non participating liquidation preference


Thus, from an investor’s perspective, participating preferred stock is preferable to non-participating preferred stock as it allows for both a preferred payment upon liquidation and participation in the upside if the company is sold at a premium. Obviously, they would convert and receive $5M, which is almost 10% less than they would have received if the preferred stock had participation rights. The example below will help explain why. What is the Board Consent in Lieu of First Meeting? Let’s assume a company issued $1 million dollars in participating preferred stock that was capped at a 2X participation, and that the stock represented 10% of the company. Non-Participating Preferred Example In contrast, non-participating preferred stock is preferred stock that only entitles the holder to the greater of either (1) the preferential liquidation payment and not a share in any remaining liquidation proceeds, or (2) the amount the holder would receive if they had converted to common stock. What this does is allow venture investors to receive both their investment back and a pro rata share of any gains. In other words, participating preferred gets its cake, and gets to eat it too. If a situation arises where preferred stockholders would receive more per share as holders of common stock than holders of preferred stock, preferred stockholders can convert their shares into common stock, giving up their liquidation preference in exchange for the ability to share pro rata in the total liquidation proceeds. Stockholder Beware, Delaware Chancery Court upholds “Loser Pays” Provision. Liquidation preferences are an important part of preferred stock terms. I often get questions from founders about different types of stock or equity they can offer investors. Your journey to a successful startup begins here. If the company was sold for $50M, however, the 2x capped participating preferred would be paid an on as-converted to common basis, and take 10% of $50M. This is especially true if there is a “1x” liquidation preference (sometimes if a company is distressed at the time of a financing, the liquidation preference is much higher, often 5x). Make sure to understand what type of preferred stock your investors are asking for. This can lead to the need for complex spreadsheets that model what happens upon the sale of a company at different transaction values. There are arguments for and against participating preferred stock. But from a founder’s perspective, non-participating preferred is better. Why is my Delaware franchise tax bill so high and how is it calculated?

Much appreciated. Lost your password? Visit here to, 4 Things to Know About VCs and Non-Disclosure Agreements. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You should always consult with an attorney before making an investment. A nonparticipating liquidation preference only gives the preferred stock a liquidation preference over the common stock equal to the per share price the investor paid (or some multiple of that per share price). RevenueLoan® is a registered trademark of Lighter Capital, Inc. For California borrowers, loans are made or arranged by Lighter Capital, Inc. pursuant to its California Finance Lenders Law License, #603K634.

In my above example, if the company liquidated in a transaction for $14 million, the holders of the 2x capped participating preferred stock bought for $1M would take their 2X ($2M) and not participate at all in the remaining $12M in proceeds, because $2M is greater than 10% of $14M. It is also the most common in today’s early stage deals. Investors Exercising Blocking Rights May Be Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duties. The cap is usually between 3x and 5x. Lighter Capital’s guides have the answers you need. Have fun, and be careful out there. One counter to that is when a company is sold shortly after the investment, the founders, who likely paid much less than holders of preferred stock, can get a significant return on their investment, while preferred stockholders get little return.

Log in. But they are not entitled to a share of the remaining liquidation proceeds – those proceeds stay with holders of common stock. Non-participating preferred stock also entitles the holder to the preferential liquidation payment. You will receive mail with link to set new password. angel investment and venture capital financings), mergers and acquisitions and licensing transactions. For example, if a company that issued $1 million dollars in participating preferred stock representing 10% of the company liquidated in a transaction for $10 million, the holders of the participating preferred stock would be entitled to receive a $1 million liquidation preference (or more, if specifically agreed upon), plus 10% of the remaining $9 million in proceeds, for a total of $1.9 million. So, the preferred stockholders would receive their $1M investment back, plus $4.5M of the remaining proceeds, for a total of $5.5M. When there is not enough money to go around to pay back the preferred stockholders’ investment, the preferred stockholders get everything. Liquidation preferences are an important part of preferred stock terms.

