess of cash distributed to a Non-U.S. stockholder, and possibly in excess of our actual economic income, the possibilities of losing deductions or the ability to utilize tax basis and of sums invested being returned in the form of taxable income or gains, and the possibility of being subject to tax at unfavorable tax rates. A Non-U.S. stockholder may also be subject to restrictions on the use of its share of our deductions and losses in its jurisdiction of tax residence. Each Non-U.S. stockholder is urged to consult its own tax advisers with respect to the tax and tax filing consequences, if any, in its jurisdiction of tax residence of an investment in us, as well as any other jurisdiction in which such Non-U.S. stockholder is subject to taxation.

Backup Withholding

A Non-U.S. stockholder generally will be subject to information reporting and may be subject to backup withholding of U.S. federal income tax on taxable distributions unless the Non-U.S. stockholder provides the applicable withholding agent with an IRS Form W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E or an acceptable substitute form or otherwise establishes an exemption from backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax, and any amount withheld under the backup withholding rules is allowed as a credit against the Non-U.S. stockholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability (which may entitle the Non-U.S. stockholder to a refund), provided that proper information is timely provided to the IRS.

Withholding and Information Reporting on Foreign Financial Accounts

Under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act rules of the Code and applicable Treasury regulations (collectively referred to as “FATCA”), the applicable withholding agent generally will be required to withhold 30% of (a) any dividends on our common stock or preferred stock and (b) the gross proceeds from a sale or other disposition of our common stock or preferred stock, in each case, paid to (i) a non-U.S. financial institution (whether such financial institution is the beneficial owner or an intermediary) unless such non-U.S. financial institution agrees to verify, report and disclose its U.S. accountholders and meets certain other specified requirements or (ii) a non-financial non-U.S. entity (whether such entity is the beneficial owner or an intermediary) unless such entity certifies that it does not have any substantial U.S. owners or provides the name, address and taxpayer identification number of each substantial U.S. owner and such entity meets certain other specified requirements. Proposed Treasury regulations that may be relied on pending finalization provide that FATCA withholding on gross proceeds will be eliminated and, consequently, this withholding tax on gross proceeds is not currently expected to apply. An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an

 

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applicable foreign country, or future Treasury regulations or other guidance, may modify these requirements. If payment of this withholding tax is made, Non-U.S. stockholders that are otherwise eligible for an exemption from, or a reduction in, withholding of U.S. federal income taxes with respect to such dividends or proceeds will be required to seek a credit or refund from the IRS to obtain the benefit of such exemption or reduction. We will not pay any additional amounts in respect of any amounts withheld.

Each Non-U.S. stockholder should consult its own tax advisers with respect to the U.S. federal income and withholding tax consequences, and state, local and non-U.S. tax consequences, of an investment in shares of our common stock or preferred stock.

Change in Tax Laws

Each prospective investor should be aware that tax laws and regulations are changing on an ongoing basis, and such laws and/or regulations may be changed with retroactive effect. Moreover, the interpretation and/or application of tax laws and regulations by certain tax authorities may not be clear, consistent or transparent. Uncertainty in the tax law may require us to accrue potential tax liabilities even in situations in which we and/or our stockholders do not expect to be ultimately subject to such tax liabilities. In that regard, accounting standards and/or related tax reporting obligations may change, giving rise to additional accrual and/or other obligations.

Developments in the tax laws of the United States or other jurisdictions could have a material effect on the tax consequences to the stockholders, us, and/or our direct and indirect subsidiaries, and stockholders may be required to provide certain additional information to us (which may be provided to the IRS or other taxing authorities) and may be subject to other adverse consequences as a result of such change in tax laws. In the event of any such change in tax law, each stockholder is urged to consult its own advisors.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR CAPITAL STOCK

The following description of our capital stock is based on relevant portions of the DGCL and on our certificate of incorporation and bylaws. This summary is not necessarily complete, and we refer you to the DGCL and our certificate of incorporation and bylaws for a more detailed description of the provisions summarized below.

Capital Stock

As of the date of this prospectus, our authorized stock consists of 200,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.001 per share, and 1,000,000 shares of preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share. Our common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “GSBD.” There are no outstanding options or warrants to purchase our stock. Under Delaware law, our stockholders will generally not be personally liable for our debts or obligations.

Unless our Board of Directors determines otherwise, we will issue all shares of our capital stock in uncertificated form.

The following table sets forth information on our capital stock as of November 11, 2020:

 

(1) Title of Class

  

(2) Amount
Authorized

    

(3) Amount Held
by us or for  Our
Account

    

(4) Amount
Outstanding
Exclusive of
Amount Shown
Under (3)

 

Common Stock

     200,000,000        —          101,534,370  

Preferred Stock

     1,000,000        —          —  

Common Stock

All shares of our common stock have equal rights as to earnings, assets, dividends and other distributions and voting and, when they are issued, will be duly authorized, validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. Distributions may be made or paid to the holders of our common stock if, as and when declared by our Board of Directors out of funds legally available therefor, subject to the rights of holders of shares of any series of our preferred stock then outstanding. Shares of our common stock have no exchange, conversion or redemption rights. Shares of our common stock are subject to the transfer restrictions set forth in our certificate of incorporation, as described more fully below, as well as any restrictions on transfer arising under federal and state securities laws or by contract. Following the time at which the transfer restrictions contained in our certificate of incorporation terminate, shares of our common stock will be freely transferable, except when their transfer is restricted by federal and state securities laws or by contract. In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, each share of our common stock would be entitled to share ratably in all of our assets that are legally available for distribution after we pay all debts and other liabilities and subject to any preferential rights of holders of shares of any series of our preferred stock then outstanding. Each share of our common stock is entitled to one vote on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders generally, including the election of directors elected by a vote of stockholders generally. Except as provided with respect to any other class or series of stock, including our preferred stock, as more fully described below, the holders of our common stock possess exclusive voting power. There is no cumulative voting in the election of our Board of Directors, which means that holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote in the election of such directors are entitled to elect that number of nominees equal to the number of directors to be elected by such holders, and holders of less than a majority of such shares will be unable to elect one or more specific directors for any available directorship. In addition, holders of our common stock may participate in our dividend reinvestment plan.

 

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In connection with the Merger, we adopted an amended and restated certificate of incorporation that became effective upon the closing of the Merger that generally restricted all stockholders who received shares of our common stock in the Merger (the “Affected Stockholders”) from transferring their respective shares of our common stock for at least 90 days following the date of the closing of the Merger (the “Closing Date”), subject to a modified lock-up schedule thereafter (lock-up restrictions on 1/3 of the Affected Stockholders’ shares will lapse after 90 days from the Closing Date, lock-up restrictions on an additional 1/3 of the Affected Stockholders’ shares will lapse after 180 days from the Closing Date, and lock-up restrictions on the remaining 1/3 of the Affected Stockholders’ shares will lapse after 270 days from the Closing Date).

Preferred Stock

Our certificate of incorporation authorizes our Board of Directors to create and issue one or more series of preferred stock to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act. Prior to the issuance of shares of each series of preferred stock, our Board of Directors will be required by Delaware law and by our certificate of incorporation to establish the voting powers (full or limited, or no voting powers), and the designations, preferences and relative, participating, optional or other special rights, and the qualifications, limitations and restrictions thereof, of each series of our preferred stock. Thus, to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act, the Board of Directors could authorize the issuance of shares of a series of our preferred stock with terms and conditions which could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in their best interest.

Any issuance of preferred stock must comply with the requirements of the Investment Company Act. The Investment Company Act requires, among other things, that (1) immediately after issuance and before any dividend or other distribution is made with respect to our common stock and before any purchase of common stock is made, such preferred stock together with all other senior securities must not exceed an amount equal to 66 2/3% of our total assets after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution or purchase price, as the case may be, and (2) the holders of shares of preferred stock, if any are issued, must be entitled as a class voting separately to elect two directors at all times and to elect a majority of the directors if dividends on such preferred stock are in arrears by two full years or more. Certain matters under the Investment Company Act require the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of preferred stock (as determined in accordance with the Investment Company Act), including any outstanding perpetual preferred stock, voting together as a separate class. For example, the vote of such holders of preferred stock would be required to approve a proposal involving a plan of reorganization adversely affecting such securities.

Provisions of the DGCL and Our Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws

Limitation on Liability of Directors; Indemnification and Advancement of Expenses

The indemnification of our officers and directors is governed by Section 145 of the DGCL and our certificate of incorporation and bylaws. Section 145(a) of the DGCL empowers the Company to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (other than an action by or in the right of the Company) by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Company, or is or was serving at the request of the Company as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, against expenses (including attorneys’ fees), judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with such action, suit or proceeding if (1) such person acted in good faith, (2) in a manner such person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Company and (3) with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, such person had no reasonable cause to believe the person’s conduct was unlawful.

 

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Section 145(b) of the DGCL empowers the Company to indemnify any person who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action or suit by or in the right of the Company to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Company, or is or was serving at the request of the Company as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection with the defense or settlement of such action or suit if such person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in, or not opposed to, the best interests of the Company, and except that no indemnification may be made in respect of any claim, issue or matter as to which such person has been adjudged to be liable to the Company unless and only to the extent that the Delaware Court of Chancery or the court in which such action or suit was brought determines upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability but in view of all the circumstances of the case, such person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for such expenses which the Court of Chancery or such other court deems proper.

Section 145(c) of the DGCL provides that to the extent that a present or former director or officer of the Company has been successful, on the merits or otherwise, in defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 145, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, such person shall be indemnified against expenses (including attorneys’ fees) actually and reasonably incurred by such person in connection with such action, suit or proceeding.

Section 145(d) of the DGCL provides that in all cases in which indemnification is permitted under subsections (a) and (b) of Section 145 (unless ordered by a court), it will be made by the Company only if it is consistent with the Investment Company Act and as authorized in the specific case upon a determination that indemnification of the present or former director, officer, employee or agent is proper in the circumstances because the person to be indemnified has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in those subsections. Such determination must be made, with respect to a person who is a director or officer at the time of such determination, (1) by a majority vote of the directors who are not parties to such action, suit or proceeding, even though less than a quorum, or (2) by a committee of such directors designated by majority vote of such directors, even though less than a quorum, or (3) if there are no such directors, or if such directors so direct, by independent legal counsel in a written opinion or (4) by the stockholders.

Section 145(e) authorizes the Company to pay expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by an officer or director of the Company in defending any civil, criminal, administrative or investigative action, suit or proceeding in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the person to whom the advancement will be made to repay the advanced amounts if it is ultimately determined that he or she was not entitled to be indemnified by the Company as authorized by Section 145. Section 145(e) also provides that such expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by former directors and officers or other employees and agents of the Company, or persons serving at the request of the Company as directors, officers, employees or agents of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise may be so paid upon such terms and conditions, if any, as the Company deems appropriate.

Section 145(f) provides that indemnification and advancement of expenses provided by, or granted pursuant to, the other subsections of such Section are not to be deemed exclusive of any other rights to which those seeking indemnification or advancement of expenses may be entitled under any bylaw, agreement, vote of stockholders or disinterested directors, or otherwise.

Section 145(g) authorizes the Company to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of its current and former directors, officers, employees and agents (and on behalf of any person who is or was serving at the request of the Company as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise) against any liability asserted against such person and incurred by such person in any such capacity, or arising out of such person’s status as such, regardless of whether the Company would have the power to indemnify such persons against such liability under Section 145.

 

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Section 102(b)(7) of the DGCL allows the Company to provide in its certificate of incorporation a provision that limits or eliminates the personal liability of a director of the Company to the Company or its stockholders for monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty as a director, provided that such provision may not limit or eliminate the liability of a director (1) for any breach of the director’s duty of loyalty to the Company or its stockholders, (2) for acts or omissions not in good faith or which involve intentional misconduct or a knowing violation of law, (3) under Section 174 of the DGCL, relating to unlawful payment of dividends or unlawful stock purchases or redemption of stock or (4) for any transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit. Our certificate of incorporation will provide that our directors will not be liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages for breach of fiduciary duty as a director to the fullest extent permitted by the current DGCL or as the DGCL may hereafter be amended.

Our certificate of incorporation requires us to indemnify to the full extent permitted by Section 145 of the DGCL all persons whom we may indemnify under that section. Our certificate of incorporation also provides that expenses incurred by our officers or directors in defending any action, suit or proceeding for which they may be entitled to indemnification under our certificate of incorporation shall be paid in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit or proceeding. However, any indemnification or payment or reimbursement of expenses made pursuant to such provisions of our certificate of incorporation will be subject to the applicable requirements of the Investment Company Act. In addition, our bylaws provide that, except for certain proceedings initiated by our directors or officers, we must indemnify, and advance expenses to, our current and former directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted by the DGCL, but provide that any indemnification or reimbursement of expenses thereunder is subject to the applicable requirements of the Investment Company Act.

