Hercules Capital
Hercules Capital, Inc. (Form: 497, Received: 10/10/2017 12:48:46)
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Index to Financial Statements

Filed Pursuant to Rule 497
Registration No. 333-214767

 

This preliminary prospectus supplement relates to an effective registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, but is not complete and may be changed. This preliminary prospectus supplement is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED OCTOBER 10, 2017

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To prospectus dated September 7, 2017)

$

LOGO

% Notes due

 

 

We are an internally-managed, non-diversified, closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the 1940 Act. Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio’s total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our warrant and equity-related investments.

We are offering $     in aggregate principal amount of     % notes due       , or the “Notes.” The Notes will mature on      . We will pay interest on the Notes on     and     of each year, beginning on         , 2018. We may redeem the Notes in whole or in part at any time or from time to time, at the redemption price set forth under “Description of Notes and the Offering—Optional Redemption” in this prospectus supplement. In addition, holders of the Notes can require us to repurchase the Notes at 100% of their principal amount upon the occurrence of a Change of Control Repurchase Event (as defined herein). The Notes will be issued in minimum denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess thereof.

The Notes will be our unsecured obligations and rank pari passu , or equally in right of payment, with all outstanding and future unsecured unsubordinated indebtedness issued by Hercules Capital, Inc.

An investment in the Notes involves risks that are described in the “ Supplementary Risk Factors ” section beginning on page S-14 in this prospectus supplement and the “ Risk Factors ” section beginning on page 14 of the accompanying prospectus.

This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus contain important information you should know before investing in the Notes. Please read this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus before investing and keep it for future reference. We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information about us with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. This information is available free of charge by contacting us at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301, or by telephone by calling collect at (650) 289-3060 or on our website at www.htgc.com. The information on the websites referred to herein is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains information about us.

 

     Per Note     Total  

Public offering price (1)

              $               

Sales load (underwriting discounts and commissions)

              $  

Proceeds to us (before expenses) (2)

              $  

 

(1) The public offering price set forth above does not include accrued interest, if any. Interest on the Notes will accrue from October     , 2017 and must be paid by the purchaser if the Notes are delivered after October     , 2017.
(2) Before deducting expenses payable by us related to this offering, estimated at $            . See “Underwriting” in this prospectus supplement for complete details of underwriters’ compensation.

THE NOTES ARE NOT DEPOSITS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS OF A BANK AND ARE NOT INSURED BY THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY.

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

 

 

Delivery of the Notes in book-entry form only through The Depository Trust Company will be made on or about October     , 2017.

Joint Book-Running Managers

 

Citigroup    Jefferies

The date of this prospectus supplement is October     , 2017.


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You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized any other person to provide you with different information. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We are not, and the underwriters 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 contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front cover of this prospectus supplement or such prospectus, as applicable. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.

This document is in two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, which describes the terms of this offering and also adds to and updates information contained in the accompanying prospectus. The second part is the accompanying prospectus, which gives more general information and disclosure. To the extent the information contained in this prospectus supplement differs from the information contained in the accompanying prospectus, the information in this prospectus supplement shall control. You should read this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus together with the additional information described under the heading, “Available Information” before investing in our Notes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prospectus Supplement

 

     Page  

SUMMARY

     S-1  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     S-12  

SUPPLEMENTARY RISK FACTORS

     S-14  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     S-19  

CAPITALIZATION

     S-20  

RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES

     S-21  

DESCRIPTION OF NOTES

     S-22  

UNDERWRITING

     S-34  

CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

     S-38  

LEGAL MATTERS

     S-43  

EXPERTS

     S-43  

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

     S-43  

Prospectus

 

     Page  

SUMMARY

     1  

FEES AND EXPENSES

     10  

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

     12  

RISK FACTORS

     14  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     61  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     62  

PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK AND DISTRIBUTIONS

     63  

RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES

     66  

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

     67  

BUSINESS

     125  

PORTFOLIO COMPANIES

     138  

 

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     Page  

SENIOR SECURITIES

     162  

MANAGEMENT

     165  

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     176  

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

     181  

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS

     201  

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS

     203  

CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

     204  

REGULATION

     214  

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

     220  

SALES OF COMMON STOCK BELOW NET ASSET VALUE

     224  

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

     229  

DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK

     230  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR PREFERRED STOCK

     237  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR SUBSCRIPTION RIGHTS

     239  

DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS

     241  

DESCRIPTION OF OUR DEBT SECURITIES

     243  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     256  

BROKERAGE ALLOCATION AND OTHER PRACTICES

     258  

CUSTODIAN, TRANSFER AND DIVIDEND PAYING AGENT AND REGISTRAR

     258  

LEGAL MATTERS

     258  

EXPERTS

     258  

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

     259  

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     F-1  

 

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SUMMARY

This summary highlights some of the information in this prospectus supplement and may not contain all of the information that is important to you. For a more complete understanding of this offering, we encourage you to read this entire prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus and the documents that are referenced in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, together with any accompanying supplements. In this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, unless the context otherwise requires, the “Company,” “Hercules Capital,” “Hercules,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Hercules Capital, Inc. and our wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Our Company

We are a specialty finance company focused on providing senior secured loans to high-growth, innovative venture capital-backed companies in a variety of technology, life sciences and sustainable and renewable technology industries. Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio’s total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our warrant and equity-related investments. We are an internally-managed, non-diversified closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company, or BDC, under the 1940 Act. Effective January 1, 2006, we elected to be treated for tax purposes as a regulated investment company, or RIC, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code.

As of June 30, 2017, our total assets were approximately $1.6 billion, of which our investments comprised $1.4 billion at fair value and $1.5 billion at cost. Since inception through June 30, 2017, we have made debt and equity commitments of approximately $6.9 billion to our portfolio companies.

We also make investments in qualifying small businesses through our two wholly owned small business investment companies, or SBICs. Our SBIC subsidiaries, Hercules Technology II, L.P., or HT II, and Hercules Technology III, L.P., or HT III, hold approximately $104.8 million and $271.5 million in assets, respectively, and accounted for approximately 5.8% and 14.9% of our total assets, respectively, prior to consolidation at June 30, 2017. At June 30, 2017, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA-guaranteed debentures in our SBIC subsidiaries. See “Regulation—Small Business Administration Regulations” in the accompanying prospectus for additional information regarding our SBIC subsidiaries.

As of June 30, 2017, our investment professionals, including Manuel A. Henriquez, our co-founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, are currently comprised of 34 professionals who have, on average, more than 15 years of experience in venture capital, structured finance, commercial lending or acquisition finance with the types of technology-related companies that we are targeting. We believe that we can leverage the experience and relationships of our management team to successfully identify attractive investment opportunities, underwrite prospective portfolio companies and structure customized financing solutions.

 



 

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Organizational Chart

The following chart summarizes our organizational structure as of June 30, 2017. This chart is provided for illustrative purposes only.

 

LOGO

Our Market Opportunity

We believe that technology-related companies compete in one of the largest and most rapidly growing sectors of the U.S. economy and that continued growth is supported by ongoing innovation and performance improvements in technology products as well as the adoption of technology across virtually all industries in response to competitive pressures. We believe that an attractive market opportunity exists for a specialty finance company focused primarily on investments in structured debt with warrants in technology-related companies for the following reasons:

 

   

Technology-related companies have generally been underserved by traditional lending sources;

 

   

Unfulfilled demand exists for structured debt financing to technology-related companies due to the complexity of evaluating risk in these investments; and

 

   

Structured debt with warrants products are less dilutive and complement equity financing from venture capital and private equity funds.

Technology-Related Companies are Underserved by Traditional Lenders. We believe many viable technology-related companies backed by financial sponsors have been unable to obtain sufficient growth financing from traditional lenders, including financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies because traditional lenders have continued to consolidate and have adopted a more risk-averse approach to lending. More importantly, we believe traditional lenders are typically unable to underwrite the risk associated with these companies effectively.

 



 

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The unique cash flow characteristics of many technology-related companies typically include significant research and development expenditures and high projected revenue growth thus often making such companies difficult to evaluate from a credit perspective. In addition, the balance sheets of these companies often include a disproportionately large amount of intellectual property assets, which can be difficult to value. Finally, the speed of innovation in technology and rapid shifts in consumer demand and market share add to the difficulty in evaluating technology-related companies.

Due to the difficulties described above, we believe traditional lenders generally refrain from entering the structured debt financing marketplace, instead preferring the risk-reward profile of asset based lending. Traditional lenders generally do not have flexible product offerings that meet the needs of technology-related companies. The financing products offered by traditional lenders typically impose on borrowers many restrictive covenants and conditions, including limiting cash outflows and requiring a significant depository relationship to facilitate rapid liquidation.

Unfulfilled Demand for Structured Debt Financing to Technology-Related Companies. Private debt capital in the form of structured debt financing from specialty finance companies continues to be an important source of funding for technology-related companies. We believe that the level of demand for structured debt financing is a function of the level of annual venture equity investment activity.

We believe that demand for structured debt financing is currently underserved. The venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has been active. Therefore, to the extent we have capital available, we believe this is an opportune time to be active in the structured lending market for technology-related companies.

Structured Debt with Warrants Products Complement Equity Financing From Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds. We believe that technology-related companies and their financial sponsors will continue to view structured debt securities as an attractive source of capital because it augments the capital provided by venture capital and private equity funds. We believe that our structured debt with warrants products provides access to growth capital that otherwise may only be available through incremental investments by existing equity investors. As such, we provide portfolio companies and their financial sponsors with an opportunity to diversify their capital sources. Generally, we believe many technology-related companies at all stages of development target a portion of their capital to be debt in an attempt to achieve a higher valuation through internal growth. In addition, because financial sponsor-backed companies have reached a more mature stage prior to reaching a liquidity event, we believe our investments could provide the debt capital needed to grow or recapitalize during the extended period sometimes required prior to liquidity events.

Our Business Strategy

Our strategy to achieve our investment objective includes the following key elements:

Leverage the Experience and Industry Relationships of Our Management Team and Investment Professionals. We have assembled a team of experienced investment professionals with extensive experience as venture capitalists, commercial lenders, and originators of structured debt and equity investments in technology-related companies.

Mitigate Risk of Principal Loss and Build a Portfolio of Equity-Related Securities. We expect that our investments have the potential to produce attractive risk-adjusted returns through current income, in the form of interest and fee income, as well as capital appreciation from warrant and equity-related securities. We believe that we can mitigate the risk of loss on our debt investments through the combination of loan principal

 



 

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amortization, cash interest payments, relatively short maturities (typically between 24 – 48 months), security interests in the assets of our portfolio companies, and on select investment covenants requiring prospective portfolio companies to have certain amounts of available cash at the time of our investment and the continued support from a venture capital or private equity firm at the time we make our investment.

Provide Customized Financing Complementary to Financial Sponsors’ Capital. We offer a broad range of investment structures and possess expertise and experience to effectively structure and price investments in technology-related companies.

Invest at Various Stages of Development. We provide growth capital to technology-related companies at all stages of development, including select publicly listed companies and select special opportunity lower middle market companies that require additional capital to fund acquisitions, recapitalizations and refinancings and established-stage companies.

Benefit from Our Efficient Organizational Structure. We believe that the perpetual nature of our corporate structure enables us to be a long-term partner for our portfolio companies in contrast to traditional investment funds, which typically have a limited life. In addition, because of our access to the equity markets, we believe that we may benefit from a lower cost of capital than that available to private investment funds.

Deal Sourcing Through Our Proprietary Database. We have developed a proprietary and comprehensive structured query language based database system to track various aspects of our investment process including sourcing, originations, transaction monitoring and post-investment performance.

Recent Developments

Evaluation of Alternative Management Structures

On May 3, 2017, we filed preliminary proxy materials with the SEC for a special meeting of stockholders to seek approval for a proposed advisory agreement with Hamilton Advisers LLC. However, after receiving feedback from our stockholders, on May 15, 2017, we decided to postpone the proposed special meeting of stockholders indefinitely and formally withdrew the proxy materials containing our proposal seeking stockholder approval of our plans to externalize our management structure to expand our ongoing review process. We, along with our professional advisors, are currently evaluating alternatives with respect to our management structure. The evaluation process is still ongoing, and we are continuing to move forward in evaluating various options, but we currently have no definitive timeline for completion. While internal management has served us well since our formation, our board of directors, or the Board of Directors, has concluded that there are limitations to that management structure that may operate to our disadvantage. To that end, we are exploring the possibility of externalizing our management structure as a means of addressing those concerns; and, we are also examining various alternatives that could be pursued with respect to externalization if we determine that externalization is the proper course to follow. We and our independent directors are working with advisors to assist in these efforts. This program will result in us incurring additional and unusual expense until this project is concluded. Should we determine to pursue externalization, which would be subject to approval by our stockholders, it could involve some disruption (at least on a temporary basis) and expense during the period of transition.

Distribution Declaration

On July 26, 2017, our Board of Directors declared a cash distribution of $0.31 per share to be paid on August 21, 2017 to stockholders of record as of August 14, 2017. This distribution represented our forty-eighth consecutive distribution since our initial public offering, bringing the total cumulative distribution to date to $13.40 per share.

 



 

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Closed and Pending Commitments

As of October 6, 2017, we have:

 

   

Closed debt and equity commitments of approximately $166.4 million to new and existing portfolio companies and funded approximately $158.7 million subsequent to June 30, 2017.

 

   

Pending commitments (signed non-binding term sheets) of approximately $60.0 million. The table below summarizes our year-to-date closed and pending commitments as follows:

 

Closed Commitments and Pending Commitments (in millions)

  

January 1— June 30, 2017 Closed Commitments

   $ 397.0  

July 1—October 6, 2017 Closed Commitments (a)

   $ 166.4  

Pending Commitments (as of October 6, 2017) (b)

   $ 60.0  
  

 

 

 

Closed and Pending Commitments as of October 6, 2017

   $ 623.4  
  

 

 

 

 

a. Closed Commitments may include renewals of existing credit facilities. Not all Closed Commitments result in future cash requirements. Commitments generally fund over the two succeeding quarters from close.
b. Not all pending commitments (signed non-binding term sheets) are expected to close and they do not necessarily represent any future cash requirements.

Year-to-Date Momentum Continues with New Originations and Closed Commitments on Pace to Exceed 2016

 

   

Closed total new debt and equity commitments of approximately $154.0 million to seven (7) companies including five (5) new and two (2) existing portfolio companies in Q3 2017. Closed total new debt and equity commitments of approximately $552.0 million for the first nine months of 2017.

 

   

“Early loan pay-offs,” or unscheduled principal repayments of approximately $115.0 million, consisting of a large amount of older loans which typically have lower call premiums, for Q3 2017. Early loan pay-offs for the first nine months of 2017 of approximately $382.0 million.

Portfolio Company Developments

As of October 6, 2017, we held warrants or equity positions in 6 companies that have filed registration statements on Form S-1 with the SEC in contemplation of potential initial public offerings, including ForeScout Technologies, Inc., and 5 companies which filed confidentially under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”). There can be no assurance that these companies will complete their initial public offerings in a timely manner or at all. In addition, subsequent to June 30, 2017, our portfolio companies announced or completed the following liquidity events:

 

  1. In August 2017, our portfolio companies Cempra, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEMP), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing differentiated anti-infectives for acute care and community settings to meet critical medical needs in the treatment of infectious diseases, and Melinta Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held company focused on discovering, developing, and commercializing novel antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections, announced that the companies had entered into a definitive agreement under which Melinta will merge with a subsidiary of Cempra. The merger is expected to create a NASDAQ-listed company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing important anti-infective therapies for patients and physicians in areas of significant unmet need. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to the approval of the stockholders of each company as well as other customary conditions. We committed $40.0 million in venture debt financing to Cempra from 2011 to 2014. We initially committed $30.0 million in venture debt financing to Melinta in December 2014 and currently hold 1,194,448 shares of Preferred Series 4 stock as of June 30, 2017.

 



 

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  2. In August 2017, our portfolio company CashStar, Inc., a leading provider of gift card commerce solutions at the forefront of mobile payments and digital gifting innovation, was acquired by Blackhawk Network, Inc., a global financial technology company and a leader in connecting brands and people through branded value solutions, for $175.0 million in cash. We initially committed $8.0 million in venture debt financing in June 2013 and currently hold warrants for 727,272 shares of Preferred Series C-2 stock as of June 30, 2017.

 

  3. In September 2017, our portfolio company Cloud Technology Partners, Inc., a born-in-the-cloud services company with strong enterprise experience, announced that Hewlett Packard Enterprise intends to acquire the company to accelerate IT services growth as they transition from a traditional hardware business to a hybrid IT strategy. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. We initially committed $14.4 million in venture debt financing in December 2016 and currently hold warrants for 113,960 shares of Preferred Series C stock as of June 30, 2017.

 

  4. In September 2017, our portfolio company Exicure, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a new class of immunomodulatory and gene slicing drugs against validated targets, announced the closing of a $20 million private placement financing and the completion of a reverse merger transaction, with Max-1 Acquisition Corporation, a blank check company. Following the reverse merger transaction, Max-1 changed its name to Exicure, Inc., and will continue the historical business of Exicure.

General Information

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301, and our telephone number is (650) 289-3060. We also have offices in Boston, MA, New York, NY, Washington, DC, Santa Monica, CA, Hartford, CT, and San Diego, CA. We maintain a website on the Internet at www.htgc.com. We make available, free of charge, on our website our proxy statement, annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus, and you should not consider that information to be part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.

We file annual, quarterly and current periodic reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. This information is available at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information about the operation of the SEC’s public reference room by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. In addition, the SEC maintains an Internet website, at www.sec.gov, that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, including us, who file documents electronically with the SEC.

 



 

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The Offering

This prospectus supplement sets forth certain terms of the Notes that we are offering pursuant to this prospectus supplement and supplements the accompanying prospectus that is attached to the back of this prospectus supplement. This section outlines the specific legal and financial terms of the Notes. You should read this section together with the more general description of the Notes under the heading “Description of Notes” in this prospectus supplement and in the accompanying prospectus under the heading “Description of Our Debt Securities” before investing in the Notes. Capitalized terms used in this prospectus supplement and not otherwise defined shall have the meanings ascribed to them in the accompanying prospectus or in the indenture governing the Notes (as amended from time to time, the “indenture”).

 

Issuer

Hercules Capital, Inc.

 

Title of the securities

      % Notes due

 

Aggregate principal amount being offered

$            

 

Initial public offering price

      % of the aggregate principal amount.

 

Interest Rate

      %

 

Yield to Maturity

      %

 

Trade Date

October     , 2017

 

Issue Date

October     , 2017

 

Stated Maturity Date

    ,

 

Day Count Basis

360-day year of twelve 30-day months

 

Interest payment dates for the Notes

Each              and              commencing             , 2018. If an interest payment date falls on a non-business day, the applicable interest payment will be made on the next business day and no additional interest will accrue as a result of such delayed payment.

 

Regular Record Dates for Interest

Each              and             .

 

Specified Currency

U.S. Dollars

 

Place of Payment

New York City or such other office designated by the Trustee

 

Ranking of Notes

The Notes will be our unsecured obligations that rank senior in right of payment to all of our existing and future indebtedness that is expressly subordinated, or junior, in right of payment to the Notes. The Notes will not be guaranteed by any of our current or future subsidiaries. The Notes will rank pari passu , or equally, in right of payment with all of our existing and future liabilities that are not so subordinated, or junior. The Notes will effectively rank subordinated,

 



 

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or junior, to any of our secured indebtedness (including unsecured indebtedness that we later secure) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. The Notes will rank structurally subordinated, or junior, to all existing and future indebtedness (including trade payables) incurred by our subsidiaries, financing vehicles or similar facilities.

 

  As of June 30, 2017, our total consolidated indebtedness was approximately $766.4 million, which included:

 

   

approximately $ 258.5 million of 6.25% notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”); approximately $230.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.375% convertible notes due 2022 (the “2022 Convertible Notes”).

 

   

indebtedness and other obligations of any of our subsidiaries, including, without limitation, the indebtedness of HT II and HT III, borrowings under the $120.0 million revolving senior secured credit facility with Wells Fargo Capital Finance, LLC, (the “Wells Facility”), borrowings under the $75.0 million revolving senior secured credit facility with MUFG Union Bank, N. A. (the “Union Bank Facility,” and together with the Wells Facility, the “Credit Facilities”) and the approximately $87.7 million of fixed-rate asset-backed notes (the “Asset-Backed Notes”), each as of June 30, 2017. Note that there were no borrowings outstanding under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility as of June 30, 2017.

 

  We expect to use a portion of the proceeds of this offering to repurchase or redeem all or a portion of our 2024 Notes, see “Use of Proceeds.” After giving effect to the issuance of the Notes and assuming the proceeds therefrom are used to repurchase or redeem all or a portion of our 2024 Notes, our total consolidated indebtedness would have been approximately $ million aggregate principal amount outstanding as of June 30, 2017. See “Capitalization.”

 

Denominations

We will issue the Notes in denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 in excess thereof.

 

Business Day

Each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday that is not a day on which banking institutions in New York City, or in such other place of payment designated by the Trustee, are authorized or required by law or executive order to close.

 

Optional Redemption

We may redeem some or all of the Notes at any time, or from time to time, at a redemption price equal to the greater of (1) 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed or (2) the sum of the present values of the remaining scheduled payments of principal and interest (exclusive of accrued and unpaid interest to the date of redemption) on the Notes to be redeemed, discounted to the redemption date on a semi-annual basis (assuming a 360-day year

 



 

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consisting of twelve 30-day months) using the applicable Treasury Rate plus basis points, plus, in each case, accrued and unpaid interest to the redemption date;  provided , however, that if we redeem any Notes on or after             ,              (the date falling              prior to the maturity date of the Notes), the redemption price for the Notes will be equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but excluding, the date of redemption.

 

  You may be prevented from exchanging or transferring the Notes when they are subject to redemption.

 

  If we are redeeming less than all of the Notes, the particular Notes to be redeemed will be selected in accordance with the applicable procedures of the Trustee and, so long as the Notes are registered to The Depository Trust Company or its nominee, DTC; provided, however, that no such partial redemption shall reduce the portion of the principal amount of a Note not redeemed to less than $2,000. Unless we default in payment of the redemption price, on and after the date of redemption, interest will cease to accrue on the Notes or portions of the Notes called for redemption.

 

Sinking Fund

The Notes will not be subject to any sinking fund. A sinking fund is a reserve fund accumulated over a period of time for the retirement of debt.

 

Offer to Purchase upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event

If a Change of Control Repurchase Event occurs prior to maturity, holders will have the right, at their option, to require us to repurchase for cash some or all of the Notes at a repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes being repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but not including, the repurchase date.

 

Defeasance and Covenant Defeasance

The Notes are subject to defeasance by us, which means that, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including, but not limited to, (i) depositing in trust for the benefit of the holders of the Notes a combination of money and/or U.S. government or U.S. government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash to make interest, principal and any other payments on the Notes on their various due dates and (ii) delivering to the Trustee an opinion of counsel as described herein under “Description of Notes—Satisfaction and Discharge; Defeasance,” we can legally release ourselves from all payment and other obligations on the Notes.

 

 

The Notes are subject to covenant defeasance by us, which means that, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including, but not limited to, (i) depositing in trust for the benefit of the holders of the Notes a combination of money and/or U.S. government or U.S. government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash to make interest, principal and any other payments on the Notes on their various due dates and (ii) delivering to the Trustee an opinion of counsel as described herein under “Description of Notes—

 



 

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Satisfaction and Discharge; Defeasance,” we will be released from some of the restrictive covenants in the indenture.

 

Form of Notes

The Notes will be represented by global securities that will be deposited and registered in the name of DTC or its nominee. Except in limited circumstances, you will not receive certificates for the Notes. Beneficial interests in the Notes will be represented through book-entry accounts of financial institutions acting on behalf of beneficial owners as direct and indirect participants in DTC. Investors may elect to hold interests in the Notes through either DTC, if they are a participant, or indirectly through organizations which are participants in DTC.

 

Trustee, Paying Agent and Security Registrar

U.S. Bank National Association

 

Other Covenants

In addition to the covenants described in the prospectus attached to this prospectus supplement, the following covenants shall apply to the Notes:

 

   

We agree that for the period of time during which the Notes are outstanding, we will not violate, whether or not we are subject to, Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (even if we are no longer subject to the 1940 Act). Currently, these provisions generally prohibit us from making additional borrowings, including through the issuance of additional debt or the sale of additional debt securities, unless our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after such borrowings. See “Risk Factor—Risks Related to our Business Structure—Legislation may allow us to incur additional leverage,” in the accompanying prospectus.

 

   

If, at any time, we are not subject to the reporting requirements of Sections 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act to file any periodic reports with the SEC, we agree to furnish to holders of the Notes and the Trustee, for the period of time during which the Notes are outstanding, our audited annual consolidated financial statements, within 90 days of our fiscal year end, and unaudited interim consolidated financial statements, within 45 days of our fiscal quarter end (other than our fourth fiscal quarter). All such financial statements will be prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with applicable United States generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”), as applicable.

 

Events of Default

If an event of default (as described herein under “Description of Notes”) on the Notes occurs, the principal amount of the Notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest, may be declared immediately due and payable, subject to conditions set forth in the indenture. These amounts automatically become due and payable in the case of certain types of bankruptcy or insolvency events involving us.

 



 

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No Established Trading Market

The Notes are a new issue of securities with no established trading market. The Notes will not be listed on any securities exchange or quoted on any automated dealer quotation system. Although the underwriters have informed us that they intend to make a market in the Notes, as permitted by applicable laws and regulations, they are not obligated to do so and may discontinue any such market making activities at any time without notice. See “Underwriting.” Accordingly, we cannot assure you that a liquid market for the Notes will develop or be maintained.

 

Global Clearance and Settlement Procedures

Interests in the Notes will trade in DTC’s Same Day Funds Settlement System, and any permitted secondary market trading activity in such Notes will, therefore, be required by DTC to be settled in immediately available funds. None of the issuer, the Trustee or the paying agent will have any responsibility for the performance by DTC or its participants or indirect participants of their respective obligations under the rules and procedures governing their operations.

 

Further Issuances

We have the ability to issue additional debt securities under the indenture with terms different from the Notes and, without the consent of the holders thereof, to reopen the Notes and issue additional Notes.

 

Use of Proceeds

We estimate that the net proceeds we receive from the sale of the $             million aggregate principal amount of Notes in this offering will be approximately $             million after deducting the underwriting discount of approximately $             million payable by us and estimated offering expenses of approximately $             payable by us. We expect to use the net proceeds from this offering (i) to repurchase or redeem all or a portion of our 2024 Notes, (ii) to fund investments in debt and equity securities in accordance with our investment objective, and (iii) for other general corporate purposes.

 

Governing Law

The Notes and the indenture will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York.

 



 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

The matters discussed in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, as well as in future oral and written statements by management of Hercules Capital, Inc., that are forward-looking statements are based on current management expectations that involve substantial risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the results expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or our future financial performance. We generally identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. Important assumptions include our ability to originate new investments, achieve certain margins and levels of profitability, the availability of additional capital, and the ability to maintain certain debt to asset ratios. In light of these and other uncertainties, the inclusion of a projection or forward-looking statement in this prospectus should not be regarded as a representation by us that our plans or objectives will be achieved. The forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus include statements as to:

 

   

our current and future management structure;

 

   

our future operating results;

 

   

our business prospects and the prospects of our prospective portfolio companies;

 

   

the impact of investments that we expect to make;

 

   

our informal relationships with third parties including in the venture capital industry;

 

   

the expected market for venture capital investments and our addressable market;

 

   

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

 

   

our ability to access debt markets and equity markets;

 

   

the ability of our portfolio companies to achieve their objectives;

 

   

our expected financings and investments;

 

   

our regulatory structure and tax status;

 

   

our ability to operate as a BDC, a SBIC and a RIC;

 

   

the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;

 

   

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

 

   

the timing, form and amount of any distributions;

 

   

the impact of fluctuations in interest rates on our business;

 

   

the valuation of any investments in portfolio companies, particularly those having no liquid trading market; and

 

   

our ability to recover unrealized losses.

For a discussion of factors that could cause our actual results to differ from forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, please see the discussion under “Supplementary Risk Factors” in this prospectus supplement and “Risk Factors” in the accompanying prospectus. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this prospectus supplement.

You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this prospectus supplement relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made and are

 

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excluded from the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act.

Industry and Market Data

We have compiled certain industry estimates presented in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus from internally generated information and data. While we believe our estimates are reliable, they have not been verified by any independent sources. The estimates are based on a number of assumptions, including increasing investment in venture capital and private equity-backed companies. Actual results may differ from projections and estimates, and this market may not grow at the rates projected, or at all. If this market fails to grow at projected rates, our business and the market price of our securities, including the Notes, could be materially adversely affected.

 

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SUPPLEMENTARY RISK FACTORS

Investing in our securities involves a number of significant risks. Before you invest in our securities, you should be aware of various risks, including those described below and those set forth in the accompanying prospectus. You should carefully consider these risk factors, together with all of the other information included in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, before you decide whether to make an investment in our securities. The risks set out below and in the accompanying prospectus are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or not presently deemed material by us may also impair our operations and performance. If any of the following events occur, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected which could materially adversely affect our ability to repay principal and interest on the Notes. In addition, the market price of the Notes and our net asset value could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. The risk factors described below, together with those set forth in the accompanying prospectus, are the principal risk factors associated with an investment in our securities, including the Notes, as well as those factors generally associated with an investment company with investment objectives, investment policies, capital structure or trading markets similar to ours.

Risks Related to the Notes

The Notes will be unsecured and therefore will be effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we have currently incurred or may incur in the future.

The Notes will not be secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, the Notes are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we or our subsidiaries have currently incurred and may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to secure that indebtedness in order to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the Notes. As of June 30, 2017, we had no outstanding borrowings under our Union Bank Facility, which is secured by debt investments in our portfolio companies and related assets, and no outstanding borrowings under our Wells Facility, which is secured by loans in the borrowing base for the Wells Facility.

The Notes will be structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries.

The Notes are obligations exclusively of Hercules Capital, Inc. and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries is a guarantor of the Notes and the Notes are not required to be guaranteed by any subsidiaries we may acquire or create in the future. A significant portion of the indebtedness required to be consolidated on our balance sheet is held through our SBIC subsidiaries. For example, at June 30, 2017, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA-guaranteed debentures in our SBIC subsidiaries. The assets of such subsidiaries are not directly available to satisfy the claims of our creditors, including holders of the Notes. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources” in the accompanying prospectus for more detail on the SBA-guaranteed debentures.

Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors (including trade creditors), if any, of our subsidiaries will have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims would still be effectively subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the Notes will be structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities (including trade payables) of any of our subsidiaries and any subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish as financing vehicles or otherwise.

 

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As of June 30, 2017, we had no outstanding borrowings under our Wells Facility, no outstanding borrowings under our Union Bank Facility and approximately $190.2 million of indebtedness outstanding incurred by our SBIC subsidiaries, HT II and HT III. All of such indebtedness would be structurally senior to the Notes. In addition, our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, all of which would be structurally senior to the Notes.

The indenture under which the Notes will be issued will contain limited protection for holders of the Notes.

The indenture under which the Notes will be issued offers limited protection to holders of the Notes. The terms of the indenture and the Notes do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have an adverse impact on your investment in the Notes. In particular, the terms of the indenture and the Notes will not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries’ ability to:

 

   

issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the Notes to the extent of the values of the assets securing such debt, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore is structurally senior to the Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore rank structurally senior to the Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, whether or not we continue to be subject to such provisions of the 1940 Act, but giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (currently, these provisions generally prohibit us from making additional borrowings, including through the issuance of additional debt or the sale of additional debt securities, unless our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after such borrowings);

 

   

pay distributions on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of, capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the Notes;

 

   

sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);

 

   

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

   

create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

 

   

make investments; or

 

   

create restrictions on the payment of distributions or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.

Furthermore, the terms of the indenture and the Notes do not protect holders of the Notes in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow, or liquidity.

Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the Notes may have important consequences for you as a holder of the Notes, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the Notes or negatively affecting the trading value of the Notes.

Certain of our current debt instruments include more protections for their holders than the indenture and the Notes. See “Risk Factors—In addition to regulatory requirements that restrict our ability to raise capital, our

 

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Credit Facilities and the 2024 Notes contain various covenants which, if not complied with, could accelerate repayment under the facility or require us to repurchase the 2024 Notes thereby materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay distributions” in the accompanying prospectus. In addition, other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the indenture and the Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for, and trading levels and prices of, the Notes.

Our amount of debt outstanding may increase as a result of this offering. Our current indebtedness could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to meet our payment obligations under the Notes and our other debt.

The use of debt could have significant consequences on our future operations, including:

 

   

making it more difficult for us to meet our payment and other obligations under the Notes and our other outstanding debt;

 

   

resulting in an event of default if we fail to comply with the financial and other restrictive covenants contained in our financing arrangements, which event of default could result in substantially all of our debt becoming immediately due and payable;

 

   

reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund investments, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes, and limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for these purposes;

 

   

subjecting us to the risk of increased sensitivity to interest rate increases on our indebtedness with variable interest rates, including borrowings under our financing arrangements; and

 

   

limiting our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, and increasing our vulnerability to, changes in our business, the industry in which we operate and the general economy.

Any of the above-listed factors could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to meet our payment obligations under the Notes and our other debt.

Our ability to meet our payment and other obligations under our financing arrangements depends on our ability to generate significant cash flow in the future. This, to some extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative and regulatory factors as well as other factors that are beyond our control. We cannot assure you that our business will generate cash flow from operations, or that future borrowings will be available to us under our financing arrangements or otherwise, in an amount sufficient to enable us to meet our payment obligations under the Notes and our other debt and to fund other liquidity needs. If we are not able to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt obligations, we may need to refinance or restructure our debt, including the Notes, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. If we are unable to implement one or more of these alternatives, we may not be able to meet our payment obligations under the Notes and our other debt.

We may not be able to repurchase the Notes upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event.

