Technology Inv Cap Cp (TICC) - Description of business
A business development company is regulated by the 1940 Act. A business development company must be organized in the United States for the purpose of investing in or lending to primarily private companies and making managerial assistance available to them. A business development company may use capital provided by public stockholders and from other sources to invest in long-term, private investments in businesses. A business development company provides stockholders the ability to retain the liquidity of a publicly traded stock, while sharing in the possible benefits, if any, of investing in primarily privately owned companies.
We may not change the nature of our business so as to cease to be, or withdraw our election as, a business development company unless authorized by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities, as required by the 1940 Act. A majority of the outstanding voting securities of a company is defined under the 1940 Act as the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of such companys voting securities present at a meeting if more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of such company are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of such company. We do not anticipate any substantial change in the nature of our business.
As with other companies regulated by the 1940 Act, a business development company must adhere to certain substantive regulatory requirements. A majority of our directors must be persons who are not interested persons, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act. Additionally, we are required to provide and maintain a bond issued by a reputable fidelity insurance company to protect the business development company. Furthermore, as a business development company, we are prohibited from protecting any director or officer against any liability to the company or our stockholders arising from willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such persons office.
As a business development company, we are required to meet a coverage ratio of the value of total assets to total senior securities, which include all of our borrowings and any preferred stock we may issue in the future, of at least 200%. We may also be prohibited under the 1940 Act from knowingly participating in certain transactions with our affiliates without the prior approval of our directors who are not interested persons and, in some cases, prior approval by the SEC.
We are not generally able to sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. See Risk factorsRisks relating to our business and structureRegulations governing our operation as a business development company affect our ability to, and the way in which we raise additional capital. We may, however, sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-
current net asset value of our 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 approve such sale. In addition, we may generally issue new shares of our common stock at a price below net asset value in rights offerings to existing stockholders, in payment of dividends and in certain other limited circumstances.
We may be examined by the SEC for compliance with the 1940 Act.
As a business development company, we are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. See Risk factorsRisks relating to our business and structure.
As a business development company, we may not acquire any asset other than qualifying assets unless, at the time we make the acquisition, the value of our qualifying assets represent at least 70% of the value of our total assets. The principal categories of qualifying assets relevant to our business are:
Securities purchased in transactions not involving any public offering, the issuer of which is an eligible portfolio company;
Securities received in exchange for or distributed with respect to securities described in the bullet above or pursuant to the exercise of options, warrants or rights relating to such securities; and
Cash, cash items, government securities or high quality debt securities (within the meaning of the 1940 Act), maturing in one year or less from the time of investment. An eligible portfolio company is generally a domestic company that is not an investment company (other than a s investment company wholly owned by a business development company) and that:
does not have a class of securities with respect to which a broker may extend margin credit at the time the acquisition is made;
is controlled by the business development company and has an affiliate of a business development company on its board of directors;
does not have any class of securities listed on a national securities exchange; or
meets such other criteria as may be established by the SEC. Control, as defined by the 1940 Act, is presumed to exist where a business development company beneficially owns more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of the portfolio company.
In October 2006, the SEC re-proposed rules providing for an additional definition of eligible portfolio company. As re-proposed, the rule would expand the definition of eligible portfolio company to include certain public companies that list their securities on a national securities exchange. The SEC is seeking comment regarding the application of this proposed rule to companies with: (1) a public float of less than $75 million; (2) a market capitalization of less than $150 million; or (3) a market capitalization of less than $250 million. There is no assurance that such proposal will be adopted or what the final proposal will entail.
In addition, a business development company must have been organized and have its principal place of business in the United States and must be operated for the purpose of making investments in eligible portfolio companies, or in other securities that are consistent with its purpose as a business development company.
Significant Managerial Assistance
To include certain securities described above as qualifying assets for the purpose of the 70% test, a business development company must offer to the issuer of those securities managerial assistance such as providing guidance and counsel concerning the management, operations, or business objectives and policies of a portfolio company. We offer to provide managerial assistance to our portfolio companies.