Delaware Anti-Takeover Law

The DGCL contains, and our certificate of incorporation and bylaws also contain, provisions that could make it more difficult for a potential acquirer to acquire us by means of a tender offer, proxy contest or otherwise. These provisions are expected to discourage certain coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids and to encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to negotiate first with our Board of Directors. These measures may delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might otherwise be in the best interests of our stockholders. We believe, however, that the benefits of these provisions outweigh the potential disadvantages of discouraging any such acquisition proposals because the negotiation of such proposals may improve their terms.

We have elected in our certificate of incorporation not to be subject to Section 203 of the DGCL, an antitakeover law. However, our certificate of incorporation contains provisions that, at any point in time in which our common stock is registered under Section 12(b) or Section 12(g) of the Exchange Act, have the same effect as Section 203, except that it exempts Group Inc. and its affiliates, and certain of its or their respective direct or indirect transferees and any group as to which such persons are a party, from the effect of those provisions. In general, these provisions will prohibit us from engaging in any “business combination” with any “interested stockholder” for a period of three years following the date that the stockholder became an interested stockholder, unless:

 

   

prior to such time, the Board of Directors approved either the business combination or the transaction which resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder;

 

   

upon consummation of the transaction that resulted in the stockholder becoming an interested stockholder, the interested stockholder owned at least 85% of the voting stock of the Company outstanding at the time the transaction commenced, excluding for purposes of determining the voting stock outstanding (but not the outstanding voting stock owned by the interested stockholder) those shares owned by persons who are directors and also officers of the Company; or

 

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at or subsequent the such time the business combination is approved by the Board of Directors and authorized at a meeting of stockholders, and not by written consent, by at least two-thirds of the outstanding voting stock that is not owned by the interested stockholder.

These provisions define “business combination” to include the following:

 

   

any merger or consolidation involving the Company or any direct or indirect majority-owned subsidiary of the Company with the interested stockholder;

 

   

any sale, lease, exchange, mortgage, pledge, transfer or other disposition (in one transaction or a series of transactions), except proportionately as a stockholder of such corporation, to or with the interested stockholder, of 10% or more of either the aggregate market value of all the assets of the Company or the aggregate market value of all the outstanding stock of the Company; subject to certain exceptions, any transaction that results in the issuance or transfer by the Company or by any direct or indirect majority-owned subsidiary of the Company of any stock of the Company or of such subsidiary to the interested stockholder;

 

   

any transaction involving the Company or any direct or indirect majority-owned subsidiary of the Company that has the effect, directly or indirectly, of increasing the proportionate share of the stock of any class or series (or securities convertible into the stock of any class or series) of the Company or of any such subsidiary owned by the interested stockholder, except as to immaterial changes due to fractional share adjustments or as a result of any purchase or redemption of any shares of stock not caused, directly or indirectly, by the interested stockholder; or

 

   

the receipt by the interested stockholder of the benefit, directly or indirectly (except proportionately as a stockholder of the Company), of any loans, advances, guarantees, pledges or other financial benefits provided by or through the Company or any direct or indirect majority-owned subsidiary.

In general, these provisions define an “interested stockholder” as any entity or person that is the beneficial owner of 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock or is an affiliate or associate of us and was the beneficial owner of 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock at any time within the three-year period immediately prior to the relevant date, and the affiliates or associates of any such entity or person, but Group Inc. and its affiliates and certain of its or their respective direct or indirect transferees and any group as to which such persons are a party are excluded from the definition of interested stockholder.

These provisions could prohibit or delay mergers or other takeover or change in control attempts and, accordingly, may discourage attempts to acquire us.

Election of Directors

Our bylaws provide that, unless otherwise provided in our certificate of incorporation (including with respect to the special rights of holders of one or more series of our preferred stock to elect directors), our directors are elected by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the votes cast by stockholders entitled to vote thereon present in person or by proxy at a meeting of stockholders called for the purpose of electing directors. Under our certificate of incorporation, our Board of Directors has the power to amend our bylaws, including the provisions specifying the vote required to elect directors. Under Section 216 of the DGCL, however, a bylaw amendment adopted by stockholders which specifies the votes that shall be necessary for the election of directors shall not be further amended or repealed by the Board of Directors.

Classified Board of Directors

Under our certificate of incorporation, subject to the special right of the holders of one or more series of preferred stock to elect additional preferred directors, our directors are divided into three classes of directors,

 

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serving staggered three-year terms, with the term of office of directors in only one of the three classes expiring each year. As a result, one-third of such directors will then be elected 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 will help to ensure the continuity and stability of our management and policies.

Number of Directors; Removal; Vacancies

Our certificate of incorporation provides that, subject to any rights of holders of one or more series of preferred stock to elect additional preferred directors, the total number of directors is fixed from time to time exclusively pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Board of Directors. Under the DGCL, unless the certificate of incorporation provides otherwise (which our certificate of incorporation does not), directors on a classified board may be removed only for cause. Our certificate of incorporation provides that our directors are divided into classes serving staggered three-year terms and such directors may only be removed for cause, and only upon the affirmative vote of holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares entitled to vote generally in the election of directors. Under our certificate of incorporation, subject to the applicable requirements of the Investment Company Act and the rights of the holders of one or more series of preferred stock, any vacancy on the Board of Directors resulting from the death, resignation, retirement, removal or disqualification of a director or other cause, or any vacancy resulting from an increase in the number of directors, may be filled only by vote of a majority of the directors then in office, even though less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director; provided that when the holders of any class or series of our stock are entitled under the certificate of incorporation to elect directors, vacancies in directorships elected by such class, classes or series may be filled by a majority of the remaining directors so elected. Any such limitations on the ability of our stockholders to remove directors and fill vacancies could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire, or discourage a third party from seeking to acquire, control of us.

Action by Stockholders

Our certificate of incorporation provides that our stockholders are only able to take action at an annual or special meeting of stockholders and may not take action by written consent of stockholders in lieu of a meeting. This may have the effect of delaying consideration of a stockholder proposal until the next annual meeting.

Advance Notice Provisions for Stockholder Nominations and Stockholder Proposals

Our bylaws provide that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of persons for election to the Board of Directors and the proposal of other business to be considered by stockholders may be made only (1) by or at the direction of the Board of Directors (or a duly authorized committee thereof), (2) pursuant to our notice of meeting or (3) by a stockholder who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice procedures of the bylaws. For any nomination or business proposal to be properly brought by a stockholder for a meeting, such stockholder will have to comply with advance notice requirements and provide us with certain information. Generally, to be timely, a stockholder’s notice must be received at our principal executive offices not less than 90 days nor more than 120 days prior to the first anniversary date of the immediately preceding annual meeting of stockholders. Our bylaws specify requirements as to the form and content of any such stockholder’s notice. Our bylaws also allow the presiding officer at a meeting of the stockholders to adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of meetings which may have the effect of precluding the conduct of certain business at a meeting if the rules and regulations are not followed. Our bylaws further provide that nominations of persons for election to the Board of Directors at a special meeting may be made only by or at the direction of the Board of Directors, and provided that the Board of Directors has determined that directors will be elected at the meeting, by a stockholder who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has complied with the advance notice provisions of the bylaws.

 

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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 election of directors or proposals recommending certain action that are made in compliance with applicable advance notice procedures, 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.

Stockholder Meetings

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws provide that any action required or permitted to be taken by stockholders at an annual meeting or special meeting of stockholders may only be taken if it is properly brought before such meeting. Stockholders at an annual meeting may only consider proposals or nominations specified in the notice of meeting or brought before the meeting by or at the direction of the Board of Directors, or by a stockholder of record on the record date for the meeting who is entitled to vote at the meeting and who has delivered timely written notice in proper form to the secretary of the stockholder’s intention to bring such business before the meeting. These provisions could have the effect of delaying until the next stockholder meeting stockholder actions that are favored by the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities.

Calling of Special Meetings of Stockholders

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws provide that special meetings of stockholders may be called by our Board of Directors, the chairman of the Board of Directors and our chief executive officer, and not by any other person.

Amendments to the Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws

Section 242 of the DGCL generally provides any amendment to the certificate of incorporation must be approved and declared advisable by the Board of Directors and adopted by the affirmative vote of holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of capital stock entitled to vote thereon, and by a majority of the outstanding stock of each class entitled to vote thereon as a class. Section 109 of the DGCL provides that, after a corporation has received payment for its capital stock, the power to adopt, amend or repeal the bylaws shall be in the stockholders entitled to vote, but any corporation may, in its certificate of incorporation, confer the power to adopt, amend or repeal bylaws upon the directors. Our certificate of incorporation provides our Board of Directors with such power. The DGCL provides that the certificate of incorporation may contain provisions requiring for any corporate action the vote of a larger portion of the stock or of any class or series thereof than is required by the DGCL. Our certificate of incorporation provides that the following provisions, among others, may be amended by our stockholders only by a vote of at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote thereon:

 

   

the provisions regarding the classification of our Board of Directors;

 

   

the provisions specifying the percentage of votes required to remove directors for cause;

 

   

the provisions limiting stockholder action by written consent;

 

   

the provisions regarding the calling of special meetings;

 

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the provisions regarding the number of directors and filling vacancies on our Board of Directors and newly created directorships;

 

   

the provision requiring a supermajority vote to amend our bylaws;

 

   

the limitation of directors’ personal liability to us or our stockholders for breach of fiduciary duty as a director;

 

   

the provisions regarding indemnification and advancement of expenses under our certificate of incorporation;

 

   

the provision regarding restrictions on business combinations with interested stockholders; and

   

the amendment provision requiring that the above provisions be amended only with a two-thirds supermajority vote.

Our bylaws generally are able to be amended by approval of (i) a majority of the total number of authorized directors or (ii) the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote thereon.

Conflict with Investment Company Act

Our bylaws provide that, if and to the extent that any provision of the DGCL or any provision of our certificate of incorporation or bylaws conflicts with any provision of the Investment Company Act, the applicable provision of the Investment Company Act will control.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OUR PREFERRED STOCK

In addition to shares of common stock, our certificate of incorporation authorizes our Board of Directors to create and issue one or more series of preferred stock to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act. Prior to the issuance of shares of each series of preferred stock, our Board of Directors will be required by Delaware law and by our certificate of incorporation to establish the voting powers (full or limited, or no voting powers), and the designations, preferences and relative, participating, optional or other special rights, and the qualifications, limitations and restrictions thereof, of each series of our preferred stock. Thus, to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act, the Board of Directors could authorize the issuance of shares of a series of our preferred stock with terms and conditions which could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in their best interest.

Any issuance of preferred stock must comply with the requirements of the Investment Company Act. The Investment Company Act requires, among other things, that (1) immediately after issuance and before any dividend or other distribution is made with respect to our common stock and before any purchase of common stock is made, such preferred stock together with all other senior securities must not exceed an amount equal to 66 2/3% of our total assets after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution or purchase price, as the case may be, and (2) the holders of shares of preferred stock, if any are issued, must be entitled as a class voting separately to elect two directors at all times and to elect a majority of the directors if dividends on such preferred stock are in arrears by two full years or more. Certain matters under the Investment Company Act require the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of preferred stock (as determined in accordance with the Investment Company Act), including any outstanding perpetual preferred stock, voting together as a separate class. For example, the vote of such holders of preferred stock would be required to approve a proposal involving a plan of reorganization adversely affecting such securities.

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

For any series of preferred stock that we may issue, our board of directors or a committee thereof will determine and the amendment to our certificate of incorporation and prospectus supplement relating to such series will describe:

 

   

the designation and number of shares of such series;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

any provisions relating to the redemption of the shares of such series;

 

   

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

 

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any conditions or restrictions on our ability to issue additional shares of such 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 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 series of preferred stock will be identical and of equal rank except as to the dates from which dividends or other distributions, if any, thereon will be cumulative.

 

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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 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 (subject to any extension);

 

   

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;

 

   

the terms of any rights to redeem, or call such warrants;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

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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 or other distributions, if any, or payments upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up or to exercise any voting rights.

Under the Investment Company Act, we may generally only offer warrants provided that (1) the warrants expire by their terms within ten years; (2) the exercise or conversion price is not less than the current market value at the date of issuance; (3) our stockholders authorize the proposal to issue such warrants, and our board of directors approves such issuance on the basis that the issuance is in the best interests of us and our stockholders; and (4) if the warrants are accompanied by other securities, the warrants are not separately transferable unless no class of such warrants and the securities accompanying them has been publicly distributed. The Investment Company Act also provides that the amount of our voting securities that would result from the exercise of all outstanding warrants at the time of issuance may not exceed 25% of our outstanding voting securities.

 

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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, you 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 financial institution acting as trustee on your 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 your rights against us if we default. There are some limitations on the extent to which the trustee acts on your 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 you to read the indenture because it, and not this description, defines your rights as a holder of debt securities. See “Available 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 by 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 are 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;

 

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any restrictive covenants;

 

   

any events of default;

 

   

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

 

   

any provisions for defeasance or covenant defeasance;

 

   

any special federal income tax implications, including, if applicable, 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 are subject to subordination and the terms of such subordination;

 

   

whether the debt securities are secured and the terms of any security interest;

 

   

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.

We are permitted, under specified conditions, to issue multiple classes of indebtedness and one class of shares senior to our common stock if our asset coverage, calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, is at least equal to 150% immediately after each such issuance (if certain requirements are met), rather than 200%, as previously required.