Upon the occurrence of a Change of Control Repurchase Event, as defined in the indenture, as supplemented, subject to certain conditions, we will be required to offer to repurchase all outstanding Notes at 100% of their principal amount, plus accrued and unpaid interest. The source of funds for that purchase of Notes will be our available cash or cash generated from our operations or other potential sources, including borrowings, investment repayments, sales of assets or sales of equity. We cannot assure you that sufficient funds from such sources will be available at the time of any Change of Control Repurchase Event to make required repurchases of Notes tendered. The terms of certain of our and our subsidiaries’ financing arrangements provide that certain change of control events will constitute an event of default thereunder entitling the lenders to accelerate any

 

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indebtedness outstanding under the our and our subsidiaries’ financing arrangements at that time and to terminate the financing arrangements. In addition, the indenture governing our 2022 Convertible Notes contains a provision that would require us to offer to purchase the 2022 Convertible Notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change. A failure to purchase any tendered 2022 Convertible Notes would constitute an event of default under the indenture for the 2022 Convertible Notes, which would, in turn, constitute a default under the Credit Facilities and the indenture. Our and our subsidiaries’ future debt instruments may also contain similar restrictions and provisions. If the holders of the Notes exercise their right to require us to repurchase Notes upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event, the financial effect of this repurchase could cause a default under our and our subsidiaries’ future debt instruments, even if the Change of Control Repurchase Event itself would not cause a default. It is possible that we will not have sufficient funds at the time of the Change of Control Repurchase Event to make the required repurchase of the Notes and/or our other debt. See “Description of Notes—Offer to Repurchase Upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event.”

An active trading market for the Notes may not develop or be maintained, which could limit the market price of the Notes or your ability to sell them.

The Notes are a new issue of debt securities for which there currently is no trading market. We do not intend to apply for listing of the Notes on any securities exchange or for quotation of the Notes on any automated dealer quotation system. If no active trading market develops, you may not be able to resell your Notes at their fair market value or at all. If the Notes are traded after their initial issuance, they may trade at a discount from their initial offering price depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our credit ratings, general economic conditions, our financial condition, performance and prospects and other factors. The underwriters have advised us that they intend to make a market in the Notes, but they are not obligated to do so. The underwriters may discontinue any market-making in the Notes at any time at their sole discretion. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that a liquid trading market will develop or be maintained for the Notes, that you will be able to sell your Notes at a particular time or that the price you receive when you sell will be favorable. To the extent an active trading market does not develop or is not maintained, the liquidity and trading price for the Notes may be harmed. Accordingly, you may be required to bear the financial risk of an investment in the Notes for an indefinite period of time.

A downgrade, suspension or withdrawal of a credit rating assigned by a rating agency to us or our unsecured debt, if any, or change in the debt markets could cause the liquidity or market value of the Notes to decline significantly.

Our credit ratings are an assessment by rating agencies of our ability to pay our debts when due. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of the Notes. These credit ratings may not reflect the potential impact of risks relating to the structure or marketing of the Notes. Credit ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security, and may be revised or withdrawn at any time by the issuing organization in its sole discretion. Neither we nor any underwriter undertakes any obligation to maintain our credit ratings or to advise holders of Notes of any changes in our credit ratings. There can be no assurance that our credit ratings will remain for any given period of time or that such credit ratings will not be lowered or withdrawn entirely by the rating agencies if in their judgment future circumstances relating to the basis of the credit ratings, such as adverse changes in our company, so warrant. The conditions of the financial markets and prevailing interest rates have fluctuated in the past and are likely to fluctuate in the future, which could have an adverse effect on the market prices of the Notes.

If we Default on our obligations to pay our other indebtedness, we may not be able to make payments on the Notes.

Any default under the agreements governing our indebtedness, including a default under the Wells Facility, the Union Bank Facility, the 2024 Notes, the 2022 Convertible Notes and the Asset-Backed Notes or other indebtedness to which we may be a party, that is not waived by the required lenders or holders, and the remedies

 

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sought by the holders of such indebtedness, could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the Notes and substantially decrease the market value of the Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing our indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility or other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to seek to obtain waivers from the required lenders under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or the required holders of our 2024 Notes, 2022 Convertible Notes, Asset-Backed Notes or other debt that we may incur in the future to avoid being in default. If we breach our covenants under the Wells Facility, Union Bank Facility, the 2024 Notes, the 2022 Convertible Notes, the Asset-Backed Notes or other debt and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders or holders. If this occurs, we would be in default under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility, the 2024 Notes, the 2022 Convertible Notes, the Asset-Backed Notes or other debt, as applicable, the lenders or holders could exercise their rights as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations, including the lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility, could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility have, and any future credit facilities will likely have, customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness under the Notes, the Wells Facility, Union Bank Facility, the 2024 Notes, the 2022 Convertible Notes or the Asset-Backed Notes or under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due. See “Specific Terms of the Notes and the Offering” in this prospectus supplement.

FATCA withholding may apply to payments to certain foreign entities.

Payments made under the Notes to a foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity (including such an institution or entity acting as an intermediary) may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% under U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act provisions of the Code (commonly referred to as “FATCA”). This U.S. withholding tax generally applies to payments of interest on the Notes as well as, after December 31, 2018, to any payments of gross proceeds (including principal payments) from the sale, redemption, retirement or other disposition of the Notes, unless the foreign financial institution or non-financial foreign entity complies with certain information reporting, withholding, identification, certification and related requirements imposed by FATCA. Depending upon the status of a holder and the status of an intermediary through which any Notes are held, the holder could be subject to this 30% U.S. withholding tax in respect of any interest paid on the Notes as well as any proceeds from the sale, redemption, retirement or other disposition of the Notes. Persons located in jurisdictions that have entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the United States to implement FATCA may be subject to different rules. You should consult your own tax advisors regarding FATCA and how it may affect your investment in the Notes. See “United States Federal Income Tax Matters—Taxation of Note Holders—FATCA” in this prospectus supplement for further information.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We estimate that the net proceeds we will receive from the sale of the $             million aggregate principal amount of Notes in this offering will be approximately $            , based on a public offering of             % of par, after deducting the underwriting discount of approximately $             million payable by us and estimated offering expenses of approximately $             payable by us.

We expect to use the net proceeds from this offering (i) to repurchase or redeem all or a portion of our 2024 Notes, (ii) to fund investments in debt and equity securities in accordance with our investment objective, and (iii) for other general corporate purposes.

As of June 30, 2017, the aggregate principal balance of the 2024 Notes was approximately $258.5 million. The 2024 Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.25% per year, payable quarterly and mature, unless earlier repurchased or redeemed, on July 30, 2024.

We intend to seek to invest the net proceeds received in this offering as promptly as practicable after receipt thereof consistent with our investment objective. We anticipate that substantially all of the net proceeds from any offering of our securities will be used as described above within three to six months, depending on market conditions. We anticipate that the remainder will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, including potential payments or distributions to shareholders. Pending such uses and investments, we will invest a portion of the net proceeds of this offering primarily in cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment. Our ability to achieve our investment objectives may be limited to the extent that the net proceeds of this offering, pending full investment, are held in lower yielding short-term instruments.

The amount of net proceeds may be more or less than the amount described in this preliminary prospectus supplement depending on the amount of Notes we sell in the offering, which will be determined at pricing. To the extent that we receive more than the amount described in this preliminary prospectus supplement, we intend to use the net proceeds for investment in portfolio companies in accordance with our investment objective and strategies and for working capital and general corporate purposes. To the extent we receive less, the amount we have available for such purposes will be reduced.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth (i) our actual capitalization as of June 30, 2017, and (ii) our capitalization as adjusted to give effect to the sale of $ aggregate principal amount of Notes in this offering, after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions of approximately $ million payable by us and estimated offering expenses of approximately $ payable by us and the application of the net proceeds therefrom as described under “Use of Proceeds.” You should read this table together with the “Use of Proceeds” section and our statement of assets and liabilities included elsewhere in this prospectus supplement.

 

     As of June 30, 2017  
     Actual     As
Adjusted
 
     (in thousands)  

Investments at fair value

   $ 1,395,469     $               

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 160,412     $  

Debt (1) :

    

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

   $ 22,193     $  

Long-term SBA debentures

     187,824    

2022 Convertible Notes

     222,898    

2021 Asset-Backed Notes

     86,865    

2024 Notes

     251,478    

Notes offered herein

     0    
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total debt

   $ 771,258     $  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Stockholders’ equity:

    

Common stock, par value $0.001 per share; 200,000,000 shares authorized; 83,844,624 shares issued and outstanding

   $ 83     $  

Capital in excess of par value

     892,930    

Unrealized depreciation on investments

     (106,941  

Accumulated realized gains on investments

     35,128    

Distributions in excess of investment income

     (3,749  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total stockholders’ equity

   $ 817,451     $  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total capitalization

   $ 1,588,709     $  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) The above table reflects the principal amount of indebtedness outstanding as of June 30, 2017. As of October 6, 2017, indebtedness under the Wells Facility, the Union Bank Facility, the 2022 Convertible Notes, the 2024 Notes, and the Asset-Backed Notes were $0 million, $0 million, $230.0 million, $258.5 million and $65.5 million, respectively. The net proceeds from the sale of the Notes are expected to be used to fund investments in debt and equity securities in accordance with our investment objective, to retire certain debt obligations, and for other general corporate purposes. See “Use of Proceeds.”

 

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RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES

The following contains our ratio of earnings to fixed charges for the periods indicated, computed as set forth below. You should read these ratios of earnings to fixed charges in connection with our consolidated financial statements, including the notes to those statements, included in this prospectus supplement:

 

    For the six-
months ended
June 30,
2017
    For the year
ended
December 31,
2016
    For the year
ended
December 31,
2015
    For the year
ended
December 31,
2014
    For the year
ended
December 31,
2013
    For the year
ended
December 31,
2012
 

Earnings to Fixed Charges (1)

    2.20       2.85       2.16       3.10       3.83       2.97  

 

For purposes of computing the ratios of earnings to fixed charges, earnings represent net increase in stockholders’ equity resulting from operations plus fixed charges. Fixed charges include interest and credit facility fees expense and amortization of debt issuance costs.

 

(1) Earnings include net realized and unrealized gains or losses. Net realized and unrealized gains or losses can vary substantially from period to period.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF NOTES

The following description of the particular terms of the       % Notes due 20     supplements and, to the extent inconsistent with, replaces the description of the general terms and provisions of the debt securities set forth in the accompanying prospectus.

We will issue the Notes under a base indenture dated as of March 6, 2012, between us and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee (the “trustee”), as supplemented by a separate supplemental indenture to be dated as of the settlement date for the Notes. As used in this section, all references to the “indenture” mean the base indenture as supplemented by the supplemental indenture. The terms of the Notes include those expressly set forth in the indenture and those made part of the indenture by reference to the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended, or the TIA.

The following description is a summary of the material provisions of the Notes and the indenture and does not purport to be complete. This summary is subject to and is qualified by reference to all the provisions of the Notes and the indenture, including the definitions of certain terms used in the indenture. We urge you to read these documents because they, and not this description, define your rights as a holder of the Notes.

For purposes of this description, references to “we,” “our” and “us” refer only to Hercules Capital, Inc. and not to any of its current or future subsidiaries and references to “subsidiaries” refer only to our consolidated subsidiaries and exclude any investments held by Hercules Capital in the ordinary course of business which are not, under GAAP, consolidated on the financial statements of Hercules Capital and its subsidiaries.

General

The Notes:

 

   

will be our general unsecured, senior obligations;

 

   

will initially be issued in an aggregate principal amount of $         million;

 

   

will mature on         , unless earlier redeemed or repurchased, as discussed below;

 

   

will bear cash interest from             , 2017 at an annual rate of         % payable semi-annually on              and          of each year, beginning on             , 2018;

 

   

will not be subject to any sinking fund;

 

   

will be subject to redemption at our option as described under “—Optional Redemption;”

 

   

will be subject to repurchase by us at the option of the holders following a Change of Control Repurchase Event (as defined below under “—Offer to Repurchase Upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event”), at a repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the date of repurchase;

 

   

will be issued in denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 thereof; and

 

   

will be represented by one or more registered Notes in global form, but in certain limited circumstances may be represented by Notes in definitive form. See “—Book-Entry, Settlement and Clearance.”

The indenture does not limit the amount of debt that may be issued by us or our subsidiaries under the indenture or otherwise. The indenture does not contain any financial covenants and does not restrict us from paying distributions or issuing or repurchasing our other securities. Other than restrictions described under “—Offer to Repurchase Upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event” and “—Merger, Consolidation or Sale of Assets” below, the indenture does not contain any covenants or other provisions designed to afford holders of the Notes protection in the event of a highly leveraged transaction involving us or in the event of a decline in our credit rating as the result of a takeover, recapitalization, highly leveraged transaction or similar restructuring involving us that could adversely affect such holders.

 

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We may, without the consent of the holders, issue additional Notes under the indenture with the same terms (except for the issue date, public offering price and, if applicable, the initial interest payment date) and with the same CUSIP numbers as the Notes offered hereby in an unlimited aggregate principal amount; provided that if such additional Notes are not fungible with the Notes offered hereby (or any other tranche of additional Notes) for U.S. federal income tax purposes, then such additional Notes will have different CUSIP numbers from the Notes offered hereby (and any such other tranche of additional Notes).

We do not intend to apply to list the Notes on any securities exchange or any automated dealer quotation system.

Payments on the Notes; Paying Agent and Registrar; Transfer and Exchange

We will pay the principal of, and interest on, Notes in global form registered in the name of or held by DTC or its nominee in immediately available funds to DTC or its nominee, as the case may be, as the registered holder of such Global Note (as defined below).

Payment of principal of (and premium, if any) and any such interest on the Notes will be made at the corporate trust office of the trustee in such coin or currency of the United States of America as at the time of payment is legal tender for payment of public and private debts; provided, however, that at our option payment of interest may be made by check mailed to the address of the person entitled thereto as such address shall appear in the security register.

A holder of Notes may transfer or exchange Notes at the office of the registrar in accordance with the indenture. The registrar and the trustee may require a holder, among other things, to furnish appropriate endorsements and transfer documents. No service charge will be imposed by us, the trustee or the registrar for any registration of transfer or exchange of Notes, but we may require a holder to pay a sum sufficient to cover any transfer tax or other similar governmental charge required by law or permitted by the indenture.

The registered holder of a Note will be treated as its owner for all purposes.

Interest

The Notes will bear cash interest at a rate of         % per year until maturity. Interest on the Notes will accrue from             , 2017 or from the most recent date on which interest has been paid or duly provided for. Interest will be payable semiannually in arrears on              and              of each year, beginning on             , 2018.

Interest will be paid to the person in whose name a Note is registered at 5:00 p.m. New York City time (the “close of business”) on              or             , as the case may be, immediately preceding the relevant interest payment date. Interest on the Notes will be computed on the basis of a 360-day year composed of twelve 30-day months.

If any interest payment date, redemption date, the maturity date or any earlier required repurchase date upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event (defined below) of a Note falls on a day that is not a business day, the required payment will be made on the next succeeding business day and no interest on such payment will accrue in respect of the delay. The term “business day” means, with respect to any Note, any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday or a day on which banking institutions in New York are authorized or obligated by law or executive order to close.

Ranking

The Notes will be our unsecured obligations that rank senior in right of payment to all of our existing and future indebtedness that is expressly subordinated, or junior, in right of payment to the Notes. The Notes will not be guaranteed by any of our current or future subsidiaries. The Notes will rank pari passu, or equally, in right of

 

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payment with all of our existing and future liabilities that are not so subordinated, or junior. The Notes will effectively rank subordinated, or junior, to any of our secured indebtedness (including unsecured indebtedness that we later secure) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. The Notes will rank structurally subordinated, or junior, to all existing and future indebtedness (including trade payables) incurred by our subsidiaries, financing vehicles or similar facilities. In the event of our bankruptcy, liquidation, reorganization or other winding up, our assets that secure secured debt will be available to pay obligations on the Notes only after all indebtedness under such secured debt has been repaid in full from such assets. We advise you that there may not be sufficient assets remaining to pay amounts due on any or all the Notes then outstanding.

As of June 30, 2017, our total consolidated indebtedness was approximately $766.4 million aggregate principal amount outstanding, of which approximately $87.7 million was secured indebtedness. After giving effect to the issuance of the Notes, our total consolidated indebtedness would have been approximately $             million aggregate principal amount outstanding as of June 30, 2017. See “Capitalization.”

Optional Redemption

We may redeem some or all of the Notes at any time, or from time to time. If we choose to redeem any Notes prior to maturity, we will pay a redemption price equal to the greater of the following amounts, plus, in each case, accrued and unpaid interest to the redemption date:

 

   

100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed, or

 

   

the sum of the present values of the remaining scheduled payments of principal and interest (exclusive of accrued and unpaid interest to the date of redemption) on the Notes to be redeemed, discounted to the redemption date on a semi-annual basis (assuming a 360-day year consisting of twelve 30- day months) using the applicable Treasury Rate plus              basis points;

provided, however, that if we redeem any Notes on or after              (the date falling one month prior to the maturity date of the Notes), the redemption price for the Notes will be equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed, plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any, to, but excluding, the date of redemption.

If we choose to redeem any Notes, we will deliver a notice of redemption to holders of Notes not less than 30 nor more than 60 days before the redemption date. If we are redeeming less than all of the Notes, the particular Notes to be redeemed will be selected in accordance with the applicable procedures of the trustee and, so long as the Notes are registered to DTC or its nominee, DTC; provided, however, that no such partial redemption shall reduce the portion of the principal amount of a Note not redeemed to less than $2,000. Unless we default in payment of the redemption price, on and after the redemption date, interest will cease to accrue on the Notes or portions of the Notes called for redemption.

For purposes of calculating the redemption price in connection with the redemption of the Notes, on any redemption date, the following terms have the meanings set forth below:

“Treasury Rate” means, with respect to any redemption date, the rate per annum equal to the semi-annual equivalent yield-to-maturity of the Comparable Treasury Issue (computed as of the third business day immediately preceding the redemption), assuming a price for the Comparable Treasury Issue (expressed as a percentage of its principal amount) equal to the Comparable Treasury Price for such redemption date. The redemption price and the Treasury Rate will be determined by us.

“Comparable Treasury Issue” means the United States Treasury security selected by the Reference Treasury Dealer as having a maturity comparable to the remaining term of the Notes to be redeemed that would be utilized, at the time of selection and in accordance with customary financing practice, in pricing new issues of corporate debt securities of comparable maturity to the remaining term of the Notes being redeemed.

 

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“Comparable Treasury Price” means (1) the average of the remaining Reference Treasury Dealer Quotations for the redemption date, after excluding the highest and lowest Reference Treasury Dealer Quotations, or (2) if the Quotation Agent obtains fewer than four such Reference Treasury Dealer Quotations, the average of all such quotations.

“Quotation Agent” means a Reference Treasury Dealer selected by us.

“Reference Treasury Dealer” means each of (1) Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and (2) Jefferies LLC, or their respective affiliates which are primary U.S. government securities dealers and their respective successors; provided, however, that if any of the foregoing or their affiliates shall cease to be a primary U.S. government securities dealer in the United States (a “Primary Treasury Dealer”), we shall select another Primary Treasury Dealer.

“Reference Treasury Dealer Quotations” means, with respect to each Reference Treasury Dealer and any redemption date, the average, as determined by the Quotation Agent, of the bid and asked prices for the Comparable Treasury Issue (expressed in each case as a percentage of its principal amount) quoted in writing to the Quotation Agent by such Reference Treasury Dealer at 3:30 p.m. New York time on the third business day preceding such redemption date.

All determinations made by any Reference Treasury Dealer, including the Quotation Agent, with respect to determining the redemption price will be final and binding absent manifest error.

Offer to Repurchase Upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event

If a Change of Control Repurchase Event occurs, unless we have exercised our right to redeem the Notes in full, we will make an offer to each holder of Notes to repurchase all or any part (in minimum denominations of $2,000 and integral multiples of $1,000 principal amount) of that holder’s Notes at a repurchase price in cash equal to 100% of the aggregate principal amount of Notes repurchased plus any accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes repurchased to, but not including, the date of purchase. Within 30 days following any Change of Control Repurchase Event or, at our option, prior to any Change of Control, but after the public announcement of the Change of Control, we will mail a notice to each holder describing the transaction or transactions that constitute or may constitute the Change of Control Repurchase Event and offering to repurchase Notes on the payment date specified in the notice, which date will be no earlier than 30 days and no later than 60 days from the date such notice is mailed. The notice shall, if mailed prior to the date of consummation of the Change of Control, state that the offer to purchase is conditioned on the Change of Control Repurchase Event occurring on or prior to the payment date specified in the notice. We will comply with the requirements of Rule 14e-1 under the Exchange Act and any other securities laws and regulations thereunder to the extent those laws and regulations are applicable in connection with the repurchase of the Notes as a result of a Change of Control Repurchase Event. To the extent that the provisions of any securities laws or regulations conflict with the Change of Control Repurchase Event provisions of the Notes, we will comply with the applicable securities laws and regulations and will not be deemed to have breached our obligations under the Change of Control Repurchase Event provisions of the Notes by virtue of such conflict.

On the Change of Control Repurchase Event payment date, subject to extension if necessary to comply with the provisions of the 1940 Act, we will, to the extent lawful:

 

  (1) accept for payment all Notes or portions of Notes properly tendered pursuant to our offer;

 

  (2) deposit with the paying agent an amount equal to the aggregate purchase price in respect of all Notes or portions of Notes properly tendered; and

 

  (3) deliver or cause to be delivered to the trustee the Notes properly accepted, together with an officers’ certificate stating the aggregate principal amount of Notes being purchased by us.

 

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The paying agent will promptly remit to each holder of Notes properly tendered the purchase price for the Notes, and the trustee will promptly authenticate and mail (or cause to be transferred by book-entry) to each holder a new Note equal in principal amount to any unpurchased portion of any Notes surrendered; provided that each new Note will be in a minimum principal amount of $2,000 or an integral multiple of $1,000 in excess thereof.

We will not be required to make an offer to repurchase the Notes upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event if a third party makes an offer in the manner, at the times and otherwise in compliance with the requirements for an offer made by us and such third party purchases all Notes properly tendered and not withdrawn under its offer.

The source of funds that will be required to repurchase Notes in the event of a Change of Control Repurchase Event will be our available cash or cash generated from our operations or other potential sources, including funds provided by a purchaser in the Change of Control transaction, borrowings, sales of assets or sales of equity. We cannot assure you that sufficient funds from such sources will be available at the time of any Change of Control Repurchase Event to make required repurchases of Notes tendered. The terms of certain of our and our subsidiaries’ financing arrangements provide that certain change of control events will constitute an event of default thereunder entitling the lenders to accelerate any indebtedness outstanding under the our and our subsidiaries’ financing arrangements at that time and to terminate the financing arrangements. In addition, the indenture governing our 2022 Convertible Notes contains a provision that would require us to offer to purchase the 2022 Convertible Notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change. A failure to purchase any tendered 2022 Convertible Notes would constitute an event of default under the indenture for the 2022 Convertible Notes, which would, in turn, constitute a default under the Credit Facilities and the indenture. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity and Capital Resources” in the accompanying prospectus for a general discussion of our indebtedness. Our and our subsidiaries’ future debt instruments may contain similar restrictions and provisions. If the holders of the Notes exercise their right to require us to repurchase Notes upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event, the financial effect of this repurchase could cause a default under our and our subsidiaries’ future debt instruments, even if the Change of Control Repurchase Event itself would not cause a default. It is possible that we will not have sufficient funds at the time of the Change of Control Repurchase Event to make the required repurchase of the Notes and/or our other debt. See “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to the Notes—We may not be able to repurchase the Notes upon a Change of Control Repurchase Event.”

The definition of “Change of Control” includes a phrase relating to the direct or indirect sale, transfer, conveyance or other disposition of “all or substantially all” of our properties or assets and those of our subsidiaries taken as a whole. Although there is a limited body of case law interpreting the phrase “substantially all,” there is no precise, established definition of the phrase under applicable law. Accordingly, the ability of a holder of Notes to require us to repurchase the Notes as a result of a sale, transfer, conveyance or other disposition of less than all of our assets and the assets of our subsidiaries taken as a whole to another person or group may be uncertain.

For purposes of the Notes:

“Below Investment Grade Rating Event” means the Notes are downgraded below Investment Grade by the Rating Agency on any date from the date of the public notice of an arrangement that results in a Change of Control until the end of the 60-day period following public notice of the occurrence of a Change of Control (which period shall be extended so long as the rating of the Notes is under publicly announced consideration for possible downgrade by the Rating Agency); provided that a Below Investment Grade Rating Event otherwise arising by virtue of a particular reduction in rating shall not be deemed to have occurred in respect of a particular Change of Control (and thus shall not be deemed a Below Investment Grade Rating Event for purposes of the definition of Change of Control Repurchase Event hereunder) if the Rating Agency making the reduction in rating to which this definition would otherwise apply does not announce or publicly confirm or inform the trustee

 

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in writing at its request that the reduction was the result, in whole or in part, of any event or circumstance comprised of or arising as a result of, or in respect of, the applicable Change of Control (whether or not the applicable Change of Control shall have occurred at the time of the Below Investment Grade Rating Event).

“Change of Control” means the occurrence of any of the following:

 

  (1) the direct or indirect sale, lease, transfer, conveyance or other disposition (other than by way of merger or consolidation) in one or a series of related transactions, of all or substantially all of the assets of Hercules Capital and its Controlled Subsidiaries taken as a whole to any “person” or “group” (as those terms are used in Section 13(d)(3) of the Exchange Act), other than to any Permitted Holders; provided that, for the avoidance of doubt, a pledge of assets pursuant to any secured debt instrument of Hercules Capital or its Controlled Subsidiaries shall not be deemed to be any such sale, lease, transfer, conveyance or disposition;

 

  (2) the consummation of any transaction (including, without limitation, any merger or consolidation) the result of which is that any “person” or “group” (as those terms are used in Section 13(d)(3) of the Exchange Act) (other than any Permitted Holders) becomes the “beneficial owner” (as defined in Rules 13d-3 and 13d-5 under the Exchange Act), directly or indirectly, of more than 50% of the outstanding Voting Stock of Hercules Capital, measured by voting power rather than number of shares; or

 

  (3) the approval by Hercules Capital’s stockholders of any plan or proposal relating to the liquidation or dissolution of Hercules Capital.

“Change of Control Repurchase Event” means the occurrence of a Change of Control and a Below Investment Grade Rating Event.

“Controlled Subsidiary” means any subsidiary of Hercules Capital, 50% or more of the outstanding equity interests of which are owned by Hercules Capital and its direct or indirect subsidiaries and of which Hercules Capital possesses, directly or indirectly, the power to direct or cause the direction of the management or policies, whether through the ownership of voting equity interests, by agreement or otherwise.

“Investment Grade” means a rating of BBB– or better by S&P (or its equivalent under any successor rating categories of S&P) or the equivalent of any other Rating Agency, as applicable, or in each case, the equivalent under any successor category of such Rating Agency.

“Kroll” means Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc., or any successor thereto.

“Permitted Holders” means (i) us and (ii) one or more of our Controlled Subsidiaries.

“Rating Agency” means:

 

  (1) S&P; and

 

  (2) if S&P ceases to rate the Notes or fails to make a rating of the Notes publicly available for reasons outside of our control, a “nationally recognized statistical rating organization” as defined in Section (3)(a)(62) of the Exchange Act selected by us as a replacement agency for S&P which may include Kroll.

“S&P” means Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, a Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC business, or any successor thereto.

“Voting Stock” as applied to stock of any person, means shares, interests, participations or other equivalents in the equity interest (however designated) in such person having ordinary voting power for the election of a majority of the directors (or the equivalent) of such person, other than shares, interests, participations or other equivalents having such power only by reason of the occurrence of a contingency.

 

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Covenants

In addition to the covenants described in the base indenture, the following covenants shall apply to the Notes. To the extent of any conflict or inconsistency between the base indenture and the following covenants, the following covenants shall govern:

Merger, Consolidation or Sale of Assets

The indenture will provide that we will not merge or consolidate with or into any other person (other than a merger of a wholly owned subsidiary into us), or sell, transfer, lease, convey or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all our property (provided that, for the avoidance of doubt, a pledge of assets pursuant to any secured debt instrument of Hercules Capital or its Controlled Subsidiaries shall not be deemed to be any such sale, transfer, lease, conveyance or disposition) in any one transaction or series of related transactions unless:

 

   

we are the surviving person (the “Surviving Person”) or the Surviving Person (if other than us) formed by such merger or consolidation or to which such sale, transfer, lease, conveyance or disposition is made shall be a corporation or limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of the United States of America or any state or territory thereof;

 

   

the Surviving Person (if other than us) expressly assumes, by supplemental indenture in form reasonably satisfactory to the trustee, executed and delivered to the trustee by such Surviving Person, the due and punctual payment of the principal of, and premium, if any, and interest on, all the Notes outstanding, and the due and punctual performance and observance of all the covenants and conditions of the indenture to be performed by us;

 

   

immediately before and immediately after giving effect to such transaction or series of related transactions, no default or event of default shall have occurred and be continuing; and

 

   

we shall deliver, or cause to be delivered, to the trustee, an officers’ certificate and an opinion of counsel, each stating that such transaction and the supplemental indenture, if any, in respect thereto, comply with this covenant and that all conditions precedent in the indenture relating to such transaction have been complied with.

For the purposes of this covenant, the sale, transfer, lease, conveyance or other disposition of all the property of one or more of our subsidiaries, which property, if held by us instead of such subsidiaries, would constitute all or substantially all of our property on a consolidated basis, shall be deemed to be the transfer of all or substantially all of our property.

Although there is a limited body of case law interpreting the phrase “substantially all,” there is no precise established definition of the phrase under applicable law. Accordingly, in certain circumstances there may be a degree of uncertainty as to whether a particular transaction would involve “all or substantially all” of the properties or assets of a person. As a result, it may be unclear as to whether the merger, consolidation or sale of assets covenant would apply to a particular transaction as described above absent a decision by a court of competent jurisdiction. Although these types of transactions are permitted under the indenture, certain of the foregoing transactions could constitute a Change of Control that results in a Change of Control Repurchase Event permitting each holder to require us to repurchase the Notes of such holder as described above.

An assumption by any person of obligations under the Notes and the indenture might be deemed for U.S. federal income tax purposes to be an exchange of the Notes for new Notes by the holders thereof, resulting in recognition of gain or loss for such purposes and possibly other adverse tax consequences to the holders. Holders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the tax consequences of such an assumption.

 

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Other Covenants

 

   

We agree that for the period of time during which the Notes are outstanding, we will not violate, whether or not we are subject to, Section 18(a)(1)(A) as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions, giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (even if we are no longer subject to the 1940 Act).

 

   

If, at any time, we are not subject to the reporting requirements of Sections 13 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act to file any periodic reports with the SEC, we agree to furnish to holders of the Notes and the trustee, for the period of time during which the Notes are outstanding, our audited annual consolidated financial statements, within 90 days of our fiscal year end, and unaudited interim consolidated financial statements, within 45 days of our fiscal quarter end (other than our fourth fiscal quarter). All such financial statements will be prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with GAAP, as applicable.

Events of Default

Each of the following is an event of default:

 

  (1) default in the payment of any interest upon any Note when due and payable and the default continues for a period of 30 days;

 

  (2) default in the payment of the principal of (or premium, if any, on) any Note when it becomes due and payable at its maturity including upon any redemption date or required repurchase date;

 

  (3) our failure for 60 consecutive days after written notice from the trustee or the holders of at least 25% in principal amount of the Notes then outstanding has been received to comply with any of our other agreements contained in the Notes or indenture;

 

  (4) default by us or any of our significant subsidiaries, as defined in Article 1, Rule 1-02 of Regulation S-X under the Exchange Act (but excluding any subsidiary which is (a) a non-recourse or limited recourse subsidiary, (b) a bankruptcy remote special purpose vehicle or (c) is not consolidated with Hercules Capital for purposes of GAAP), with respect to any mortgage, agreement or other instrument under which there may be outstanding, or by which there may be secured or evidenced, any indebtedness for money borrowed in excess of $50 million in the aggregate of us and/or any such subsidiary, whether such indebtedness now exists or shall hereafter be created (i) resulting in such indebtedness becoming or being declared due and payable or (ii) constituting a failure to pay the principal or interest of any such debt when due and payable at its stated maturity, upon required repurchase, upon declaration of acceleration or otherwise, unless, in either case, such indebtedness is discharged, or such acceleration is rescinded, stayed or annulled, within a period of 30 calendar days after written notice of such failure is given to us by the trustee or to us and the trustee by the holders of at least 25% in aggregate principal amount of the Notes then outstanding;

 

  (5) Pursuant to Section 18(a)(1)(C)(ii) and Section 61 of the 1940 Act, on the last business day of each of 24 consecutive calendar months, any class of securities shall have an asset coverage (as such term is used in the 1940 Act) of less than 100% giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC; or

 

  (6) certain events of bankruptcy, insolvency, or reorganization involving us occur and remain undischarged or unstayed for a period of 60 days.

If an event of default occurs and is continuing, then and in every such case (other than an event of default specified in item (6) above) the trustee or the holders of at least 25% in principal amount of the outstanding Notes may declare the entire principal amount of Notes to be due and immediately payable, by a notice in writing to us (and to the trustee if given by the holders), and upon any such declaration such principal or specified portion thereof shall become immediately due and payable. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the case of the events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization described in item (6) above, 100% of the principal of and accrued and unpaid interest on the Notes will automatically become due and payable.

 

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At any time after a declaration of acceleration with respect to the Notes has been made and before a judgment or decree for payment of the money due has been obtained by the trustee, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes, by written notice to us and the trustee, may rescind and annul such declaration and its consequences if (i) we have paid or deposited with the trustee a sum sufficient to pay all overdue installments of interest, if any, on all outstanding Notes, the principal of (and premium, if any, on) all outstanding Notes that have become due otherwise than by such declaration of acceleration and interest thereon at the rate or rates borne by or provided for in such Notes, to the extent that payment of such interest is lawful interest upon overdue installments of interest at the rate or rates borne by or provided for in such Notes, and all sums paid or advanced by the trustee and the reasonable compensation, expenses, disbursements and advances of the trustee, its agents and counsel, and (ii) all events of default with respect to the Notes, other than the nonpayment of the principal of (or premium, if any, on) or interest on such Notes that have become due solely by such declaration of acceleration, have been cured or waived. No such rescission will affect any subsequent default or impair any right consequent thereon.