Could you please give an example of how the participating feature lowers the pre-money valuation (true valuation) versus the naive valuation on the term sheet? When there is enough to pay back all preferred stockholders with additional money left to distribute to other stockholders, whether the preferred stockholder is participating or non-participating will determine how the rest of the money is distributed. The following two tabs change content below. Non-participating preferred stock also entitles the holder to the preferential liquidation payment. Sam is a partner with Innovation Capital Law Group and specializes in startup representation, corporate finance (i.e. Day #2 : Let’s Make It Official – Hashbrown Incorporates. So, in the above-example, the preferred stockholders could elect to either receive their $1M investment back or 50% of the $10M proceeds ($5M).
Required fields are marked *. If they are asking for participating preferred, and you can’t get them to back off, consider trying to negotiate for a capped participating preferred. For an example of how this would appear in a term sheet, this is how the NVCA.org documents do it: “[Alternative 3 (cap on Preferred Stock participation rights):  First pay [one] times the Original Purchase Price [plus accrued dividends] [plus declared and unpaid dividends] on each share of Series A Preferred. Your email address will not be published. His practice focuses on startups and emerging companies, angel and venture financing, and M&A transactions.


How Should Startups Handle Down-Round Financings During COVID-19? ©2020 Lighter Capital. If you do end up issuing participating preferred, then definitely think about trying to cap the participation at a multiple of the liquidation preference. Preferred stockholders argue that they need to ensure a minimum return on their investment and participation rights prevent common stockholders from pursuing a sale that isn’t a home run for the investors, as the common stockholders would receive nothing unless there is both a return of the investors’ investment and further proceeds to be divided between common and preferred stockholders. Your email address will not be published. Equity Incentives, Formation Issues, Reference Materials, Venture Capital. Either way, emerging companies should be aware of the potential implications of participating preferred stock during negotiations and recognize that it is a deal term that requires careful thought and negotiation. This article is not intended to be legal advice. It is worth noting that different series of preferred stock might be inclined to convert to common stock at different transaction values, as there are different preference amounts per share for the different series. Follow him on Twitter @joewallin. Great post- thank you. Using the example above, if a company issued $1 million dollars in non-participating preferred stock (representing 10% of the company) and then liquidated in a transaction for $9 million, the holders of the non-participating preferred stock would take only their $1 million liquidation preference, and the remaining $8 million in proceeds would be distributed to the other stockholders. Digging a little deeper, there are two basic types of liquidation preferences: “non-participating preferred” and “participating preferred.”, Participating preferred stock entitles the holder to a preferential payment upon liquidation, typically an amount equal to their initial investment, plus accrued and unpaid dividends. The remaining $9M would be divided pro rata (50/50 in this case) between the common stock and the preferred stock, as if the preferred stock had converted to common stock. The holders of participating preferred stock (assuming they were entitled to the typical “1x” liquidation preference) would receive a $1 million liquidation preference, plus accrued and unpaid dividends. In addition, they receive their percentage share of the remaining liquidation proceeds on what is referred to as an “as-converted to common stock basis.”. Otherwise, founders risk giving investors a larger share of sale proceeds than they might have intended. Everything you need to know about funding, growing and scaling your startup. Please enter your email address.

In contrast, non-participating preferred stock is preferred stock that only entitles the holder to the greater of either (1) the preferential liquidation payment and not a share in any remaining liquidation proceeds, or (2) the amount the holder would receive if they had converted to common stock. Participating preferred stock holders are entitled to receive a share of any remaining liquidation proceeds on an as-converted to common stock basis, after they have already gotten back their liquidation preference, whereas non-participating preferred stock holders either get (i) their liquidation preference back, or (ii) the amount they would have gotten had they converted to common stock. If the same company sold instead for $15 million, the participating preferred stockholders would be entitled to $1 million plus 10% of $14 million dollars for a total of $2.4 million in total distributions. The issue of participating preferred stock is one of the important differences between east coast and west coast deals (it is a deal term more commonly found on the east coast) and can impact which firm a startup chooses as it seeks venture capital.

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