In addition, while any indebtedness and senior securities remain outstanding, we must make provisions to prohibit the distribution to our stockholders or the repurchase of such indebtedness or securities unless we meet the applicable asset coverage ratios at the time of the distribution or repurchase. Specifically, we may be precluded from declaring dividends or repurchasing shares of our common stock unless our asset coverage is at least 150% (if certain requirements are met). We may also borrow amounts up to 5% of the value of our total assets for temporary or emergency purposes without regard to asset coverage. For a discussion of the risks associated with leverage, see “Risk Factors.”

General

The indenture provides that any debt securities proposed to be sold under this prospectus and the accompanying 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.

 

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The indenture does 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, are called the “indenture securities.” The indenture also provides 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” means 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 would be treated as if issued under separate indentures.

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

We refer you 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 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.

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 would be calculated according to the market price of the other securities as of a time stated in the prospectus supplement.

Issuance of Securities in Registered Form

We may issue the debt securities in registered form, in which case we may issue them either in book-entry form only or in “certificated” form. Debt securities issued in book-entry form will be represented by global securities. We expect that we will usually issue debt securities in book-entry only form represented by global securities.

Book-Entry Holders

We will issue registered debt securities in book-entry form only, unless we specify otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement. This means debt securities will be represented by one or more global securities registered in the name of a depositary that will hold them on behalf of financial institutions that participate in the depositary’s book-entry system. These participating institutions, in turn, hold beneficial interests in the debt securities held by the depositary or its nominee. These institutions may hold these interests on behalf of themselves or customers.

 

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Under the indenture, only the person in whose name a debt security is registered is recognized as the holder of that debt security. Consequently, for debt securities issued in book-entry form, we will recognize only the depositary as the holder of the debt securities and we will make all payments on the debt securities to the depositary. The depositary will then pass along the payments it receives to its participants, which in turn will pass the payments along to their customers who are the beneficial owners. The depositary and its participants do so under agreements they have made with one another or with their customers; they are not obligated to do so under the terms of the debt securities.

As a result, investors will not own debt securities directly. Instead, they will own beneficial interests in a global security, through a bank, broker or other financial institution that participates in the depositary’s book-entry system or holds an interest through a participant. As long as the debt securities are represented by one or more global securities, investors will be indirect holders, and not holders, of the debt securities.

Street Name Holders

In the future, we may issue debt securities in certificated form or terminate a global security. In these cases, investors may choose to hold their debt securities in their own names or in “street name.” Debt securities held in street name are registered in the name of a bank, broker or other financial institution chosen by the investor, and the investor would hold a beneficial interest in those debt securities through the account he or she maintains at that institution.

For debt securities held in street name, we will recognize only the intermediary banks, brokers and other financial institutions in whose names the debt securities are registered as the holders of those debt securities and we will make all payments on those debt securities to them. These institutions will pass along the payments they receive to their customers who are the beneficial owners, but only because they agree to do so in their customer agreements or because they are legally required to do so. Investors who hold debt securities in street name will be indirect holders, and not holders, of the debt securities.

Legal Holders

Our obligations, as well as the obligations of the applicable trustee and those of any third parties employed by us or the applicable trustee, run only to the legal holders of the debt securities. We do not have obligations to investors who hold beneficial interests in global securities, in street name or by any other indirect means. This will be the case whether an investor chooses to be an indirect holder of a debt security or has no choice because we are issuing the debt securities only in book-entry form.

For example, once we make a payment or give a notice to the holder, we have no further responsibility for the payment or notice even if that holder is required, under agreements with depositary participants or customers or by law, to pass it along to the indirect holders but does not do so. Similarly, if we want to obtain the approval of the holders for any purpose (for example, to amend an indenture or to relieve us of the consequences of a default or of our obligation to comply with a particular provision of an indenture), we would seek the approval only from the holders, and not the indirect holders, of the debt securities. Whether and how the holders contact the indirect holders is up to the holders.

When we refer to you, we mean those who invest in the debt securities being offered by this prospectus, whether they are the holders or only indirect holders of those debt securities. When we refer to your debt securities, we mean the debt securities in which you hold a direct or indirect interest.

Special Considerations for Indirect Holders

If you hold debt securities through a bank, broker or other financial institution, either in book-entry form or in street name, we urge you to check with that institution to find out:

 

   

how it handles securities payments and notices;

 

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whether it imposes fees or charges;

 

   

how it would handle a request for the holders’ consent, if ever required;

 

   

whether and how you can instruct it to send you debt securities registered in your own name so you can be a holder, if that is permitted in the future for a particular series of debt securities;

 

   

how it would exercise rights under the debt securities if there were a default or other event triggering the need for holders to act to protect their interests; and

 

   

if the debt securities are in book-entry form, how the depositary’s rules and procedures will affect these matters.

Global Securities

As noted above, we usually will issue debt securities as registered securities in book-entry form only. A global security represents one or any other number of individual debt securities. Generally, all debt securities represented by the same global securities will have the same terms.

Each debt security issued in book-entry form will be represented by a global security that we deposit with and register in the name of a financial institution or its nominee that we select. The financial institution that we select for this purpose is called the depositary. Unless we specify otherwise in the applicable prospectus supplement, The Depository Trust Company, New York, New York (“DTC”) will be the depositary for all debt securities issued in book-entry form.

A global security may not be transferred to or registered in the name of anyone other than the depositary or its nominee, unless special termination situations arise. We describe those situations below under “—Special Situations when a Global Security will be Terminated.” As a result of these arrangements, the depositary, or its nominee, will be the sole registered owner and holder of all debt securities represented by a global security, and investors will be permitted to own only beneficial interests in a global security. Beneficial interests must be held by means of an account with a broker, bank or other financial institution that in turn has an account with the depositary or with another institution that has an account with the depositary. Thus, an investor whose security is represented by a global security will not be a holder of the debt security, but only an indirect holder of a beneficial interest in the global security.

Special Considerations for Global Securities

As an indirect holder, an investor’s rights relating to a global security will be governed by the account rules of the investor’s financial institution and of the depositary, as well as general laws relating to securities transfers. The depositary that holds the global security will be considered the holder of the debt securities represented by the global security.

If debt securities are issued only in the form of a global security, an investor should be aware of the following:

 

   

An investor cannot cause the debt securities to be registered in his or her name, and cannot obtain certificates for his or her interest in the debt securities, except in the special situations we describe below.

 

   

An investor will be an indirect holder and must look to his or her own bank or broker for payments on the debt securities and protection of his or her legal rights relating to the debt securities, as we describe under “—Issuance of Securities in Registered Form” above.

 

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An investor may not be able to sell interests in the debt securities to some insurance companies and other institutions that are required by law to own their securities in non-book-entry form.

 

   

An investor may not be able to pledge his or her interest in a global security in circumstances where certificates representing the debt securities must be delivered to the lender or other beneficiary of the pledge in order for the pledge to be effective.

 

   

The depositary’s policies, which may change from time to time, will govern payments, transfers, exchanges and other matters relating to an investor’s interest in a global security. We and the trustee have no responsibility for any aspect of the depositary’s actions or for its records of ownership interests in a global security. We and the trustee also do not supervise the depositary in any way.

 

   

If we redeem less than all the debt securities of a particular series being redeemed, DTC’s practice is to determine by lot the amount to be redeemed from each of its participants holding that series.

 

   

An investor is required to give notice of exercise of any option to elect repayment of its debt securities, through its participant, to the applicable trustee and to deliver the related debt securities by causing its participant to transfer its interest in those debt securities, on DTC’s records, to the applicable trustee.

 

   

DTC requires that those who purchase and sell interests in a global security deposited in its book-entry system use immediately available funds. Your broker or bank may also require you to use immediately available funds when purchasing or selling interests in a global security.

 

   

Financial institutions that participate in the depositary’s book-entry system, and through which an investor holds its interest in a global security, may also have their own policies affecting payments, notices and other matters relating to the debt securities. There may be more than one financial intermediary in the chain of ownership for an investor. We do not monitor and are not responsible for the actions of any of those intermediaries.

Special Situations when a Global Security will be Terminated

In a few special situations described below, a global security will be terminated and interests in it will be exchanged for certificates in non-book-entry form (certificated securities). After that exchange, the choice of whether to hold the certificated debt securities directly or in street name will be up to the investor. Investors must consult their own banks or brokers to find out how to have their interests in a global security transferred on termination to their own names, so that they will be holders. We have described the rights of legal holders and street name investors under “—Issuance of Securities in Registered Form” above.

The special situations for termination of a global security are as follows:

 

   

if the depositary notifies us that it is unwilling, unable or no longer qualified to continue as depositary for that global security, and we do not appoint another institution to act as depositary within 60 days;

 

   

if we notify the trustee that we wish to terminate that global security; or

 

   

if an event of default has occurred with regard to the debt securities represented by that global security and has not been cured or waived; we discuss defaults later under “—Events of Default.”

The prospectus supplement may list situations for terminating a global security that would apply only to the particular series of debt securities covered by the prospectus supplement. If a global security is terminated,

 

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only the depositary, and not we or the applicable trustee, is responsible for deciding the names of the institutions in whose names the debt securities represented by the global security will be registered and, therefore, who will be the holders of those debt securities.

Payment and Paying Agents

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.”

The transferor shall use commercially reasonable efforts to provide or cause to be provided to the trustee all information reasonably requested by the trustee that is necessary to allow the trustee to comply with any applicable tax reporting obligations, including without limitation any cost basis reporting obligations under Section 6045 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). The trustee may rely on the information provided to it and shall have no responsibility to verify or ensure the accuracy of such information.

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, as described under “—Special Considerations for Global Securities.”

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.

 

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

Events of Default

You will have rights if an Event of Default occurs in respect of the debt securities of your series and is not cured, as described later in this subsection.

The term “Event of Default” in respect of the debt securities of your series means any of the following (unless the prospectus supplement relating to such debt securities states otherwise):

 

   

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 five 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 five 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. The notice must be sent by either the trustee or holders of at least 25% of the principal amount of debt securities of the series.

 

   

We file for bankruptcy or certain other events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization occur and remain undischarged or unstayed for a period of 90 days.

 

   

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

An Event of Default for a particular series of debt securities does 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 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. 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.

Except in cases of default, where the trustee has some special duties, the trustee is not 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 indemnity satisfactory to the trustee 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.

 

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

 

   

You must give your 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 indemnity satisfactory 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.

However, you are entitled at any time to bring a lawsuit for the payment of money due on your debt securities 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 are generally permitted to consolidate or merge with another entity. We are also permitted to sell all or substantially all of our assets to another entity. However, 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 or transferee 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.

 

   

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

There are three types of changes we can make to the indenture and the debt securities issued thereunder.

 

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Changes Requiring Your Approval

First, there are changes that we cannot make to your debt securities without your specific approval. The following is a list of those types of changes:

 

   

change the stated maturity of the principal of, or interest 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;

 

   

adversely affect any right of repayment at the holder’s option;

 

   

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

 

   

impair your right to sue for payment;

 

   

materially adversely affect any right to convert or exchange a debt security in accordance with its terms;

 

   

modify the subordination provisions in the indenture in a manner that is materially adverse to holders of the debt securities;

 

   

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;

 

   

change the terms of any sinking fund with respect to any security; and

 

   

change any obligation we have to pay additional amounts.

Changes Not Requiring Approval

The second type of change does 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 do 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 would 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.

 

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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 Your 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.

Defeasance

The following provisions will be applicable to each series of debt securities unless we state in the applicable prospectus supplement that the provisions of covenant defeasance and full defeasance will not be applicable to that series.

Covenant Defeasance

Under current United States federal tax law, we can 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, you would lose the protection of those restrictive covenants but would gain the protection of having money and government securities set aside in trust to repay your debt securities. If applicable, you also would be released from the subordination provisions described under “—

 

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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 United States government or United States government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash, in the opinion of a nationally recognized investment bank, appraisal firm or firm of independent public accountants, 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 United States federal income tax law, we may make the above deposit without causing you 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.

 

   

We must deliver to the trustee a legal opinion and officers’ certificate stating that all conditions precedent to covenant defeasance have been complied with.

 

   

Defeasance must not result in a breach or violation of, or constitute a default under, the indenture or any of our other material agreements or instruments.

 

   

No default or Event of Default with respect to the applicable series shall have occurred and be continuing and no defaults or Events of Default related to bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization shall occur during the next 90 days.

If we accomplish covenant defeasance, you 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. In fact, 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, you may not be able to obtain payment of the shortfall.

Legal Defeasance

If there is a change in United States federal tax law, as described below, we can 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 you 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 United States government or United States government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash, in the opinion of a nationally recognized investment bank, appraisal firm or firm of independent public accountants, 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 United States federal tax law or an IRS ruling that allows us to make the above deposit without causing you 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 United States federal tax law, the deposit and our legal release from the debt securities would be treated as though we paid you your share of the cash and notes or bonds at the time the cash and notes or bonds were deposited in trust in exchange for your debt securities and you would recognize gain or loss on the debt securities at the time of the deposit.