No holder of Notes will have any right to institute any proceeding, judicial or otherwise, with respect to the indenture, or for the appointment of a receiver or trustee, or for any other remedy under the indenture, unless

 

  (i) such holder has previously given written notice to the trustee of a continuing event of default with respect to the Notes,

 

  (ii) the holders of not less than 25% in principal amount of the outstanding Notes shall have made written request to the trustee to institute proceedings in respect of such event of default;

 

  (iii) such holder or holders have offered to the trustee reasonable indemnity against the costs, expenses and liabilities to be incurred in compliance with such request;

 

  (iv) the trustee for 60 days after its receipt of such notice, request and offer of indemnity has failed to institute any such proceeding; and

 

  (v) no direction inconsistent with such written request has been given to the trustee during such 60-day period by the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes.

Notwithstanding any other provision in the indenture, the holder of any Note shall have the right, which is absolute and unconditional, to receive payment of the principal of (and premium, if any, on) and interest, if any, on such Note on the stated maturity or maturity expressed in such Note (or, in the case of redemption, on the redemption date or, in the case of repayment at the option of the holders, on the repayment date) and to institute suit for the enforcement of any such payment, and such rights shall not be impaired without the consent of such holder.

The trustee shall be under no obligation to exercise any of the rights or powers vested in it by the indenture at the request or direction of any of the holders of the Notes unless such holders shall have offered to the trustee reasonable security or indemnity against the costs, expenses and liabilities which might be incurred by it in compliance with such request or direction. Subject to the foregoing, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes shall have the right to direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the trustee or exercising any trust or power conferred on the trustee with respect to the Notes, provided that (i) such direction shall not be in conflict with any rule of law or with this indenture, (ii) the trustee may take any other action deemed proper by the trustee that is not inconsistent with such direction and (iii) the trustee need not take any action that it determines in good faith may involve it in personal liability or be unjustly prejudicial to the holders of Notes not consenting.

The holders of not less than a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes may on behalf of the holders of all of the Notes waive any past default under the indenture with respect to the Notes and its consequences, except a default (i) in the payment of (or premium, if any, on) or interest, if any, on any Note, or (ii) in respect of a covenant or provision of the indenture which cannot be modified or amended without the

 

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consent of the holder of each outstanding Note affected. Upon any such waiver, such default shall cease to exist, and any event of default arising therefrom shall be deemed to have been cured, for every purpose, but no such waiver shall extend to any subsequent or other default or event of default or impair any right consequent thereto.

We are required to deliver to the trustee, within 120 days after the end of each fiscal year, an officers’ certificate stating that to the knowledge of the signers whether we are in default in the performance of any of the terms, provisions or conditions of the indenture.

Within 90 days after the occurrence of any default under the indenture with respect to the Notes, the trustee shall transmit notice of such default known to the trustee, unless such default shall have been cured or waived; provided, however, that, except in the case of a default in the payment of the principal of (or premium, if any, on) or interest, if any, on any Note, the trustee shall be protected in withholding such notice if and so long as the Board of Directors, the executive committee or a trust committee of directors of the trustee in good faith determines that withholding of such notice is in the interest of the holders of the Notes.

Satisfaction and Discharge; Defeasance

We may satisfy and discharge our obligations under the indenture by delivering to the securities registrar for cancellation all outstanding Notes or by depositing with the trustee or delivering to the holders, as applicable, after the Notes have become due and payable, or otherwise, moneys sufficient to pay all of the outstanding Notes and paying all other sums payable under the indenture by us. Such discharge is subject to terms contained in the indenture.

In addition, the Notes are subject to defeasance and covenant defeasance, in each case, in accordance with the terms of the indenture. Defeasance means that, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including, but not limited to, (i) depositing in trust for the benefit of the holders of the Notes a combination of money and/or U.S. government or U.S. government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash to make interest, principal and any other payments on the Notes on their various due date and (ii) delivering to the Trustee an opinion of counsel stating that (a) we have received from, or there has been published by, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) a ruling, or (b) since the date of execution of the indenture, there has been a change in the applicable federal income tax law, in either case to the effect that, and based thereon, the holders and beneficial owners of the Notes and any coupons appertaining thereto will not recognize income, gain or loss for federal income tax purposes as a result of such defeasance and will be subject to federal income tax on the same amounts, in the same manner and at the same times as would have been the case if such defeasance had not occurred, we can legally release ourselves from all payment and other obligations on the Notes. Covenant defeasance means that, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including, but not limited to, (i) depositing in trust for the benefit of the holders of the Notes a combination of money and/or U.S. government or U.S. government agency notes or bonds that will generate enough cash to make interest, principal and any other payments on the Notes on their various due dates and (ii) delivering to the Trustee an opinion of counsel to the effect that the holders and beneficial owners of the Notes and any coupons appertaining thereto will not recognize income, gain or loss for federal income tax purposes as a result of such covenant defeasance and will be subject to federal income tax on the same amounts, in the same manner and at the same times as would have been the case if such covenant defeasance had not occurred, we will be released from some of the restrictive covenants in the indenture.

Trustee

U.S. Bank National Association is the trustee, security registrar and paying agent. U.S. Bank National Association, in each of its capacities, including without limitation as trustee, security registrar and paying agent, assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information concerning us or our affiliates or any other party contained in this document or the related documents or for any failure by us or any other party to

 

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disclose events that may have occurred and may affect the significance or accuracy of such information, or for any information provided to it by us, including but not limited to settlement amounts and any other information.

We may maintain banking relationships in the ordinary course of business with the trustee and its affiliates.

Governing Law

The indenture provides that it and the Notes shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, without regard to principles of conflicts of laws that would cause the application of laws of another jurisdiction.

Book-Entry, Settlement and Clearance

Global Notes

The Notes will be initially issued in the form of one or more registered Notes in global form, without interest coupons (the “Global Notes”). Upon issuance, each of the Global Notes will be deposited with the trustee as custodian for DTC and registered in the name of Cede & Co., as nominee of DTC.

Ownership of beneficial interests in a Global Note will be limited to persons who have accounts with DTC (“DTC participants”) or persons who hold interests through DTC participants. We expect that under procedures established by DTC:

 

   

upon deposit of a Global Note with DTC’s custodian, DTC will credit portions of the principal amount of the Global Note to the accounts of the DTC participants designated by the underwriters; and

 

   

ownership of beneficial interests in a Global Note will be shown on, and transfer of ownership of those interests will be effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to interests of DTC participants) and the records of DTC participants (with respect to other owners of beneficial interests in the Global Note).

Beneficial interests in Global Notes may not be exchanged for Notes in physical, certificated form except in the limited circumstances described below.

Book-Entry Procedures for Global Notes

All interests in the Global Notes will be subject to the operations and procedures of DTC. We provide the following summary of those operations and procedures solely for the convenience of investors. The operations and procedures of DTC are controlled by that settlement system and may be changed at any time. Neither we nor the underwriters are responsible for those operations or procedures.

DTC has advised us that it is:

 

   

a limited purpose trust company organized under the laws of the State of New York;

 

   

a “banking organization” within the meaning of the New York State Banking Law;

 

   

a member of the Federal Reserve System;

 

   

a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the Uniform Commercial Code; and

 

   

a “clearing agency” registered under Section 17A of the Exchange Act.

DTC was created to hold securities for its participants and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions between its participants through electronic book-entry changes to the accounts of its participants. DTC’s participants include securities brokers and dealers, including the underwriters; banks and

 

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trust companies; clearing corporations and other organizations. Indirect access to DTC’s system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies; these indirect participants clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC participant, either directly or indirectly. Investors who are not DTC participants may beneficially own securities held by or on behalf of DTC only through DTC participants or indirect participants in DTC.

So long as DTC’s nominee is the registered owner of a Global Note, that nominee will be considered the sole owner or holder of the Notes represented by that Global Note for all purposes under the indenture. Except as provided below, owners of beneficial interests in a Global Note:

 

   

will not be entitled to have Notes represented by the Global Note registered in their names;

 

   

will not receive or be entitled to receive physical, certificated Notes; and

 

   

will not be considered the owners or holders of the Notes under the indenture for any purpose, including with respect to the giving of any direction, instruction or approval to the trustee under the indenture.

As a result, each investor who owns a beneficial interest in a Global Note must rely on the procedures of DTC to exercise any rights of a holder of Notes under the indenture (and, if the investor is not a participant or an indirect participant in DTC, on the procedures of the DTC participant through which the investor owns its interest).

Payments of principal and interest with respect to the Notes represented by a Global Note will be made by the trustee to DTC’s nominee as the registered holder of the Global Note. Neither we nor the Trustee will have any responsibility or liability for the payment of amounts to owners of beneficial interests in a Global Note, for any aspect of the records relating to or payments made on account of those interests by DTC, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records of DTC relating to those interests.

Payments by participants and indirect participants in DTC to the owners of beneficial interests in a Global Note will be governed by standing instructions and customary industry practice and will be the responsibility of those participants or indirect participants and DTC.

Transfers between participants in DTC will be effected under DTC’s procedures and will be settled in same-day funds.

Certificated Notes

Notes in physical, certificated form will be issued and delivered to each person that DTC identifies as a beneficial owner of the related Notes only if:

 

   

DTC notifies us at any time that it is unwilling or unable to continue as depositary for the Global Notes and a successor depositary is not appointed within 90 days;

 

   

DTC ceases to be registered as a clearing agency under the Exchange Act and a successor depositary is not appointed within 90 days; or

 

   

an event of default with respect to the Notes has occurred and is continuing and such beneficial owner requests that its Notes be issued in physical, certificated form.

 

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UNDERWRITING

We are offering the Notes described in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus through a number of underwriters. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Jefferies LLC are acting as representatives of the underwriters. We have entered into an underwriting agreement with the underwriters. Subject to the terms and conditions of the underwriting agreement, we have agreed to sell to the underwriters, and each underwriter has severally and not jointly agreed to purchase from us, the aggregate principal amount of Notes listed next to its name in the following table:

 

Underwriter

   Principal Amount  

Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

   $               

Jefferies LLC

   $  
  

 

 

 

Total

   $  
  

 

 

 

Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the underwriting agreement, the underwriters have agreed, severally and not jointly, to purchase all of the Notes sold under the underwriting agreement if any of these Notes are purchased. If an underwriter defaults, the underwriting agreement provides that the purchase commitments of the nondefaulting underwriters may be increased or the underwriting agreement may be terminated.

We have agreed to indemnify the several underwriters against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act, or to contribute to payments the underwriters may be required to make in respect of those liabilities.

The underwriters are offering the Notes, subject to prior sale, when, as and if issued to and accepted by them, subject to approval of legal matters by their counsel, and other conditions contained in the underwriting agreement, such as the receipt by the underwriters of officer’s certificates and legal opinions. The underwriters reserve the right to withdraw, cancel or modify offers to the public and to reject orders in whole or in part.

Commissions and Discounts

The following table shows the total underwriting discounts and commissions that we are to pay to the underwriters in connection with this offering.

 

     Per Note     Total  

Public offering price

              $               

Underwriting discount

              $  

Proceeds, before expenses, to us

              $  

The underwriters propose to offer some of the Notes to the public at the public offering price set forth on the cover page of this prospectus supplement and some of the Notes to certain other Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) members at the public offering price less a concession not in excess of         % of the aggregate principal amount of the Notes. The underwriters may allow, and the dealers may reallow, a discount not in excess of         % of the aggregate principal amount of the Notes. After the initial offering of the Notes to the public, the public offering price and such concessions may be changed. No such change shall change the amount of proceeds to be received by us as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus supplement.

No Sales of Similar Securities

We have agreed not to directly or indirectly sell, offer to sell, enter into any agreement to sell, or otherwise dispose of, any debt securities issued by the Company which are substantially similar to the Notes or securities

 

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convertible into such debt securities which are substantially similar to the Notes for a period of 30 days after the date of this prospectus supplement without first obtaining the written consent of the representatives. This consent may be given at any time without public notice.

Listing

The Notes are a new issue of securities with no established trading market. The Notes will not be listed on any securities exchange or quoted on any automated dealer quotation system.

We have been advised by certain of the underwriters that certain of the underwriters presently intend to make a market in the Notes after completion of this offering as permitted by applicable laws and regulations. Such underwriters are not obligated, however, to make a market in the Notes and any such market-making may be discontinued at any time in the sole discretion of such underwriters without any notice. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that an active and liquid public trading market for the Notes will develop or be maintained. If an active public trading market for the Notes does not develop, the market price and liquidity of the Notes may be adversely affected.

Price Stabilization, Short Positions

In connection with the offering, the underwriters may purchase and sell Notes in the open market. These transactions may include covering transactions and stabilizing transactions. Overallotment involves sales of securities in excess of the aggregate principal amount of securities to be purchased by the underwriters in the offering, which creates a short position for the underwriters. Covering transactions involve purchases of the securities in the open market after the distribution has been completed in order to cover short positions. Stabilizing transactions consist of certain bids or purchases of securities made for the purpose of preventing or retarding a decline in the market price of the securities while the offering is in progress.

The underwriters also may impose a penalty bid. This occurs when a particular underwriter repays to the underwriters a portion of the underwriting discount received by it because the representatives have repurchased Notes sold by or for the account of such underwriter in stabilizing or short covering transactions.

Any of these activities may cause the price of the Notes to be higher than the price that otherwise would exist in the open market in the absence of such transactions. These transactions may be affected in the over-the-counter market or otherwise and, if commenced, may be discontinued at any time without any notice relating thereto.

Neither we nor any of the underwriters make any representation or prediction as to the direction or magnitude of any effect that the transactions described above may have on the price of the Notes. In addition, neither we nor any of the underwriters make any representation that the representatives will engage in these transactions or that these transactions, once commenced, will not be discontinued without notice.

Electronic Offer, Sale and Distribution of Notes

The underwriters may make prospectuses available in electronic (PDF) format. A prospectus in electronic (PDF) format may be made available on a web site maintained by the underwriters, and the underwriters may distribute such prospectuses electronically. The underwriters may allocate a limited principal amount of the Notes for sale to their online brokerage customers.

Other Relationships

The underwriters and their affiliates have provided in the past and may provide from time to time in the future in the ordinary course of their business certain commercial banking, financial advisory, investment

 

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banking and other services to Hercules or our portfolio companies for which they have received or will be entitled to receive separate fees. In particular, the underwriters or their affiliates may execute transactions with Hercules or on behalf of Hercules or any of our portfolio companies.

The underwriters or their affiliates may also trade in our securities, securities of our portfolio companies or other financial instruments related thereto for their own accounts or for the account of others and may extend loans or financing directly or through derivative transactions to us or any of our portfolio companies.

We may purchase securities of third parties from the underwriters or their affiliates after the offering. However, we have not entered into any agreement or arrangement regarding the acquisition of any such securities, and we may not purchase any such securities. We would only purchase any such securities if—among other things—we identified securities that satisfied our investment needs and completed our due diligence review of such securities.

After the date of this prospectus supplement, the underwriters and their affiliates may from time to time obtain information regarding specific portfolio companies or us that may not be available to the general public. Any such information is obtained by the underwriters and their affiliates in the ordinary course of its business and not in connection with the offering of the Notes. In addition, after the offering period for the sale of the Notes, the underwriters or their affiliates may develop analyses or opinions related to Hercules or our portfolio companies and buy or sell interests in one or more of our portfolio companies on behalf of their proprietary or client accounts and may engage in competitive activities. There is no obligation on behalf of these parties to disclose their respective analyses, opinions or purchase and sale activities regarding any portfolio company or regarding us to our noteholders or any other persons.

In the ordinary course of their various business activities, the underwriters and their respective affiliates may make or hold a broad array of investments and actively trade debt and equity securities (or related derivative securities) and financial instruments (including bank loans) for their own account and for the accounts of their customers. Such investments and securities activities may involve securities and/or instruments of ours or our affiliates. Certain of the underwriters and their affiliates that have a lending relationship with us routinely hedge their credit exposure to us consistent with their customary risk management policies. Typically, such underwriters and their affiliates would hedge such exposure by entering into transactions which consist of either the purchase of credit default swaps or the creation of short positions in our securities, including potentially the Notes offered hereby. Any such short positions could adversely affect future trading prices of the Notes offered hereby. The underwriters and their affiliates may also make investment recommendations and/or publish or express independent research views in respect of such securities or financial instruments and may hold, or recommend to clients that they acquire, long and/or short positions in such securities and instruments.

The principal business address of Citigroup Global Markets Inc. is 388 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10013. The principal business address of Jefferies LLC is 520 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10022.

European Economic Area

In relation to each Member State of the European Economic Area which has implemented the Prospectus Directive, each underwriter has represented and agreed that with effect from and including the date on which the Prospectus Directive is implemented in that Member State it has not made and will not make an offer of Notes to the public in that Member State, except that it may, with effect from and including such date, make an offer of Notes to the public in that Member State:

(a) to any legal entity that is a qualified investor as defined in the Prospectus Directive;

(b) to fewer than 100 or, if the Relevant Member State has implemented the relevant provisions of the 2010 PD Amending Directive, 150, natural or legal persons (other than qualified investors, as defined

 

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in the Prospectus Directive), as permitted under the Prospectus Directive, subject to obtaining the prior consent of the underwriters nominated by the Company for any such offer; or

(c) in any other circumstances falling within Article 3(2) of the Prospectus Directive, provided, that no such offer of Notes shall require the Company or any underwriter to publish a prospectus pursuant to Article 3 of the Prospectus Directive or supplement a prospectus pursuant to Article 16 of the Prospectus Directive.

For the purposes of the above, the expression an “offer of Notes to the public” in relation to any Notes in any Relevant Member State means the communication in any form and by any means of sufficient information on the terms of the offer and the Notes to be offered so as to enable an investor to decide to purchase or subscribe the Notes, as the same may be varied in that Member State by any measure implementing the Prospectus Directive in that Member State, and the expression “Prospectus Directive” means Directive 2003/71/EC (and amendments thereto, including the 2010 PD Amending Directive, to the extent implemented in the Relevant Member State), and includes any relevant implementing measure in the Relevant Member State and the expression “2010 PD Amending Directive” means Directive 2010/73/EU.

United Kingdom

Each underwriter has represented and agreed that:

(a) it has only communicated or caused to be communicated and will only communicate or cause to be communicated an invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity (within the meaning of Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000 (the “FSMA”)) received by it in connection with the issue or sale of the Notes in circumstances in which Section 21(1) of the FSMA does not apply to the Company; and

(b) it has complied and will comply with all applicable provisions of the FSMA with respect to anything done by it in relation to the Notes in, from or otherwise involving the United Kingdom.

Other Jurisdictions

Other than in the United States, no action has been taken by us or the underwriters that would permit a public offering of the Notes offered by this prospectus supplement in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required. The Notes offered by this prospectus supplement may not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, nor may this prospectus supplement or any other offering material or advertisements in connection with the offer and sale of any such Notes be distributed or published in any jurisdiction, except under circumstances that will result in compliance with the applicable rules and regulations of that jurisdiction. Persons into whose possession this prospectus supplement comes are advised to inform themselves about and to observe any restriction relating to the offering and the distribution of this prospectus supplement. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy the Notes offered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus in any jurisdiction in which such an offer or a solicitation is unlawful.

 

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CERTAIN UNITED STATES FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following discussion is a general summary of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations (and, in the case of a non-U.S. holder (as defined below), the material U.S. federal estate tax consequences) applicable to an investment in the Notes. This summary deals only with Notes that are purchased for cash in this offering for a price equal to the “issue price” of the Notes (i.e., the first price at which a substantial amount of the Notes is sold for money to investors, other than to bond houses, brokers or similar persons or organizations acting in the capacity of underwriters, placement agents or wholesalers). This summary does not purport to be a complete description of the income and estate tax considerations applicable to such an investment. The discussion is based upon the Code, Treasury Regulations, and administrative and judicial interpretations, each as of the date of this prospectus supplement and all of which are subject to change, potentially with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax aspects set forth below. You should consult your own tax advisor with respect to tax considerations that pertain to your acquisition, ownership and disposition of our Notes. For a summary of the U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to us regarding our election to be treated as a RIC, please refer to “Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Election to be Taxed as a RIC” and “Taxation as a Regulated Investment Company” in the accompanying prospectus.

This discussion deals only with Notes held as capital assets within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code (generally, property held for investment purposes) and does not purport to deal with persons in special tax situations, such as financial institutions, insurance companies, regulated investment companies, dealers in securities or currencies, traders in securities, former citizens of the United States, persons holding the Notes as a hedge against currency risks or as a position in a “straddle,” “hedge,” “constructive sale transaction” or “conversion transaction” for tax purposes, entities that are tax-exempt for U.S. federal income tax purposes, retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, tax-deferred accounts, persons subject to the alternative minimum tax, pass-through entities (including partnerships and entities and arrangements classified as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes) and beneficial owners of pass-through entities, or U.S. holders (as defined below) whose functional currency (as defined in Section 985 of the Code) is not the U.S. dollar. In addition, this discussion does not deal with any tax consequences other than U.S. federal income tax consequences (and, in the case of a non-U.S. holder, U.S. federal estate tax consequences). If you are considering acquiring the Notes, you should consult your own tax advisor concerning the application of the U.S. federal income and estate tax laws to you in light of your particular situation, as well as any consequences to you of purchasing, owning and disposing of the Notes under the laws of any other taxing jurisdiction.

For purposes of this discussion, the term “U.S. holder” means a beneficial owner of a Note that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, (i) an individual citizen or resident of the United States, (ii) 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 of any state thereof or the District of Columbia, (iii) a trust (a) subject to the control of one or more U.S. persons and the primary supervision of a court in the United States, or (b) that existed on August 20, 1996 and has made a valid election (under applicable Treasury Regulations) to be treated as a domestic trust, or (iv) an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source.

The term “non-U.S. holder” means a beneficial owner of a Note that is neither a U.S. holder nor a partnership (including an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes). An individual may, subject to certain exceptions, be subject to treatment as a resident alien, as opposed to a non-resident alien, for U.S. federal income tax purposes by, among other ways, being physically present in the U.S. (i) on at least 31 days during a calendar year, and (ii) for an aggregate period of at least 183 days during a three-year period ending in the current calendar year, counting for such purposes all of the days present in the current calendar year, one-third of the days present in the immediate preceding year, and one-sixth of the days present in the second preceding year. Resident aliens are subject to U.S. federal income tax as if they were U.S. citizens.

 

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If a partnership (including an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) holds any Notes, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner of the partnership generally will depend upon the status of the partner, the activities of the partnership and certain determinations made at the partner level. Partnerships holding Notes, and the persons holding interests in such partnerships, should consult their own tax advisors as to the consequences of investing in the Notes in their individual circumstances.

Taxation of Note Holders

Taxation of U.S. Holders.

Except as discussed below, payments or accruals of interest on a Note generally will be taxable to a U.S. holder as ordinary interest income at the time they are received (actually or constructively) or accrued, in accordance with the U.S. holder’s regular method of tax accounting.

Upon the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other taxable disposition of a Note, a U.S. holder generally will recognize capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized on the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other taxable disposition (excluding amounts representing accrued and unpaid interest, which are treated as ordinary income to the extent not previously included in income) and the U.S. holder’s adjusted tax basis in the Note. A U.S. holder’s adjusted tax basis in a Note generally will equal the U.S. holder’s initial investment in the Note. Capital gain or loss generally will be long-term capital gain or loss if the U.S. holder’s holding period in the Note was more than one year. Long-term capital gains generally are taxed at reduced rates for individuals and certain other non-corporate U.S. holders. The distinction between capital gain and loss and ordinary income and loss also is important for purposes of, among other things, the limitations imposed on a U.S. holder’s ability to offset capital losses against ordinary income.

A tax of 3.8% will be imposed on certain “net investment income” (or “undistributed net investment income,” in the case of estates and trusts) received by U.S. holders with modified adjusted gross income above certain threshold amounts. “Net investment income” as defined for U.S. federal Medicare contribution purposes generally includes interest payments on and gain recognized from the sale, redemption, retirement or other disposition of the Notes. U.S. holders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the effect, if any, of this tax on their ownership and disposition of the Notes.

Under applicable Treasury Regulations, if a U.S. holder recognizes a loss with respect to the Notes or shares of our common stock of $2 million or more for a non-corporate U.S. holder or $10 million or more for a corporate U.S. holder in any single taxable year (or a greater loss over a combination of taxable years), the U.S. holder may be required to file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct U.S. holders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but, under current guidance, U.S. holders of a RIC are not excepted. Future guidance may extend the current exception from this reporting requirement to U.S. holders 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. holders of the Notes or our common stock should consult their own tax advisors to determine the applicability of these Treasury Regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

Taxation of Non-U.S. Holders. Except as provided below under “Information Reporting and Backup Withholding” and “FATCA,” a non-U.S. holder generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding taxes on payments of principal or interest on a Note provided that (i) income on the Note is not effectively connected with the conduct by the non-U.S. holder of a trade or business within the United States, (ii) the non-U.S. holder is not a controlled foreign corporation related to the Company through stock ownership, (iii) the non-U.S. holder is not a bank receiving interest described in Section 881(c)(3)(A) of the Code, (iv) the non-U.S. holder does not own (directly or indirectly, actually or constructively) 10% or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock of the Company, and (v)(A) the non-U.S. holder provides the

 

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applicable withholding agent with a valid certification on an IRS Form W-8BEN, Form W-8BEN-E, or other applicable U.S. nonresident withholding tax certification form, certifying its non-U.S. holder status, or (B) a securities clearing organization, bank, or other financial institution that holds customer securities in the ordinary course of its trade or business (i.e., a “financial institution”) and holds a Note on a non-U.S. holder’s behalf certifies to the applicable withhold agent under penalties of perjury that either it or another financial institution has received the required statement from the non-U.S. holder certifying that it is a non-U.S. person and furnishes the applicable withhold agent with a copy of the statement.

A non-U.S. holder that is not exempt from tax under these rules generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding on payments of interest on the Notes at a rate of 30% unless (i) the income is effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business, so long as the non-U.S. holder has provided the applicable withhold agent with an IRS Form W-8ECI or substantially similar substitute U.S. nonresident withholding tax certification form stating that the interest on the Notes is effectively connected with the non-U.S. holder’s conduct of a trade or business in the U.S. in which case the interest will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net income basis as applicable to U.S. holders generally (unless an applicable income tax treaty provides otherwise), or (ii) an applicable income tax treaty or provision in the Code provides for a lower rate of, or exemption from, withholding tax, so long as the non-U.S. holder has provided the applicable withhold agent with an IRS Form W-8BEN or Form W-8BEN-E (or other applicable U.S. nonresident withholding tax certification form) signed under penalties of perjury, claiming such lower rate of, or exemption from, withholding tax under such income tax treaty.

To claim the benefit of an income tax treaty or to claim exemption from withholding because income is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, the non-U.S. holder must timely provide the appropriate, properly executed IRS U.S. nonresident withholding tax certification form, signed under penalties of perjury, to the applicable withholding agent. These forms may be required to be updated periodically. Additionally, a non-U.S. holder who is claiming the benefits of an income tax treaty may be required to obtain a U.S. taxpayer identification number and provide certain documentary evidence issued by a non-U.S. governmental authority in order to prove residence in a foreign country.

In the case of a non-U.S. holder that is a corporation and that receives income that is effectively connected with the conduct of a U.S. trade or business, such income may also be subject to a branch profits tax (which is generally imposed on a non-U.S. corporation on the actual or deemed repatriation from the United States of earnings and profits attributable to a U.S. trade or business) at a 30% rate. The branch profits tax may not apply (or may apply at a reduced rate) if the non-U.S. holder is a qualified resident of a country with which the United States has an income tax treaty and provides the applicable withhold agent with an IRS Form W-8BEN or Form W-8BEN-E claiming exemption from, or entitlement to a lower rate of, branch profits tax under such treaty.

Generally, a non-U.S. holder will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding taxes on any amount that constitutes capital gain upon the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other taxable disposition of a Note, provided that the gain is not effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States by the non-U.S. holder (and, if required by an applicable income tax treaty, is not attributable to a United States “permanent establishment” maintained by the non-U.S. holder). Non-U.S. holders should consult their own tax advisors with regard to whether taxes will be imposed on capital gain in their individual circumstances.

A Note that is held by an individual who, at the time of death, is not a citizen or resident of the United States (as specially defined for U.S. federal estate tax purposes) generally will not be subject to the U.S. federal estate tax, unless, at the time of death, (i) such individual directly or indirectly, actually or constructively, owns ten percent or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of our stock entitled to vote within the meaning of Section 871(h)(3) of the Code and the Treasury Regulations thereunder or (ii) such individual’s interest in the Notes is effectively connected with the individual’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding. A U.S. holder (other than an “exempt recipient,” including a corporation and certain other persons who, when required, demonstrate their exempt status) may be

 

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subject to backup withholding at a rate of 28% on, and to information reporting requirements with respect to, payments of principal and interest on, and proceeds from the sale, exchange, redemption or retirement of, the Notes. In general, if a non-corporate U.S. holder subject to information reporting fails to furnish a correct taxpayer identification number or otherwise fails to comply with applicable backup withholding requirements, backup withholding at the applicable rate may apply.

If you are a non-U.S. holder, generally, the applicable withholding agent must report to the IRS and to you payments of interest on the Notes and the amount of tax, if any, withheld with respect to those payments. Copies of the information returns reporting such interest payments and any withholding may also be made available to the tax authorities in the country in which you reside under the provisions of a treaty or agreement. In general, backup withholding will not apply to payments of interest on your Notes if you have provided to the applicable withholding agent the required certification that you are not a U.S. person and the applicable withholding agent does not have actual knowledge or reason to know that you are a U.S. person. Information reporting and, depending on the circumstances, backup withholding will apply to payment to you of the proceeds of a sale or other disposition (including a retirement or redemption) of the Notes within the U.S. or conducted through certain U.S.-related financial intermediaries, unless you certify under penalties of perjury that you are not a U.S. person or you otherwise establish an exemption, and the applicable withholding agent does not have actual knowledge or reason to know that you are a U.S. person.

In addition, backup withholding tax and certain other information reporting requirements apply to payments of principal and interest on, and proceeds from the sale, exchange, redemption or retirement of, the Notes held by a non-U.S. holder, unless an exemption applies. Backup withholding and information reporting will not apply to payments we make to a non-U.S. holder if such non-U.S. holder has provided to the applicable withholding agent under penalties of perjury the required certification of their non-U.S. person status as discussed above (and the applicable withholding agent does not have actual knowledge or reason to know that they are a U.S. person) or if the non-U.S. holder is an exempt recipient.

If a non-U.S. holder sells or redeems a Note through a U.S. broker or the U.S. office of a foreign broker, the proceeds from such sale or redemption will be subject to information reporting and backup withholding unless such non-U.S. holder provides the applicable withhold agent with a withholding certificate or other appropriate documentary evidence establishing that such non-U.S. holder is not a U.S. person to the broker and such broker does not have actual knowledge or reason to know that such non-U.S. holder is a U.S. person, or the non-U.S. holder is an exempt recipient eligible for an exemption from information reporting and backup withholding. If a non-U.S. holder sells or redeems a Note through the foreign office of a broker who is a U.S. person or has certain enumerated connections with the United States, the proceeds from such sale or redemption will be subject to information reporting unless the non-U.S. holder provides to such broker a withholding certificate or other appropriate documentary evidence establishing that the non-U.S. holder is not a U.S. person and such broker does not have actual knowledge or reason to know that such evidence is false, or the non-U.S. holder is an exempt recipient eligible for an exemption from information reporting. In circumstances where information reporting by the foreign office of such a broker is required, backup withholding will be required only if the broker has actual knowledge that the non-U.S. holder is a U.S. person.

You should consult your tax advisor regarding the qualification for an exemption from backup withholding and information reporting and the procedures for obtaining such an exemption, if applicable. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules from a payment to a beneficial owner generally would be allowed as a refund or a credit against such beneficial owner’s U.S. federal income tax provided the required information is timely furnished to the IRS.

FATCA. Certain provisions of the Code, known as FATCA, generally impose a withholding tax of 30% on certain payments to certain foreign entities (including financial intermediaries) unless various U.S. information reporting and diligence requirements (that are in addition to the requirement to deliver an applicable U.S. nonresident withholding tax certification form (e.g., IRS Form W-8BEN), as discussed above) and certain other

 

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requirements have been satisfied. FATCA withholding generally applies to payments of interest and, after December 31, 2018, payments of gross proceeds (including principal payments) from the sale, redemption, retirement or other disposition of debt securities that can produce U.S. source interest (such as the Notes) (collectively, “withholdable payments”) to certain non-U.S. entities (including, in some circumstances, where such an entity is acting as an intermediary) that fail to comply with certain certification, identification, withholding and information reporting requirements imposed by FATCA. FATCA withholding taxes generally apply to all withholdable payments without regard to whether the beneficial owner of the payment would otherwise be entitled to an exemption from withholding taxes pursuant to an applicable income tax treaty with the U.S. or under U.S. domestic law. If FATCA withholding taxes are imposed with respect to any payments of interest or proceeds made under the Notes, holders that are otherwise eligible for an exemption from, or reduction of, U.S. federal withholding taxes with respect to such interest or proceeds will be required to seek a credit or refund from the IRS in order to obtain the benefit of such exemption or reduction, if any. Holders of or prospective holders of the Notes may be required to provide additional information to enable the applicable withholding agent to determine whether withholding is required. Persons located in jurisdictions that have entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the U.S. to implement FATCA may be subject to different rules. Non-U.S. holders, and U.S. holders that expect to hold the Notes through non-U.S. entities, should consult their own tax advisors regarding the effect, if any, of these withholding and reporting provisions.

The preceding discussion of material U.S. federal income tax considerations is for general information only and is not tax advice. We urge you to consult your own tax advisor with respect to the particular tax consequences to you of an investment in the Notes, including the possible effect of any pending legislation or proposed regulations.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Certain legal matters in connection with the securities offered hereby will be passed upon for us by Dechert LLP, Philadelphia, PA. Certain legal matters in connection with the securities offered hereby will be passed upon for the underwriters by Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, New York, NY.

EXPERTS

The consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2016 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) as of December 31, 2016 included in the accompanying prospectus have been so included in reliance on the report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 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 supplement and the accompanying prospectus. The registration statement contains additional information about us and our securities being offered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.