 

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We must deliver to the trustee a legal opinion and officers’ certificate stating that all conditions precedent to defeasance have been complied with.

 

   

Defeasance must not result in a breach or violation of, or constitute a default under, the indenture or any of our other material agreements or instruments.

 

   

No default or Event of Default with respect to the applicable series shall have occurred and be continuing and no defaults or Events of Default related to bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization shall occur during the next 90 days.

If we ever did accomplish full defeasance, as described above, you would have to rely solely on the trust deposit for repayment of the debt securities. You 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, you would also be released from the subordination provisions described later under “—Indenture Provisions—Subordination.”

Form, Exchange and Transfer of Certificated Registered Securities

If registered debt securities cease to be issued in book-entry form, they will be issued:

 

   

only in fully registered certificated form;

 

   

without interest coupons; and

 

   

unless we indicate otherwise in the prospectus supplement, in denominations of $1,000 and amounts that are multiples of $1,000.

Holders may exchange their certificated securities 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.

Holders may exchange or transfer their certificated securities 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, 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 your debt security, they will be named in your 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.

If a registered debt security is issued in book-entry form, only the depositary will be entitled to transfer and exchange the debt security as described in this subsection, since it will be the sole holder of the debt security.

 

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In connection with any proposed transfer outside the book entry only system, there shall be provided to the trustee all information reasonably requested by the trustee that is necessary to allow the trustee to comply with any applicable tax reporting obligations, including without limitation any cost basis reporting obligations under Section 6045 of the Code. The trustee may rely on the information provided to it and shall have no responsibility to verify or ensure the accuracy of such information.

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

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 is to 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 you 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 provides that these subordination provisions will not apply to money and securities held in trust under the defeasance provisions of the indenture.

Senior Indebtedness is 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.

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.

 

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The Trustee under the Indenture

Wells Fargo, National Association will act as the trustee under the indenture.

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

DTC 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 each issuance of the debt securities, in the aggregate principal amount of such issue, and will be deposited with DTC.

DTC, the world’s largest securities depository, 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, or Indirect Participants. DTC has Standard & Poor’s rating of AA+. The DTC Rules applicable to its 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

 

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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.

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 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 Participant and not of DTC or 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 SUBSCRIPTION RIGHTS

We may issue subscription rights to our stockholders to purchase common stock or other securities. Subscription rights 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 would 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.

We will not offer transferable subscription rights to our stockholders at a price equivalent to less than the then current NAV per share of common stock, taking into account underwriting commissions, unless we first file a post-effective amendment that is declared effective by the SEC with respect to such issuance and the common stock to be purchased in connection with the rights represents no more than one-third of our outstanding common stock at the time such rights are issued.

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

 

   

the title and aggregate number of such subscription rights;

 

   

the exercise price for such subscription rights (or method of calculation thereof if the price is not a specific dollar amount);

 

   

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

 

   

the ratio of the offering (which, in the case of transferable rights for common stock, 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 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 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.

 

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Exercise of Subscription Rights

Each subscription right would entitle the holder of the subscription right to purchase for cash such amount of shares of the security being offered 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 would 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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REGULATION

We are subject to regulation as described in “Regulation” of our Form N-14 and in “Item 1–Business–Regulation “ of our most recent annual report on Form 10-K, which are incorporated by reference herein.

CUSTODIAN, TRANSFER AND DIVIDEND DISBURSING AGENT AND REGISTRAR

Our assets are held by State Street Bank and Trust Company pursuant to a custody agreement. State Street Bank and Trust Company also acts as our administrator. See “Management—Our Administrator” in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K. The principal business address of State Street Bank and Trust Company is One Lincoln Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111. Computershare Trust Company, N.A. serves as the Company’s transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent and registrar. The principal business address of Computershare Trust Company, N.A. is 250 Royall Street, Canton, Massachusetts 02021.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

Since we generally acquire and dispose of investments in privately negotiated transactions, we infrequently use brokers in the normal course of our business. Subject to policies established by our Board of Directors, our Investment Adviser is primarily responsible for the execution of the publicly traded securities portion of our portfolio transactions and the allocation of brokerage commissions. Our Investment Adviser does not execute transactions through any particular broker or dealer, but seeks to obtain the best net results for us, taking into account such factors as price (including the applicable brokerage commission or dealer spread), size of order, difficulty of execution and operational facilities of the firm and the firm’s risk and skill in positioning blocks of securities. While our Investment Adviser generally seeks reasonably competitive trade execution costs, we do not necessarily pay the lowest spread or commission available. Subject to applicable legal requirements, our Investment Adviser may select a broker based partly upon brokerage or research services provided to us, our Investment Adviser and any other Accounts. Such brokerage or research services may include research reports on companies, industries and securities; economic and financial data; financial publications; computer data bases; quotation equipment and services; and research-oriented computer hardware, software and other services. In return for such services, we may pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if our Investment Adviser determines in good faith that such commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

The Investment Management Agreement permits our Investment Adviser, subject to review by the Board of Directors from time to time, to purchase and sell portfolio securities to and from brokers who provide our Investment Adviser with access to supplemental investment and market research and security and economic analyses. Such brokers may execute brokerage transactions at a higher cost to us than may result when allocating brokerage to other brokers on the basis of seeking the most favorable price and efficient execution. Brokerage and research services furnished by firms through which we effect our securities transactions may be used by our Investment Adviser in servicing other clients and not all of these services may be used by our Investment Adviser in connection with the client generating the brokerage credits. The fees received under the Investment Management Agreement are not reduced by reason of an investment adviser receiving such brokerage and research services.

Our portfolio transactions are generally effected at a net price without a broker’s commission (i.e., a dealer is dealing with us as principal and receives compensation equal to the spread between the dealer’s cost for a given security and the resale price of such security). In certain foreign countries, debt securities are traded on exchanges at fixed commission rates. The Investment Management Agreement provides that our Investment Adviser, on occasions when it deems the purchase or sale of a security to be in the best interests of us as well as other customers, to aggregate, to the extent permitted by applicable laws and regulations, the securities to be sold or purchased for us with those to be sold or purchased for other customers in order to obtain the best net price

 

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and the most favorable execution. In such event, allocation of the securities so purchased or sold, is made by our Investment Adviser in the manner it considers to be equitable. In some instances, this procedure may adversely affect the size and price of the position obtainable for us.

Subject to the above considerations, our Investment Adviser may use Group Inc. or another affiliate as our broker. In order for Group Inc. or another affiliate, acting as agent, to effect securities or futures transactions for us, the commissions, fees or other remuneration received by Group Inc. or another affiliate must be reasonable and fair compared to the commissions, fees or other remuneration received by other brokers in connection with comparable transactions involving similar services, securities or futures contracts. Furthermore, our Board of Directors, including a majority of our Independent Directors, has adopted procedures which are reasonably designed to provide that any commissions, fees or other remuneration paid to Goldman Sachs are consistent with the foregoing standard. Brokerage transactions with Goldman Sachs are also subject to such fiduciary standards as may be imposed upon Goldman Sachs by applicable law. The amount of brokerage commissions paid by us may vary substantially from year to year because of differences in portfolio turnover rates and other factors.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings or series, our common stock, preferred stock, warrants, debt securities or subscription rights or representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, in one or more underwritten public offerings, at-the-market offerings, negotiated transactions, block trades, best efforts or a combination of these methods.

We may sell the securities through underwriters or dealers, directly to one or more purchasers, including existing stockholders in a rights offering, through agents designated from time to time by us or through a combination of any such methods of sale. Any underwriter or agent involved in the offer and sale of the securities will be named in the applicable prospectus supplement. A prospectus supplement or supplements will also describe the terms of the offering of the securities, including: the purchase price of the securities and the proceeds we will receive from the sale; any options under which underwriters may purchase additional securities from us; any agency fees or underwriting discounts and other items constituting agents’ or underwriters’ compensation; the public offering price; any discounts or concessions allowed or re-allowed or paid to dealers; any securities exchange or market on which the securities may be listed; and, in the case of a rights offering, the number of shares of our common stock issuable upon the exercise of each right. Only underwriters named in the prospectus supplement will be underwriters of the securities offered by the prospectus supplement.

The distribution of the securities may be effected from time to time in one or more transactions at a fixed price or prices, which may be changed, at prevailing market prices at the time of sale, at prices related to such prevailing market prices, or at negotiated prices, provided, however, that the offering price per share of any common stock offered by us, less any underwriting commissions or discounts, must equal or exceed the NAV per share of our common stock at the time of the offering except (a) in connection with a rights offering to our existing stockholders, (b) with the consent of the majority of our outstanding voting securities and certain members of our Board of Directors who are not interested persons or (c) under such circumstances as the SEC may permit. The price at which securities may be distributed may represent a discount from prevailing market prices.

In connection with the sale of the securities, underwriters or agents may receive compensation from us or from purchasers of the securities, for whom they may act as agents, in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions. Underwriters may sell the securities to or through dealers and such dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters and/or commissions from the purchasers for whom they may act as agents. Underwriters, dealers and agents that participate in the distribution of the securities may be deemed to be underwriters under the Securities Act, and any discounts and commissions they receive from us and any profit realized by them on the resale of the securities may be deemed to be underwriting discounts and commissions under the Securities Act. Any such underwriter or agent will be identified and any such compensation received from us will be described in the applicable prospectus supplement. The maximum aggregate commission or discount to be received by any member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, or independent broker-dealer will not be greater than 10% of the gross proceeds of the sale of securities offered pursuant to this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement. We may also reimburse the underwriter or agent for certain fees and legal expenses incurred by it.

Any underwriter may engage in over-allotment, stabilizing transactions, short-covering transactions and penalty bids in accordance with Regulation M under the Exchange Act. Over-allotment involves sales in excess of the offering size, which create a short position. Stabilizing transactions permit bids to purchase the underlying security so long as the stabilizing bids do not exceed a specified maximum price. Syndicate-covering or other short-covering transactions involve purchases of the securities, either through exercise of the option to purchase additional shares from us or in the open market after the distribution is completed, to cover short positions. Penalty bids permit the underwriters to reclaim a selling concession from a dealer when the securities originally sold by the dealer are purchased in a stabilizing or covering transaction to cover short positions. Those activities may cause the price of the securities to be higher than it would otherwise be. If commenced, the underwriters may discontinue any of the activities at any time.

 

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We may sell securities directly or through agents we designate from time to time. We will name any agent involved in the offering and sale of securities and we will describe any commissions we will pay the agent in the prospectus supplement. Unless the prospectus supplement states otherwise, the agent will act on a best-efforts basis for the period of its appointment.

Unless otherwise specified in the applicable prospectus supplement, each class or series of securities will be a new issue with no trading market, other than our common stock, which is traded on the NYSE. We may elect to list any other class or series of securities on any exchanges, but we are not obligated to do so. We cannot guarantee the liquidity of the trading markets for any securities.

Under agreements that we may enter, underwriters, dealers and agents who participate in the distribution of the securities may be entitled to indemnification by us against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or contribution with respect to payments that the agents or underwriters may make with respect to these liabilities. Underwriters, dealers and agents may engage in transactions with, or perform services for, us in the ordinary course of business.

If so indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, we will authorize underwriters or other persons acting as agents to solicit offers by certain institutions to purchase securities from us pursuant to contracts providing for payment and delivery on a future date. Institutions with which such contracts may be made include commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, pension funds, investment companies, educational and charitable institutions and others, but in all cases such institutions must be approved by us. The obligations of any purchaser under any such contract will be subject to the condition that the purchase of the securities shall not at the time of delivery be prohibited under the laws of the jurisdiction to which such purchaser is subject. The underwriters and such other agents will not have any responsibility in respect of the validity or performance of such contracts. Such contracts will be subject only to those conditions set forth in the prospectus supplement, and the prospectus supplement will set forth the commission payable for solicitation of such contracts.

We may enter into derivative transactions with third parties, or sell securities not covered by this prospectus to third parties in privately negotiated transactions. If the applicable prospectus supplement indicates, in connection with those derivatives, the third parties may sell securities covered by this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement, including in short sale transactions. If so, the third party may use securities pledged by us or borrowed from us or others to settle those sales or to close out any related open borrowings of stock, and may use securities received from us in settlement of those derivatives to close out any related open borrowings of stock. The third parties in such sale transactions will be underwriters and, if not identified in this prospectus, will be identified in the applicable prospectus supplement.

In order to comply with the securities laws of certain states, if applicable, the securities offered hereby will be sold in such jurisdictions only through registered or licensed brokers or dealers.

We may not sell securities pursuant to this prospectus without delivering a prospectus supplement describing the method and terms of the offering of such securities.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Certain legal matters regarding the securities offered by this prospectus will be passed upon for Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. In addition, Dechert LLP serves as counsel to the Company and to the Independent Directors. Certain legal matters in connection with the offering will be passed upon for the underwriters, if any, by the counsel named in the applicable prospectus supplement.

EXPERTS

The financial statements of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. and management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting (which is included in Management’s Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting) incorporated in this prospectus by reference to the annual report on Form 10-K of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. for the year ended December 31, 2019 and amendment no. 1 to the registration statement on Form N-14 (No. 333-235856) of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. have been so incorporated in reliance on the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 101 Seaport Boulevard, Suite 500, Boston, Massachusetts 02210, an independent registered public accounting firm, given on the authority of said firm as experts in auditing and accounting.

The financial statements of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp. incorporated in this prospectus by reference to amendment no. 1 to the registration statement on Form N-14 (No. 333-235856) of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. have been so incorporated in reliance on the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 101 Seaport Boulevard, Suite 500, Boston, Massachusetts 02210, an independent registered public accounting firm, given on the authority of said firm as experts in auditing and accounting.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

We have filed with the SEC a registration statement on Form N-2, together with all amendments and related exhibits, under the Securities Act, with respect to our securities offered by this prospectus. The registration statement contains additional information about us and our securities.

We file with or submit to the SEC periodic and current reports, proxy statements and other information meeting the informational requirements of the Exchange Act. We maintain a website at http://www.GoldmanSachsBDC.com and make all of our annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other publicly filed information available, free of charge, on or through our website. You may also obtain such information by contacting us, in writing at: 200 West Street New York, New York 10282, or by telephone (collect) at (212) 902-0300. The SEC maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information filed electronically by us with the SEC which are available on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of these reports, proxy and information statements and other information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov. Information contained on our website or on the SEC’s website about us is not incorporated into this prospectus and you should not consider information contained on our website or on the SEC’s website to be part of this prospectus, or the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part.

 

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INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

This prospectus is part of a registration statement that we have filed with the SEC. We are allowed to “incorporate by reference” the information that we file with the SEC, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information incorporated by reference is considered to comprise a part of this prospectus from the date we file that document. Any reports filed by us with the SEC before the date that any offering of any Securities by means of this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement is terminated will automatically update and, where applicable, supersede any information contained in this prospectus or incorporated by reference in this prospectus.

We incorporate by reference into this prospectus our filings listed below and any future filings that we may file with the SEC under Section 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, subsequent to the date of this prospectus, until all of the securities offered by this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement have been sold or we otherwise terminate the offering of these securities; provided, however, that information “furnished” under Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 of Form 8-K or other information “furnished” to the SEC which is not deemed filed is not incorporated by reference in this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement. Information that we file with the SEC will automatically update and may supersede information in this prospectus, any applicable prospectus supplement and information previously filed with the SEC.

This prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement incorporate by reference the documents set forth below that have previously been filed with the SEC:

 

   

our joint proxy statement and prospectus that forms a part of a registration statement on Form N-14, filed with the SEC on August 4, 2020;

 

   

our definitive proxy statement on Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on May 12, 2020;

 

   

our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, filed with the SEC on May 11, 2020August  10, 2020 and November 5, 2020;

 

   

our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, filed with the SEC on February 20, 2020;

 

   

our current reports on Form 8-K, filed with the SEC on February 11, 2020, February 28, 2020, March  17, 2020, March 19, 2020, June 11, 2020 (but excluding Item 7.01 and Exhibits 99.1 and 99.2) June 19, 2020September 10, 2020September 17, 2020September 22, 2020October 2, 2020 (excluding Item 7.01 and Exhibit 99.1), October 13, 2020 (excluding Item 7.01 and Exhibit  99.1) and November 19, 2020; and

 

   

the description of our common stock contained in our Registration Statement on Form 8-A (File No. 001-35851), as filed with the SEC on March 29, 2013, including any amendment or report filed for the purpose of updating such description prior to the termination of the offering of the common stock registered hereby.

To obtain a copy of these filings, see “Available Information,” or you may request a copy of these filings (other than exhibits, unless the exhibits are specifically incorporated by reference into these documents) at no cost by writing or calling the following address and telephone number:

Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.

200 West Street

New York, New York 12082

(212) 902-0300

 

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You should rely only on the information incorporated by reference or provided in this prospectus or any prospectus supplement. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with different or additional information, and you should not rely on such information if you receive it. We are not making an offer of or soliciting an offer to buy, any securities in any state or other jurisdiction where such offer or sale is not permitted. You should not assume that the information in this prospectus or in the documents incorporated by reference is accurate as of any date other than the date on the front of this prospectus or those documents.

 

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ANNEX A

Effective: March 2020

GSAM Proxy Voting Guidelines Summary

The following is a summary of the material GSAM Proxy Voting Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), which form the substantive basis of GSAM’s Policy and Procedures on Proxy Voting for Investment Advisory Clients (the “Policy”). As described in the main body of the Policy, one or more GSAM Portfolio Management Teams may diverge from the Guidelines and a related Recommendation on any particular proxy vote or in connection with any individual investment decision in accordance with the Policy.

 

A.

  

US proxy items:

  

1.

  

Operational Items

   page A-2

2.

  

Board of Directors

   page A-2

3.

  

Executive Compensation

   page A-5

4.

  

Director Nominees and Proxy Access

   page A-8

5.

  

Shareholder Rights and Defenses

   page A-9

6.

  

Mergers and Corporate Restructurings

   page A-10

7.

  

State of Incorporation

   page A-10

8.

  

Capital Structure

   page A-11

9.

  

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

   page A-11

B.

  

Non-U.S. proxy items:

  

1.

  

Operational Items

   page A-15

2.

  

Board of Directors

   page A-16

3.

  

Compensation

   page A-19

4.

  

Board Structure

   page A-20

5.

  

Capital Structure

   page A-20

6.

  

Mergers and Corporate Restructurings & Other

   page A-22

7.

  

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

   page A-23

C.

  

Japan proxy items:

  

1.

  

Operational Items

   page A-24

2.

  

Board of Directors

   page A-25

3.

  

Compensation

   page A-28

4.

  

Board Structure

   page A-29

5.

  

Capital Structure

   page A-29

6.

  

Mergers and Corporate Restructurings & Other

   page A-31

7.

  

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

   page A-32

 

A-1


A. U.S. Proxy Items

The following section is a summary of the Guidelines, which form the substantive basis of the Policy with respect to U.S. public equity investments.

1. Operational Items

Auditor Ratification

Vote FOR proposals to ratify auditors, unless any of the following apply within the last year:

 

   

An auditor has a financial interest in or association with the company, and is therefore not independent;

 

   

There is reason to believe that the independent auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

   

Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a serious level of concern, such as: fraud; misapplication of GAAP; or material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures; or

 

   

Fees for non-audit services are excessive (generally over 50% or more of the audit fees).

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on shareholder proposals asking companies to prohibit or limit their auditors from engaging in non-audit services or asking for audit firm rotation.

2. Board of Directors

The board of directors should promote the interests of shareholders by acting in an oversight and/or advisory role; the board should consist of a majority of independent directors and should be held accountable for actions and results related to their responsibilities.

When evaluating board composition, GSAM believes a diversity of ethnicity, gender and experience is an important consideration.

Classification of Directors

Where applicable, the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ Listing Standards definition is to be used to classify directors as inside directors, affiliated outside directors, or independent outside directors.

Additionally, GSAM will consider compensation committee interlocking directors to be affiliated (defined as CEOs who sit on each other’s compensation committees).

Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections

Vote on director nominees should be determined on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from individual directors who:

 

   

Attend less than 75% of the board and committee meetings without a disclosed valid excuse;

 

   

Sit on more than five public operating and/or holding company boards;

 

   

Are CEOs of public companies who sit on the boards of more than two public companies besides their own—withhold only at their outside boards.

 

A-2


Other items considered for an AGAINST vote include specific concerns about the individual or the company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities, sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, the presence of inappropriate related party transactions, or other issues related to improper business practices.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from the Nominating Committee if:

 

   

The board does not have at least one woman director

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from inside directors and affiliated outside directors (per the Classification of Directors above) in the case of operating and/or holding companies when:

 

   

The inside director or affiliated outside director serves on the Audit, Compensation or Nominating Committees; and

 

   

The company lacks an Audit, Compensation or Nominating Committee so that the full board functions as such committees and inside directors or affiliated outside directors are participating in voting on matters that independent committees should be voting on.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from members of the appropriate committee (or only the independent chairman or lead director as may be appropriate in situations such as where there is a classified board and members of the appropriate committee are not up for re-election or the appropriate committee is comprised of the entire board) for the below reasons. Extreme cases may warrant a vote against the entire board.

 

   

Material failures of governance, stewardship, or fiduciary responsibilities at the company;

 

   

Egregious actions related to the director(s)’ service on other boards that raise substantial doubt about his or her ability to effectively oversee management and serve the best interests of shareholders at any company;

 

   

At the previous board election, any director received more than 50% withhold/against votes of the shares cast and the company has failed to address the underlying issue(s) that caused the high withhold/against vote (members of the Nominating or Governance Committees);

 

   

The board failed to act on a shareholder proposal that received approval of the majority of shares cast for the previous two consecutive years (a management proposal with other than a FOR recommendation by management will not be considered as sufficient action taken); an adopted proposal that is substantially similar to the original shareholder proposal will be deemed sufficient; (vote against members of the committee of the board that is responsible for the issue under consideration). If GSAM did not support the shareholder proposal in both years, GSAM will still vote against the committee member(s).

 

   

The average board tenure exceeds 15 years, and there has not been a new nominee in the past 5 years.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from the members of the Audit Committee if:

 

   

The non-audit fees paid to the auditor are excessive (generally over 50% or more of the audit fees);

 

   

The company receives an adverse opinion on the company’s financial statements from its auditor and there is not clear evidence that the situation has been remedied;

 

A-3


   

There is persuasive evidence that the Audit Committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm; or

 

   

No members of the Audit Committee hold sufficient financial expertise.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on members of the Audit Committee and/or the full board if poor accounting practices, which rise to a level of serious concern are identified, such as fraud, misapplication of GAAP and material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures.

Examine the severity, breadth, chronological sequence and duration, as well as the company’s efforts at remediation or corrective actions, in determining whether negative vote recommendations are warranted against the members of the Audit Committee who are responsible for the poor accounting practices, or the entire board.

See section 3 on executive and director compensation for reasons to withhold from members of the Compensation Committee.

In limited circumstances, GSAM may vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from all nominees of the board of directors (except from new nominees who should be considered on a CASE-BY-CASE basis and except as discussed below) if:

 

   

The company’s poison pill has a dead-hand or modified dead-hand feature for two or more years. Vote against/withhold every year until this feature is removed; however, vote against the poison pill if there is one on the ballot with this feature rather than the director;

 

   

The board adopts or renews a poison pill without shareholder approval, does not commit to putting it to shareholder vote within 12 months of adoption (or in the case of an newly public company, does not commit to put the pill to a shareholder vote within 12 months following the IPO), or reneges on a commitment to put the pill to a vote, and has not yet received a withhold/against recommendation for this issue;

 

   

The board failed to act on takeover offers where the majority of the shareholders tendered their shares;

 

   

If in an extreme situation the board lacks accountability and oversight, coupled with sustained poor performance relative to peers.

Shareholder proposal regarding Independent Chair (Separate Chair/CEO)

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

   

Designated lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

   

Two-thirds independent board;

 

   

All independent “key” committees (audit, compensation and nominating committees); or

 

   

Established, disclosed governance guidelines.

 

A-4


Shareholder proposal regarding board declassification

GSAM will generally vote FOR proposals requesting that the board adopt a declassified structure in the case of operating and holding companies.

Majority Vote Shareholder Proposals

GSAM will vote FOR proposals requesting that the board adopt majority voting in the election of directors provided it does not conflict with the state law where the company is incorporated. GSAM also looks for companies to adopt a post-election policy outlining how the company will address the situation of a holdover director.

Cumulative Vote Shareholder Proposals

GSAM will generally support shareholder proposals to restore or provide cumulative voting in the case of operating and holding companies unless:

 

   

The company has adopted (i) majority vote standard with a carve-out for plurality voting in situations where there are more nominees than seats and (ii) a director resignation policy to address failed elections.

3. Executive Compensation

Pay Practices

Good pay practices should align management’s interests with long-term shareholder value creation. Detailed disclosure of compensation criteria is preferred; proof that companies follow the criteria should be evident and retroactive performance target changes without proper disclosure is not viewed favorably. Compensation practices should allow a company to attract and retain proven talent. Some examples of poor pay practices include: abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure, egregious employment contracts, excessive severance and/or change in control provisions, repricing or replacing of underwater stock options/stock appreciation rights without prior shareholder approval, and excessive perquisites. A company should also have an appropriate balance of short-term vs. long-term metrics and the metrics should be aligned with business goals and objectives.

If the company maintains problematic or poor pay practices, generally vote:

 

   

AGAINST Management Say on Pay (MSOP) Proposals; or

 

   

AGAINST an equity-based incentive plan proposal if excessive non-performance-based equity awards are the major contributor to a pay-for-performance misalignment.

 

   

If no MSOP or equity-based incentive plan proposal item is on the ballot, vote AGAINST/WITHHOLD from compensation committee members.

Equity Compensation Plans

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on equity-based compensation plans. Evaluation takes into account potential plan cost, plan features and grant practices. While a negative combination of these factors could cause a vote AGAINST, other reasons to vote AGAINST the equity plan could include the following factors:

 

   

The plan permits the repricing of stock options/stock appreciation rights (SARs) without prior shareholder approval; or

 

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There is more than one problematic material feature of the plan, which could include one of the following: unfavorable change-in-control features, presence of gross ups and options reload.

Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say-on-Pay, MSOP) Management Proposals

Vote FOR annual frequency and AGAINST all proposals asking for any frequency less than annual.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals for an advisory vote on executive compensation. For U.S. companies, consider the following factors in the context of each company’s specific circumstances and the board’s disclosed rationale for its practices.

Factors Considered Include:

 

   

Pay for Performance Disconnect;

 

  -

GSAM will consider there to be a disconnect based on a quantitative assessment of the following: CEO pay vs. TSR (“Total Shareholder Return”) and peers, CEO pay as a percentage of the median peer group or CEO pay vs. shareholder return over time.

 

   

Long-term equity-based compensation is 100% time-based;

 

   

Board’s responsiveness if company received 70% or less shareholder support in the previous year’s MSOP vote;

 

   

Abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure;

 

   

Egregious employment contracts;

 

   

Excessive perquisites or excessive severance and/or change in control provisions;

 

   

Repricing or replacing of underwater stock options without prior shareholder approval;

 

   

Excessive pledging or hedging of stock by executives;

 

   

Egregious pension/SERP (supplemental executive retirement plan) payouts;

 

   

Extraordinary relocation benefits;

 

   

Internal pay disparity; and

 

   

Lack of transparent disclosure of compensation philosophy and goals and targets, including details on short-term and long-term performance incentives.

Other Compensation Proposals and Policies

Employee Stock Purchase Plans—Non-Qualified Plans

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on nonqualified employee stock purchase plans taking into account the following factors:

 

   

Broad-based participation;

 

   

Limits on employee contributions;

 

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Company matching contributions; and

 

   

Presence of a discount on the stock price on the date of purchase.

Option Exchange Programs/Repricing Options

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals seeking approval to exchange/reprice options, taking into consideration:

 

   

Historic trading patterns—the stock price should not be so volatile that the options are likely to be back “in-the-money” over the near term;

 

   

Rationale for the re-pricing;

 

   

If it is a value-for-value exchange;

 

   

If surrendered stock options are added back to the plan reserve;

 

   

Option vesting;

 

   

Term of the option—the term should remain the same as that of the replaced option;

 

   

Exercise price—should be set at fair market or a premium to market;

 

   

Participants—executive officers and directors should be excluded.

Vote FOR shareholder proposals to put option repricings to a shareholder vote.

Other Shareholder Proposals on Compensation

Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Frequency on Pay)

Vote FOR annual frequency.

Stock retention holding period

Vote FOR shareholder proposals asking for a policy requiring that senior executives retain a significant percentage of shares acquired through equity compensation programs if the policy requests retention for two years or less following the termination of their employment (through retirement or otherwise) and a holding threshold percentage of 50% or less.

Also consider:

 

   

Whether the company has any holding period, retention ratio, or officer ownership requirements in place and the terms/provisions of awards already granted.

Elimination of accelerated vesting in the event of a change in control

Vote AGAINST shareholder proposals seeking a policy eliminating the accelerated vesting of time-based equity awards in the event of a change-in-control.

 

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Performance-based equity awards and pay-for-superior-performance proposals

Generally support unless there is sufficient evidence that the current compensation structure is already substantially performance-based. GSAM considers performance-based awards to include awards that are tied to shareholder return or other metrics that are relevant to the business.

Say on Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERP)

Generally vote AGAINST proposals asking for shareholder votes on SERP.

4. Director Nominees and Proxy Access

Voting for Director Nominees (Management or Shareholder)

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on the election of directors of operating and holding companies in contested elections, considering the following factors:

 

   

Long-term financial performance of the target company relative to its industry;

 

   

Management’s track record;

 

   

Background of the nomination, in cases where there is a shareholder nomination;

 

   

Qualifications of director nominee(s);

 

   

Strategic plan related to the nomination and quality of critique against management;

 

   

Number of boards on which the director nominee already serves; and

 

   

Likelihood that the board will be productive as a result.

Proxy Access

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on shareholder or management proposals asking for proxy access.

GSAM may support proxy access as an important right for shareholders of operating and holding companies and as an alternative to costly proxy contests and as a method for GSAM to vote for directors on an individual basis, as appropriate, rather than voting on one slate or the other. While this could be an important shareholder right, the following factors will be taken into account when evaluating the shareholder proposals:

 

   

The ownership thresholds, percentage and duration proposed (GSAM generally will not support if the ownership threshold is less than 3%);

 

   

The maximum proportion of directors that shareholders may nominate each year (GSAM generally will not support if the proportion of directors is greater than 25%); and

 

   

Other restricting factors that when taken in combination could serve to materially limit the proxy access provision.

GSAM will take the above factors into account when evaluating proposals proactively adopted by the company or in response to a shareholder proposal to adopt or amend the right. A vote against governance committee members could result if provisions exist that materially limit the right to proxy access.

 

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Reimbursing Proxy Solicitation Expenses

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on proposals to reimburse proxy solicitation expenses. When voting in conjunction with support of a dissident slate, vote FOR the reimbursement of all appropriate proxy solicitation expenses associated with the election.

5. Shareholders Rights and Defenses

Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to act by written consent, unless:

 

   

The company already gives shareholders the right to call special meetings at a threshold of 25% or lower; and

 

   

The company has a history of strong governance practices.

Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR management proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings.

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings at a threshold of 25% or lower if the company currently does not give shareholders the right to call special meetings. However, if a company already gives shareholders the right to call special meetings at a threshold of at least 25%, vote AGAINST shareholder proposals to further reduce the threshold.

Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations

In the case of operating and holding companies, vote CASE-BY-CASE on advance notice proposals, giving support to proposals that allow shareholders to submit proposals/nominations reasonably close to the meeting date and within the broadest window possible, recognizing the need to allow sufficient notice for company, regulatory and shareholder review.

Shareholder Voting Requirements

In the case of operating and holding companies, vote AGAINST proposals to require a supermajority shareholder vote. Generally vote FOR management and shareholder proposals to reduce supermajority vote requirements.

Poison Pills

Vote FOR shareholder proposals requesting that the company submit its poison pill to a shareholder vote or redeem it, unless the company has:

 

   

a shareholder-approved poison pill in place; or

 

   

adopted a policy concerning the adoption of a pill in the future specifying certain shareholder friendly provisions.

 

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Vote FOR shareholder proposals calling for poison pills to be put to a vote within a time period of less than one year after adoption.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals on poison pill ratification, focusing on the features of the shareholder rights plan.

In addition, the rationale for adopting the pill should be thoroughly explained by the company. In examining the request for the pill, take into consideration the company’s existing governance structure, including: board independence, existing takeover defenses, and any problematic governance concerns.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructurings

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on mergers and acquisitions taking into account the following based on publicly available information:

 

   

Valuation;

 

   

Market reaction;

 

   

Strategic rationale;

 

   

Management’s track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions;

 

   

Presence of conflicts of interest; and

 

   

Governance profile of the combined company.

7. State of Incorporation

Reincorporation Proposals

GSAM may support management proposals to reincorporate as long as the reincorporation would not substantially diminish shareholder rights. GSAM may not support shareholder proposals for reincorporation unless the current state of incorporation is substantially less shareholder friendly than the proposed reincorporation, there is a strong economic case to reincorporate or the company has a history of making decisions that are not shareholder friendly.

Exclusive venue for shareholder lawsuits

Generally vote FOR on exclusive venue proposals, taking into account:

 

   

Whether the company has been materially harmed by shareholder litigation outside its jurisdiction of incorporation, based on disclosure in the company’s proxy statement;

 

   

Whether the company has the following good governance features:

 

  ¡   

Majority independent board;

 

  ¡   

Independent key committees;

 

  ¡   

An annually elected board;

 

  ¡   

A majority vote standard in uncontested director elections;

 

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  ¡   

The absence of a poison pill, unless the pill was approved by shareholders; and/or

 

  ¡   

Separate Chairman CEO role or, if combined, an independent chairman with clearly delineated duties.

8. Capital Structure

Common and Preferred Stock Authorization

Generally vote FOR proposals to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance. Generally vote FOR proposals to increase the number of shares of preferred stock, as long as there is a commitment to not use the shares for anti-takeover purposes.

9. Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

Overall Approach

GSAM recognizes that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can affect investment performance, expose potential investment risks and provide an indication of management excellence and leadership. When evaluating ESG proxy issues, GSAM balances the purpose of a proposal with the overall benefit to shareholders.

Shareholder proposals considered under this category could include, among others, reports on:

1) employee labor and safety policies;

2) impact on the environment of the company’s production or manufacturing operations;

3) societal impact of products manufactured;

4) risks throughout the supply chain or operations including labor practices, animal treatment practices within food production and conflict minerals; and

5) overall board structure, including diversity.

When evaluating environmental and social shareholder proposals, the following factors are generally considered:

 

   

The company’s current level of publicly available disclosure, including if the company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies;

 

   

If the company has implemented or formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) materiality standards or a similar standard;

 

   

Whether adoption of the proposal is likely to enhance or protect shareholder value;

 

   

Whether the information requested concerns business issues that relate to a meaningful percentage of the company’s business;

 

   

The degree to which the company’s stated position on the issues raised in the proposal could affect its reputation or sales, or leave it vulnerable to a boycott or selective purchasing;

 

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Whether the company has already responded in some appropriate manner to the request embodied in the proposal;

 

   

What other companies in the relevant industry have done in response to the issue addressed in the proposal;

 

   

Whether the proposal itself is well framed and the cost of preparing the report is reasonable;

 

   

Whether the subject of the proposal is best left to the discretion of the board;

 

   

Whether the company has material fines or violations in the area and if so, if appropriate actions have already been taken to remedy going forward;

 

   

Whether providing this information would reveal proprietary or confidential information that would place the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Environmental Sustainability, climate change reporting

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting the company to report on its policies, initiatives and oversight mechanisms related to environmental sustainability, or how the company may be impacted by climate change. The following factors will be considered:

 

   

The company’s current level of publicly available disclosure including if the company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies;

 

   

If the company has formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) materiality standards or a similar standard within a specified time frame;

 

   

If the company’s current level of disclosure is comparable to that of its industry peers; and

 

   

If there are significant controversies, fines, penalties, or litigation associated with the company’s environmental performance.

Establishing goals or targets for emissions reduction

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on the following shareholder proposals if relevant to the company:

 

   

Seeking information on the financial, physical, or regulatory risks a company faces related to climate change on its operations and investment, or on how the company identifies, measures and manages such risks;

 

   

Calling for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions;

 

   

Seeking reports on responses to regulatory and public pressures surrounding climate change, and for disclosure of research that aided in setting company policies around climate change;

 

   

Requesting a report/disclosure of goals on GHG emissions from company operations and/or products;

 

   

Requesting a company report on its energy efficiency policies; and

 

   

Requesting reports on the feasibility of developing renewable energy resources.

 

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Political Contributions and Trade Association Spending/Lobbying Expenditures and Initiatives

GSAM generally believes that it is the role of boards and management to determine the appropriate level of disclosure of all types of corporate political activity. When evaluating these proposals, GSAM considers the prescriptive nature of the proposal and the overall benefit to shareholders along with a company’s current disclosure of policies, practices and oversight.

Generally vote AGAINST proposals asking the company to affirm political nonpartisanship in the workplace so long as:

 

   

There are no recent, significant controversies, fines or litigation regarding the company’s political contributions or trade association spending; and

 

   

The company has procedures in place to ensure that employee contributions to company-sponsored political action committees (PACs) are strictly voluntary and prohibits coercion.

Vote AGAINST proposals requesting increased disclosure of a company’s policies with respect to political contributions, lobbying and trade association spending as long as:

 

   

There is no significant potential threat or actual harm to shareholders’ interests;

 

   

There are no recent significant controversies or litigation related to the company’s political contributions or governmental affairs; and

 

   

There is publicly available information to assess the company’s oversight related to such expenditures of corporate assets.

GSAM generally will vote AGAINST proposals asking for detailed disclosure of political contributions or trade association or lobbying expenditures.

Vote AGAINST proposals barring the company from making political contributions. Businesses are affected by legislation at the federal, state, and local level and barring political contributions can put the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

A company should have a clear, public Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement and/or diversity policy. Generally vote FOR proposals seeking to amend a company’s EEO statement or diversity policies to additionally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting reports on a company’s efforts to diversify the board, unless:

 

   

The gender and racial minority representation of the company’s board is reasonably inclusive in relation to companies of similar size and business; and

 

   

The board already reports on its nominating procedures and gender and racial minority initiatives on the board.

Gender Pay Gap

Generally vote CASE-BY-CASE on proposals requesting reports on a company’s pay data by gender, or a report on a company’s policies and goals to reduce any gender pay gap, taking into account:

 

   

The company’s current policies and disclosure related to both its diversity and inclusion policies and practices and its compensation philosophy and fair and equitable compensation practices;

 

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Whether the company has been the subject of recent controversy, litigation or regulatory actions related to gender pay gap issues; and

 

   

Whether the company’s reporting regarding gender pay gap policies or initiatives is lagging its peers.