We file annual, quarterly and current periodic reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC under the Exchange Act. You may inspect and copy these reports, proxy statements and other information, as well as the registration statement of which this prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus form a part and the related exhibits and schedules, at the Public Reference Room of the SEC at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-0102. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 202-551-8090. The SEC maintains an Internet website 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 website 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, or by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, D.C. 20549-0102.

 

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$600,000,000

 

 

LOGO

Common Stock

Preferred Stock

Warrants

Subscription Rights

Debt Securities

This prospectus relates to the offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings or series, up to $600,000,000 of shares of our common stock, par value $0.001 per share, preferred stock, par value $0.001 per share, warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, subscription rights or debt securities, which we refer to, collectively, as the “securities.” The preferred stock, debt securities, subscription rights and warrants offered hereby may be convertible or exchangeable into shares of our common stock. 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, including existing stockholders in a rights offering, or through agents or through a combination of methods of sale, including auctions. 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. The securities may be offered at prices and on terms to be described in one or more supplements to this prospectus.

In the event we offer common stock, the offering price per share will not be less than the net asset value per share of our common stock at the time we make the offering except (1) in connection with a rights offering to our existing stockholders, (2) with the consent of the holders of the majority of our voting securities and approval of our Board of Directors, or (3) under such circumstances as the Securities and Exchange Commission may permit. See “Risk Factors” for more information.

We are a specialty finance company focused on providing senior secured loans to high-growth, innovative venture capital-backed companies in a variety of technology, life sciences and sustainable and renewable technology industries. We primarily finance privately-held companies backed by leading venture capital and private equity firms and publicly-traded companies that lack access to public capital or are sensitive to equity ownership dilution. We source our investments through our principal office located in Palo Alto, CA, as well as through additional offices in Boston, MA, New York, NY, Washington, DC, Santa Monica, CA, Hartford, CT and San Diego, CA. Our goal is to be the leading structured debt financing provider for venture capital-backed companies in technology-related industries requiring sophisticated and customized financing solutions. We invest primarily in structured debt with warrants and, to a lesser extent, in senior debt and equity investments. We use the term “structured debt with warrants” to refer to any debt investment, such as a senior or subordinated secured loan, that is coupled with an equity component, including warrants, options or other rights to purchase common or preferred stock. Our structured debt with warrants investments typically are secured by some or all of the assets of the portfolio company. We invest primarily in private companies but also have investments in public companies.

Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our warrant and equity-related investments. We are an internally-managed, non-diversified closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.

Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, under the symbol “HTGC.” On August 30, 2017, the last reported sale price of a share of our common stock on the NYSE, was $12.31. The net asset value per share of our common stock at June 30, 2017 (the last date prior to the date of this prospectus on which we determined net asset value) was $9.87.

 

 

An investment in our securities may be speculative and involves risks including a heightened risk of total loss of investment. In addition, the companies in which we invest are subject to special risks. See “ Risk Factors ” beginning on page 14 to read about risks that you should consider before investing in our securities, including the risk of leverage.

Please read this prospectus before investing and keep it for future reference. It contains important information about us that a prospective investor ought to know before investing in our securities. We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information about us with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The information is available free of charge by contacting us at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301 or by telephone calling collect at (650) 289-3060 or on our website at www.htgc.com. The SEC also maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains such information.

 

 

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

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

The date of this prospectus is September 7, 2017


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You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus. We have not authorized any dealer, salesperson or other person to provide you with different information or to make representations as to matters not stated in this prospectus. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. This prospectus is not an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities by any person in any jurisdiction where it is unlawful for that person to make such an offer or solicitation or to any person in any jurisdiction to whom it is unlawful to make such an offer or solicitation. The information in this prospectus is accurate only as of its date, and under no circumstances should the delivery of this prospectus or the sale of any securities imply that the information in this prospectus is accurate as of any later date or that the affairs of Hercules Capital, Inc. have not changed since the date hereof. This prospectus will be updated to reflect material changes.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

Summary

     1  

Fees and Expenses

     10  

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

     12  

Risk Factors

     14  

Forward-Looking Statements

     61  

Use of Proceeds

     62  

Price Range of Common Stock and Distributions

     63  

Ratio of Earnings to Fixed Charges

     66  

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

     67  

Business

     125  

Portfolio Companies

     138  

Senior Securities

     162  

Management

     165  

Corporate Governance

     176  

Executive Compensation

     181  

Control Persons and Principal Stockholders

     201  

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions

     203  

Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations

     204  

Regulation

     214  

Determination of Net Asset Value

     220  

Sales of Common Stock Below Net Asset Value

     224  

Dividend Reinvestment Plan

     229  

Description of Capital Stock

     230  

Description of Our Preferred Stock

     237  

Description of Our Subscription Rights

     239  

Description of Warrants

     241  

Description of Our Debt Securities

     243  

Plan of Distribution

     256  

Brokerage Allocation and Other Practices

     258  

Custodian, Transfer and Dividend Paying Agent and Registrar

     258  

Legal Matters

     258  

Experts

     258  

Available Information

     259  

Index to Financial Statements

     F-1  

 

 

Hercules Capital, Inc., our logo and other trademarks of Hercules Capital, Inc. mentioned in this prospectus are the property of Hercules Capital, Inc. All other trademarks or trade names referred to in this prospectus are the property of their respective owners.


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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is part of a registration statement that we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission using the “shelf” registration process. Under the shelf registration process, which constitutes a delayed offering in reliance on Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), we may offer, from time to time, up to $600,000,000 of our common stock, preferred stock, warrants representing rights to purchase shares of our common stock, preferred stock or debt securities, subscription rights or debt securities on the terms to be determined at the time of the offering. 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, including existing stockholders in a rights offering, 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. The securities may be offered at prices and on terms 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. Please carefully read this prospectus and any such supplements together with the additional information described under “Where You Can Find Additional Information” in the “Summary” and “Risk Factors” sections before you make an investment decision.

A prospectus supplement may also add to, update or change information contained in this prospectus.


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SUMMARY

This summary highlights some of the information in this prospectus and may not contain all of the information that is important to you. For a more complete understanding of this offering, we encourage you to read this entire prospectus and the documents that are referenced in this prospectus, together with any accompanying supplements. In this prospectus, unless the context otherwise requires, the “Company,” “Hercules,” “HTGC,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to Hercules Capital, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiaries and its affiliated securitization trusts on or after February 25, 2016 and “Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.” and its wholly owned subsidiaries and its affiliated securitization trusts prior to February 25, 2016 unless the context otherwise requires.

Our Company

We are a specialty finance company focused on providing senior secured loans to high-growth, innovative venture capital-backed companies in a variety of technology, life sciences and sustainable and renewable technology industries. Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolio’s total return by generating current income from our debt investments and capital appreciation from our warrant and equity-related investments. We are an internally managed, non-diversified, closed-end investment company that has elected to be regulated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the 1940 Act. Effective January 1, 2006, we elected to be treated for tax purposes as a regulated investment company, or RIC, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code.

As of June 30, 2017, our total assets were approximately $1.6 billion, of which our investments comprised $1.4 billion at fair value and $1.5 billion at cost. Since inception through June 30, 2017, we have made debt and equity commitments of approximately $6.9 billion to our portfolio companies.

We also make investments in qualifying small businesses through our two wholly-owned small business investment companies, or SBICs. Our SBIC subsidiaries, Hercules Technology II, L.P., or HT II, and Hercules Technology III, L.P., or HT III, hold approximately $104.8 million and $271.5 million in assets, respectively, and accounted for approximately 5.8% and 14.9% of our total assets, respectively, prior to consolidation at June 30, 2017. At June 30, 2017, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA-guaranteed debentures in our SBIC subsidiaries. See “Regulation—Small Business Administration Regulations” for additional information regarding our SBIC subsidiaries. As of June 30, 2017, our investment professionals, including Manuel A. Henriquez, our co-founder, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, are currently comprised of 34 professionals who have, on average, more than 15 years of experience in venture capital, structured finance, commercial lending or acquisition finance with the types of technology-related companies that we are targeting. We believe that we can leverage the experience and relationships of our management team to successfully identify attractive investment opportunities, underwrite prospective portfolio companies and structure customized financing solutions.

 



 

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The following chart shows the ownership structure and relationship of certain entities with us.

 

 

LOGO

Our Market Opportunity

We believe that technology-related companies compete in one of the largest and most rapidly growing sectors of the U.S. economy and that continued growth is supported by ongoing innovation and performance improvements in technology products as well as the adoption of technology across virtually all industries in response to competitive pressures. We believe that an attractive market opportunity exists for a specialty finance company focused primarily on investments in structured debt with warrants in technology- related companies for the following reasons:

 

   

technology-related companies have generally been underserved by traditional lending sources;

 

   

unfulfilled demand exists for structured debt financing to technology-related companies due to the complexity of evaluating risk in these investments; and

 

   

structured debt with warrants products are less dilutive and complement equity financing from venture capital and private equity funds.

Technology-Related Companies are Underserved by Traditional Lenders . We believe many viable technology-related companies backed by financial sponsors have been unable to obtain sufficient growth financing from traditional lenders, including financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies because traditional lenders have continued to consolidate and have adopted a more risk-averse approach to lending. More importantly, we believe traditional lenders are typically unable to underwrite the risk associated with these companies effectively.

The unique cash flow characteristics of many technology-related companies typically include significant research and development expenditures and high projected revenue growth thus often making such companies

 



 

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difficult to evaluate from a credit perspective. In addition, the balance sheets of these companies often include a disproportionately large amount of intellectual property assets, which can be difficult to value. Finally, the speed of innovation in technology and rapid shifts in consumer demand and market share add to the difficulty in evaluating technology-related companies.

Due to the difficulties described above, we believe traditional lenders generally refrain from entering the structured debt financing marketplace, instead preferring the risk-reward profile of asset based lending. Traditional lenders generally do not have flexible product offerings that meet the needs of technology-related companies. The financing products offered by traditional lenders typically impose on borrowers many restrictive covenants and conditions, including limiting cash outflows and requiring a significant depository relationship to facilitate rapid liquidation.

Unfulfilled Demand for Structured Debt Financing to Technology-Related Companies . Private debt capital in the form of structured debt financing from specialty finance companies continues to be an important source of funding for technology-related companies. We believe that the level of demand for structured debt financing is a function of the level of annual venture equity investment activity.

We believe that demand for structured debt financing is currently underserved. The venture capital market for the technology-related companies in which we invest has been active. Therefore, to the extent we have capital available, we believe this is an opportune time to be active in the structured lending market for technology-related companies.

Structured Debt with Warrants Products Complement Equity Financing From Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds. We believe that technology-related companies and their financial sponsors will continue to view structured debt securities as an attractive source of capital because it augments the capital provided by venture capital and private equity funds. We believe that our structured debt with warrants products provide access to growth capital that otherwise may only be available through incremental investments by existing equity investors. As such, we provide portfolio companies and their financial sponsors with an opportunity to diversify their capital sources. Generally, we believe many technology-related companies at all stages of development target a portion of their capital to be debt in an attempt to achieve a higher valuation through internal growth. In addition, because financial sponsor-backed companies have reached a more mature stage prior to reaching a liquidity event, we believe our investments could provide the debt capital needed to grow or recapitalize during the extended period sometimes required prior to liquidity events.

Our Business Strategy

Our strategy to achieve our investment objective includes the following key elements:

Leverage the Experience and Industry Relationships of Our Management Team and Investment Professionals . We have assembled a team of experienced investment professionals with extensive experience as venture capitalists, commercial lenders, and originators of structured debt and equity investments in technology-related companies. Our investment professionals have, on average, more than 15 years of experience as equity investors in, and/or lenders to, technology-related companies. In addition, our team members have originated structured debt, debt with warrants and equity investments in over 380 technology-related companies, representing approximately $6.9 billion in commitments from inception to June 30, 2017, and have developed a network of industry contacts with investors and other participants within the venture capital and private equity communities. In addition, members of our management team also have operational, research and development and finance experience with technology-related companies. We have established contacts with leading venture capital and private equity fund sponsors, public and private companies, research institutions and other industry participants, which we believe will enable us to identify and attract well-positioned prospective portfolio companies.

 



 

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We focus our investing activities generally in industries in which our investment professionals have investment experience. We believe that our focus on financing technology-related companies will enable us to leverage our expertise in structuring prospective investments, to assess the value of both tangible and intangible assets, to evaluate the business prospects and operating characteristics of technology-related companies and to identify and originate potentially attractive investments with these types of companies.

Mitigate Risk of Principal Loss and Build a Portfolio of Equity-Related Securities . We expect that our investments have the potential to produce attractive risk-adjusted returns through current income, in the form of interest and fee income, as well as capital appreciation from warrant and equity-related securities. We believe that we can mitigate the risk of loss on our debt investments through the combination of loan principal amortization, cash interest payments, relatively short maturities (typically between 24-48 months), security interests in the assets of our portfolio companies, and on select investment covenants requiring prospective portfolio companies to have certain amounts of available cash at the time of our investment and the continued support from a venture capital or private equity firm at the time we make our investment. Although we do not currently engage in hedging transactions, we may engage in hedging transactions in the future utilizing instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars, and floors.

Historically our structured debt investments to technology-related companies typically include warrants or other equity interests, giving us the potential to realize equity-like returns on a portion of our investment. In addition, in some cases, we receive the right to make additional equity investments in our portfolio companies, including the right to convert some portion of our debt into equity, in connection with future equity financing rounds. We believe these equity interests will create the potential for meaningful long-term capital gains in connection with the future liquidity events of these technology-related companies.

Provide Customized Financing Complementary to Financial Sponsors’ Capital . We offer a broad range of investment structures and possess expertise and experience to effectively structure and price investments in technology-related companies. Unlike many of our competitors that only invest in companies that fit a specific set of investment parameters, we have the flexibility to structure our investments to suit the particular needs of our portfolio companies. We offer customized financing solutions ranging from senior debt, including below-investment grade debt instruments (also known as “junk bonds”), to equity capital, with a focus on structured debt with warrants.

We use our relationships in the financial sponsor community to originate investment opportunities. Because venture capital and private equity funds typically invest solely in the equity securities of their portfolio companies, we believe that our debt investments will be viewed as an attractive and complimentary source of capital, both by the portfolio company and by the portfolio company’s financial sponsor. In addition, we believe that many venture capital and private equity fund sponsors encourage their portfolio companies to use debt financing for a portion of their capital needs as a means of potentially enhancing equity returns, minimizing equity dilution and increasing valuations prior to a subsequent equity financing round or a liquidity event.

Invest at Various Stages of Development . We provide growth capital to technology-related companies at all stages of development, including select publicly listed companies and select special opportunity lower middle market companies that require additional capital to fund acquisitions, recapitalizations and refinancings and established-stage companies. We believe that this provides us with a broader range of potential investment opportunities than those available to many of our competitors, who generally focus their investments on a particular stage in a company’s development. Because of the flexible structure of our investments and the extensive experience of our investment professionals, we believe we are well positioned to take advantage of these investment opportunities at all stages of prospective portfolio companies’ development.

Benefit from Our Efficient Organizational Structure. We believe that the perpetual nature of our corporate structure enables us to be a long-term partner for our portfolio companies in contrast to traditional investment

 



 

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funds, which typically have a limited life. In addition, because of our access to the equity markets, we believe that we may benefit from a lower cost of capital than that available to private investment funds. We are not subject to requirements to return invested capital to investors nor do we have a finite investment horizon. Capital providers that are subject to such limitations are often required to seek a liquidity event more quickly than they otherwise might, which can result in a lower overall return on an investment.

Deal Sourcing Through Our Proprietary Database . We have developed a proprietary and comprehensive structured query language-based (“SQL”) database system to track various aspects of our investment process including sourcing, originations, transaction monitoring and post-investment performance. As of June 30, 2017, our proprietary SQL-based database system included approximately 48,000 technology-related companies and approximately 9,600 venture capital firms, private equity sponsors/investors, as well as various other industry contacts. This proprietary SQL system allows us to maintain, cultivate and grow our industry relationships while providing us with comprehensive details on companies in the technology-related industries and their financial sponsors.

Dividend Reinvestment Plan

We maintain an “opt-out” dividend reinvestment plan that provides for reinvestment of our distribution on behalf of our stockholders, unless a stockholder elects to receive cash. See “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.” Those stockholders whose shares are held by a broker or other financial intermediary may receive distributions in cash by notifying their broker or other financial intermediary of their election.

Taxation

Effective January 1, 2006, we elected to be treated for tax purposes as a RIC under the Code. As a RIC, we generally will not be subject to corporate-level federal income taxes on any ordinary income or capital gains that we distribute as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes to our stockholders, which allows us to reduce or eliminate our corporate level tax. See “Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.” To maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, we must meet specified source-of-income and asset diversification requirements and distribute each taxable year dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes of an amount generally at least equal to 90% of the sum of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any, out of assets legally available for distribution. There is no assurance that we will meet these tests and be able to maintain our RIC status. If we do not qualify as a RIC, we would be subject to tax as a C corporation.

Assuming we continue to be treated as a RIC under the Code, distributions from our taxable earnings (including net realized securities gains) paid to our U.S. resident shareholders generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at rates applicable to ordinary income or capital gains, as appropriate, and all or a portion of such distributions paid to qualifying shareholders not resident in the U.S. ( i.e. , foreign shareholders) generally would not be subject U.S. nonresident withholding tax. See “Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.”

Use of Proceeds

We intend to use the net proceeds from selling our securities for general corporate purposes, which includes investing in debt and equity securities, repayment of indebtedness and other general corporate purposes. The supplement to this prospectus relating to an offering will more fully identify the use of proceeds from such offering.

 



 

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Leverage

We borrow funds to make additional investments, and we have granted, and may in the future grant, a security interest in our assets to a lender in connection with any such borrowings, including any borrowings by any of our subsidiaries. We use this practice, which is known as “leverage,” to attempt to increase returns to our common stockholders. However, leverage involves significant risks. See “Risk Factors.” With certain limited exceptions, we are only allowed to borrow amounts such that our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% after such borrowing. We received an exemptive order from the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, that allows us to exclude all SBA leverage from our asset coverage ratio. The amount of leverage that we employ will depend on our assessment of market and other factors at the time of any proposed borrowing. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition, Liquidity, and Capital Resources” for additional information related to our outstanding debt.

Distributions

As a RIC, we are required to distribute dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes each taxable year to our stockholders of an amount at least equal to 90% of the sum of our net ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any. We are not subject to corporate level income taxation on income we timely distribute as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes to our stockholders. See “Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.” We pay regular quarterly distributions based upon an estimate of annual taxable income available for distribution to stockholders as well as the amount of any taxable income carried over from the prior taxable year for distribution in the current taxable year.

Principal Risk Factors

Investing in our common stock may be speculative and involves certain risks relating to our structure and our investment objective that you should consider before deciding whether to invest. In addition, we expect that our portfolio will continue to consist primarily of securities issued by privately-held technology-related companies, which generally require additional capital to become profitable. These investments may involve a high degree of business and financial risk, and they are generally illiquid. Our portfolio companies typically will require additional outside capital beyond our investment in order to succeed or to fully repay the amounts owed to us. A large number of entities compete for the same kind of investment opportunities as we seek.

We borrow funds to make our investments in portfolio companies. As a result, we are exposed to the risks of leverage, which may be considered a speculative investment technique. Borrowings magnify the potential for gain and loss on amounts invested and, therefore increase the risks associated with investing in our common stock. Also, we are subject to certain risks associated with valuing our portfolio, changing interest rates, accessing additional capital, fluctuating quarterly results, and operating in a regulated environment. See “Risk Factors” for a discussion of factors you should carefully consider before deciding whether to invest in our securities.

Certain Anti-Takeover Provisions

Our charter and bylaws, as well as certain statutes and regulations, contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a third party from making an acquisition proposal for our company. This could delay or prevent a transaction that could give our stockholders the opportunity to realize a premium over the price for their securities.

 



 

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Recent Developments

Evaluation of Alternative Management Structures

On May 3, 2017, we filed preliminary proxy materials with the SEC for a special meeting of stockholders to seek approval for a proposed advisory agreement with Hamilton Advisers LLC. However, after receiving feedback from our stockholders, on May 15, 2017, we decided to postpone the proposed special meeting of stockholders indefinitely and formally withdrew the proxy materials containing our proposal seeking stockholder approval of our plans to externalize our management structure to expand our ongoing review process. We, along with our professional advisors, are currently evaluating alternatives with respect to our management structure. The evaluation process is still ongoing, and we are continuing to move forward in evaluating various options, but we currently have no definitive timeline for completion. While internal management has served us well since our formation, our board of directors (the “Board of Directors”) has concluded that there are limitations to that management structure that may operate to our disadvantage. To that end, we are exploring the possibility of externalizing our management structure as a means of addressing those concerns; and, we are also examining various alternatives that could be pursued with respect to externalization if we determine that externalization is the proper course to follow. We and our independent directors are working with advisors to assist in these efforts. This program will result in us incurring additional and unusual expense until this project is concluded. Should we determine to pursue externalization, which would be subject to approval by our stockholders, it could involve some disruption (at least on a temporary basis) and expense during the period of transition.

Distribution Declaration

On July 26, 2017, our Board of Directors declared a cash distribution of $0.31 per share to be paid on August 21, 2017 to stockholders of record as of August 14, 2017. This distribution represented our forty-eighth consecutive distribution since our initial public offering, bringing the total cumulative distribution to date to $13.40 per share.

Closed and Pending Commitments

As of August 30, 2017, we have:

 

   

Closed debt and equity commitments of approximately $93.2 million to new and existing portfolio companies and funded approximately $73.5 million subsequent to June 30, 2017.

 

   

Pending commitments (signed non-binding term sheets) of approximately $20.0 million. The table below summarizes our year-to-date closed and pending commitments as follows:

 

Closed Commitments and Pending Commitments (in millions)

  

January 1—June 30, 2017 Closed Commitments

   $ 397.0  

July 1—August 30, 2017 Closed Commitments (a)

   $ 93.2  

Pending Commitments (as of August 30, 2017) (b)

   $ 20.0  
  

 

 

 

Closed and Pending Commitments as of August 30, 2017

   $ 510.2  
  

 

 

 

 

a. Closed Commitments may include renewals of existing credit facilities. Not all Closed Commitments result in future cash requirements. Commitments generally fund over the two succeeding quarters from close.
b. Not all pending commitments (signed non-binding term sheets) are expected to close and they do not necessarily represent any future cash requirements.

Portfolio Company Developments

As of August 30, 2017, we held warrants or equity positions in six companies that have filed registration statements on Form S-1 with the SEC in contemplation of potential initial public offerings. All six companies

 



 

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filed confidentially under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”). There can be no assurance that these companies will complete their initial public offerings in a timely manner or at all. In addition, subsequent to June 30, 2017, our portfolio companies announced the following liquidity events:

 

  1. JumpStart Games, Inc. was acquired by NetDragon Websoft Holdings Limited, a global leader in building internet communities. The acquisition was completed by NetDragon in Hong Kong on July 4, 2017. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Hercules initially committed $13.0 million in venture debt financing to JumpStart in March 2014. Hercules is scheduled to receive quarterly interest payments through June 30, 2018; and the potential to receive principal repayment of a portion of its outstanding obligation at maturity on June 30, 2018, subject to adjustments of JumpStart.

 

  2. Nasty Gal, a Los Angeles, CA-based fashion retail website for girls that sells vintage clothing, shoes and accessories, was acquired in February 2017 by Boohoo.com, a Manchester, England-based online fashion retailer, for $20.0 million in consideration for Nasty Gal’s intellectual property assets and customer databases. Hercules initially committed $20.0 million in venture debt financing. On February 28, 2017, Hercules received a partial payment of $12.6 million from the sale of Nasty Gal assets, with full repayment expected upon close of escrow. In July 2017, Hercules received final payment. The Company realized an IRR of approximately 19.1% from its loan repayments and equity/warrant gains.

 

  3. Jaguar Animal Health, Inc. (NASDAQ: JAGX) entered a binding merger agreement on May 26, 2017 with Napo Pharmaceuticals, a company that focuses on the development and commercialization of proprietary pharmaceuticals for the global marketplace in collaboration with local partners. In addition, Jaguar Animal Health and Napo Pharmaceuticals announced the filing of two Orphan Drug Designation Applications with U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for Mytesi for serious unmet medical needs.

The merger became effective on July 31, 2017, at which point Jaguar Animal Health’s name changed to Jaguar Health, Inc. and Napo began operating as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jaguar. Although Jaguar’s name has changed, the public company will continue to trade under the same Nasdaq ticker symbol: JAGX.

Departure of Officer

On June 26, 2017, Andrew Olson announced his resignation, effective July 21, 2017, from his position as Vice President of Finance and Senior Controller. Gerard R. Waldt, Jr., the Company’s current Assistant Controller, will assume the position of Controller.

General Information

Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 310, Palo Alto, California 94301, and our telephone number is (650) 289-3060. We also have offices in Boston, MA, New York, NY, Washington, DC, Santa Monica, CA, Hartford, CT and San Diego, CA. We maintain a website on the Internet at www.htgc.com. We make available, free of charge, on our website our proxy statement, annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Information contained on our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus, and you should not consider that information to be part of this prospectus.

 



 

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We file annual, quarterly and current periodic reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC, under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act. This information is available at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You may obtain information about the operation of the SEC’s public reference room by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. In addition, the SEC maintains an Internet website, at www.sec.gov, that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, including us, who file documents electronically with the SEC.

 



 

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FEES AND EXPENSES

The following table is intended to assist you in understanding the various costs and expenses that an investor in our common stock will bear directly or indirectly. However, we caution you that some of the percentages indicated in the table below are estimates and may vary. The footnotes to the fee table state which items are estimates. Except where the context suggests otherwise, whenever this prospectus contains a reference to fees or expenses paid by “you” or “us” or that “we” will pay fees or expenses, stockholders will indirectly bear such fees or expenses as investors in Hercules Capital, Inc.

 

Stockholder Transaction Expenses (as a percentage of the public offering price):

  

Sales load (as a percentage of offering price) (1)

     —  

Offering expenses

     —   % (2)  

Dividend reinvestment plan fees

     —   % (3)  
  

 

 

 

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

     —   % (4)  
  

 

 

 

Annual Expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common stock): (5)

  

Operating expenses

     5.71 % (6)(7)  

Interest and fees paid in connection with borrowed funds

     5.53 % (8)  
  

 

 

 

Total annual expenses

     11.24 % (9)  
  

 

 

 

 

(1) In the event that our securities are sold to or through underwriters, a corresponding prospectus supplement to this prospectus will disclose the applicable sales load.
(2) In the event that we conduct an offering of our securities, a corresponding prospectus supplement to this prospectus will disclose the estimated offering expenses.
(3) The expenses associated with the administration of our dividend reinvestment plan are included in “Operating expenses.” We pay all brokerage commissions incurred with respect to open market purchases, if any, made by the administrator under the plan. For more details about the plan, see “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.”
(4) Total stockholder transaction expenses may include sales load and will be disclosed in a future prospectus supplement, if any.
(5) “Net assets attributable to common stock” equals the weighted average net assets for the six-months ended June 30, 2017, which is approximately $834.2 million.
(6) “Operating expenses” represent our estimated operating expenses by annualizing our actual operating expenses incurred for the six-months ended June 30, 2017, including all fees and expenses of our consolidated subsidiaries and excluding interests and fees on indebtedness. This percentage for the year ended December 31, 2016 was 6.21%. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Management.”
(7) We do not have an investment adviser and are internally managed by our executive officers under the supervision of our Board of Directors. As a result, we do not pay investment advisory fees, but instead we pay the operating costs associated with employing investment management professionals.
(8) “Interest and fees paid in connection with borrowed funds” represents our estimated interest, fees and credit facility expenses by annualizing our actual interest fees, and credit facility expenses incurred for the six-months ended June 30, 2017, including our Wells Facility, Union Bank Facility, the 2024 Notes, the 2022 Convertible Notes, the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes and the SBA debentures, each of which is defined herein. This percentage for the year ended December 31, 2016 was 5.04%.
(9) “Total annual expenses” is the sum of “operating expenses,” and “interest and fees paid in connection with borrowed funds.” This percentage for the year ended December 31, 2016 was 11.25%. “Total annual expenses” is presented as a percentage of weighted average net assets attributable to common stockholders, because the holders of shares of our common stock (and not the holders of our debt securities or preferred stock, if any) bear all of our fees and expenses, including the fees and expenses of our wholly-owned consolidated subsidiaries, all of which are included in this fee table presentation.

 

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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. These amounts are based upon our payment of annual operating expenses at the levels set forth in the table above and assume no additional leverage.

 

     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

   $ 109      $ 307      $ 483      $ 836  

The example and the expenses in the tables above should not be considered a representation of our future expenses, and actual expenses may be greater or lesser than those shown. Moreover, while the example assumes, as required by the applicable rules of the SEC, a 5% annual return, our performance will vary and may result in a return greater or lesser than 5%. In addition, while the example assumes reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value (“NAV”), participants in our dividend reinvestment plan may receive shares valued at the market price in effect at that time. This price may be at, above or below NAV. See “Dividend Reinvestment Plan” for additional information regarding our dividend reinvestment plan.

 

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SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Senior Securities” and the consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere herein. The selected balance sheet data as of the end of fiscal year 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 and the financial statement of operations data for fiscal 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 has been derived from our audited financial statements, which have been audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, our independent registered public accounting firm, but not all of which are presented in this Form N-2.” The historical data are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for any future period. The selected financial and other data for the six months ended June 30, 2017 and other quarterly financial information is derived from our unaudited financial statements, but in the opinion of management, reflects all adjustments (consisting only of normal recurring adjustments) that are necessary to present fairly the results of such interim periods. Interim results as of and for the six months ended June 30, 2017 are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for the year ending December 31, 2017.

 

     For the Six-Months
Ended June 30,
(unaudited)
    For the Year Ended December 31,  

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

   2017     2016     2016     2015     2014     2013      2012  

Investment income:

               

Interest

   $ 83,367     $ 76,095     $ 158,727     $ 140,266     $ 126,618     $ 123,671      $ 87,603  

Fees

     11,450       6,382       16,324       16,866       17,047       16,042        9,917  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total investment income

     94,817       82,477       175,051       157,132       143,665       139,713        97,520  

Operating expenses:

               

Interest

     18,861       14,589       32,016       30,834       28,041       30,334        19,835  

Loan fees

     4,186       2,267       5,042       6,055       5,919       4,807        3,917  

General and administrative:

               

Legal expenses

     2,867       2,677       4,823       3,079       1,366       1,440        799  

Other expenses

     5,947       5,303       11,283       13,579       8,843       7,914        7,309  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total general and administrative

     8,814       7,980       16,106       16,658       10,209       9,354        8,108  

Employee Compensation:

               

Compensation and benefits

     11,262       10,016       22,500       20,713       16,604       16,179        13,326  

Stock-based compensation

     3,742       4,174       7,043       9,370       9,561       5,974        4,227  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total employee compensation

     15,004       14,190       29,543       30,083       26,165       22,153        17,553  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

     46,865       39,026       82,707       83,630       70,334       66,648        49,413  

Other income (loss)

     —         —       8,000       (1     (1,581     —        —    
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net investment income

     47,952       43,451       100,344       73,501       71,750       73,065        48,107  

Net realized gain (loss) on investments

     (2,475     (4,443     4,576       5,147       20,112       14,836        3,168  

Net change in unrealized appreciation (depreciation) on investments

     (17,916     (15,238     (36,217     (35,732     (20,674     11,545        (4,516 )
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total net realized and unrealized gain (loss)

     (20,391     (19,681     (31,641     (30,585     (562     26,381        (1,348 )
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from operations

   $ 27,561     $ 23,770     $ 68,703     $ 42,916     $ 71,188     $ 99,446      $ 46,759  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Change in net assets per common share (basic)

   $ 0.33     $ 0.32     $ 0.91     $ 0.60     $ 1.12     $ 1.67      $ 0.93  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

Distributions declared per common share:

   $ 0.62     $ 0.62     $ 1.24     $ 1.24     $ 1.24     $ 1.11      $ 0.95  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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    For the Six-Months
Ended June 30,
(unaudited)
    For the Year Ended December 31,  

(in thousands, except per share amounts)

  2017     2016     2016     2015     2014     2013     2012  

Balance sheet data:

             

Investments, at value

  $ 1,395,469     $ 1,291,310     $ 1,423,942     $ 1,200,638     $ 1,020,737     $ 910,295     $ 906,300  

Cash and cash equivalents

    160,412       13,478       13,044       95,196       227,116       268,368       182,994  

Total assets

    1,588,709       1,331,815       1,464,204       1,334,761       1,299,223       1,221,715       1,123,643  

Total liabilities

    771,258       613,435       676,260       617,627       640,359       571,708       607,675  

Total net assets

    817,451       718,380       787,943       717,134       658,864       650,007       515,968  

Other Data:

             

Total return (3)

    (2.04 %)     7.24 %     26.87     (9.70 %)      (1.75 %)      58.49     28.28 %

Total debt investments, at value

    1,287,623       1,211,782       1,328,803       1,110,209       923,906       821,988       827,540  

Total warrant investments, at value

    32,530       25,091       27,485       22,987       25,098       35,637       29,550  

Total equity investments, at value

    75,316       65,905       67,654       67,442       71,733       52,670       49,210  

Unfunded Commitments (2)

    57,595       71,157       59,683       75,402       147,689       69,091       19,265  

Net asset value per share (1)

  $ 9.87     $ 9.66     $ 9.90     $ 9.94     $ 10.18     $ 10.51     $ 9.75  

 

(1) Based on common shares outstanding at period end
(2) Amount represents unfunded commitments, including undrawn revolving facilities, which are available at the request of the portfolio company. Amount excludes unfunded commitments which are unavailable due to the borrower having not met certain milestones.
(3) The total return equals the change in the ending market value over the beginning of the period price per share plus distributions paid per share during the period, divided by the beginning price assuming the distribution is reinvested on the date of the issuance. The total return does not reflect any sales load that must be paid by investors.

The following tables set forth certain quarterly financial information for each of the last eight quarters ended December 31, 2016 and the quarters ending March 31, 2017 and June 30, 2017. This information was derived from the Company’s unaudited consolidated financial statements. Results for any quarter are not necessarily indicative of results for the full year or for any further quarter.

 

     For the Quarter Ended
(unaudited)
 

(in thousands, except per share data)

   June 30,
2017
     March 31,
2017
 

Total investment income

   $ 48,452      $ 46,365  

Net investment income

     25,275        22,678  

Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from operations

     33,149        (5,588 )

Change in net assets resulting from operations per common share (basic)

   $ 0.40      $ (0.07 )

 

     Quarter Ended  

(in thousands, except per share data)

   March 31,
2016
     June 30,
2016
     September 30,
2016
     December 31,
2016
 

Total investment income

   $ 38,939      $ 43,538      $ 45,102      $ 47,472  

Net investment income

     20,097        23,354        23,776        33,117  

Net increase in net assets resulting from operations

     14,295        9,475        30,812        14,121  

Change in net assets resulting from operations per common share (basic)

   $ 0.20      $ 0.13      $ 0.41      $ 0.18  

 

     Quarter Ended  
     March 31,
2015
     June 30,
2015
     September 30,
2015
     December 31,
2015
 

Total investment income

   $ 32,494      $ 38,126      $ 47,132      $ 39,380  

Net investment income

     12,993        16,781        23,590        20,137  

Net increase in net assets resulting from operations

     21,919        2,752        4,075        14,170  

Change in net assets resulting from operations per common share (basic)

   $ 0.33      $ 0.03      $ 0.05      $ 0.20  

 

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RISK FACTORS

Investing in our securities may be speculative and involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks described below and all other information contained in this prospectus, including our financial statements and the related notes and the schedules and exhibits to this prospectus. The risks set forth below are not the only risks we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or not presently deemed material by us may also impair our operations and performance. 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.

Risks Related to our Business Structure

We are evaluating alternative management structures.

We, along with our professional advisors, are currently evaluating alternatives with respect to our management structure. While internal management has served us well since our formation, the Board of Directors has concluded that there are limitations to that management structure that may operate to our disadvantage. As an internally managed business development company, the size and categories of our assets under management is limited. Assuming we remain internally managed, we are and will be unable to offer as wide a variety of financial products to prospective portfolio companies and sponsors as an externally managed business development company, which has a greater ability to spread its operating costs over a larger, more diversified asset base, enabling the funds it advises to benefit from cost savings and greater management resources. Additionally, as an internally managed business development company, our ability to offer more competitive and flexible compensation structures, such as offering both a profit sharing plan and an equity incentive plan, is subject to the limitations imposed by the 1940 Act, which limits our ability to attract and retain talented investment management professionals. As such, if we remain an internally managed business development company, these limitations could inhibit our ability to grow, pursue our business plan and attract and retain professional talent, any or all of which may have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

To that end, we are exploring the possibility of externalizing our management structure as a means of addressing those concerns; and, we are also examining various alternatives that could be pursued with respect to externalization if we determine that externalization is the proper course to follow. We and our independent directors are working with advisors to assist in these efforts. This program will result in us incurring additional and unusual expense until this project is concluded. Should we determine to pursue externalization, which would be subject to approval by our stockholders, it could involve some disruption (at least on a temporary basis) and expense during the period of transition including, among other things, those arising from the transition of our current employees and investment professionals, along with the transition for the responsibility of the provision of certain key services for our business moving from the Company to an external investment adviser and/or administrator. There can be no assurance regarding the outcome of our examination of alternatives, including with respect to whether the Board of Directors recommends externalization to our stockholders, the terms of any external management agreement (including with respect to fees) or the identity of any external manager that may be recommended by the Board of Directors.

As an internally managed business development company, we are subject to certain restrictions that may adversely affect our business.

We are currently evaluating alternatives with respect to our management structure, including externalizing our management structure. We have not decided on any course of action, and there can be no assurance regarding the outcome of our examination of alternatives, including with respect to whether we decide to recommend externalization of our management to our stockholders. If we remain an internally managed business development company, we will continue to be subject to certain restrictions that may place us at a competitive disadvantage to other similar business development companies that are externally managed. As an internally

 

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managed business development company, the size and categories of our assets under management is limited, and we are unable to offer as wide a variety of financial products to prospective portfolio companies and sponsors (potentially limiting the size and diversification of our asset base). We therefore may not achieve efficiencies of scale and greater management resources available to externally managed business development companies. Additionally, as an internally managed business development company, our ability to offer more competitive and flexible compensation structures, such as offering both a profit sharing plan and an equity incentive plan, is subject to the limitations imposed by the 1940 Act, which limits our ability to attract and retain talented investment management professionals. As such, if we remain an internally managed business development company, these limitations could inhibit our ability to grow, pursue our business plan and attract and retain professional talent, any or all of which may have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we externalize our management structure, we will be dependent upon key personnel of the external adviser.

If we externalize our management structure, the external adviser will depend on the efforts, skills, reputations and business contacts of its key personnel, the information and deal flow they and others generate during the normal course of their activities and the synergies among the diverse fields of expertise and knowledge held by the external adviser’s professionals. The loss of the services of any of them could have a material adverse effect on us and could harm the external adviser’s ability to manage our business.

If we externalize our management structure, our external adviser may experience conflicts of interest in connection with the management of the Company.

If we externalize our management structure, our external adviser may experience conflicts of interest in connection with the management of the Company, including, but not limited to, the following:

 

   

The members, officers and other personnel of the external adviser allocate their time, resources and other services between the Company and other investment and business activities in which they may be involved. This may include providing a broad range of financial services to companies in which we invest, in compliance with applicable law, and generally being paid fees for such services. Accordingly, they may have obligations to such other entities, the fulfillment of which obligations may not be in the best interests of us or our stockholders;

 

   

The external adviser may compete with certain of its affiliates, including other entities it manages, for investments for us, subjecting the external adviser to potential conflicts of interest in evaluating the suitability of investment opportunities and making or recommending acquisitions on our behalf;

 

   

The compensation payable by us to the external adviser will be approved by the Board of Directors consistent with the exercise of the requisite standard of care applicable to trustees under state law. Such compensation is payable, in most cases, regardless of the quality of the assets acquired, the services provided to us or whether we make distributions to stockholders. There is the possibility that if we are managed by an external investment adviser, we will be subject to higher fees and expenses, but such arrangements will not be determined until the specific fee arrangement entered into with the external adviser is finalized;

 

   

Affiliated investment vehicles formed in the future and managed by the external adviser or its affiliates may have overlapping investment objectives with our own and, accordingly, may invest in asset classes similar to those targeted by us. As a result, the external adviser may face conflicts in allocating investment opportunities between us and such other entities;

 

   

The external adviser and its affiliates may not be not restricted from forming additional investment funds, from entering into other investment advisory relationships (including, among others, relationships with clients that are employee benefit plans subject to ERISA and related regulations), or from engaging in other business activities without the prior approval of our stockholders or our Board

 

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of Directors, even though such activities may be in competition with us and/or may involve substantial time and resources of the external adviser, which could detract from the external adviser’s time spent on our business;

 

   

The external adviser and its affiliates may give advice and recommend securities to other clients which may differ from, or be contrary to, advice given to, or securities recommended or bought for, us even though their investment objectives may be similar to ours; and

 

   

To the extent not restricted by confidentiality requirements or applicable law, the external adviser may apply experience and information gained in providing services to our portfolio companies in providing services to competing companies invested in by affiliates’ other clients.

As an internally managed business development company, we are dependent upon key management personnel for their time availability and for our future success, particularly Manuel A. Henriquez, and if we are not able to hire and retain qualified personnel, or if we lose any member of our senior management team, our ability to implement our business strategy could be significantly harmed.

As an internally managed business development company, our ability to achieve our investment objectives and to make distributions to our stockholders depends upon the performance of our senior management. We depend upon the members of our senior management, particularly Mr. Henriquez, as well as other key personnel for the identification, final selection, structuring, closing and monitoring of our investments. These employees have critical industry experience and relationships on which we rely to implement our business plan. If we lose the services of Mr. Henriquez or any senior management members, we may not be able to operate the business as we expect, and our ability to compete could be harmed, which could cause our operating results to suffer. Furthermore, we do not have an employment agreement with Mr. Henriquez or our senior management that restricts them from creating new investment vehicles subject to compliance with applicable law. We believe our future success will depend, in part, on our ability to identify, attract and retain sufficient numbers of highly skilled employees. If we do not succeed in identifying, attracting and retaining such personnel, we may not be able to operate our business as we expect.

As an internally managed business development company, our compensation structure is determined and set by our Board of Directors. This structure currently includes salary and bonus and incentive compensation, which is issued through grants and subsequent vesting of restricted stock. We are not generally permitted by the 1940 Act to employ an incentive compensation structure that directly ties performance of our investment portfolio and results of operations to compensation owing to our granting of restricted stock as incentive compensation.

Members of our senior management may receive offers of more flexible and attractive compensation arrangements from other companies, particularly from investment advisers to externally managed business development companies that are not subject to the same limitations on incentive-based compensation that we, as an internally managed business development company are subject to. We do not currently have agreements with our senior management that prohibit them from leaving and competing with our business. In addition, the evaluation of alternative management structures discussed above may lead to changes in our management structure. A departure by one or more members of our senior management could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business model depends to a significant extent upon strong referral relationships with venture capital and private equity fund sponsors, and our inability to develop or maintain these relationships, or the failure of these relationships to generate investment opportunities, could adversely affect our business.

We expect that members of our management team will maintain their relationships with venture capital and private equity firms, and we will rely to a significant extent upon these relationships to provide us with our deal flow. If we fail to maintain our existing relationships, our relationships become strained as a result of enforcing our rights with respect to non-performing portfolio companies in protecting our investments or we fail to develop

 

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new relationships with other firms or sources of investment opportunities, then we will not be able to grow our investment portfolio. In addition, persons with whom members of our management team have relationships are not obligated to provide us with investment opportunities and, therefore, there is no assurance that such relationships will lead to the origination of debt or other investments.

We may be the target of litigation.

We may be the target of securities litigation in the future, particularly if the trading price of our common stock and our debt securities fluctuates significantly. We could also generally be subject to litigation, including derivative actions by our stockholders. Any litigation could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business and cause a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities, and we may not be able to compete effectively.

A number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments that we plan to make in prospective portfolio companies. We compete with a large number of venture capital and private equity firms, as well as with other investment funds, business development companies, investment banks and other sources of financing, including traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks and finance companies. Many of our competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and/or access to funding sources that are not available to us. This may enable some competitors to make loans with interest rates that are comparable to or lower than the rates that we typically offer.

A significant increase in the number and/or the size of our competitors, including traditional commercial lenders and other financing sources, in technology-related industries could force us to accept less attractive investment terms. We may be unable to capitalize on certain opportunities if we do not match competitors’ pricing, terms and structure. If we do match competitors’ pricing, terms or structure, we may experience decreased net interest income and increased risk of credit losses. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments, establish more relationships and build their market shares. An increasing number of competitors may also have the effect of compressing our margins, which could harm our ability to retain employees, increase our operating costs, and decrease the amount and frequency of future distributions. Furthermore, many potential competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a business development company or that the Code imposes on us as a RIC. If we are not able to compete effectively, our business, financial condition, and results of operations will be adversely affected. As a result of this competition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to identify and take advantage of attractive investment opportunities, or that we will be able to fully invest our available capital.

If we are unable to manage our future growth effectively, we may be unable to achieve our investment objective, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations and cause the value of your investment to decline.

Our ability to achieve our investment objective will depend on our ability to sustain growth. Sustaining growth will depend, in turn, on our senior management team’s ability to identify, evaluate, finance and invest in suitable companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our marketing capabilities, our management of the investment process, our ability to provide efficient services and our access to financing sources on acceptable terms. Organizational growth and scale-up of our investments could strain our existing managerial, investment, financial and other resources. Management of the Company’s growth divert financial resources from other projects. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could lead to a decrease in our future distributions and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Because we intend to distribute substantially all of our income to our stockholders in order to qualify as a RIC, we will continue to need additional capital to finance our growth. If additional funds are unavailable or not available on favorable terms, our ability to grow will be impaired.

In order to satisfy the tax requirements applicable to a RIC, to avoid being subject to excise taxes and to minimize or avoid being subject to income taxes, we intend to make distributions to our stockholders treated as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes generally of an amount at least equal to substantially all of our net ordinary income and realized net capital gains except for certain realized net capital gains, which we may retain, pay applicable income taxes with respect thereto and elect to treat as deemed distributions to our stockholders. As a business development company, we generally are required to meet a coverage ratio of total assets to total borrowings and other senior securities, which includes all of our borrowings and any preferred stock that we may issue in the future, of at least 200%. This requirement limits the amount that we may borrow. This limitation may prevent us from incurring debt and require us to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. We cannot assure you that debt and equity financing will be available to us on favorable terms, or at all, and debt financings may be restricted by the terms of any of our outstanding borrowings. If we are unable to incur additional debt, we may be required to raise additional equity at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. In addition, shares of closed-end investment companies have recently traded at discounts to their NAV. This characteristic of closed-end investment companies is separate and distinct from the risk that our NAV per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our NAV. If our common stock trades below its NAV, we generally will not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. If additional funds are not available to us, we could be forced to curtail or cease new lending and investment activities, and our NAV could decline. In addition, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Because most of our investments typically are not in publicly-traded securities, there is uncertainty regarding the value of our investments, which could adversely affect the determination of our NAV.

At June 30, 2017, portfolio investments, whose fair value is determined in good faith by the Board of Directors, were approximately 87.8% of our total assets. We expect our investments to continue to consist primarily of securities issued by privately-held companies, the fair value of which is not readily determinable. In addition, we are not permitted to maintain a general reserve for anticipated loan losses. Instead, we are required by the 1940 Act to specifically value each investment and record an unrealized gain or loss for any asset that we believe has increased or decreased in value.

There is no single standard for determining fair value in good faith. We value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors, based on the recommendations of our Audit Committee. In making a good faith determination of the value of these securities, we generally start with the cost basis of each security, which includes the amortized original issue discount, or OID, and payment-in-kind, or PIK, interest, if any. The Audit Committee uses its best judgment in arriving at the fair value of these securities. As a result, determining fair value requires that judgment be applied to the specific facts and circumstances of each portfolio investment while applying a valuation process for the types of investments we make, which includes but is not limited to deriving a hypothetical exit price.

However, the Board of Directors retains ultimate authority as to the appropriate valuation of each investment. Because such valuations are inherently uncertain and may be based on estimates, our determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would be assessed if a ready market for these securities existed. We adjust quarterly the valuation of our portfolio to reflect the Board of Directors’ determination of the fair value of each investment in our portfolio. Any changes in fair value are recorded in our statement of operations as net change in unrealized appreciation or depreciation. Our NAV could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair value of our investments were materially higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon the disposal of such securities.

 

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Because we have substantial indebtedness, there could be increased risk in investing in our company.

Lenders have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of stockholders, and we have granted, and may in the future grant, lenders a security interest in our assets in connection with borrowings. In the case of a liquidation event, those lenders would receive proceeds before our stockholders. In addition, borrowings, also known as leverage, magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and, therefore, increase the risks associated with investing in our securities. Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique. If the value of our assets increases, then leverage would cause the NAV attributable to our common stock to increase more than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged. Conversely, if the value of our assets decreases, leverage would cause the NAV attributable to our common stock to decline more than it otherwise would have had we not used leverage. Similarly, any increase in our revenue in excess of interest expense on our borrowed funds would cause our net income to increase more than it would without the leverage. Any decrease in our revenue would cause our net income to decline more than it would have had we not borrowed funds and could negatively affect our ability to make distributions on common stock. Our ability to service any debt that we incur will depend largely on our financial performance and will be subject to prevailing economic conditions and competitive pressures. We and, indirectly, our stockholders will bear the cost associated with our leverage activity. If we are not able to service our substantial indebtedness, our business could be harmed materially.

Our secured credit facilities with Wells Fargo Capital Finance LLC (the “Wells Facility”) and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. (the “Union Bank Facility,” and together with the Wells Facility, our “Credit Facilities”), our 2024 Notes and our 2021 Asset-Backed Notes (as each term is defined below) contain financial and operating covenants that could restrict our business activities, including our ability to declare dividend distributions if we default under certain provisions.

As of June 30, 2017, we had no borrowings outstanding under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility. In addition, as of June 30, 2017, we had approximately $190.2 million of indebtedness outstanding incurred by our SBIC subsidiaries, approximately $258.5 million in aggregate principal amount of 6.25% notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”), approximately $230.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 4.375% convertible notes due 2022 (the “2022 Convertible Notes”) and approximately $87.7 million in aggregate principal amount of fixed rate asset-backed notes issued in November 2014 (the “2021 Asset-Backed Notes”) in connection with our $237.4 million debt securitization (the “2014 Debt Securitization”).

There can be no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining any additional debt capital on terms acceptable to us or at all. If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies.

As a business development company, generally, we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such distribution or purchase price. If this ratio declines below 200%, we may not be able to incur additional debt and may need to sell a portion of our investments to repay some debt when it is disadvantageous to do so, and we may not be able to make distributions. As of June 30, 2017 our asset coverage ratio under our regulatory requirements as a business development company was 241.9% excluding our SBIC debentures as a result of our exemptive order from the SEC that allows us to exclude all SBA leverage from our asset coverage ratio and was 206.7% when including all SBA leverage.

Based on assumed leverage equal to 93.8% of our net assets as of June 30, 2017, our investment portfolio would have been required to experience an annual return of at least 3.1% to cover annual interest payments on our additional indebtedness.

 

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Illustration. The following table illustrates the effect of leverage on returns from an investment in our common stock assuming various annual returns, net of expenses. The calculations in the table below are hypothetical and actual returns may be higher or lower than those appearing below:

 

     Annual Return on Our Portfolio  
     (Net of Expenses)  
     -10%     -5%     0%     5%     10%  

Corresponding return to stockholder (1)

     (25.54 %)      (15.83 %)      (6.11 %)      3.61     (13.33 %) 

 

(1) Assumes $1.6 billion in total assets, $766.4 million in debt outstanding, $817.5 million in stockholders’ equity, and an average cost of funds of 6.5%, which is the approximate average cost of borrowed funds, including our Credit Facilities, 2022 Convertible Notes, 2024 Notes, our SBA debentures and our 2021 Asset-Backed Notes for the period ended June 30, 2017. Actual interest payments may be different.

It is likely that the terms of any current or future long-term or revolving credit or warehouse facility we may enter into in the future could constrain our ability to grow our business.

Under our borrowings and our Credit Facilities, current lenders have, and any future lender or lenders may have, fixed dollar claims on our assets that are senior to the claims of our stockholders and, thus, will have a preference over our stockholders with respect to our assets pledged as collateral under the Credit Facilities. Our Credit Facilities and borrowings also subject us to various financial and operating covenants, including, but not limited to, maintaining certain financial ratios and minimum tangible net worth amounts. Future credit facilities and borrowings will likely subject us to similar or additional covenants. In addition, we may grant a security interest in our assets in connection with any such credit facilities and borrowings.

Our Credit Facilities generally contain customary default provisions such as a minimum net worth amount, a profitability test, and a restriction on changing our business and loan quality standards. In addition, our Credit Facilities require or are expected to require the repayment of all outstanding debt on the maturity which may disrupt our business and potentially the business of our portfolio companies that are financed through the facilities. An event of default under these facilities would likely result, among other things, in termination of the availability of further funds under the facilities and accelerated maturity dates for all amounts outstanding under the facilities, which would likely disrupt our business and, potentially, the business of the portfolio companies whose loans we finance through the facilities. This could reduce our revenues and, by delaying any cash payment allowed to us under our facilities until the lender has been paid in full, reduce our liquidity and cash flow and impair our ability to grow our business and our ability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

The terms of future available financing may place limits on our financial and operation flexibility. If we are unable to obtain sufficient capital in the future, we may be forced to reduce or discontinue our operations, not be able to make new investments, or otherwise respond to changing business conditions or competitive pressures.

In addition to regulatory requirements that restrict our ability to raise capital, our Credit Facilities and the 2024 Notes contain various covenants which, if not complied with, could require accelerated repayment under the facility or require us to repurchase the 2024 Notes thereby materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay distributions.

The credit agreements governing our Credit Facilities and the 2024 Notes require us to comply with certain financial and operational covenants. These covenants require us to, among other things, maintain certain financial ratios, including asset coverage, debt to equity and interest coverage. Our ability to continue to comply with these covenants in the future depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control. There are no assurances that we will be able to comply with these covenants. Failure to comply with these covenants would result in a default which, if we were unable to obtain a waiver from the lenders under our Credit Facilities and could accelerate repayment under the facilities or the 2024 Notes and thereby have a material adverse impact on our liquidity, financial condition, results of operations and ability to pay a sufficient amount of distributions and

 

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maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC. We may not have enough available cash or be able to obtain financing at the time we are required to make repurchases. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition of Results of Operations—Borrowings.”

We may be unable to obtain debt capital on favorable terms or at all, in which case we would not be able to use leverage to increase the return on our investments.

If we are unable to obtain debt capital, then our equity investors will not benefit from the potential for increased returns on equity resulting from leverage to the extent that our investment strategy is successful and we may be limited in our ability to make new commitments or fundings to our portfolio companies. An inability to obtain debt capital may also limit our ability to refinance existing indebtedness, particularly during periods of adverse credit market conditions when refinancing indebtedness may not be available under interest rates and other terms acceptable to us or at all.

We are subject to certain risks as a result of our interests in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization and our equity interest in the 2014 Securitization Issuer.

On November 13, 2014, in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization and the offering of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes by Hercules Capital Funding Trust 2014-1 (the “2014 Securitization Issuer”), we sold and/or contributed to Hercules Capital Funding 2014-1 LLC, as trust depositor (the “2014 Trust Depositor”), certain senior loans made to certain of our portfolio companies (the “2014 Loans”), which the 2014 Trust Depositor in turn sold and/or contributed to the 2014 Securitization Issuer in exchange for 100% of the equity interest in the 2014 Securitization Issuer, cash proceeds and other consideration. Following these transfers, the 2014 Securitization Issuer, and not the 2014 Trust Depositor or us, held all of the ownership interest in the 2014 Loans.

As a result of the 2014 Debt Securitization, we hold, indirectly through the 2014 Trust Depositor, 100% of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer. As a result, we consolidate the financial statements of the 2014 Trust Depositor and the 2014 Securitization Issuer, as well as our other subsidiaries, in our consolidated financial statements. Because the 2014 Trust Depositor and the 2014 Securitization Issuer is disregarded as an entity separate from its owners for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the sale or contribution by us to the 2014 Trust Depositor, and by the 2014 Trust Depositor to the 2014 Securitization Issuer, as applicable, did not constitute a taxable event for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) were to take a contrary position, there could be a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

Further, a failure of the 2014 Securitization Issuer to be treated as a disregarded entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes would constitute an event of default pursuant to the indenture under the 2014 Debt Securitization, upon which the trustee under the 2014 Debt Securitization (the “2014 Trustee”), may and will at the direction of a supermajority of the holders of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes (the “2021 Noteholders”), declare the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, to be immediately due and payable and exercise remedies under the applicable indenture, including (i) to institute proceedings for the collection of all amounts then payable on the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, or under the applicable indenture, enforce any judgment obtained, and collect from the 2014 Securitization Issuer and any other obligor upon the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes monies adjudged due; (ii) institute proceedings from time to time for the complete or partial foreclosure of the applicable indenture with respect to the property of the 2014 Securitization Issuer; (iii) exercise any remedies as a secured party under the relevant Uniform Commercial Code and take other appropriate action under applicable law to protect and enforce the rights and remedies of the 2014 Trustee and the 2021 Noteholders; or (iv) sell the property of the 2014 Securitization Issuer or any portion thereof or rights or interest therein at one or more public or private sales called and conducted in any matter permitted by law. Any such exercise of remedies could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

 

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An event of default in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization could give rise to a cross-default under our other material indebtedness.

The documents governing our other material indebtedness contain customary cross-default provisions that could be triggered if an event of default occurs in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization. An event of default with respect to our other indebtedness could lead to the acceleration of such indebtedness and the exercise of other remedies as provided in the documents governing such other indebtedness. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and may result in our inability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

We may not receive cash distributions in respect of our indirect ownership interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer.

Apart from fees payable to us in connection with our role as servicer of the 2014 Loans and the reimbursement of related amounts under the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization, we receive cash in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization only to the extent that the 2014 Trust Depositor receives payments in respect of its equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer. The respective holders of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer are the residual claimants on distributions, if any, made by the 2014 Securitization Issuer after the respective 2021 Noteholders and other claimants have been paid in full on each payment date or upon maturity of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, subject to the priority of payments under the 2014 Debt Securitization documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization. To the extent that the value of a 2014 Securitization Issuer’s portfolio of loans is reduced as a result of conditions in the credit markets (relevant in the event of a liquidation event), other macroeconomic factors, distressed or defaulted loans or the failure of individual portfolio companies to otherwise meet their obligations in respect of the loans, or for any other reason, the ability of the 2014 Securitization Issuer to make cash distributions in respect of the 2014 Trust Depositor’s equity interests would be negatively affected and consequently, the value of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer would also be reduced. In the event that we fail to receive cash indirectly from the 2014 Securitization Issuer, we could be unable to make distributions, if at all, in amounts sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

The interests of the 2021 Noteholders may not be aligned with our interests.

The 2021 Asset-Backed Notes are debt obligations ranking senior in right of payment to the rights of the holder of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer, as residual claimants in respect of distributions, if any, made by the 2014 Securitization Issuer. As such, there are circumstances in which the interests of the 2021 Noteholders may not be aligned with the interests of holders of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer. For example, under the terms of the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization, the 2021 Noteholders have the right to receive payments of principal and interest prior to holders of the equity interests.

For as long as the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes remain outstanding, the respective 2021 Noteholders have the right to act in certain circumstances with respect to the 2014 Loans in ways that may benefit their interests but not the interests of the respective holders of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer, including by exercising remedies under the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization.

If an event of default occurs, the 2021 Noteholders will be entitled to determine the remedies to be exercised, subject to the terms of the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization. For example, upon the occurrence of an event of default with respect to the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, the 2014 Trustee may and will at the direction of the holders of a supermajority of the applicable 2021 Asset-Backed Notes declare the principal, together with any accrued interest, of the notes to be immediately due and payable. This would have the effect of accelerating the principal on such notes, triggering a repayment obligation on the part of the 2014 Securitization Issuer. The 2021 Asset-Backed Notes then outstanding will be paid in full before any further payment or distribution on the equity interest is made. There can be no assurance that there will be sufficient funds through collections on the 2014 Loans or through the proceeds of the sale of the 2014 Loans in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency to repay in full the obligations under the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes, or to make any distribution to holders of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer.

 

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Remedies pursued by the 2021 Noteholders could be adverse to our interests as the indirect holder of the equity interests in the 2014 Securitization Issuer. The 2021 Noteholders have no obligation to consider any possible adverse effect on such other interests. Thus, there can be no assurance that any remedies pursued by the 2021 Noteholders will be consistent with the best interests of the 2014 Trust Depositor or that we will receive, indirectly through the 2014 Trust Depositor, any payments or distributions upon an acceleration of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes. Any failure of the 2014 Securitization Issuer to make distributions in respect of the equity interests that we indirectly hold, whether as a result of an event of default and the acceleration of payments on the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and may result in our inability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

Certain events related to the performance of 2014 Loans could lead to the acceleration of principal payments on the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes.

The following constitute rapid amortization events (“Rapid Amortization Events”) under the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization: (i) the aggregate outstanding principal balance of delinquent 2014 Loans, and restructured 2014 Loans that would have been delinquent 2014 Loans had such loans not become restructured loans exceeds 10% of the current aggregate outstanding principal balance of the 2014 Loans for a period of three consecutive months; (ii) the aggregate outstanding principal balance of defaulted 2014 Loans exceeds 5% of the initial outstanding principal balance of the 2014 Loans determined as November 13, 2014 for a period of three consecutive months; (iii) the aggregate outstanding principal balance of the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes exceeds the borrowing base for a period of three consecutive months; (iv) the 2014 Securitization Issuer’s pool of 2014 Loans contains 2014 Loans to ten or fewer obligors; and (v) the occurrence of an event of default under the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization. After a Rapid Amortization Event has occurred, subject to the priority of payments under the documents governing the 2014 Debt Securitization, principal collections on the 2014 Loans will be used to make accelerated payments of principal on the 2021 Asset-Backed Notes until the principal balance of the 2021 Asset-Back Notes is reduced to zero. Such an event could delay, reduce or eliminate the ability of the 2014 Securitization Issuer to make distributions in respect of the equity interests that we indirectly hold, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and may result in our inability to make distributions sufficient to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

We have certain repurchase obligations with respect to the 2014 Loans transferred in connection with the 2014 Debt Securitization.

As part of the 2014 Debt Securitization, we entered into a sale and contribution agreement and a sale and servicing agreement under which we would be required to repurchase any 2014 Loan (or participation interest therein) which was sold to the 2014 Securitization Issuer in breach of certain customary representations and warranty made by us or by the 2014 Trust Depositors with respect to such 2014 Loan or the legal structure of the 2014 Debt Securitization. To the extent that there is a breach of such representations and warranties and we fail to satisfy any such repurchase obligation, a 2014 Trustee may, on behalf of the 2014 Securitization Issuer, bring an action against us to enforce these repurchase obligations.

Our investments in a portfolio company, whether debt, equity, or a combination thereof, may lead to our receiving material non-public information (“MNPI”) or obtaining ‘control’ of the target company. Our ability to exit an investment where we have MNPI or control could be limited and could result in a realized loss on the investment.

If we receive MNPI, or a controlling interest in a portfolio company, our ability to divest ourselves from a debt or equity investment could be restricted. Causes of such restriction could include market factors, such as liquidity in a private stock, or limited trading volume in a public company’s securities, or regulatory factors, such as the receipt of MNPI or insider blackout periods, where we are under legal obligation not to sell. Additionally,

 

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we may choose not to take certain actions to protect a debt investment in a control investment portfolio company. As a result, we could experience a decrease in the value of our portfolio company holdings and potentially incur a realized loss on the investment.

Regulations governing our operations as a business development company may affect our ability to, and the manner in which, we raise additional capital, which may expose us to risks.

Our business will require a substantial amount of capital. We may acquire additional capital from the issuance of senior securities, including borrowings, securitization transactions or other indebtedness, or the issuance of additional shares of our common stock. However, we may not be able to raise additional capital in the future on favorable terms or at all. We may issue debt securities, other evidences of indebtedness or preferred stock, and we may borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” up to the maximum amount permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). In addition, we may not be permitted to declare any cash distribution on our outstanding common shares, or purchase any such shares, unless, at the time of such declaration or purchase, we have asset coverage of at least 200% after deducting the amount of such distribution or purchase price. Our ability to pay distributions or issue additional senior securities would be restricted if our asset coverage ratio were not at least 200%. Legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th Congress proposed to modify this section of the 1940 Act and increase the amount of debt that business development companies may incur by modifying the asset coverage percentage from 200% to 150%. If such legislation is passed, we may be able to incur additional indebtedness in the future and, therefore, your risk of an investment in our securities may increase.

If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy this test. If that happens, we may be required to liquidate a portion of our investments and repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such transaction may be disadvantageous. As a result of issuing senior securities, we would also be exposed to risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss. If we issue preferred stock, the preferred stock would rank “senior” to common stock in our capital structure, preferred stockholders would have separate voting rights and might have rights, preferences, or privileges more favorable than those of our common stockholders and the issuance of preferred stock could have the effect of delaying, deferring, or preventing a transaction or a change of control that might involve a premium price for holders of our common stock or otherwise be in your best interest. It is likely that any senior securities or other indebtedness we issue will be governed by an indenture or other instrument containing covenants restricting our operating flexibility. Additionally, some of these securities or other indebtedness may be rated by rating agencies, and in obtaining a rating for such securities and other indebtedness, we may be required to abide by operating and investment guidelines that further restrict operating and financial flexibility.

To the extent that we are constrained in our ability to issue debt or other senior securities, we will depend on issuances of common stock to finance operations. Other than in certain limited situations such as rights offerings, as a business development company, we are generally not able to issue our common stock at a price below NAV without first obtaining required approvals from our stockholders and our independent directors. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, then the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time will decrease, and you might experience dilution. Moreover, we can offer no assurance that we will be able to issue and sell additional equity securities in the future, on favorable terms or at all.

When we are a debt or minority equity investor in a portfolio company, we may not be in a position to control the entity, and management of the company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

We make both debt and minority equity investments; therefore, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company may make business decisions with which we disagree, and the stockholders and management of such

 

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company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests. As a result, a portfolio company may make decisions that could decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could fail to qualify as a business development company or be precluded from investing according to our current business strategy.

As a business development company, we may not acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” as defined under the 1940 Act, unless, at the time of and after giving effect to such acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets. See “Regulation.”

We believe that most of the senior loans we make will constitute qualifying assets. However, we may be precluded from investing in what we believe are attractive investments if such investments are not qualifying assets for purposes of the 1940 Act. If we do not invest a sufficient portion of our assets in qualifying assets, we could lose our status as a business development company, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, a rise in the equity markets may result in increased market valuations of certain of our existing and prospective portfolio companies, which may lead to new investments with such companies being qualified as non-eligible portfolio company assets and would require we invest in qualified assets or risk losing our status as a business development company. Similarly, these rules could prevent us from making follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies (which could result in the dilution of our position) or could require us to dispose of investments at inopportune times in order to comply with the 1940 Act. If we need to dispose of such investments quickly, it would be difficult to dispose of such investments on favorable terms. For example, we may have difficulty in finding a buyer and, even if we do find a buyer, we may have to sell the investments at a substantial loss.

A failure on our part to maintain our qualification as a business development company would significantly reduce our operating flexibility.

If we fail to continuously qualify as a business development company, we might be subject to regulation as a registered closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act, which would significantly decrease our operating flexibility, and lead to situations where we might have to restrict our borrowings, reduce our leverage, sell securities and pursue other activities that we are allowed to engage in as a business development company. In addition, failure to comply with the requirements imposed on business development companies by the 1940 Act could cause the SEC to bring an enforcement action against us. For additional information on the qualification requirements of a business development company, see “Regulation.”