Labor and Human Rights Standards

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting a report on company or company supplier labor and/or human rights standards and policies, or on the impact of its operations on society, unless such information is already publicly disclosed considering:

 

   

The degree to which existing relevant policies and practices are disclosed;

 

   

Whether or not existing relevant policies are consistent with internationally recognized standards;

 

   

Whether company facilities and those of its suppliers are monitored and how;

 

   

Company participation in fair labor organizations or other internationally recognized human rights initiatives;

 

   

Scope and nature of business conducted in markets known to have higher risk of workplace labor/human rights abuse;

 

   

Recent, significant company controversies, fines, or litigation regarding human rights at the company or its suppliers;

 

   

The scope of the request; and

 

   

Deviation from industry sector peer company standards and practices.

 

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B. Non-U.S. Proxy Items1

The following section is a broad summary of the Guidelines, which form the basis of the Policy with respect to non-U.S. public equity investments. Applying these guidelines is subject to certain regional and country-specific exceptions and modifications and is not inclusive of all considerations in each market.

1. Operational Items

Financial Results/Director and Auditor Reports

Vote FOR approval of financial statements and director and auditor reports, unless:

 

   

There are concerns about the accounts presented or audit procedures used; or

 

   

The company is not responsive to shareholder questions about specific items that should be publicly disclosed.

Appointment of Auditors and Auditor Fees

Vote FOR the re-election of auditors and proposals authorizing the board to fix auditor fees, unless:

 

   

There are serious concerns about the accounts presented, audit procedures used or audit opinion rendered;

 

   

There is reason to believe that the auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

   

Name of the proposed auditor has not been published;

 

   

The auditors are being changed without explanation;

 

   

Non-audit-related fees are substantial or are in excess of standard annual audit-related fees; or

 

   

The appointment of external auditors if they have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

Appointment of Statutory Auditors

Vote FOR the appointment or re-election of statutory auditors, unless:

 

   

There are serious concerns about the statutory reports presented or the audit procedures used;

 

   

Questions exist concerning any of the statutory auditors being appointed; or

 

   

The auditors have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

Allocation of Income

Vote FOR approval of the allocation of income, unless:

 

   

The dividend payout ratio has been consistently low without adequate explanation; or

 

   

The payout is excessive given the company’s financial position.

 

1 

Excludes Japan public equity investments, please see Section C.

 

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Stock (Scrip) Dividend Alternative

Vote FOR most stock (scrip) dividend proposals.

Vote AGAINST proposals that do not allow for a cash option unless management demonstrates that the cash option is harmful to shareholder value.

Amendments to Articles of Association

Vote amendments to the articles of association on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Change in Company Fiscal Term

Vote FOR resolutions to change a company’s fiscal term unless a company’s motivation for the change is to postpone its annual general meeting.

Lower Disclosure Threshold for Stock Ownership

Vote AGAINST resolutions to lower the stock ownership disclosure threshold below 5% unless specific reasons exist to implement a lower threshold.

Amend Quorum Requirements

Vote proposals to amend quorum requirements for shareholder meetings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Transact Other Business

Vote AGAINST other business when it appears as a voting item.

2. Board of Directors

Director Elections

Vote FOR management nominees taking into consideration the following:

 

   

Adequate disclosure has not been provided in a timely manner; or

 

   

There are clear concerns over questionable finances or restatements; or

 

   

There have been questionable transactions or conflicts of interest; or

 

   

There are any records of abuses against minority shareholder interests; or

 

   

The board fails to meet minimum corporate governance standards; or

 

   

There are reservations about:

 

  ¡   

Director terms

 

  ¡   

Bundling of proposals to elect directors

 

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  ¡   

Board independence

 

  ¡   

Disclosure of named nominees

 

  ¡   

Combined Chairman/CEO

 

  ¡   

Election of former CEO as Chairman of the board

 

  ¡   

Overboarded directors

 

  ¡   

Composition of committees

 

  ¡   

Director independence

 

  ¡   

Number of directors on the board

 

  ¡   

Lack of gender diversity on the board

 

   

Specific concerns about the individual or company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities; or

 

   

Repeated absences at board meetings have not been explained (in countries where this information is disclosed); or

Unless there are other considerations which may include sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, or other issues related to improper business practice, failure to replace management, or egregious actions related to service on other boards.Vote AGAINST the Nominating Committee if the board does not have at least one woman director.

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis in contested elections of directors, e.g., the election of shareholder nominees or the dismissal of incumbent directors, determining which directors are best suited to add value for shareholders.

The analysis will generally be based on, but not limited to, the following major decision factors:

 

   

Company performance relative to its peers;

 

   

Strategy of the incumbents versus the dissidents;

 

   

Independence of board candidates;

 

   

Experience and skills of board candidates;

 

   

Governance profile of the company;

 

   

Evidence of management entrenchment;

 

   

Responsiveness to shareholders;

 

   

Whether a takeover offer has been rebuffed;

 

   

Whether minority or majority representation is being sought.

 

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Vote FOR employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee and are required by law to be on those committees.

Vote AGAINST employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee, if they are not required to be on those committees.

Classification of directors

Executive Director

 

   

Employee or executive of the company;

 

   

Any director who is classified as a non-executive, but receives salary, fees, bonus, and/or other benefits that are in line with the highest-paid executives of the company.

Non-Independent Non-Executive Director (NED)

 

   

Any director who is attested by the board to be a non-independent NED;

 

   

Any director specifically designated as a representative of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

   

Any director who is also an employee or executive of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

   

Beneficial owner (direct or indirect) of at least 10% of the company’s stock, either in economic terms or in voting rights (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a defined group, e.g., family members who beneficially own less than 10% individually, but collectively own more than 10%), unless market best practice dictates a lower ownership and/or disclosure threshold (and in other special market-specific circumstances);

 

   

Government representative;

 

   

Currently provides (or a relative provides) professional services to the company, to an affiliate of the company, or to an individual officer of the company or of one of its affiliates in excess of $10,000 per year;

 

   

Represents customer, supplier, creditor, banker, or other entity with which company maintains transactional/commercial relationship (unless company discloses information to apply a materiality test);

 

   

Any director who has conflicting or cross-directorships with executive directors or the chairman of the company;

 

   

Relative of a current employee of the company or its affiliates;

 

   

Relative of a former executive of the company or its affiliates;

 

   

A new appointee elected other than by a formal process through the General Meeting (such as a contractual appointment by a substantial shareholder);

 

   

Founder/co-founder/member of founding family but not currently an employee;

 

   

Former executive (5 year cooling off period);

 

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Years of service is generally not a determining factor unless it is recommended best practice in a market and/or in extreme circumstances, in which case it may be considered; and

 

   

Any additional relationship or principle considered to compromise independence under local corporate governance best practice guidance.

Independent NED

 

   

No material connection, either directly or indirectly, to the company other than a board seat.

Employee Representative

 

   

Represents employees or employee shareholders of the company (classified as “employee representative” but considered a non-independent NED).

Discharge of Directors

Generally vote FOR the discharge of directors, including members of the management board and/or supervisory board, unless there is reliable information about significant and compelling controversies that the board is not fulfilling its fiduciary duties warranted by:

 

   

A lack of oversight or actions by board members which invoke shareholder distrust related to malfeasance or poor supervision, such as operating in private or company interest rather than in shareholder interest; or

 

   

Any legal issues (e.g., civil/criminal) aiming to hold the board responsible for breach of trust in the past or related to currently alleged actions yet to be confirmed (and not only the fiscal year in question), such as price fixing, insider trading, bribery, fraud, and other illegal actions; or

 

   

Other egregious governance issues where shareholders may bring legal action against the company or its directors; or

 

   

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis where a vote against other agenda items are deemed inappropriate.

3. Compensation

Director Compensation

Vote FOR proposals to award cash fees to non-executive directors unless the amounts are excessive relative to other companies in the country or industry.

Vote non-executive director compensation proposals that include both cash and share-based components on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote proposals that bundle compensation for both non-executive and executive directors into a single resolution on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to introduce retirement benefits for non-executive directors.

Compensation Plans

Vote compensation plans on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

 

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Director, Officer, and Auditor Indemnification and Liability Provisions

Vote proposals seeking indemnification and liability protection for directors and officers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to indemnify auditors.

4. Board Structure

Vote AGAINST the introduction of classified boards and mandatory retirement ages for directors.

Vote AGAINST proposals to alter board structure or size in the context of a fight for control of the company or the board.

Chairman CEO combined role (for applicable markets)

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

   

Two-thirds independent board, or majority in countries where employee representation is common practice;

 

   

A designated, or a rotating, lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

   

Fully independent key committees; and/or

 

   

Established, publicly disclosed, governance guidelines and director biographies/profiles.

5. Capital Structure

Share Issuance Requests

General Issuances:

Vote FOR issuance requests with preemptive rights to a maximum of 100% over currently issued capital.

Vote FOR issuance requests without preemptive rights to a maximum of 20% of currently issued capital.

Specific Issuances:

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis on all requests, with or without preemptive rights.

Increases in Authorized Capital

Vote FOR non-specific proposals to increase authorized capital up to 100% over the current authorization unless the increase would leave the company with less than 30% of its new authorization outstanding.

 

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Vote FOR specific proposals to increase authorized capital to any amount, unless:

 

   

The specific purpose of the increase (such as a share-based acquisition or merger) does not meet guidelines for the purpose being proposed; or

 

   

The increase would leave the company with less than 30% of its new authorization outstanding after adjusting for all proposed issuances.

Vote AGAINST proposals to adopt unlimited capital authorizations.

Reduction of Capital

Vote FOR proposals to reduce capital for routine accounting purposes unless the terms are unfavorable to shareholders.

Vote proposals to reduce capital in connection with corporate restructuring on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Capital Structures

Vote FOR resolutions that seek to maintain or convert to a one-share, one-vote capital structure.

Vote AGAINST requests for the creation or continuation of dual-class capital structures or the creation of new or additional super voting shares.

Preferred Stock

Vote FOR the creation of a new class of preferred stock or for issuances of preferred stock up to 50% of issued capital unless the terms of the preferred stock would adversely affect the rights of existing shareholders.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible preferred stock as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

Vote AGAINST the creation of a new class of preference shares that would carry superior voting rights to the common shares.

Vote AGAINST the creation of blank check preferred stock unless the board clearly states that the authorization will not be used to thwart a takeover bid.

Vote proposals to increase blank check preferred authorizations on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Debt Issuance Requests

Vote non-convertible debt issuance requests on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, with or without preemptive rights.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible debt instruments as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

Vote FOR proposals to restructure existing debt arrangements unless the terms of the restructuring would adversely affect the rights of shareholders.

Increase in Borrowing Powers

Vote proposals to approve increases in a company’s borrowing powers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

 

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Share Repurchase Plans

GSAM will generally recommend FOR share repurchase programs taking into account whether:

 

   

The share repurchase program can be used as a takeover defense;

 

   

There is clear evidence of historical abuse;

 

   

There is no safeguard in the share repurchase program against selective buybacks;

 

   

Pricing provisions and safeguards in the share repurchase program are deemed to be unreasonable in light of market practice.

Reissuance of Repurchased Shares

Vote FOR requests to reissue any repurchased shares unless there is clear evidence of abuse of this authority in the past.

Capitalization of Reserves for Bonus Issues/Increase in Par Value

Vote FOR requests to capitalize reserves for bonus issues of shares or to increase par value.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructurings and Other

Reorganizations/Restructurings

Vote reorganizations and restructurings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on mergers and acquisitions taking into account the following based on publicly available information:

 

   

Valuation;

 

   

Market reaction;

 

   

Strategic rationale;

 

   

Management’s track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions;

 

   

Presence of conflicts of interest; and

 

   

Governance profile of the combined company.

Antitakeover Mechanisms

Generally vote AGAINST all antitakeover proposals, unless they are structured in such a way that they give shareholders the ultimate decision on any proposal or offer.

Reincorporation Proposals

Vote reincorporation proposals on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

 

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Related-Party Transactions

Vote related-party transactions on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, considering factors including, but not limited to, the following:

 

   

The parties on either side of the transaction;

 

   

The nature of the asset to be transferred/service to be provided;

 

   

The pricing of the transaction (and any associated professional valuation);

 

   

The views of independent directors (where provided);

 

   

The views of an independent financial adviser (where appointed);

 

   

Whether any entities party to the transaction (including advisers) is conflicted; and

 

   

The stated rationale for the transaction, including discussions of timing.

Shareholder Proposals

Vote all shareholder proposals on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote FOR proposals that would improve the company’s corporate governance or business profile at a reasonable cost.

Vote AGAINST proposals that limit the company’s business activities or capabilities or result in significant costs being incurred with little or no benefit.

7. Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

Please refer to page 12 for our current approach to these important topics.

 

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C. Japan Proxy Items

The following section is a broad summary of the Guidelines, which form the basis of the Policy with respect to Japanese public equity investments. Applying these guidelines is not inclusive of all considerations in the Japanese market.