To the extent OID and PIK interest constitute a portion of our income, we will be exposed to risks associated with such income being required to be included in taxable and accounting income prior to receipt of cash representing such income.

Our investments may include OID instruments and contractual PIK interest arrangements, which represents contractual interest added to a loan balance and due at the end of such loan’s term. To the extent OID or PIK interest constitute a portion of our income, we are exposed to risks associated with such income being required to be included in taxable and accounting income prior to receipt of cash, including the following:

 

   

The higher interest rates of OID and PIK instruments reflect the payment deferral and increased credit risk associated with these instruments, and OID and PIK instruments generally represent a significantly higher credit risk than coupon loans.

 

   

Even if the accounting conditions for income accrual are met, the borrower could still default when our actual collection is supposed to occur at the maturity of the obligation, which could lead to future losses.

 

   

OID and PIK instruments may have unreliable valuations because their continuing accruals require continuing judgments about the collectability of the deferred payments and the value of any associated collateral. OID and PIK income may also create uncertainty about the source of our cash distributions.

 

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For accounting purposes, any cash distributions to stockholders representing OID and PIK income are not treated as coming from paid-in capital, even though the cash to pay them comes from the offering proceeds. As a result, despite the fact that a distribution representing OID and PIK income could be paid out of amounts invested by our stockholders, the 1940 Act does not require that stockholders be given notice of this fact by reporting it as a return of capital.

 

   

The deferral of PIK interest may have a negative impact on our liquidity as it represents non-cash income that may require cash distributions to our stockholders in order to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

If we are unable to satisfy Code requirements for qualification as a RIC, then we will be subject to corporate-level income tax, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We elected to be treated as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes with the filing of our federal corporate income tax return for 2006. We will not qualify for the tax treatment allowable to RICs if we are unable to comply with the source of income, asset diversification and distribution requirements contained in Subchapter M of the Code, or if we fail to maintain our election to be regulated as a business development company under the 1940 Act. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for any reason and become subject to a corporate-level income tax, the resulting taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution to our stockholders and the actual amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us, the NAV of our common stock and the total return, if any, earned from your investment in our common stock.

We may have difficulty paying our required distributions under applicable tax rules if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.

In accordance with U.S. federal tax requirements, we are required to include in income for tax purposes certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as OID and contractual PIK interest arrangements, which represent contractual interest added to a loan balance and due at the end of such loan’s term. In addition to the cash yields received on our loans, in some instances, our loans generally include one or more of the following: exit fees, balloon payment fees, commitment fees, success fees or prepayment fees. In some cases our loans also include contractual PIK interest arrangements. The increases in loan balances as a result of contractual PIK arrangements are included in income for the period in which such PIK interest was accrued, which is often in advance of receiving cash payment, and are separately identified on our statements of cash flows. We also may be required to include in income for tax purposes certain other amounts prior to receiving the related cash.

Any warrants that we receive in connection with our debt investments will generally be valued as part of the negotiation process with the particular portfolio company. As a result, a portion of the aggregate purchase price for the debt investments and warrants will be allocated to the warrants that we receive. This will generally result in OID for tax purposes, which we must recognize as ordinary income, increasing the amount that we are required to distribute in order to be subject to tax as a RIC. Because these warrants generally will not produce distributable cash for us at the same time as we are required to make distributions in respect of the related OID, if ever, we would need to obtain cash from other sources or to pay a portion of our distributions using shares of newly issued common stock, consistent with IRS guidelines and the Code, to satisfy such distribution requirements.

Other features of the debt instruments that we hold may also cause such instruments to generate OID in excess of current cash interest received. Since in certain cases we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty meeting the RIC tax requirement to make distributions each taxable year to our stockholders treated as dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes generally of an amount equal to at least 90% of our investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid. Under such circumstances, we may have to sell some of our assets, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investment originations to meet these distribution

 

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requirements. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources and are otherwise unable to satisfy such distribution requirements, we may fail to qualify to be subject to tax as a RIC and, thus, become subject to a corporate-level income tax on all our taxable income (including any net realized securities gains).

Furthermore, we may invest in the equity securities of non-U.S. corporations (or other non-U.S. entities classified as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes) that could be treated under the Code and U.S. Treasury regulations as “passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”) and/or “controlled foreign corporations” (“CFCs”). The rules relating to investment in these types of non-U.S. entities are designed to ensure that U.S. taxpayers are either, in effect, taxed currently (or on an accelerated basis with respect to corporate level events) or taxed at increased tax rates at distribution or disposition. In certain circumstances, these rules also could require us to recognize taxable income or gains where we do not receive a corresponding payment in cash. Furthermore, under recently proposed Treasury Regulations, certain income derived by us either from a PFIC with respect to which we have made a certain U.S. tax election or from a CFC would generally constitute qualifying income for purposes of determining our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC only to the extent the PFIC or CFC respectively makes distributions of that income to us. As such, we may be restricted in our ability to make QEF elections with respect to our holdings in issuers that could either be treated as PFICs or CFCs in order to limit our tax liability or maximize our after-tax return from these investments.

Our portfolio investments may present special tax issues.

Investments in below-investment grade debt instruments and certain equity securities may present special tax issues for us. U.S. federal income tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when we may cease to accrue interest, OID or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless debt in equity securities, how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and interest income, as well as whether exchanges of debt instruments in a bankruptcy or workout context are taxable. Such matters could cause us to recognize taxable income for U.S. federal income tax purposes, even in the absence of cash or economic gain, and require us to make taxable distributions to our stockholders to maintain our RIC status or preclude the imposition of either U.S. federal corporate income or excise taxation. Additionally, because such taxable income may not be matched by corresponding cash received by us, we may be required to borrow money or dispose of other investments to be able to make distributions to our stockholders. These and other issues will be considered by us, to the extent determined necessary, in order that we minimize the level of any U.S. federal income or excise tax that we would otherwise incur. See “Certain United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Taxation as a Regulated Investment Company.”

Legislative or regulatory tax changes could adversely affect you.

At any time, the U.S. federal income tax laws governing RICs or the administrative interpretations of those laws or regulations may be amended. Any of those new laws, regulations or interpretations may take effect retroactively and could adversely affect the taxation of us or of you as a stockholder. Therefore, changes in tax laws, regulations or administrative interpretations or any amendments thereto could diminish the value of an investment in our shares or the value or the resale potential of our investments.

There is a risk that you may not receive distributions or that our distributions may not grow over time.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results, or our business may not perform in a manner that will allow us to make a specified level of distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, our Credit Facilities limit our ability to declare distributions to our stockholders if we default under certain provisions of our Credit Facilities. Furthermore, while we may have undistributed earnings, those earnings may not yield distributions because we may incur unrealized losses or otherwise be unable to distribute such earnings.

 

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We have and may in the future choose to pay distributions in our own stock, in which case you may be required to pay tax in excess of the cash you receive.

Under applicable Treasury regulations and other administrative authorities issued by the IRS, RICs are permitted to treat certain distributions payable in their stock, as taxable dividends that will satisfy their annual distribution obligations for U.S. federal income tax and excise tax purposes provided that stockholders have the opportunity to elect to receive all or a portion of such distribution in cash. Taxable stockholders receiving distributions will be required to include the full amount of such distributions as ordinary income (or as long-term capital gain to the extent such distribution is properly designated as a capital gain dividend) to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, a U.S. stockholder may be required to pay tax with respect to such distributions in excess of any cash received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock it receives as a distribution in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the distribution, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. federal income tax with respect to such distributions, including in respect of all or a portion of such distribution that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our stock in order to pay taxes owed on such distributions, then such sales may put downward pressure on the trading price of our stock. We may in the future determine to distribute taxable distributions that are partially payable in our common stock.

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in interest rates, including fluctuations in interest rates which could adversely affect our profitability or the value of our portfolio

General interest rate fluctuations may have a substantial negative impact on our investments and investment opportunities, and, accordingly, may have a material adverse effect on our investment objective and rate of return on investment capital. A portion of our income will depend upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds and the interest rate on the debt securities in which we invest. Because we will borrow money to make investments and may issue debt securities, preferred stock or other securities, our net investment income is dependent upon the difference between the rate at which we borrow funds or pay interest or dividends on such debt securities, preferred stock or other securities and the rate at which we invest these funds. Typically, we anticipate that our interest-earning investments will accrue and pay interest at both variable and fixed rates, and that our interest-bearing liabilities will generally accrue interest at fixed rates.

A significant increase in market interest rates could harm our ability to attract new portfolio companies and originate new loans and investments. In addition to potentially increasing the cost of our debt, increasing interest rates may also have a negative impact on our portfolio companies’ ability to repay or service their loans, which could enhance the risk of loan defaults. We expect that most of our current initial investments in debt securities will be at floating rate with a floor. However, in the event that we make investments in debt securities at variable rates, a significant increase in market interest rates could also result in an increase in our non-performing assets and a decrease in the value of our portfolio because our floating-rate loan portfolio companies may be unable to meet higher payment obligations. As of June 30, 2017, approximately 94.5% of our loans were at floating rates or floating rates with a floor and 5.5% of the loans were at fixed rates.

In periods of rising interest rates, our cost of funds would increase, resulting in a decrease in our net investment income. In addition, a decrease in interest rates may reduce net income, because new investments may be made at lower rates despite the increased demand for our capital that the decrease in interest rates may produce. We may, but will not be required to, hedge against the risk of adverse movement in interest rates in our short-term and long-term borrowings relative to our portfolio of assets. If we engage in hedging activities, it may limit our ability to participate in the benefits of lower interest rates with respect to the hedged portfolio. Adverse developments resulting from changes in interest rates or hedging transactions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

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We may expose ourselves to risks if we engage in hedging transactions.

If we engage in hedging transactions, we may expose ourselves to risks associated with such transactions. We may utilize instruments such as forward contracts, currency options and interest rate swaps, caps, collars and floors to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the relative values of our portfolio positions from changes in currency exchange rates and market interest rates. Hedging against a decline in the values of our portfolio positions does not eliminate the possibility of fluctuations in the values of such positions or prevent losses if the values of such positions decline. However, such hedging can establish other positions designed to gain from those same developments, thereby offsetting the decline in the value of such portfolio positions. Such hedging transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the values of the underlying portfolio positions should increase. It may not be possible to hedge against an exchange rate or interest rate fluctuation that is so generally anticipated that we are not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an acceptable price. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and there can be no assurance that any such hedging arrangements will achieve the desired effect. During the six-months ended June 30, 2017, we did not engage in any hedging activities.

Legislation may allow us to incur additional leverage.

As a business development company, under the 1940 Act generally we are not permitted to incur indebtedness unless immediately after such borrowing we have an asset coverage for total borrowings of at least 200% (i.e., the amount of debt may not exceed 50% of the value of our assets). If recent legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives is passed, or similar legislation is introduced, it would modify this section of the 1940 Act and increase the amount of debt that business development companies may incur. As a result, we may be able to incur additional indebtedness in the future and therefore your risk of an investment in us may increase. However, the ultimate form and likely outcome of such legislation or any similar legislation cannot be predicted.

Two of our wholly-owned subsidiaries are licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and as a result, we will be subject to SBA regulations, which could limit our capital or investment decisions.

Our wholly-owned subsidiaries HT II and HT III are licensed to act as SBICs and are regulated by the SBA. HT II and HT III hold approximately $104.8 million and $271.5 million in assets, respectively, and they accounted for approximately 5.8% and 14.9% of our total assets, respectively, prior to consolidation at June 30, 2017. The SBIC licenses allow our SBIC subsidiaries to obtain leverage by issuing SBA-guaranteed debentures, subject to the issuance of a capital commitment by the SBA and other customary procedures.

The SBA regulations require that a licensed SBIC be periodically examined and audited by the SBA to determine its compliance with the relevant SBA regulations. The SBA prohibits, without prior SBA approval, a “change of control” of an SBIC or transfers that would result in any person (or a group of persons acting in concert) owning 10.0% or more of a class of capital stock of a licensed SBIC. If either HT II or HT III fail to comply with applicable SBA regulations, the SBA could, depending on the severity of the violation, limit or prohibit HT II’s or HT III’s use of debentures, declare outstanding debentures immediately due and payable, and/ or limit HT II or HT III from making new investments. Such actions by the SBA would, in turn, negatively affect us because HT II and HT III are our wholly owned subsidiaries.

HT II and HT III were in compliance with the terms of the SBIC’s leverage as of June 30, 2017 as a result of having sufficient capital as defined under the SBA regulations. Compliance with SBA requirements may cause HT II and HT III to forego attractive investment opportunities that are not permitted under SBA regulations. See “Regulation—Small Business Administration Regulations.”

 

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SBA regulations limit the outstanding dollar amount of SBA guaranteed debentures that may be issued by an SBIC or group of SBICs under common control.

The SBA regulations currently limit the dollar amount of SBA-guaranteed debentures that can be issued by any one SBIC to $150.0 million or to a group of SBICs under common control to $350.0 million.

An SBIC may not borrow an amount in excess of two times (and in certain cases, up to three times) its regulatory capital. As of June 30, 2017, we have issued $190.2 million in SBA-guaranteed debentures in our SBIC subsidiaries, which is the maximum combined capacity for our SBIC subsidiaries under our existing licenses. During times that we reach the maximum dollar amount of SBA-guaranteed debentures permitted, and if we require additional capital, our cost of capital is likely to increase, and there is no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional financing on acceptable terms.

Moreover, the current status of our SBIC subsidiaries as SBICs does not automatically assure that our SBIC subsidiaries will continue to receive SBA-guaranteed debenture funding. Receipt of SBA leverage funding is dependent upon our SBIC subsidiaries continuing to be in compliance with SBA regulations and policies and available SBA funding. The amount of SBA leverage funding available to SBICs is dependent upon annual Congressional authorizations and in the future may be subject to annual Congressional appropriations. There can be no assurance that there will be sufficient debenture funding available at the times desired by our SBIC subsidiaries.

The debentures guaranteed by the SBA have a maturity of ten years and require semi-annual payments of interest. Our SBIC subsidiaries will need to generate sufficient cash flow to make required interest payments on the debentures. If our SBIC subsidiaries are unable to meet their financial obligations under the debentures, the SBA, as a creditor, will have a superior claim to our SBIC subsidiaries’ assets over our stockholders in the event we liquidate our SBIC subsidiaries or the SBA exercises its remedies under such debentures as the result of a default by us.

Our wholly-owned SBIC subsidiaries may be unable to make distributions to us that will enable us to maintain RIC status, which could result in the imposition of an entity-level tax.

In order for us to continue to qualify for RIC tax treatment and to minimize corporate-level taxes, we will be required to distribute substantially all of our investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid, and net capital gains, including income from certain of our subsidiaries, which includes the income from our SBIC subsidiaries. We will be partially dependent on our SBIC subsidiaries for cash distributions to enable us to meet the RIC distribution requirements. Our SBIC subsidiaries may be limited by the Small Business Investment Act of 1958, as amended, and SBA regulations governing SBICs, from making certain distributions to us that may be necessary to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC. We may have to request a waiver of the SBA’s restrictions for our SBIC subsidiaries to make certain distributions to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC. We cannot assure you that the SBA will grant such waiver. If our SBIC subsidiaries are unable to obtain a waiver, compliance with the SBA regulations may result in loss of RIC tax treatment and a consequent imposition of an entity-level tax on us.

If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud. As a result, stockholders could lose confidence in our financial and other public reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our common stock.

Effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to provide reliable financial reports and, together with adequate disclosure controls and procedures, are designed to prevent fraud. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations. In addition, any testing by us conducted in connection with Section 404

 

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of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or the subsequent testing by our independent registered public accounting firm (when undertaken, as noted below), may reveal deficiencies in our internal controls over financial reporting that are deemed to be material weaknesses or that may require prospective or retroactive changes to our consolidated financial statements or identify other areas for further attention or improvement. Inferior internal controls could also cause investors and lenders to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our common stock.

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

Our Board of Directors has the authority, except as otherwise provided in the 1940 Act, to modify or waive certain of our operating policies and strategies without prior notice and without stockholder approval. However, absent stockholder approval, we may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as, a business development company. We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies and strategies would have on our business, operating results and the market price of our common stock. Nevertheless, any such changes could materially and adversely affect our business and impair our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Changes in laws or regulations governing our business could negatively affect the profitability of our operations.

Changes in the laws or regulations, or the interpretations of the laws and regulations, which govern business development companies, SBICs, RICs or non-depository commercial lenders could significantly affect our operations and our cost of doing business. We are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations, in addition to applicable foreign and international laws and regulations, and are subject to judicial and administrative decisions that affect our operations, including our loan originations maximum interest rates, fees and other charges, disclosures to portfolio companies, the terms of secured transactions, collection and foreclosure procedures, and other trade practices. If these laws, regulations or decisions change, or if we expand our business into jurisdictions that have adopted more stringent requirements than those in which we currently conduct business, then we may have to incur significant expenses in order to comply or we may have to restrict our operations. In addition, if we do not comply with applicable laws, regulations and decisions, then we may lose licenses needed for the conduct of our business and be subject to civil fines and criminal penalties, any of which could have a material adverse effect upon our business results of operations or financial condition.

Our business is subject to increasingly complex corporate governance, public disclosure and accounting requirements that could adversely affect our business and financial results.

We are subject to changing rules and regulations of federal and state government as well as the stock exchange on which our common stock is listed. These entities, including the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the SEC and the NYSE have issued a significant number of new and increasingly complex requirements and regulations over the course of the last several years and continue to develop additional regulations and requirements in response to laws enacted by Congress. On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act, as amended, or the Dodd-Frank Act, was enacted. There are significant corporate governance and executive compensation-related provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act, and the SEC has adopted, and will continue to adopt, additional rules and regulations that may impact us. Our efforts to comply with these requirements have resulted in, and are likely to continue to result in, an increase in expenses and a diversion of management’s time from other business activities.

In addition, our failure to maintain compliance with such rules, or for our management to appropriately address issues relating to our compliance with such rules fully and in a timely manner, exposes us to an increasing risk of inadvertent non-compliance. While the Company’s management team takes reasonable efforts to ensure that the Company is in full compliance with all laws applicable to its operations, the increasing rate and

 

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extent of regulatory change increases the risk of a failure to comply, which may result in our ability to operate our business in the ordinary course or may subject us to potential fines, regulatory findings or other matters that may materially impact our business.

We incur significant costs as a result of being a publicly traded company.

As a publicly traded company, we incur legal, accounting and other expenses, including costs associated with the periodic reporting requirements applicable to a company whose securities are registered under the Exchange Act as well as additional corporate governance requirements, including requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other rules implemented by the SEC.

Results may fluctuate and may not be indicative of future performance.

Our operating results may fluctuate and, therefore, you should not rely on current or historical period results to be indicative of our performance in future reporting periods. Factors that could cause operating results to fluctuate include, but are not limited to, variations in the investment origination volume and fee income earned, changes in the accrual status of our debt investments, variations in timing of prepayments, variations in and the timing of the recognition of net realized gains or losses and changes in unrealized appreciation or depreciation, the level of our expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets, and general economic conditions.

We face cyber-security risks and the failure in cyber security systems, as well as the occurrence of events unanticipated in our disaster recovery systems and management continuity planning could impair our ability to conduct business effectively.

Our business operations rely upon secure information technology systems for data processing, storage and reporting. Despite careful security and controls design, implementation and updating, our information technology systems could become subject to cyber-attacks. Network, system, application and data breaches could result in operational disruptions or information misappropriation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The occurrence of a disaster such as a cyber-attack, a natural catastrophe, an industrial accident, a terrorist attack or war, events unanticipated in our disaster recovery systems, or a support failure from external providers, could have an adverse effect on our ability to conduct business and on our results of operations and financial condition, particularly if those events affect our computer-based data processing, transmission, storage, and retrieval systems or destroy data. If a significant number of our managers were unavailable in the event of a disaster, our ability to effectively conduct our business could be severely compromised.

We depend heavily upon computer systems to perform necessary business functions. Despite our implementation of a variety of security measures, our computer systems could be subject to cyber-attacks and unauthorized access, such as physical and electronic break-ins or unauthorized tampering. Like other companies, we may experience threats to our data and systems, including malware and computer virus attacks, unauthorized access, system failures and disruptions. If one or more of these events occurs, it could potentially jeopardize the confidential, proprietary and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our computer systems and networks, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our operations, which could result in damage to our reputation, financial losses, litigation, increased costs, regulatory penalties and/or customer dissatisfaction or loss.

Terrorist attacks, acts of war or natural disasters may affect any market for our securities, impact the businesses in which we invest and harm our business, operating results and financial condition.

Terrorist acts, acts of war or natural disasters may disrupt our operations, as well as the operations of the businesses in which we invest. Such acts have created, and continue to create, economic and political

 

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uncertainties and have contributed to global economic instability. Future terrorist activities, military or security operations, or natural disasters could further weaken the domestic/global economies and create additional uncertainties, which may negatively impact the businesses in which we invest directly or indirectly and, in turn, could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition. Losses from terrorist attacks and natural disasters are generally uninsurable.

We are dependent on information systems and systems failures could significantly disrupt our business, which may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay distributions.

Our business is dependent on our and third parties’ communications and information systems. Any failure or interruption of those systems, including as a result of the termination of an agreement with any third-party service providers, could cause delays or other problems in our activities. Our financial, accounting, data processing, backup or other operating systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled or damaged as a result of a number of factors including events that are wholly or partially beyond our control and adversely affect our business. There could be:

 

   

sudden electrical or telecommunication outages;

 

   

natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes;

 

   

disease pandemics;

 

   

events arising from local or larger scale political or social matters, including terrorist acts; and

 

   

cyber-attacks.

These events, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and negatively affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

We may be subject to restrictions on our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Restrictions imposed on the declaration of dividends or other distributions to holders of our common stock, by both the 1940 Act and by requirements imposed by rating agencies, might impair our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC. While we intend to prepay our Notes and other debt to the extent necessary to enable us to distribute our income as required to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC, there can be no assurance that such actions can be effected in time or in a manner to satisfy the requirements set forth in the Code.

Further downgrades of the U.S. credit rating, automatic spending cuts or another government shutdown could negatively impact our liquidity, financial condition and earnings.

Recent U.S. debt ceiling and budget deficit concerns have increased the possibility of additional credit-rating downgrades and economic slowdowns, or a recession in the U.S. Although U.S. lawmakers passed legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling on multiple occasions, ratings agencies have lowered or threatened to lower the long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States. The impact of this or any further downgrades to the U.S. government’s sovereign credit rating or its perceived creditworthiness could adversely affect the U.S. and global financial markets and economic conditions. These developments could cause interest rates and borrowing costs to rise, which may negatively impact our ability to access the debt markets on favorable terms. In addition, disagreement over the federal budget has caused the U.S. federal government to shut down for periods of time. Continued adverse political and economic conditions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Risks Related to Current Economic and Market Conditions

Capital markets may experience periods of disruption and instability and we cannot predict when these conditions will occur. Such market conditions could materially and adversely affect debt and equity capital markets in the United States and abroad, which could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The global capital markets have experienced a period of disruption as evidenced by a lack of liquidity in the debt capital markets, write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the failure of certain major financial institutions. While the capital markets have improved, these conditions could deteriorate again in the future. During such market disruptions, we may have difficulty raising debt or equity capital, especially as a result of regulatory constraints.

Market conditions may in the future make it difficult to extend the maturity of or refinance our existing indebtedness and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if required. As a result, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we have recorded our investments. In addition, significant changes in the capital markets, including the disruption and volatility, have had, and may in the future have, a negative effect on the valuations of our investments and on the potential for liquidity events involving our investments. An inability to raise capital, and any required sale of our investments for liquidity purposes, could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Various social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, including in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia, may continue to contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets, and may cause further economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. Several European Union (“EU”) countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, continue to face budget issues, some of which may have negative long-term effects for the economies of those countries and other EU countries. There is also continued concern about national-level support for the euro and the accompanying coordination of fiscal and wage policy among European Economic and Monetary Union member countries. In July and August 2015, Greece reached agreements with its creditors for bailouts that provide aid in exchange for certain austerity measures. These and similar austerity measures may adversely affect world economic conditions and have an impact on our business and that of our portfolio companies. In the second quarter of 2015, stock prices in China experienced a significant drop, resulting primarily from continued sell-off of trading in Chinese markets. In August 2015, Chinese authorities sharply devalued China’s currency.

The broader fundamentals of the United States economy remain mixed. In the event that the United States economy contracts, it is likely that the financial results of small to mid-sized companies, like many of our portfolio companies, could experience deterioration or limited growth from current levels, which could ultimately lead to difficulty in meeting their debt service requirements and an increase in defaults. In addition, a prolonged continuation of the decline in oil and natural gas prices experienced over the last two years would adversely affect the credit quality of our debt investments and the underlying operating performance of our equity investments in energy-related businesses. Consequently, we can provide no assurance that the performance of certain portfolio companies will not be negatively impacted by economic cycles, industry cycles or other conditions, which could also have a negative impact on our future results.

The government of the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) held an in-or-out referendum on the U.K.’s membership in the EU on June 23, 2016. The referendum resulted in a vote in favor of the exit of the U.K. from the EU (“Brexit”). A process of negotiation will follow that will determine the future terms of the U.K.’s relationship with the EU. The uncertainty in the wake of the referendum could have a negative impact on both the U.K. economy and the economies of other countries in Europe. The Brexit process also may lead to greater volatility in the global currency and financial markets, which could adversely affect us. In connection with investments in non-U.S. issuers, we may engage in foreign currency exchange transactions but is not required to hedge its

 

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currency exposure. As such, we make investments that are denominated in British pound sterling or euros. Our assets are generally valued in U.S. dollars, and the depreciation of the British pound sterling and/or the euro in relation to the U.S. dollar in anticipation of Brexit would adversely affect our investments denominated in British pound sterling or euros that are not fully hedged regardless of the performance of their underlying issuers. Global central banks may maintain historically low interest rates longer than was anticipated prior to the Brexit vote, which could adversely affect our income and the level of our distributions.

These market and economic disruptions affect, and these and other similar market and economic disruptions may in the future affect, the U.S. capital markets, which could adversely affect our business and that of our portfolio companies. We cannot predict the duration of the effects related to these or similar events in the future on the United States economy and securities markets or on our investments. We monitor developments and seek to manage our investments in a manner consistent with achieving our investment objective, but there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so.

Depending on funding requirements, we may need to raise additional capital to meet our unfunded commitments either through equity offerings or through additional borrowings.

As of June 30, 2017, we had approximately $57.6 million of unfunded commitments, including undrawn revolving facilities, which were available at the request of the portfolio company and unencumbered by milestones.

Our unfunded contractual commitments may be significant from time to time. A portion of these unfunded contractual commitments are dependent upon the portfolio company reaching certain milestones before the debt commitment becomes available. Furthermore, our credit agreements contain customary lending provisions which allow us relief from funding obligations for previously made commitments in instances where the underlying company experiences materially adverse events that affect the financial condition or business outlook for the company. These commitments will be subject to the same underwriting and ongoing portfolio maintenance as are the on-balance sheet financial instruments that we hold. Since these commitments may expire without being drawn upon, the total commitment amount does not necessarily represent future cash requirements. Closed commitments generally fund 70-80% of the committed amount in aggregate over the life of the commitment. We believe that our assets provide adequate cover to satisfy all of our unfunded comments and we intend to use cash flow from normal and early principal repayments and proceeds from borrowings and notes to fund these commitments. However, there can be no assurance that we will have sufficient capital available to fund these commitments as they come due.

Our ability to secure additional financing and satisfy our financial obligations under indebtedness outstanding from time to time will depend upon our future operating performance, which is subject to the prevailing general economic and credit market conditions, including interest rate levels and the availability of credit generally, and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The prolonged continuation or worsening of current economic and capital market conditions could have a material adverse effect on our ability to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all.

Changes relating to the LIBOR calculation process may adversely affect the value of our portfolio of the LIBOR-indexed, floating-rate debt securities.

In the recent past, concerns have been publicized that some of the member banks surveyed by the British Bankers’ Association (“BBA”) in connection with the calculation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, across a range of maturities and currencies may have been under-reporting or otherwise manipulating the inter-bank lending rate applicable to them in order to profit on their derivatives positions or to avoid an appearance of capital insufficiency or adverse reputational or other consequences that may have resulted from reporting inter-bank lending rates higher than those they actually submitted. A number of BBA member banks entered into settlements with their regulators and law enforcement agencies with respect to alleged manipulation of LIBOR, and investigations by regulators and governmental authorities in various jurisdictions are ongoing.

 

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Actions by the BBA, regulators or law enforcement agencies as a result of these or future events, may result in changes to the manner in which LIBOR is determined. Potential changes, or uncertainty related to such potential changes may adversely affect the market for LIBOR-based securities, including our portfolio of LIBOR-indexed, floating-rate debt securities. In addition, any further changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of LIBOR may result in a sudden or prolonged increase or decrease in reported LIBOR, which could have an adverse impact on the market for LIBOR-based securities or the value of our portfolio of LIBOR-indexed, floating-rate debt securities.

Risks Related to Our Investments

Our investments are concentrated in certain industries and in a number of technology-related companies, which subjects us to the risk of significant loss if any of these companies default on their obligations under any of their debt securities that we hold, or if any of the technology-related industry sectors experience a downturn.

We have invested and intend to continue investing in a limited number of technology-related companies and, we have recently seen an increase in the number of investments representing approximately 5% or more of our net asset value. A consequence of this limited number of investments is that the aggregate returns we realize may be significantly adversely affected if a small number of investments perform poorly or if we need to write down the value of any one investment. Beyond the asset diversification requirements to which we are subject as a business development company and a RIC, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification or limitations on the size of our investments in any one portfolio company and our investments could be concentrated in relatively few issuers. In addition, we have invested in and intend to continue investing, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of our total assets (including the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in technology-related companies.

As of June 30, 2017, approximately 76.1% of the fair value of our portfolio was composed of investments in five industries: 31.5% investments in the drug discovery & development industry, 18.2% investments in the software industry, 10.4% investments in the media/content/info industry, 8.8% investments in the drug delivery industry, and 7.2% investments in the internet consumer & business services industry.

As a result, a downturn in technology-related industry sectors and particularly those in which we are heavily concentrated could materially adversely affect our financial condition.

We are a non-diversified investment company within the meaning of the 1940 Act, and therefore we generally are not limited with respect to the proportion of our assets that may be invested in securities of a single issuer.

We are classified as a non-diversified investment company within the meaning of the 1940 Act, which means that we are not limited by the 1940 Act with respect to the proportion of our assets that we may invest in securities of a single issuer, excluding limitations on investments in other investment companies. To the extent that we assume large positions in the securities of a small number of issuers, our NAV may fluctuate to a greater extent than that of a diversified investment company as a result of changes in the financial condition or the market’s assessment of the issuer. We may also be more susceptible to any single economic or regulatory occurrence than a diversified investment company. Beyond the asset diversification requirements to which we are subject as a business development company and a RIC, we do not have fixed guidelines for portfolio diversification, and our investments could be concentrated in relatively few portfolio companies or industries.

 

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Our financial results could be negatively affected if a significant portfolio investment fails to perform as expected.

Our total investment in companies may be significant individually or in the aggregate. As a result, if a significant investment in one or more companies fails to perform as expected, our financial results could be more negatively affected and the magnitude of the loss could be more significant than if we had made smaller investments in more companies. The following table shows the fair value of the totals of investments held in portfolio companies at June 30, 2017 that represent greater than 5% of our net assets:

 

     June 30, 2017  

(in thousands)

   Fair Value      Percentage of Net
Assets
 

Machine Zone, Inc.

   $ 108,996        13.3

Axovant Sciences Ltd.

     56,570        6.9

Insmed, Incorporated

     56,296        6.9

Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (p.k.a. Transcept Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

     51,998        6.4

Fuze, Inc.

     49,990        6.1

Proterra, Inc.

     42,130        5.2

Machine Zone, Inc. is a technology company that is best known for building mobile Massively Multiplayer Online games with a focus on community-based gameplay.

Axovant Sciences Ltd. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on acquiring, developing and commercializing novel therapeutics for the treatment of dementia.

Insmed, Incorporated is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the development of inhaled pharmaceuticals for the site-specific treatment of serious lung diseases.

Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies based upon its expertise in novel tetracycline chemistry.

Fuze, Inc. is a technology company that provides a cloud-based unified communications-as-a-service platform to server message block, mid-market, and small enterprise customers worldwide.

Proterra, Inc. designs and manufactures zero-emission vehicles that enable bus fleet operators to eliminate the dependency on fossil fuels and significantly reduce operating costs.

Our financial results could be materially adversely affected if these portfolio companies or any of our other significant portfolio companies encounter financial difficulty and fail to repay their obligations or to perform as expected.

Our investments may be in portfolio companies that have limited operating histories and resources.

We expect that our portfolio will continue to consist of investments that may have relatively limited operating histories. These companies may be particularly vulnerable to U.S. and foreign economic downturns may have more limited access to capital and higher funding costs, may have a weaker financial position and may need more capital to expand or compete. These businesses also may experience substantial variations in operating results. They may face intense competition, including from larger, more established companies with greater financial, technical and marketing resources. Furthermore, some of these companies do business in regulated industries and could be affected by changes in government regulation applicable to their given industry. Accordingly, these factors could impair their cash flow or result in other events, such as bankruptcy, which could limit their ability to repay their obligations to us, and may adversely affect the return on, or the recovery of, our investment in these companies. We cannot assure you that any of our investments in our portfolio companies will be successful. We may lose our entire investment in any or all of our portfolio companies.

 

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Investing in publicly traded companies can involve a high degree of risk and can be speculative.

We have invested, and expect to continue to invest, a portion of our portfolio in publicly traded companies or companies that are in the process of completing their initial public offering (“IPO”). As publicly traded companies, the securities of these companies may not trade at high volumes, and prices can be volatile, particularly during times of general market volatility, which may restrict our ability to sell our positions and may have a material adverse impact on us.

Our ability to invest in public companies may be limited in certain circumstances.

To maintain our status as a business development company, we are not permitted to acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” specified in the 1940 Act unless, at the time the acquisition is made, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets (with certain limited exceptions). Subject to certain exceptions for follow-on investments and distressed companies, an investment in an issuer that has outstanding securities listed on a national securities exchange may be treated as a qualifying asset only if such issuer has a market capitalization that is less than $250 million at the time of such investment and meets the other specified requirements.

Our investment strategy focuses on technology-related companies, which are subject to many risks, including volatility, intense competition, shortened product life cycles, changes in regulatory and governmental programs and periodic downturns, and you could lose all or part of your investment.

We have invested and will continue investing primarily in technology-related companies, many of which may have narrow product lines and small market shares, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as to general economic downturns. The revenues, income (or losses), and valuations of technology-related companies can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically. In addition, technology-related industries are generally characterized by abrupt business cycles and intense competition. Overcapacity in technology-related industries, together with cyclical economic downturns, may result in substantial decreases in the market capitalization of many technology-related companies. Such decreases in market capitalization may occur again, and any future decreases in technology-related company valuations may be substantial and may not be temporary in nature. Therefore, our portfolio companies may face considerably more risk of loss than do companies in other industry sectors.

Because of rapid technological change, the average selling prices of products and some services provided by technology-related companies have historically decreased over their productive lives. As a result, the average selling prices of products and services offered by technology-related companies may decrease over time, which could adversely affect their operating results, their ability to meet obligations under their debt securities and the value of their equity securities. This could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our investments in sustainable and renewable technology companies are subject to substantial operational risks, such as underestimated cost projections, unanticipated operation and maintenance expenses, loss of government subsidies, and inability to deliver cost-effective alternative energy solutions compared to traditional energy products. In addition, sustainable and renewable technology companies employ a variety of means of increasing cash flow, including increasing utilization of existing facilities, expanding operations through new construction or acquisitions, or securing additional long-term contracts. Thus, some energy companies may be subject to construction risk, acquisition risk or other risks arising from their specific business strategies. Furthermore, production levels for solar, wind and other renewable energies may be dependent upon adequate sunlight, wind, or biogas production, which can vary from market to market and period to period, resulting in volatility in production levels and profitability. Demand for sustainable and renewable technology is also influenced by the available supply and prices for other energy products, such as coal, oil and natural gases. A change in prices in these energy products could reduce demand for alternative energy.

A natural disaster may also impact the operations of our portfolio companies, including our technology-related portfolio companies. The nature and level of natural disasters cannot be predicted and may be exacerbated

 

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by global climate change. A portion of our technology-related portfolio companies rely on items assembled or produced in areas susceptible to natural disasters, and may sell finished goods into markets susceptible to natural disasters. A major disaster, such as an earthquake, tsunami, flood or other catastrophic event could result in disruption to the business and operations of our technology-related portfolio companies.

We will invest in technology-related companies that are reliant on U.S. and foreign regulatory and governmental programs. Any material changes or discontinuation, due to change in administration or U.S. Congress or otherwise could have a material adverse effect on the operations of a portfolio company in these industries and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us to the extent applicable.

We have invested in and may continue investing in technology-related companies that do not have venture capital or private equity firms as equity investors, and these companies may entail a higher risk of loss than do companies with institutional equity investors, which could increase the risk of loss of your investment.

Our portfolio companies will often require substantial additional equity financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other cash requirements and, in most instances, to service the interest and principal payments on our investment. Portfolio companies that do not have venture capital or private equity investors may be unable to raise any additional capital to satisfy their obligations or to raise sufficient additional capital to reach the next stage of development. Portfolio companies that do not have venture capital or private equity investors may be less financially sophisticated and may not have access to independent members to serve on their boards, which means that they may be less successful than portfolio companies sponsored by venture capital or private equity firms. Accordingly, financing these types of companies may entail a higher risk of loss than would financing companies that are sponsored by venture capital or private equity firms.

Sustainable and renewable technology companies are subject to extensive government regulation and certain other risks particular to the sectors in which they operate and our business and growth strategy could be adversely affected if government regulations, priorities and resources impacting such sectors change or if our portfolio companies fail to comply with such regulations.

As part of our investment strategy, we plan to invest in portfolio companies in sustainable and renewable technology sectors that may be subject to extensive regulation by foreign, U.S. federal, state and/or local agencies. Changes in existing laws, rules or regulations, or judicial or administrative interpretations thereof, or new laws, rules or regulations could have an adverse impact on the business and industries of our portfolio companies. In addition, changes in government priorities or limitations on government resources could also adversely impact our portfolio companies. We are unable to predict whether any such changes in laws, rules or regulations will occur and, if they do occur, the impact of these changes on our portfolio companies and our investment returns. Furthermore, if any of our portfolio companies fail to comply with applicable regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations, which would also impact our ability to realize value since our exit from the investment may be subject to the portfolio company obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals. Our portfolio companies may be subject to the expense, delay and uncertainty of the regulatory approval process for their products and, even if approved, these products may not be accepted in the marketplace.

In addition, there is considerable uncertainty about whether foreign, U.S., state and/or local governmental entities will enact or maintain legislation or regulatory programs that mandate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or provide incentives for sustainable and renewable technology companies. Without such regulatory policies, investments in sustainable and renewable technology companies may not be economical and financing for sustainable and renewable technology companies may become unavailable, which could materially adversely affect the ability of our portfolio companies to repay the debt they owe to us. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations and financial condition of a portfolio company and, in turn, the ability of the portfolio company to repay the debt they owe to us.

 

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Cyclicality within the energy sector may adversely affect some of our portfolio companies.

Industries within the energy sector are cyclical with fluctuations in commodity prices and demand for, and production of commodities driven by a variety of factors. The highly cyclical nature of the industries within the energy sector may lead to volatile changes in commodity prices, which may adversely affect the earnings of energy companies in which we may invest and the performance and valuation of our portfolio.

Continuation of the decline in oil and natural gas prices for a prolonged period of time could have a material adverse effect on us.

A prolonged continuation of the decline in oil and natural gas prices would adversely affect (i) the credit quality of our debt investments in certain of our portfolio companies and (ii) the underlying operating performance of our portfolio companies’ business that are heavily dependent upon the prices of, and demand for, oil and natural gas. A decrease in credit quality and the operating performance would, in turn, negatively affect the fair value of these investments, which would consequently negatively affect our net asset value. Should the decline in oil and natural gas prices experienced over the last two years persist, it is likely that the ability of these portfolio companies to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders will be adversely affected, thereby negatively impacting their financial condition and their ability to satisfy their debt service and other obligations to us. Likewise, should the decline in oil and natural gas prices persist, it is likely that our energy-related portfolio companies’ and other affected companies’ cash flow and profit generating capacities would also be adversely affected thereby negatively impacting their ability to pay us dividends or distributions on our equity investments.

Our investments in the life sciences industry are subject to extensive government regulation, litigation risk and certain other risks particular to that industry.

We have invested and plan to continue investing in companies in the life sciences industry that are subject to extensive regulation by the Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, and to a lesser extent, other federal, state and other foreign agencies. If any of these portfolio companies fail to comply with applicable regulations, they could be subject to significant penalties and claims that could materially and adversely affect their operations. Portfolio companies that produce medical devices or drugs are subject to the expense, delay and uncertainty of the regulatory approval process for their products and, even if approved, these products may not be accepted in the marketplace. In addition, governmental budgetary constraints effecting the regulatory approval process, new laws, regulations or judicial interpretations of existing laws and regulations might adversely affect a portfolio company in this industry. Portfolio companies in the life sciences industry may also have a limited number of suppliers of necessary components or a limited number of manufacturers for their products, and therefore face a risk of disruption to their manufacturing process if they are unable to find alternative suppliers when needed. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect the operations of a portfolio company in this industry and, in turn, impair our ability to timely collect principal and interest payments owed to us.

Our investments in the drug discovery industry are subject to numerous risks, including competition, extensive government regulation, product liability and commercial difficulties.

Our investments in the drug discovery industry are subject to numerous risks. The successful and timely implementation of the business model of our drug discovery portfolio companies depends on their ability to adapt to changing technologies and introduce new products. As competitors continue to introduce competitive products, the development and acquisition of innovative products and technologies that improve efficacy, safety, patient’s and clinician’s ease of use and cost-effectiveness are important to the success of such portfolio companies. The success of new product offerings will depend on many factors, including the ability to properly anticipate and satisfy customer needs, obtain regulatory approvals on a timely basis, develop and manufacture products in an economic and timely manner, obtain or maintain advantageous positions with respect to intellectual property, and differentiate products from those of competitors. Failure by our portfolio companies to introduce planned products or other new products or to introduce products on schedule could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Further, the development of products by drug discovery companies requires significant research and development, clinical trials and regulatory approvals. The results of product development efforts may be affected by a number of factors, including the ability to innovate, develop and manufacture new products, complete clinical trials, obtain regulatory approvals and reimbursement in the U.S. and abroad, or gain and maintain market approval of products. In addition, regulatory review processes by U.S. and foreign agencies may extend longer than anticipated as a result of decreased funding and tighter fiscal budgets. Further, patents attained by others can preclude or delay the commercialization of a product. There can be no assurance that any products now in development will achieve technological feasibility, obtain regulatory approval, or gain market acceptance. Failure can occur at any point in the development process, including after significant funds have been invested. Products may fail to reach the market or may have only limited commercial success because of efficacy or safety concerns, failure to achieve positive clinical outcomes, inability to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, failure to achieve market adoption, limited scope of approved uses, excessive costs to manufacture, the failure to establish or maintain intellectual property rights, or the infringement of intellectual property rights of others.

Future legislation, and/or regulations and policies adopted by the FDA or other U.S. or foreign regulatory authorities may increase the time and cost required by some of our portfolio companies to conduct and complete clinical trials for the product candidates that they develop, and there is no assurance that these companies will obtain regulatory approval to market and commercialize their products in the U.S. and in foreign countries.

The FDA has established regulations, guidelines and policies to govern the drug development and approval process, as have foreign regulatory authorities, which affect some of our portfolio companies. Any change in regulatory requirements due to the adoption by the FDA and/or foreign regulatory authorities of new legislation, regulations, or policies may require some of our portfolio companies to amend existing clinical trial protocols or add new clinical trials to comply with these changes. Such amendments to existing protocols and/or clinical trial applications or the need for new ones, may significantly impact the cost, timing and completion of the clinical trials.

In addition, increased scrutiny by the U.S. Congress of the FDA’s and other authorities approval processes may significantly delay or prevent regulatory approval, as well as impose more stringent product labeling and post-marketing testing and other requirements. Foreign regulatory authorities may also increase their scrutiny of approval processes resulting in similar delays. Increased scrutiny and approvals processes may limit the ability of our portfolio companies to market and commercialize their products in the U.S. and in foreign countries.

Life sciences companies, including drug development companies, device manufacturers, service providers and others, are also subject to material pressures when there are changes in the outlook for healthcare insurance markets. The ability for individuals, along with private and public insurers, to account for the costs of paying for healthcare insurance can place strain on the ability of new technology, devices and services to enter those markets, particularly when they are new or untested. As a result, it is not uncommon for changes in the insurance market place to lead to a slower rate of adoption, price pressure and other forces that may materially limit the success of companies bringing such technologies to market. Changes in the health insurance sector might then have an impact on the value of companies in our portfolio or our ability to invest in the sector generally.

Changes in healthcare laws and other regulations, or the enforcement or interpretation of such laws or regulations, applicable to some of our portfolio companies’ businesses may constrain their ability to offer their products and services.

Changes in healthcare or other laws and regulations, or the enforcement or interpretation of such laws or regulations, applicable to the businesses of some of our portfolio companies may occur that could increase their compliance and other costs of doing business, require significant systems enhancements, or render their products or services less profitable or obsolete, any of which could have a material adverse effect on their results of operations. There has also been an increased political and regulatory focus on healthcare laws in recent years, and new legislation could have a material effect on the business and operations of some of our portfolio companies.

 

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Additionally, because of the continued uncertainty surrounding the healthcare industry under the Trump Administration, including the potential for further legal challenges or repeal of existing legislation, we cannot quantify or predict with any certainty the likely impact on our portfolio companies, our business model, prospects, financial condition or results of operations. We also anticipate that Congress, state legislatures, and third-party payors may continue to review and assess alternative healthcare delivery and payment systems and may in the future propose and adopt legislation or policy changes or implementations effecting additional fundamental changes in the healthcare delivery system. We cannot assure you as to the ultimate content, timing, or effect of changes, nor is it possible at this time to estimate the impact of any such potential legislation on certain of our portfolio companies, our business model, prospects, financial condition or results of operations.

Price declines and illiquidity in the corporate debt markets could adversely affect the fair value of our portfolio investments, reducing our NAV through increased net unrealized depreciation.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair market value as determined in good faith by or under the direction of our Board of Directors. As part of the valuation process, we may take into account the following types of factors, if relevant, in determining the fair value of our investments: the enterprise value of a portfolio company (an estimate of the total fair value of the portfolio company’s debt and equity), the nature and realizable value of any collateral, the portfolio company’s ability to make payments and its earnings and discounted cash flow, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, a comparison of the portfolio company’s securities to similar publicly traded securities, changes in the interest rate environment and the credit markets generally that may affect the price at which similar investments may be made in the future and other relevant factors. When an external event such as a purchase transaction, public offering or subsequent equity sale occurs, we use the pricing indicated by the external event to corroborate our valuation. While most of our investments are not publicly traded, applicable accounting standards require us to assume as part of our valuation process that our investments are sold in a principal market to market participants (even if we plan on holding an investment through its maturity). As a result, volatility in the capital markets can also adversely affect our investment valuations. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments are recorded as unrealized depreciation. The effect of all of these factors on our portfolio can reduce our NAV by increasing net unrealized depreciation in our portfolio.

Depending on market conditions, we could incur substantial realized losses and may suffer substantial unrealized depreciation in future periods, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Economic recessions or slowdowns could impair the ability of our portfolio companies to repay loans, which, in turn, could increase our non-performing assets, decrease the value of our portfolio, reduce our volume of new loans and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Many of our portfolio companies may be susceptible to economic slowdowns or recessions in both the U.S. and foreign countries, and may be unable to repay our loans during such periods. Therefore, during such periods, our non-performing assets are likely to increase and the value of our portfolio is likely to decrease. Adverse economic conditions also may decrease the value of collateral securing some of our loans and the value of our equity investments. Economic slowdowns or recessions could lead to financial losses in our portfolio and a decrease in revenues, net income and assets. Unfavorable economic conditions also could increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or result in a decision by lenders not to extend credit to us. These events could prevent us from increasing investments and harm our operating results.

In particular, intellectual property owned or controlled by our portfolio companies may constitute an important portion of the value of the collateral of our loans to our portfolio companies. Adverse economic conditions may decrease the demand for our portfolio companies’ intellectual property and consequently its value in the event of a bankruptcy or required sale through a foreclosure proceeding. As a result, our ability to fully recover the amounts owed to us under the terms of the loans may be impaired by such events.

 

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A portfolio company’s failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, termination of the portfolio company’s loans and foreclosure on its secured assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize the portfolio company’s ability to meet its obligations under the debt securities that we hold. We may incur expenses to the extent necessary to seek recovery upon default or to negotiate new terms with a defaulting portfolio company.

Our portfolio companies may be unable to repay or refinance outstanding principal on their loans at or prior to maturity, and rising interests rates may make it more difficult for portfolio companies to make periodic payments on their loans.

Our portfolio companies may be unable to repay or refinance outstanding principal on their loans at or prior to maturity. This risk and the risk of default is increased to the extent that the loan documents do not require the portfolio companies to pay down the outstanding principal of such debt prior to maturity. In addition, if general interest rates rise, there is a risk that our portfolio companies will be unable to pay escalating interest amounts, which could result in a default under their loan documents with us. Any failure of one or more portfolio companies to repay or refinance its debt at or prior to maturity or the inability of one or more portfolio companies to make ongoing payments following an increase in contractual interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.

The disposition of our investments may result in contingent liabilities.

We currently expect that a portion of our investments will involve private securities. In connection with the disposition of an investment in private securities, we may be required to make representations about the business and financial affairs of the portfolio company typical of those made in connection with the sale of a business. We may also be required to indemnify the purchasers of such investment to the extent that any such representations turn out to be inaccurate or with respect to certain potential liabilities. These arrangements may result in contingent liabilities that ultimately yield funding obligations that must be satisfied through our return of certain distributions previously made to us.

The health and performance of our portfolio companies could be adversely affected by political and economic conditions in the countries in which they conduct business.

Some of the products of our portfolio companies are developed, manufactured, assembled, tested or marketed outside the U.S. Any conflict or uncertainty in these countries, including due to natural disasters, public health concerns, political unrest or safety concerns, among other things, could harm their business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if the government of any country in which their products are developed, manufactured or sold sets technical or regulatory standards for products developed or manufactured in or imported into their country that are not widely shared, it may lead some of their customers to suspend imports of their products into that country, require manufacturers or developers in that country to manufacture or develop products with different technical or regulatory standards and disrupt cross-border manufacturing, marketing or business relationships which, in each case, could harm their businesses.

Any unrealized depreciation we experience on our investment portfolio may be an indication of future realized losses, which could reduce our income available for distribution and could impair our ability to service our borrowings.

As a business development company, we are required to carry our investments at market value or, if no market value is ascertainable, at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors. Decreases in the market values or fair values of our investments will be recorded as unrealized depreciation. Any unrealized depreciation in our investment portfolio could be an indication of a portfolio company’s inability to meet its repayment obligations to us with respect to the affected investments. This could result in realized losses in the future and ultimately in reductions of our income available for distribution in future periods and could materially adversely affect our ability to service our outstanding borrowings.

 

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A lack of IPO or merger and acquisition opportunities may cause companies to stay in our portfolio longer, leading to lower returns, unrealized depreciation, or realized losses.

A lack of IPO or merger and acquisition (“M&A”) opportunities for venture capital-backed companies could lead to companies staying longer in our portfolio as private entities still requiring funding. This situation may adversely affect the amount of available funding for early-stage companies in particular as, in general, venture-capital firms are being forced to provide additional financing to late-stage companies that cannot complete an IPO or M&A transaction. In the best case, such stagnation would dampen returns, and in the worst case, could lead to unrealized depreciation and realized losses as some companies run short of cash and have to accept lower valuations in private fundings or are not able to access additional capital at all. A lack of IPO or M&A opportunities for venture capital-backed companies can also cause some venture capital firms to change their strategies, leading some of them to reduce funding of their portfolio companies and making it more difficult for such companies to access capital and to fulfill their potential, which can result in unrealized depreciation and realized losses in such companies by other companies such as ourselves who are co-investors in such companies.

The majority of our portfolio companies will need multiple rounds of additional financing to repay their debts to us and continue operations. Our portfolio companies may not be able to raise additional financing, which could harm our investment returns.

The majority of our portfolio companies will often require substantial additional equity financing to satisfy their continuing working capital and other cash requirements and, in most instances, to service the interest and principal payments on our investment. Each round of venture financing is typically intended to provide a company with only enough capital to reach the next stage of development. We cannot predict the circumstances or market conditions under which our portfolio companies will seek additional capital. It is possible that one or more of our portfolio companies will not be able to raise additional financing or may be able to do so only at a price or on terms unfavorable to us, either of which would negatively impact our investment returns. Some of these companies may be unable to obtain sufficient financing from private investors, public capital markets or traditional lenders. This may have a significant impact if the companies are unable to obtain certain federal, state or foreign agency approval for their products or the marketing thereof, of if regulatory review processes extend longer than anticipated, and the companies need continued funding for their operations during these times. Accordingly, financing these types of companies may entail a higher risk of loss than would financing companies that are able to utilize traditional credit sources.

If the assets securing the loans that we make decrease in value, then we may lack sufficient collateral to cover losses.

To attempt to mitigate credit risks, we will typically take a security interest in the available assets of our portfolio companies. There is no assurance that we will obtain or properly perfect our liens.

There is a risk that the collateral securing our loans may decrease in value over time, may be difficult to sell in a timely manner, may be difficult to appraise and may fluctuate in value based upon the success of the business and market conditions, including as a result of the inability of a portfolio company to raise additional capital. In some circumstances, our lien could be subordinated to claims of other creditors. Consequently, the fact that a loan is secured does not guarantee that we will receive principal and interest payments according to the loan’s terms, or that we will be able to collect on the loan should we be forced to enforce our remedies.

In addition, because we invest in technology-related companies, a substantial portion of the assets securing our investment may be in the form of intellectual property, if any, inventory and equipment and, to a lesser extent, cash and accounts receivable. Intellectual property, if any, that is securing our loan could lose value if, among other things, the company’s rights to the intellectual property are challenged or if the company’s license to the intellectual property is revoked or expires, the technology fails to achieve its intended results or a new technology makes the intellectual property functionally obsolete. Inventory may not be adequate to secure our loan if our valuation of the inventory at the time that we made the loan was not accurate or if there is a reduction in the demand for the inventory.

 

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Similarly, any equipment securing our loan may not provide us with the anticipated security if there are changes in technology or advances in new equipment that render the particular equipment obsolete or of limited value, or if the company fails to adequately maintain or repair the equipment. Any one or more of the preceding factors could materially impair our ability to recover earned interest and principal in a foreclosure.

At June 30, 2017, approximately 40.2% of our portfolio company debt investments were secured by a first priority security in all of the assets of the portfolio company, including their intellectual property, 45.7% of the debt investments were to portfolio companies that were prohibited from pledging or encumbering their intellectual property, or subject to a negative pledge and, 14.1% of the our portfolio company debt investments were secured by a second priority security interest in all of the portfolio company’s assets, other than intellectual property. At June 30, 2017 we had no equipment only liens on any of our portfolio companies.

We may suffer a loss if a portfolio company defaults on a loan and the underlying collateral is not sufficient.

In the event of a default by a portfolio company on a secured loan, we will only have recourse to the assets collateralizing the loan. If the underlying collateral value is less than the loan amount, we will suffer a loss. In addition, we sometimes make loans that are unsecured, which are subject to the risk that other lenders may be directly secured by the assets of the portfolio company. In the event of a default, those collateralized lenders would have priority over us with respect to the proceeds of a sale of the underlying assets. In cases described above, we may lack control over the underlying asset collateralizing our loan or the underlying assets of the portfolio company prior to a default, and as a result the value of the collateral may be reduced by acts or omissions by owners or managers of the assets.

In the event of bankruptcy of a portfolio company, we may not have full recourse to its assets in order to satisfy our loan, or our loan may be subject to “equitable subordination.” This means that depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided significant “managerial assistance,” if any, to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might re-characterize our debt holding and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors. In addition, certain of our loans are subordinate to other debt of the portfolio company. If a portfolio company defaults on our loan or on debt senior to our loan, or in the event of a portfolio company bankruptcy, our loan will be satisfied only after the senior debt receives payment. Where debt senior to our loan exists, the presence of intercreditor arrangements may limit our ability to amend our loan documents, assign our loans, accept prepayments, exercise our remedies (through “standstill” periods) and control decisions made in bankruptcy proceedings relating to the portfolio company. Bankruptcy and portfolio company litigation can significantly increase collection losses and the time needed for us to acquire the underlying collateral in the event of a default, during which time the collateral may decline in value, causing us to suffer losses.

If the value of collateral underlying our loan declines or interest rates increase during the term of our loan, a portfolio company may not be able to obtain the necessary funds to repay our loan at maturity through refinancing. Decreasing collateral value and/or increasing interest rates may hinder a portfolio company’s ability to refinance our loan because the underlying collateral cannot satisfy the debt service coverage requirements necessary to obtain new financing. If a borrower is unable to repay our loan at maturity, we could suffer a loss which may adversely impact our financial performance.

The inability of our portfolio companies to commercialize their technologies or create or develop commercially viable products or businesses would have a negative impact on our investment returns.

The possibility that our portfolio companies will not be able to commercialize their technology, products or business concepts presents significant risks to the value of our investment. Additionally, although some of our portfolio companies may already have a commercially successful product or product line when we invest, technology-related products and services often have a more limited market- or life-span than have products in

 

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other industries. Thus, the ultimate success of these companies often depends on their ability to continually innovate, or raise additional capital, in increasingly competitive markets. Their inability to do so could affect our investment return. In addition, the intellectual property held by our portfolio companies often represents a substantial portion of the collateral, if any, securing our investments. We cannot assure you that any of our portfolio companies will successfully acquire or develop any new technologies, or that the intellectual property the companies currently hold will remain viable. Even if our portfolio companies are able to develop commercially viable products, the market for new products and services is highly competitive and rapidly changing. Neither our portfolio companies nor we have any control over the pace of technology development. Commercial success is difficult to predict, and the marketing efforts of our portfolio companies may not be successful.

An investment strategy focused on privately-held companies presents certain challenges, including the lack of available information about these companies, a dependence on the talents and efforts of only a few key portfolio company personnel and a greater vulnerability to economic downturns.

We invest primarily in privately-held companies. Generally, very little public information exists about these companies, and we are required to rely on the ability of our management and investment teams to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential returns from investing in these companies. Such small, privately held companies as we routinely invest in may also lack quality infrastructures, thus leading to poor disclosure standards or control environments. If we are unable to uncover all material information about these companies, then we may not make a fully informed investment decision, and we may not receive the expected return on our investment or lose some or all of the money invested in these companies.

Also, privately-held companies frequently have less diverse product lines and a smaller market presence than do larger competitors. Privately-held companies are, thus, generally more vulnerable to economic downturns and may experience more substantial variations in operating results than do larger competitors. These factors could affect our investment returns and our results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, our success depends, in large part, upon the abilities of the key management personnel of our portfolio companies, who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of our portfolio companies. Competition for qualified personnel is intense at any stage of a company’s development, and high turnover of personnel is common in technology-related companies. The loss of one or more key managers can hinder or delay a company’s implementation of its business plan and harm its financial condition. Our portfolio companies may not be able to attract and retain qualified managers and personnel. Any inability to do so may negatively impact our investment returns and our results of operations and financial condition.

If our portfolio companies are unable to protect their intellectual property rights, or are required to devote significant resources to protecting their intellectual property rights, then our investments could be harmed.

Our future success and competitive position depend in part upon the ability of our portfolio companies to obtain and maintain proprietary technology used in their products and services, which will often represent a significant portion of the collateral, if any, securing our investment. The portfolio companies will rely, in part, on patent, trade secret and trademark law to protect that technology, but competitors may misappropriate their intellectual property, and disputes as to ownership of intellectual property may arise. Portfolio companies may, from time to time, be required to institute litigation in order to enforce their patents, copyrights or other intellectual property rights, to protect their trade secrets, to determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or to defend against claims of infringement. Such litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of resources. Similarly, if a portfolio company is found to infringe upon or misappropriate a third party’s patent or other proprietary rights, that portfolio company could be required to pay damages to such third party, alter its own products or processes, obtain a license from the third party and/or cease activities utilizing such proprietary rights, including making or selling products utilizing such proprietary rights. Any of the foregoing events could negatively affect both the portfolio company’s ability to service our debt investment and the value of any related debt and equity securities that we own, as well as any collateral securing our investment.

 

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We generally will not control our portfolio companies.

In some instances, we may control our portfolio companies or provide our portfolio companies with significant managerial assistance. However, we generally do not, and do not expect to, control the decision making in many of our portfolio companies, even though we may have board representation or board observation rights, and our debt agreements may contain certain restrictive covenants. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company in which we invest will make business decisions with which we disagree and the management of such company, as representatives of the holders of their common equity, will take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not serve our interests as debt investors. Due to the lack of liquidity for our investments in non-traded companies, we may not be able to dispose of our interests in our portfolio companies as readily as we would like or at an appropriate valuation. As a result, a portfolio company may make decisions that would decrease the value of our portfolio holdings.

Our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be negatively affected if we are unable to recover our principal investment as a result of a negative pledge or lack of a security interest on the intellectual property of our venture growth stage companies.

In some cases, we collateralize our loans with a secured collateral position in a portfolio company’s assets, which may include a negative pledge or, to a lesser extent, no security on their intellectual property. In the event of a default on a loan, the intellectual property of the portfolio company will most likely be liquidated to provide proceeds to pay the creditors of the company. There can be no assurance that our security interest, if any, in the proceeds of the intellectual property will be enforceable in a court of law or bankruptcy court or that there will not be others with senior or pari passu credit interests.

Our relationship with certain portfolio companies may expose us to our portfolio companies’ trade secrets and confidential information which may require us to be parties to non-disclosure agreements and restrict us from engaging in certain transactions.

Our relationship with some of our portfolio companies may expose us to our portfolio companies’ trade secrets and confidential information (including transactional data and personal data about their employees and clients) which may require us to be parties to non-disclosure agreements and restrict us from engaging in certain transactions. Unauthorized access or disclosure of such information may occur, resulting in theft, loss or other misappropriation. Any theft, loss, improper use, such as insider trading or other misappropriation of confidential information could have a material adverse impact on our competitive positions, our relationship with our portfolio companies and our reputation and could subject us to regulatory inquiries, enforcement and fines, civil litigation (which may cause us to incur significant expense or expose us to losses) and possible financial liability or costs.

Portfolio company litigation could result in additional costs, the diversion of management time and resources and have an adverse impact on the fair value of our investment.

To the extent that litigation arises with respect to any of our portfolio companies, we may be named as a defendant, which could result in additional costs and the diversion of management time and resources. Furthermore, if we are providing managerial assistance to the portfolio company or have representatives on the portfolio company’s board of directors, our costs and diversion of our management’s time and resources in assessing the portfolio company could be substantial in light of any such litigation regardless of whether we are named as a defendant. In addition, litigation involving a portfolio company may be costly and affect the operations of the portfolio company’s business, which could in turn have an adverse impact on the fair value of our investment in such company.

We may not be able to realize our entire investment on equipment-based loans, if any, in the case of default.

We may from time-to-time provide loans that will be collateralized only by equipment of the portfolio company. If the portfolio company defaults on the loan we would take possession of the underlying equipment to

 

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satisfy the outstanding debt. The residual value of the equipment at the time we would take possession may not be sufficient to satisfy the outstanding debt and we could experience a loss on the disposition of the equipment. At June 30, 2017, we had no equipment-based loans.

Our investments in foreign securities may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

Our investment strategy contemplates that a portion of our investments may be in securities of foreign companies. Our total investments at value in foreign companies were approximately $126.0 million or 8.9% of total investments at June 30, 2017. Investing in foreign companies may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in U.S. companies. These risks include changes in exchange control regulations, political and social instability, expropriation, imposition of foreign taxes, less liquid markets and less available information than is generally the case in the U.S., higher transaction costs, less government supervision of exchanges, brokers and issuers, less developed bankruptcy laws, difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations, lack of uniform accounting and auditing standards and greater price volatility, among other things.

If our investments do not meet our performance expectations, you may not receive distributions.

We intend to make distributions on a quarterly basis to our stockholders. We may not be able to achieve operating results that will allow us to make distributions at a specific level or to increase the amount of these distributions from time to time. In addition, due to the asset coverage test applicable to us as a business development company, we may be limited in our ability to make distributions. Also, restrictions and provisions in any future credit facilities may limit our ability to make distributions. As a RIC, if we do not distribute a certain percentage of our income each taxable year, we will suffer adverse tax consequences, including failure to obtain, or possible loss of, the U.S. federal income tax benefits allowable to RICs. We cannot assure you that you will receive distributions at a particular level or at all.

We may not have sufficient funds to make follow-on investments. Our decision not to make a follow-on investment may have a negative impact on a portfolio company in need of such an investment or may result in a missed opportunity for us.

After our initial investment in a portfolio company, we may be called upon from time to time to provide additional funds to such company or have the opportunity or need to increase our investment in a successful situation or attempt to preserve or enhance the value of our initial investment, for example, the exercise of a warrant to purchase common stock, or a negative situation, to protect an existing investment. We have the discretion to make any follow-on investments, subject to the availability of capital resources and regulatory considerations. We may elect not to make follow-on investments or otherwise lack sufficient funds to make those investments. Any decision we make not to make a follow-on investment or any inability on our part to make such an investment may have a negative impact on a portfolio company in need of such an investment or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful operation and may dilute our equity interest or otherwise reduce the expected yield on our investment. Moreover, a follow-on investment may limit the number of companies in which we can make initial investments. In determining whether to make a follow-on investment, our management will exercise its business judgment and apply criteria similar to those used when making the initial investment. There is no assurance that we will make, or will have sufficient funds to make, follow-on investments and this could adversely affect our success and result in the loss of a substantial portion or all of our investment in a portfolio company.

The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business and, if we need to sell any of our investments, we may not be able to do so at a favorable price. As a result, we may suffer losses.

We generally invest in debt securities with terms of up to seven years and hold such investments until maturity, and we do not expect that our related holdings of equity securities will provide us with liquidity

 

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opportunities in the near-term. We invest and expect to continue investing in companies whose securities have no established trading market and whose securities are and will be subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or whose securities are and will be less liquid than are publicly-traded securities. The illiquidity of these investments may make it difficult for us to sell these investments when desired. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we had previously recorded these investments. As a result, we do not expect to achieve liquidity in our investments in the near-term. However, to maintain our qualification as a business development company and as a RIC, we may have to dispose of investments if we do not satisfy one or more of the applicable criteria under the respective regulatory frameworks.

Our portfolio companies may incur debt or issue equity securities that rank equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.

We invest primarily in debt securities issued by our portfolio companies. In some cases, portfolio companies will be permitted to incur other debt, or issue other equity securities, that rank equally with, or senior to, our investment. Such instruments may provide that the holders thereof are entitled to receive payment of distributions, interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of our investments. These debt instruments would usually prohibit the portfolio companies from paying interest on or repaying our investments in the event and during the continuance of a default under such debt. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of securities ranking senior to our investment in that portfolio company would typically be entitled to receive payment in full before we receive any distribution in respect of our investment. After repaying such holders, the portfolio company might not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligation to us. In the case of securities ranking equally with our investments, we would have to share on a pari passu basis any distributions with other security holders in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company.

The rights we may have with respect to the collateral securing any junior priority loans we make to our portfolio companies may also be limited pursuant to the terms of one or more intercreditor agreements that we enter into with the holders of senior debt. Under such an intercreditor agreement, at any time that senior obligations are outstanding, we may forfeit certain rights with respect to the collateral to the holders of the senior obligations. These rights may include the right to commence enforcement proceedings against the collateral, the right to control the conduct of such enforcement proceedings, the right to approve amendments to collateral documents, the right to release liens on the collateral and the right to waive past defaults under collateral documents. We may not have the ability to control or direct such actions, even if as a result our rights as junior lenders are adversely affected.