1. Operational Items

Financial Results/Director and Auditor Reports

Vote FOR approval of financial statements and director and auditor reports, unless:

 

   

There are concerns about the accounts presented or audit procedures used; or

 

   

The company is not responsive to shareholder questions about specific items that should be publicly disclosed.

Appointment of Auditors and Auditor Fees

Vote FOR the re-election of auditors and proposals authorizing the board to fix auditor fees, unless:

 

   

There are serious concerns about the accounts presented, audit procedures used or audit opinion rendered;

 

   

There is reason to believe that the auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

   

Name of the proposed auditor has not been published;

 

   

The auditors are being changed without explanation;

 

   

Non-audit-related fees are substantial or are in excess of standard annual audit-related fees; or

 

   

The appointment of external auditors if they have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

Allocation of Income

Vote FOR approval of the allocation of income, unless:

 

   

The dividend payout ratio is less than 20%; or

 

   

The company proposes the payments even though the company posted a net loss for the year under review;

 

   

The dividend payout ratio has been consistently low without adequate explanation; or

 

   

The payout is excessive given the company’s financial position.

Stock (Scrip) Dividend Alternative

Vote FOR most stock (scrip) dividend proposals.

 

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Vote AGAINST proposals that do not allow for a cash option unless management demonstrates that the cash option is harmful to shareholder value.

Amendments to Articles of Association

Vote amendments to the articles of association on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Change in Company Fiscal Term

Vote FOR resolutions to change a company’s fiscal term unless a company’s motivation for the change is to postpone its annual general meeting.

Lower Disclosure Threshold for Stock Ownership

Vote AGAINST resolutions to lower the stock ownership disclosure threshold below 5% unless specific reasons exist to implement a lower threshold.

Amend Quorum Requirements

Vote proposals to amend quorum requirements for shareholder meetings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Transact Other Business

Vote AGAINST other business when it appears as a voting item.

2. Board of Directors

Director and Statutory Auditor Elections

Vote FOR management nominees taking into consideration the following:

 

   

The company’s committee structure: statutory auditor board structure, U.S.-type three committee structure, or audit committee structure; or

 

   

Adequate disclosure has not been provided in a timely manner; or

 

   

There are clear concerns over questionable finances or restatements; or

 

   

There have been questionable transactions or conflicts of interest; or

 

   

There are any records of abuses against minority shareholder interests; or

 

   

The board fails to meet minimum corporate governance standards; or

 

   

There are reservations about:

 

  ¡   

Director terms

 

  ¡   

Bundling of proposals to elect directors

 

  ¡   

Board independence

 

  ¡   

Disclosure of named nominees

 

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  ¡   

Combined Chairman/CEO

 

  ¡   

Election of former CEO as Chairman of the board

 

  ¡   

Overboarded directors

 

  ¡   

Composition of committees

 

  ¡   

Director independence

 

  ¡   

Number of directors on the board

 

  ¡   

Lack of gender diversity on the board

 

   

Specific concerns about the individual or company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities; or

 

   

Attendance at less than 75% of the board and committee meetings without a disclosed valid excuse; or

 

   

Unless there are other considerations which may include sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, or other issues related to improper business practice, failure to replace management, or egregious actions related to service on other boards.

Vote AGAINST the Nominating Committee if the board does not have at least one woman director. For Japanese boards with statutory auditors or audit committee structure, but no nominating committee, vote AGAINST top executives.

Vote AGAINST top executives when the board consists of more than 15 directors and less than 15% of outside directors.

Vote AGAINST top executives when the company has posted average return on equity (ROE) of less than five percent over the last five fiscal years.

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis in contested elections of directors, e.g., the election of shareholder nominees or the dismissal of incumbent directors, determining which directors are best suited to add value for shareholders.

The analysis will generally be based on, but not limited to, the following major decision factors:

 

   

Company performance relative to its peers;

 

   

Strategy of the incumbents versus the dissidents;

 

   

Independence of board candidates;

 

   

Experience and skills of board candidates;

 

   

Governance profile of the company;

 

   

Evidence of management entrenchment;

 

   

Responsiveness to shareholders;

 

A-26


   

Whether a takeover offer has been rebuffed;

 

   

Whether minority or majority representation is being sought.

Vote FOR employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee and are required by law to be on those committees.

Vote AGAINST employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee, if they are not required to be on those committees.

Classification of directors

Internal Director

 

   

Employee or executive of the company;

 

   

Any director who is classified as a non-executive, but receives salary, fees, bonus, and/or other benefits that are in line with the highest-paid executives of the company.

Internal Non-Executive Director (NED)

 

   

Any director who is attested by the board to be a non-independent NED;

 

   

Any director specifically designated as a representative of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

   

Any director who is also an employee or executive of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

   

Beneficial owner (direct or indirect) of at least 10% of the company’s stock, either in economic terms or in voting rights (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a defined group, e.g., family members who beneficially own less than 10% individually, but collectively own more than 10%), unless market best practice dictates a lower ownership and/or disclosure threshold (and in other special market-specific circumstances);

 

   

Government representative;

 

   

Currently provides (or a relative provides) professional services to the company, to an affiliate of the company, or to an individual officer of the company or of one of its affiliates in excess of $10,000 per year;

 

   

Represents customer, supplier, creditor, banker, or other entity with which company maintains transactional/commercial relationship (unless company discloses information to apply a materiality test);

 

   

Any director who has conflicting or cross-directorships with executive directors or the chairman of the company;

 

   

Relative of a current employee of the company or its affiliates;

 

   

Relative of a former executive of the company or its affiliates;

 

   

Any director who works or worked at companies whose shares are held by the company in question as cross-shareholdings

 

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A new appointee elected other than by a formal process through the General Meeting (such as a contractual appointment by a substantial shareholder);

 

   

Founder/co-founder/member of founding family but not currently an employee;

 

   

Former executive (5 year cooling off period);

 

   

Years of service is generally not a determining factor unless it is recommended best practice in a market and/or in extreme circumstances, in which case it may be considered; and

 

   

Any additional relationship or principle considered to compromise independence under local corporate governance best practice guidance.

External NED

 

   

No material connection, either directly or indirectly, to the company other than a board seat.

Employee Representative

 

   

Represents employees or employee shareholders of the company (classified as “employee representative” but considered a non-independent NED).

Discharge of Directors

Generally vote FOR the discharge of directors, including members of the management board and/or supervisory board, unless there is reliable information about significant and compelling controversies that the board is not fulfilling its fiduciary duties warranted by:

 

   

A lack of oversight or actions by board members which invoke shareholder distrust related to malfeasance or poor supervision, such as operating in private or company interest rather than in shareholder interest; or

 

   

Any legal issues (e.g., civil/criminal) aiming to hold the board responsible for breach of trust in the past or related to currently alleged actions yet to be confirmed (and not only the fiscal year in question), such as price fixing, insider trading, bribery, fraud, and other illegal actions; or

 

   

Other egregious governance issues where shareholders may bring legal action against the company or its directors; or

 

   

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis where a vote against other agenda items are deemed inappropriate.

3. Compensation

Director Compensation

Vote FOR proposals to award cash fees to non-executive directors unless the amounts are excessive relative to other companies in the country or industry.

Vote non-executive director compensation proposals that include both cash and share-based components on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote proposals that bundle compensation for both non-executive and executive directors into a single resolution on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

 

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Vote AGAINST proposals to introduce retirement benefits for non-executive directors.

Compensation Plans

Vote compensation plans on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Director, Officer, and Auditor Indemnification and Liability Provisions

Vote proposals seeking indemnification and liability protection for directors and officers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to indemnify auditors.

4. Board Structure

Vote AGAINST the introduction of classified boards and mandatory retirement ages for directors.

Vote AGAINST proposals to alter board structure or size in the context of a fight for control of the company or the board.

Chairman CEO combined role

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

   

Two-thirds independent board, or majority in countries where employee representation is common practice;

 

   

A designated, or a rotating, lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

   

Fully independent key committees; and/or

 

   

Established, publicly disclosed, governance guidelines and director biographies/profiles.

5. Capital Structure

Share Issuance Requests

General Issuances:

Vote FOR issuance requests with preemptive rights to a maximum of 100% over currently issued capital.

Vote FOR issuance requests without preemptive rights to a maximum of 20% of currently issued capital.

Specific Issuances:

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis on all requests, with or without preemptive rights.

 

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Increases in Authorized Capital

Vote FOR non-specific proposals to increase authorized capital up to 100% over the current authorization unless the increase would leave the company with less than 30% of its new authorization outstanding.

Vote FOR specific proposals to increase authorized capital to any amount, unless:

 

   

The specific purpose of the increase (such as a share-based acquisition or merger) does not meet guidelines for the purpose being proposed; or

 

   

The increase would leave the company with less than 30% of its new authorization outstanding after adjusting for all proposed issuances.

Vote AGAINST proposals to adopt unlimited capital authorizations.

Reduction of Capital

Vote FOR proposals to reduce capital for routine accounting purposes unless the terms are unfavorable to shareholders.

Vote proposals to reduce capital in connection with corporate restructuring on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Capital Structures

Vote FOR resolutions that seek to maintain or convert to a one-share, one-vote capital structure.

Vote AGAINST requests for the creation or continuation of dual-class capital structures or the creation of new or additional super voting shares.

Preferred Stock

Vote FOR the creation of a new class of preferred stock or for issuances of preferred stock up to 50% of issued capital unless the terms of the preferred stock would adversely affect the rights of existing shareholders.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible preferred stock as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

Vote AGAINST the creation of a new class of preference shares that would carry superior voting rights to the common shares.

Vote AGAINST the creation of blank check preferred stock unless the board clearly states that the authorization will not be used to thwart a takeover bid.

Vote proposals to increase blank check preferred authorizations on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Debt Issuance Requests

Vote non-convertible debt issuance requests on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, with or without preemptive rights.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible debt instruments as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

 

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Vote FOR proposals to restructure existing debt arrangements unless the terms of the restructuring would adversely affect the rights of shareholders.

Increase in Borrowing Powers

Vote proposals to approve increases in a company’s borrowing powers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Share Repurchase Plans

GSAM will generally recommend FOR share repurchase programs taking into account whether:

 

   

The share repurchase program can be used as a takeover defense;

 

   

There is clear evidence of historical abuse;

 

   

There is no safeguard in the share repurchase program against selective buybacks;

 

   

Pricing provisions and safeguards in the share repurchase program are deemed to be unreasonable in light of market practice.

Reissuance of Repurchased Shares

Vote FOR requests to reissue any repurchased shares unless there is clear evidence of abuse of this authority in the past.

Capitalization of Reserves for Bonus Issues/Increase in Par Value

Vote FOR requests to capitalize reserves for bonus issues of shares or to increase par value.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructurings and Other

Reorganizations/Restructurings

Vote reorganizations and restructurings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on mergers and acquisitions taking into account the following based on publicly available information:

 

   

Valuation;

 

   

Market reaction;

 

   

Strategic rationale;

 

   

Management’s track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions;

 

   

Presence of conflicts of interest; and

 

   

Governance profile of the combined company.

 

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Antitakeover Mechanisms

Generally vote AGAINST all antitakeover proposals, unless they are structured in such a way that they give shareholders the ultimate decision on any proposal or offer.

Reincorporation Proposals

Vote reincorporation proposals on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Related-Party Transactions

Vote related-party transactions on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, considering factors including, but not limited to, the following:

 

   

The parties on either side of the transaction;

 

   

The nature of the asset to be transferred/service to be provided;

 

   

The pricing of the transaction (and any associated professional valuation);

 

   

The views of independent directors (where provided);

 

   

The views of an independent financial adviser (where appointed);

 

   

Whether any entities party to the transaction (including advisers) is conflicted; and

 

   

The stated rationale for the transaction, including discussions of timing.

Shareholder Proposals

Vote all shareholder proposals on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote FOR proposals that would improve the company’s corporate governance or business profile at a reasonable cost.

Vote AGAINST proposals that limit the company’s business activities or capabilities or result in significant costs being incurred with little or no benefit.

7. Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

Please refer to page 12 for our current approach to these important topics.

 

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GOLDMAN SACHS BDC, INC.

 

 

PROSPECTUS

 

 

 

 

 

 


PART C

OTHER INFORMATION

Item 25. Financial Statements and Exhibits

(1) Financial Statements

The interim unaudited consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2019 and the audited financial statements of Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2019 have been incorporated by reference in this registration statement in “Part A—Information Required in a Prospectus.”

The interim unaudited consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 and September 30, 2019 and the audited financial statements of Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp. as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and for the two years ended December 31, 2019 and for the period from January 11, 2017 (commencement of operations) to December 31, 2017 have been incorporated by reference in this registration statement in “Part A—Information Required in a Prospectus.”

(2) Exhibits

 

(a)   Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation (incorporated by reference to Exhibit 3.1  to the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K (file no. 814-00998), filed on October 13, 2020).
(b)   Bylaws (incorporated by reference to Exhibit (a) to pre-effective Amendment No.  7 to the Company’s Registration Statement on Form N-2 (file no. 333-187642), filed on March 3, 2015).
(c)   Not applicable.
(d)(1)   Indenture, dated October  3, 2016, between Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. and Wells Fargo Bank, Nation