Our warrant and equity-related investments are highly speculative, and we may not realize gains from these investments. If our warrant and equity-related investments do not generate gains, then the return on our invested capital will be lower than it would otherwise be, which could result in a decline in the value of shares of our common stock.

When we invest in debt securities, we generally expect to acquire warrants or other equity-related securities as well. Our goal is ultimately to dispose of these equity interests and realize gains upon disposition of such interests. Over time, the gains that we realize on these equity interests may offset, to some extent, losses that we experience on defaults under debt securities that we hold. However, the equity interests that we receive may not appreciate in value and, in fact, may decline in value. Accordingly, we may not be able to realize gains from our equity interests, and any gains that we do realize on the disposition of any equity interests may not be sufficient to offset any other losses that we experience. In addition, we anticipate that approximately 50% of our warrants may not realize and exit or generate any returns. Furthermore, because of the GAAP requirements, of those approximately 50% of warrants that do not realize and exit, the assigned costs to the initial warrants may lead to realized write-offs when the warrants either expire or are not exercised.

 

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Prepayments of our debt investments by our portfolio companies could adversely impact our results of operations and reduce our return on equity.

During the six-months ended June 30, 2017, we received debt investment early principal repayments and pay down of working capital debt investments of approximately $338.8 million. We are subject to the risk that the investments we make in our portfolio companies may be repaid prior to maturity. When this occurs, we will generally reinvest these proceeds in temporary investments, pending their future investment in new portfolio companies. These temporary investments will typically have substantially lower yields than the debt being prepaid and we could experience significant delays in reinvesting these amounts. Any future investment in a new portfolio company may also be at lower yields than the debt that was repaid. As a result, our results of operations could be materially adversely affected if one or more of our portfolio companies elect to prepay amounts owed to us. Additionally, prepayments could negatively impact our return on equity, which could result in a decline in the market price of our common stock.

We may choose to waive or defer enforcement of covenants in the debt securities held in our portfolio, which may cause us to lose all or part of our investment in these companies.

We structure the debt investments in our portfolio companies to include business and financial covenants placing affirmative and negative obligations on the operation of the company’s business and its financial condition. However, from time to time we may elect to waive breaches of these covenants, including our right to payment, or waive or defer enforcement of remedies, such as acceleration of obligations or foreclosure on collateral, depending upon the financial condition and prospects of the particular portfolio company. These actions may reduce the likelihood of receiving the full amount of future payments of interest or principal and be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of the underlying collateral as many of these companies may have limited financial resources, may be unable to meet future obligations and may go bankrupt. This could negatively impact our ability to pay distributions, could adversely affect our results of operation and financial condition and cause the loss of all or part of your investment.

We may also be subject to lender liability claims for actions taken by us with respect to a borrower’s business or instances where we exercise control over the borrower. It is possible that we could become subject to a lender’s liability claim, including as a result of actions taken in rendering significant managerial assistance or actions to compel and collect payments from the borrower outside the ordinary course of business.

Our loans could be subject to equitable subordination by a court which would increase our risk of loss with respect to such loans or we could be subject to lender liability claims.

Courts may apply the doctrine of equitable subordination to subordinate the claim or lien of a lender against a borrower to claims or liens of other creditors of the borrower, when the lender or its affiliates is found to have engaged in unfair, inequitable or fraudulent conduct. The courts have also applied the doctrine of equitable subordination when a lender or its affiliates is found to have exerted inappropriate control over a client, including control resulting from the ownership of equity interests in a client or providing of significant managerial assistance. We have made direct equity investments or received warrants in connection with loans. These investments represent approximately 7.7% of the outstanding value of our investment portfolio as of June 30, 2017. Payments on one or more of our loans, particularly a loan to a client in which we also hold an equity interest, may be subject to claims of equitable subordination. If we were deemed to have the ability to control or otherwise exercise influence over the business and affairs of one or more of our portfolio companies resulting in economic hardship to other creditors of that company, this control or influence may constitute grounds for equitable subordination and a court may treat one or more of our loans as if it were unsecured or common equity in the portfolio company. In that case, if the portfolio company were to liquidate, we would be entitled to repayment of our loan on a pro-rata basis with other unsecured debt or, if the effect of subordination was to place us at the level of common equity, then on an equal basis with other holders of the portfolio company’s common equity only after all of its obligations relating to its debt and preferred securities had been satisfied.

 

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In addition to these risks, in the event we elect to convert our debt position to equity, or otherwise take control of a portfolio company (such as through placing a member of our management team on its board of directors), as part of a restructuring, we face additional risks acting in that capacity. It is not uncommon for unsecured, or otherwise unsatisfied creditors, to sue parties that elect to use their debt positions to later control a company following a restructuring or bankruptcy. Apart from lawsuits, key customers and suppliers might act in a fashion contrary to the interests of a portfolio company if they were left unsatisfied in a restructuring or bankruptcy. Any combination of these factors might lead to the loss in value of a company subject to such activity and may divert the time and attention of our management team and investment team to help to address such issues in a portfolio company.

The potential inability of our portfolio companies’ in the healthcare industry to charge desired prices with respect to prescription drugs could impact their revenues and in turn their ability to repay us.

Some of our portfolio companies in the healthcare industry are subject to risks associated with the pricing for prescription drugs. It is uncertain whether customers of our healthcare industry portfolio companies will continue to utilize established prescription drug pricing methods, or whether other pricing benchmarks will be adopted for establishing prices within the industry. Legislation may lead to changes in the pricing for Medicare and Medicaid programs. Regulators have conducted investigations into the use of prescription drug pricing methods for federal program payment, and whether such methods have inflated drug expenditures by the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Federal and state proposals have sought to change the basis for calculating payment of certain drugs by the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Additionally, President Trump has taken actions and made statements that suggest he plans to seek repeal of all or portions of the Affordable Care Act, or the ACA. In May 2017, the House of Representatives voted to pass the American Health Care Act, or the AHCA. As proposed, the AHCA would repeal many provisions of the ACA. The Senate is expected to consider an alternative version of the AHCA and it is expected that Congress will continue to consider this or similar legislation to repeal and replace some or all elements of the ACA. There is currently uncertainty with respect to the impact any such repeal may have and any resulting changes may take time to unfold, which could have an impact on coverage and reimbursement for healthcare items and services covered by plans that were authorized by the ACA. We cannot predict the ultimate content, timing or effect of any such legislation or executive action or the impact of potential legislation or executive action on us. Any changes to the method for calculating prescription drug costs may reduce the revenues of our portfolio companies in the healthcare industry which could in turn impair their ability to timely make any principal and interest payments owed to us.

Risks Related to Our Securities

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

The investments we make in accordance with our investment objective may result in a higher amount of risk, volatility or loss of principal than alternative investment options. Our investments in portfolio companies may be highly speculative and aggressive, and therefore, an investment in our common stock may not be suitable for investors with lower risk tolerance.

Our common stock may trade below its NAV per share, which limits our ability to raise additional equity capital.

If our common stock is trading below its NAV per share, we will generally not be able to issue additional shares of our common stock at its market price without first obtaining the approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors. If our common stock trades below NAV, the higher cost of equity capital may result in it being unattractive to raise new equity, which may limit our ability to grow. The risk of trading below NAV is separate and distinct from the risk that our NAV per share may decline. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our NAV.

 

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Provisions of our charter and bylaws could deter takeover attempts and have an adverse impact on the price of our common stock.

Our charter and bylaws contain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging, delaying, or making difficult a change in control of our company or the removal of our incumbent directors. Under our charter, our Board of Directors is divided into three classes serving staggered terms, which will make it more difficult for a hostile bidder to acquire control of us. In addition, our Board of Directors may, without stockholder action, authorize the issuance of shares of stock in one or more classes or series, including preferred stock. Subject to compliance with the 1940 Act, our Board of Directors may, without stockholder action, amend our charter to increase the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have authority to issue. The existence of these provisions, among others, may have a negative impact on the price of our common stock and may discourage third party bids for ownership of our company. These provisions may prevent any premiums being offered to you for shares of our common stock in connection with a takeover.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the availability of such common stock for sale (including as a result of the conversion of our 2022 Convertible Notes, issued in January 2017, into common stock), could adversely affect the prevailing market prices for our common stock, which may also lead to further dilution of our earnings per share resulting from the outstanding shares attributable to the conversion of the 2022 Convertible Notes. If this occurs and continues, it could impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of securities should we desire to do so.

We may periodically obtain the approval of our stockholders to issue shares of our common stock at prices below the then current NAV per share of our common stock. If we receive such approval from the stockholders, we may issue shares of our common stock at a price below the then current NAV per share of common stock. Any such issuance could materially dilute your interest in our common stock and reduce our NAV per share.

We may periodically obtain the approval of our stockholders to issue shares of our common stock at prices below the then current NAV per share of our common stock. Such approval has allowed and may again allow us to access the capital markets in a way that we typically are unable to do as a result of restrictions that, absent stockholder approval, apply to business development companies under the 1940 Act. Any decision to sell shares of our common stock below the then current NAV per share of our common stock is subject to the determination by our Board of Directors that such issuance and sale is in our and our stockholders’ best interests.

Any sale or other issuance of shares of our common stock at a price below NAV per share has resulted and will continue to result in an immediate dilution to your interest in our common stock and a reduction of our NAV per share. This dilution would occur as a result of a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance. Because the number of future shares of common stock that may be issued below our NAV per share and the price and timing of such issuances are not currently known, we cannot predict the actual dilutive effect of any such issuance. We also cannot determine the resulting reduction in our NAV per share of any such issuance at this time. We caution you that such effects may be material, and we undertake to describe all the material risks and dilutive effects of any offering that we make at a price below our then current NAV in the future in a prospectus supplement issued in connection with any such offering. We cannot predict whether shares of our common stock will trade above, at or below our NAV.

If we conduct an offering of our common stock at a price below NAV, investors are likely to incur immediate dilution upon the closing of the offering.

We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below NAV per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, at a price below the current NAV of the common stock, or sell warrants,

 

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options or other rights to acquire such common stock, at a price below the current NAV of the common stock if our Board of Directors determines that such sale is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders and our stockholders have approved the practice of making such sales.

In connection with the receipt of such stockholder approval, we will limit the number of shares that it issues at a price below NAV pursuant to this authorization so that the aggregate dilutive effect on our then outstanding shares will not exceed 20%. Our Board of Directors, subject to its fiduciary duties and regulatory requirements, has the discretion to determine the amount of the discount, and as a result, the discount could be up to 100% of NAV per share. If we were to issue shares at a price below NAV, such sales would result in an immediate dilution to existing common stockholders, which would include a reduction in the NAV per share as a result of the issuance. This dilution would also include a proportionately greater decrease in a stockholder’s interest in our earnings and assets and voting interest in us than the increase in our assets resulting from such issuance.

In addition, if we determined to conduct additional offerings in the future there may be even greater dilution if we determine to conduct such offerings at prices below NAV. As a result, investors will experience further dilution and additional discounts to the price of our common stock. Because the number of shares of common stock that could be so issued and the timing of any issuance is not currently known, the actual dilutive effect of an offering cannot be predicted. We did not sell any of our securities at a price below NAV during the six-months ended June 30, 2017.

We may allocate the net proceeds from an offering in ways with which you may not agree.

We have significant flexibility in investing the net proceeds of an offering and may use the net proceeds from an offering in ways with which you may not agree or for purposes other than those contemplated at the time of the offering.

If we issue preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt securities, the NAV and market value of our common stock may become more volatile.

We cannot assure you that the issuance of preferred stock and/or debt securities would result in a higher yield or return to the holders of our common stock. The issuance of preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt would likely cause the NAV and market value of our common stock to become more volatile. If the distribution rate on the preferred stock, or the interest rate on the debt securities, were to approach the net rate of return on our investment portfolio, the benefit of leverage to the holders of our common stock would be reduced. If the distribution rate on the preferred stock, or the interest rate on the debt securities, were to exceed the net rate of return on our portfolio, the use of leverage would result in a lower rate of return to the holders of common stock than if we had not issued the preferred stock or debt securities. Any decline in the NAV of our investment would be borne entirely by the holders of our common stock. Therefore, if the market value of our portfolio were to decline, the leverage would result in a greater decrease in NAV to the holders of our common stock than if we were not leveraged through the issuance of preferred stock. This decline in NAV would also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for our common stock.

There is also a risk that, in the event of a sharp decline in the value of our net assets, we would be in danger of failing to maintain required asset coverage ratios which may be required by the preferred stock, debt securities, convertible debt or units or of a downgrade in the ratings of the preferred stock, debt securities, convertible debt or our current investment income might not be sufficient to meet the distribution requirements on the preferred stock or the interest payments on the debt securities. If we do not maintain our required asset coverage ratios, we may not be permitted to declare dividend distributions. In order to counteract such an event, we might need to liquidate investments in order to fund redemption of some or all of the preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt. In addition, we would pay (and the holders of our common stock would bear) all costs and expenses relating to the issuance and ongoing maintenance of the preferred stock, debt securities, convertible debt or any combination of these securities. Holders of preferred stock, debt securities or convertible debt may have different interests than holders of common stock and may at times have disproportionate influence over our affairs.

 

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Holders of any preferred stock that we may issue will have the right to elect members of the Board of Directors and have class voting rights on certain matters.

The 1940 Act requires that holders of shares of preferred stock must be entitled as a class to elect two directors at all times and to elect a majority of the directors if distributions on such preferred stock are in arrears by two years or more, until such arrearage is eliminated. In addition, certain matters under the 1940 Act require the separate vote of the holders of any issued and outstanding preferred stock, including changes in fundamental investment restrictions and conversion to open-end status and, accordingly, preferred stockholders could veto any such changes. Restrictions imposed on the declarations and payment of dividends or other distributions to the holders of our common stock and preferred stock, both by the 1940 Act and by requirements imposed by rating agencies, might impair our ability to maintain our ability to be subject to tax as a RIC.

Terms relating to redemption may materially adversely affect your return on any debt securities that we may issue.

If your debt securities are redeemable at our option, we may choose to redeem your debt securities at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on your debt securities. In addition, if your debt securities are subject to mandatory redemption, we may be required to redeem your debt securities also at times when prevailing interest rates are lower than the interest rate paid on your debt securities. In this circumstance, you may not be able to reinvest the redemption proceeds in a comparable security at an effective interest rate as high as your debt securities being redeemed.

Additionally, we may redeem the 2024 Notes after July 30, 2017 at a redemption price of 100% of the outstanding principal amount thereof plus accrued and unpaid interest payments. If we choose to redeem the 2024 Notes when the fair market value of the 2024 Notes is above par value, you would experience a loss of any potential premium.

Our shares may trade at discounts from NAV or at premiums that are unsustainable over the long term.

Shares of business development companies may trade at a market price that is less than the NAV that is attributable to those shares. Our shares have historically traded above and below our NAV. The possibility that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from NAV or at a premium that is unsustainable over the long term is separate and distinct from the risk that our NAV may decrease. It is not possible to predict whether our shares will trade at, above or below NAV in the future.

Our credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in our debt securities.

Our credit ratings are an assessment by third parties of our ability to pay our obligations. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our debt securities. Our credit ratings, however, may not reflect the potential impact of risks related to market conditions generally or other factors discussed herein on the market value of or trading market for the publicly issued debt securities.

A downgrade, suspension or withdrawal of the credit rating assigned by a rating agency to us or our debt securities, if any, or change in the debt markets could cause the liquidity or market value of our debt securities to decline significantly.

Our credit ratings are an assessment by rating agencies of our ability to pay our debts when due. Consequently, real or anticipated changes in our credit ratings will generally affect the market value of our outstanding debt and equity securities. These credit ratings may not reflect the potential impact of risks relating to the structure or marketing of such debt and equity securities. Credit ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security, and may be revised or withdrawn at any time by the issuing organization in its sole discretion.

 

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Neither we nor any underwriter undertakes any obligation to maintain our credit ratings or to advise holders of our debt and equity securities of any changes in our credit ratings. There can be no assurance that a credit rating will remain for any given period of time or that such credit ratings will not be lowered or withdrawn entirely if future circumstances relating to the basis of the credit rating, such as adverse changes in our company, so warrant. An increase in the competitive environment, inability to cover distributions, or increase in leverage could lead to a downgrade in our credit ratings and limit our access to the debt and equity markets capability impairing our ability to grow the business. The conditions of the financial markets and prevailing interest rates have fluctuated in the past and are likely to fluctuate in the future.

Investors in offerings of our common stock will likely incur immediate dilution upon the closing of an offering pursuant to this prospectus.

We generally expect the public offering price of any offering of shares of our common stock to be higher than the book value per share of our outstanding common stock (unless we offer shares pursuant to a rights offering or after obtaining prior approval for such issuance from our stockholders and our independent directors). Accordingly, investors purchasing shares of common stock in offerings pursuant to this prospectus may pay a price per share that exceeds the tangible book value per share after such offering.

Our stockholders may experience dilution upon the conversion of our 2022 Convertible Notes.

Our 2022 Convertible Notes, issued in January 2017, are convertible into shares of our common stock beginning on August 1, 2021 or, under certain circumstances, earlier. Upon conversion of the 2022 Convertible Notes, we have the choice to pay or deliver, as the case may be, at our election, cash, shares of our common stock or a combination of cash and shares of our common stock. The initial conversion price of the 2022 Convertible Notes is $16.41, subject to adjustment in certain circumstances. If we elect to deliver shares of common stock upon a conversion at the time our NAV per share exceeds the conversion price in effect at such time, our stockholders may incur dilution. In addition, our stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership percentage of common stock upon our issuance of common stock in connection with the conversion of the 2022 Convertible Notes and any distributions paid on our common stock will also be paid on shares issued in connection with such conversion after such issuance.

Our stockholders will experience dilution in their ownership percentage if they opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan.

All distributions in cash payable to stockholders that are participants in our dividend reinvestment plan are automatically reinvested in shares of our common stock. As a result, our stockholders that opt out of our dividend reinvestment plan will experience dilution in their ownership percentage of our common stock over time.

Our distribution proceeds may exceed our earnings. Therefore, portions of the distributions that we make may represent a return of capital to stockholders, which will lower their tax basis in their shares.

The tax treatment and characterization of our distributions may vary significantly from time to time due to the nature of our investments. The ultimate tax characterization of our distributions made during a taxable year generally will not finally be determined until after the end of that taxable year. We may make distributions during a taxable year that exceed our investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid, and net capital gains for that taxable year. In such a situation, the amount by which our total distributions exceed investment company taxable income, determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid, and net capital gains generally would be treated as a return of capital up to the amount of a stockholder’s tax basis in the shares, with any amounts exceeding such tax basis generally treated as a gain from the sale or exchange of such shares. A return of capital generally is a return of a stockholder’s investment rather than a return of earnings or gains derived from our investment activities. Moreover, we may pay all or a substantial portion of our distributions from the proceeds of the sale of shares of our common stock or from

 

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borrowings in anticipation of future cash flow, which could constitute a return of stockholders’ capital and will lower such stockholders’ tax basis in our shares, which may result in increased tax liability to stockholders when they sell such shares. The tax liability to stockholders upon the sale of shares may increase even if such shares are sold at a loss.

Our common stock price has been and continues to be volatile and may decrease substantially.

As with any company, the price of our common stock will fluctuate with market conditions and other factors, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

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

 

   

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of RICs, business development companies or other financial services companies;

 

   

any inability to deploy or invest our capital;

 

   

fluctuations in interest rates;

 

   

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

 

   

the financial performance of specific industries in which we invest in on a recurring basis;

 

   

announcement of strategic developments, acquisitions, and other material events by us or our competitors, or operating performance of companies comparable to us;

 

   

changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to RICs, SBICs or business development companies;

 

   

losing our ability to either qualify or be subject to U.S. federal income tax as a RIC;

 

   

actual or anticipated changes in our earnings or fluctuations in our operating results, or changes in the expectations of securities analysts;

 

   

changes in the value of our portfolio of investments;

 

   

realized losses in investments in our portfolio companies;

 

   

general economic conditions and trends;

 

   

inability to access the capital markets;

 

   

loss of a major funded source; or

 

   

departure of key personnel.

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

We may be unable to invest a significant portion of the net proceeds from an offering or from exiting an investment or other capital on acceptable terms, which could harm our financial condition and operating results.

Delays in investing the net proceeds raised in an offering or from exiting an investment or other capital may cause our performance to be worse than that of other fully invested business development companies or other lenders or investors pursuing comparable investment strategies. We cannot assure you that we will be able to identify any investments that meet our investment objective or that any investment that we make will produce a

 

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positive return. We may be unable to invest the net proceeds of any offering or from exiting an investment or other capital on acceptable terms within the time period that we anticipate or at all, which could harm our financial condition and operating results.

We anticipate that, depending on market conditions and the amount of the capital, it may take us a substantial period of time to invest substantially all the capital in securities meeting our investment objective. During this period, we will invest the capital primarily in cash equivalents, U.S. government securities and other high-quality debt investments that mature in one year or less or use the net proceeds from such offerings to reduce then-outstanding debt obligations, which may produce returns that are significantly lower than the returns which we expect to achieve when our portfolio is fully invested in securities meeting our investment objective. As a result, any distributions that we pay during such period may be substantially lower than the distributions that we may be able to pay when our portfolio is fully invested in securities meeting our investment objective. In addition, until such time as the net proceeds of any offering or from exiting an investment or other capital are invested in new securities meeting our investment objective, the market price for our securities may decline. Thus, the initial return on your investment may be lower than when, if ever, our portfolio is fully invested in securities meeting our investment objective.

Your interest in us may be diluted if you do not fully exercise your subscription rights in any rights offering. In addition, if the subscription price is less than our NAV per share, then you will experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate NAV of your shares.

In the event we issue subscription rights, stockholders who do not fully exercise their subscription rights should expect that they will, at the completion of a rights offering pursuant to this prospectus, own a smaller proportional interest in us than would otherwise be the case if they fully exercised their rights. We cannot state precisely the amount of any such dilution in share ownership because we do not know at this time what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering.

In addition, if the subscription price is less than the NAV per share of our common stock, then our stockholders would experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate NAV of their shares as a result of the offering. The amount of any decrease in NAV is not predictable because it is not known at this time what the subscription price and NAV per share will be on the expiration date of a rights offering or what proportion of the shares will be purchased as a result of such rights offering. Such dilution could be substantial.

The trading market or market value of our publicly issued debt securities may fluctuate.

Our publicly issued debt securities may or may not have an established trading market. We cannot assure you that a trading market for our publicly issued debt securities will ever develop or be maintained if developed. In addition to our creditworthiness, many factors may materially adversely affect the trading market for, and market value of, our publicly issued debt securities. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

the time remaining to the maturity of these debt securities;

 

   

the outstanding principal amount of debt securities with terms identical to these debt securities;

 

   

the ratings assigned by national statistical ratings agencies;

 

   

the general economic environment;

 

   

the supply of debt securities trading in the secondary market, if any;

 

   

the redemption or repayment features, if any, of these debt securities;

 

   

the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; and

 

   

market rates of interest higher or lower than rates borne by the debt securities. You should also be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers when you decide to sell your debt securities. This too may materially adversely affect the market value of the debt securities or the trading market for the debt securities.

 

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The 2024 Notes are unsecured and therefore are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we have currently incurred or may incur in the future.

The 2024 Notes are not secured by any of our assets or any of the assets of our subsidiaries. As a result, while the 2024 Notes remain senior in priority to our equity securities, they are effectively subordinated to any secured indebtedness we or our subsidiaries have currently incurred and may incur in the future (or any indebtedness that is initially unsecured to which we subsequently grant security) to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. In any liquidation, dissolution, bankruptcy or other similar proceeding, the holders of any of our existing or future secured indebtedness and the secured indebtedness of our subsidiaries may assert rights against the assets pledged to secure that indebtedness in order to receive full payment of their indebtedness before the assets may be used to pay other creditors, including the holders of the 2024 Notes.

The 2024 Notes are structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries.

The 2024 Notes are obligations exclusively of Hercules Capital, Inc. (formerly known as Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc.) and not of any of our subsidiaries. None of our subsidiaries are or act as guarantors of the 2024 Notes and the 2024 Notes are not required to be guaranteed by any subsidiaries we may acquire or create in the future. Our secured indebtedness with respect to the SBA debentures is held through our SBIC subsidiaries. The assets of any such subsidiaries are not directly available to satisfy the claims of our creditors, including holders of the 2024 Notes.

Except to the extent we are a creditor with recognized claims against our subsidiaries, all claims of creditors (including holders of preferred stock, if any, of our subsidiaries) will have priority over our equity interests in such subsidiaries (and therefore the claims of our creditors, including holders of the 2024 Notes) with respect to the assets of such subsidiaries. Even if we are recognized as a creditor of one or more of our subsidiaries, our claims would still be structurally subordinated to any security interests in the assets of any such subsidiary and to any indebtedness or other liabilities of any such subsidiary senior to our claims. Consequently, the 2024 Notes are structurally subordinated to all indebtedness and other liabilities (including trade payables) of our subsidiaries and any subsidiaries that we may in the future acquire or establish as financing vehicles or otherwise. In addition, our subsidiaries may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future, all of which would be structurally senior to the 2024 Notes.

The indenture under which the 2024 Notes were issued contains limited protection for the holders of the 2024 Notes.

The indenture under which 2024 Notes were issued offers limited protection to the holders of the 2024 Notes. The terms of the indenture and the 2024 Notes do not restrict our or any of our subsidiaries’ ability to engage in, or otherwise be a party to, a variety of corporate transactions, circumstances or events that could have an adverse impact on an investment in the 2024 Notes. In particular, the terms of the indenture and the 2024 Notes do not place any restrictions on our or our subsidiaries’ ability to:

 

   

issue securities or otherwise incur additional indebtedness or other obligations, including (1) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be equal in right of payment to the 2024 Notes, (2) any indebtedness or other obligations that would be secured and therefore rank effectively senior in right of payment to the 2024 Notes to the extent of the values of the assets securing such debt, (3) indebtedness of ours that is guaranteed by one or more of our subsidiaries and which therefore would rank structurally senior to the 2024 Notes and (4) securities, indebtedness or other obligations issued or incurred by our subsidiaries that would be senior in right of payment to our equity interests in our subsidiaries and therefore would rank structurally senior in right of payment to the 2024 Notes with respect to the assets of our subsidiaries, in each case other than an incurrence of indebtedness or other obligation that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions;

 

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pay distributions on, or purchase or redeem or make any payments in respect of, capital stock or other securities ranking junior in right of payment to the 2024 Notes, in each case other than distributions, purchases, redemptions or payments that would cause a violation of Section 18(a)(1)(B) of the 1940 Act as modified by Section 61(a)(1) of the 1940 Act or any successor provisions giving effect to any exemptive relief granted to us by the SEC (these provisions generally prohibit us from declaring any cash distributions upon any class of our capital stock, or purchasing any such capital stock if our asset coverage, as defined in the 1940 Act, is below 200% at the time of the declaration of the distribution or the purchase and after deducting the amount of such distribution or purchase);

 

   

sell assets (other than certain limited restrictions on our ability to consolidate, merge or sell all or substantially all of our assets);

 

   

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

   

create liens (including liens on the shares of our subsidiaries) or enter into sale and leaseback transactions;

 

   

make investments; or

 

   

create restrictions on the payment of distributions or other amounts to us from our subsidiaries.

The indenture and the 2024 Notes do not require us to offer to purchase the 2024 Notes in connection with a change of control or any other event.

Furthermore, the terms of the indenture and the 2024 Notes do not protect their respective holders in the event that we experience changes (including significant adverse changes) in our financial condition, results of operations or credit ratings, as they do not require that we or our subsidiaries adhere to any financial tests or ratios or specified levels of net worth, revenues, income, cash flow or liquidity, except as required under the 1940 Act.

Our ability to recapitalize, incur additional debt and take a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of the 2024 Notes may have important consequences for their holders, including making it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations with respect to the 2024 Notes or negatively affecting their trading value.

Certain of our current debt instruments include more protections for their respective holders than the indenture and the 2024 Notes. In addition, other debt we issue or incur in the future could contain more protections for its holders than the indenture and the 2024 Notes, including additional covenants and events of default. The issuance or incurrence of any such debt with incremental protections could affect the market for and trading levels and prices of the 2024 Notes.

An active trading market for the 2024 Notes may not develop or be sustained, which could limit the market price of the 2024 Notes or your ability to sell them.

Although the 2024 Notes are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “HTGX,” we cannot provide any assurances that an active trading market will develop or be sustained for the 2024 Notes or that the 2024 Notes will be able to be sold. At various times, the 2024 Notes may trade at a discount from their initial offering price depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our credit ratings, general economic conditions, our financial condition, performance and prospects and other factors. To the extent an active trading market is not sustained, the liquidity and trading price for the 2024 Notes may be harmed.

 

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If we default on our obligations to pay our other indebtedness, we may not be able to make payments on the 2024 Notes.

Any default under the agreements governing our indebtedness, including a default under the Wells Facility, the Union Bank Facility or other indebtedness to which we may be a party that is not waived by the required lenders or holders, and the remedies sought by the holders of such indebtedness could make us unable to pay principal, premium, if any, and interest on the 2024 Notes and substantially decrease the market value of the 2024 Notes. If we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow and are otherwise unable to obtain funds necessary to meet required payments of principal, premium, if any, and interest on our indebtedness, or if we otherwise fail to comply with the various covenants, including financial and operating covenants, in the instruments governing our indebtedness, we could be in default under the terms of the agreements governing such indebtedness. In the event of such default, the holders of such indebtedness could elect to declare all the funds borrowed thereunder to be due and payable, together with accrued and unpaid interest, the lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility or other debt we may incur in the future could elect to terminate their commitments, cease making further loans and institute foreclosure proceedings against our assets, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If our operating performance declines, we may in the future need to seek to obtain waivers from the required lenders under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or other debt that we may incur in the future to avoid being in default. If we breach our covenants under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or other debt and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required lenders or holders. If this occurs, we would be in default under the Wells Facility or Union Bank Facility or other debt, the lenders or holders could exercise their rights as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation. If we are unable to repay debt, lenders having secured obligations, including the lenders under the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility, could proceed against the collateral securing the debt. Because the Wells Facility and the Union Bank Facility have, and any future credit facilities will likely have, customary cross-default provisions, if the indebtedness under the 2024 Notes, the Wells Facility, Union Bank Facility or under any future credit facility is accelerated, we may be unable to repay or finance the amounts due.

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

The matters discussed in this prospectus, as well as in future oral and written statements by management of Hercules Capital, Inc. that are forward-looking statements are based on current management expectations that involve substantial risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from the results expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or our future financial performance. We generally identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions. Important assumptions include our ability to originate new investments, achieve certain margins and levels of profitability, the availability of additional capital, and the ability to maintain certain debt to asset ratios. In light of these and other uncertainties, the inclusion of a projection or forward-looking statement in this prospectus should not be regarded as a representation by us that our plans or objectives will be achieved. The forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus include statements as to:

 

   

our current and future management structure;

 

   

our future operating results;

 

   

our business prospects and the prospects of our prospective portfolio companies;

 

   

the impact of investments that we expect to make;

 

   

our informal relationships with third parties including in the venture capital industry;

 

   

the expected market for venture capital investments and our addressable market;

 

   

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

 

   

our ability to access debt markets and equity markets;

 

   

the ability of our portfolio companies to achieve their objectives;

 

   

our expected financings and investments;

 

   

our regulatory structure and tax status;

 

   

our ability to operate as a business development company, a SBIC and a RIC;

 

   

the adequacy of our cash resources and working capital;

 

   

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

 

   

the timing, form and amount of any distributions;

 

   

the impact of fluctuations in interest rates on our business;

 

   

the valuation of any investments in portfolio companies, particularly those having no liquid trading market; and

 

   

our ability to recover unrealized losses.

For a discussion of factors that could cause our actual results to differ from forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus, please see the discussion under “Risk Factors.” You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements made in this prospectus relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this prospectus.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes and other financial information appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. In addition to historical information, the following discussion and other parts of this prospectus contain forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated by such forward-looking information due to the factors discussed under “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements.”

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We intend to use the net proceeds from selling our securities for funding investments in debt and equity securities in accordance with our investment objectives, retiring certain debt obligations and other general corporate purposes. The supplement to this prospectus relating to an offering will more fully identify the use of proceeds from such offering.

We anticipate that substantially all of the net proceeds from any offering of our securities will be used as described above within twelve months, but in no event longer than two years. Pending such uses and investments, we will invest the net proceeds primarily in cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or high-quality debt securities maturing in one year or less from the time of investment. Our ability to achieve our investment objective may be limited to the extent that the net proceeds of any offering, pending full investment, are held in lower yielding short-term instruments.

 

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PRICE RANGE OF COMMON STOCK AND DISTRIBUTIONS

Our common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “HTGC.”

The following table sets forth the range of high and low sales prices of our common stock, the sales price as a percentage of NAV and the distributions declared by us for each fiscal quarter. The stock quotations are interdealer quotations and do not include markups, markdowns or commissions.

 

         

 

 

Price Range

    Premium/
Discount of
High Sales
Price to NAV
    Premium/
Discount of
Low Sales
Price to NAV
    Cash
Distribution
per Share
 
    NAV (1)     High     Low        

2015

           

First quarter

  $ 10.47     $ 15.27     $ 13.47       45.8     28.7   $ 0.310  

Second quarter

  $ 10.26     $ 13.37     $ 11.25       30.3     9.6   $ 0.310  

Third quarter

  $ 10.02     $ 12.23     $ 9.99       22.1     -0.3   $ 0.310  

Fourth quarter

  $ 9.94     $ 12.44     $ 10.23       25.2     2.9   $ 0.310  

2016

           

First quarter

  $ 9.81     $ 12.39     $ 10.03       26.3     2.2   $ 0.310  

Second quarter

  $ 9.66     $ 12.43     $ 11.74       28.7     21.6   $ 0.310  

Third quarter

  $ 9.86     $ 14.00     $ 12.42       41.9     25.9   $ 0.310  

Fourth quarter

  $ 9.90     $ 14.25     $ 12.90       43.9     30.2   $