Our investment objective is to maximize our portfolios total return, principally by investing in the debt and/or equity securities of technology-related companies. In this respect, we intend to concentrate in the technology sector and to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of our net assets (including the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in technology-related companies. This 80% policy is not a fundamental policy and therefore may be changed without the approval of our stockholders. However, we may not change or modify this policy unless we provide our stockholders with at least 60 days prior notice. See Risk factorsRisks related to our investmentsOur portfolio may be concentrated in a limited number of portfolio companies.
Code of Ethics
As required by the 1940 Act, we maintain a code of ethics that establishes procedures for personal investments and restricts certain transactions by our personnel. See Risk factorsRisks relating to our business and structureThere are significant potential conflicts of interest. Our code of ethics generally does not permit investments by our employees in securities that may be purchased or held by us. You may read and copy the code of ethics at the SECs Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. You may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-202-551-8090. In addition, the code of ethics is available on the EDGAR Database on the SECs Internet site at http://www.sec.gov . You may obtain copies of the code of ethics, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by writing the SECs Public Reference Section, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549.
Compliance Policies and Procedures
We and our investment adviser have adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation of the federal securities laws, and are required to review these compliance policies and procedures annually for their adequacy and the effectiveness of their implementation, and designate a Chief Compliance Officer to be responsible for administering the policies and procedures.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 imposes a wide variety of new regulatory requirements on publicly-held companies and their insiders. Many of these requirements affect us. For example:
Pursuant to Rule 13a-14 of the 1934 Act, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer must certify the accuracy of the financial statements contained in our periodic reports;
Pursuant to Item 307 of Regulation S-K, our periodic reports must disclose our conclusions about the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures;
Pursuant to Rule 13a-15 of the 1934 Act, our management must prepare a report regarding its assessment of our internal control over financial reporting, which must be audited by our independent registered public accounting firm; and
Pursuant to Item 308 of Regulation S-K and Rule 13a-15 of the 1934 Act, our periodic reports must disclose whether there were significant changes in our internal controls or in other factors that could significantly affect these controls subsequent to the date of their evaluation, including any corrective actions with regard to significant deficiencies and material weaknesses. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires us to review our current policies and procedures to determine whether we comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder. We will continue to monitor our compliance with all regulations that are adopted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and will take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith.
Fundamental Investment Policies
The restrictions identified as fundamental below, along with our investment objective of seeking to maximize total return, are our only fundamental policies. Fundamental policies may not be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of our outstanding voting securities, as defined in the 1940 Act. The percentage restrictions set forth below, apply at the time a transaction is effected, and a subsequent change in a percentage resulting from market fluctuations or any cause will not require us to dispose of portfolio securities or to take other action to satisfy the percentage restriction.
As a matter of fundamental policy, we will not: (1) act as an underwriter of securities of other issuers (except to the extent that we may be deemed an underwriter of securities we purchase that must be registered under the 1933 Act before they may be offered or sold to the public); (2) purchase or sell real estate or interests in real estate or real estate investment trusts (except that we may (A) purchase and sell real estate or interests in real estate in connection with the orderly liquidation of investments, or in connection with foreclosure on collateral, (B) own the securities of companies that are in the business of buying, selling or developing real estate or (C) finance the purchase of real estate by our portfolio companies); (3) sell securities short (except with regard to managing the risks associated with publicly-traded securities issued by our portfolio companies); (4) purchase securities on margin (except to the extent that we may purchase securities with borrowed money); or (5) engage in the purchase or sale of commodities or commodity contracts, including futures contracts (except where necessary in working out distressed loan or investment situations or in hedging the risks associated with interest rate fluctuations), and, in such cases, only after all necessary registrations (or exemptions from registration) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have been obtained.
We may invest up to 100% of our assets in securities acquired directly from issuers in privately negotiated transactions. With respect to such securities, we may, for the purpose of public resale, be deemed an underwriter as that term is defined in the 1933 Act. Our intention is to not write (sell) or buy put or call options to manage risks associated with the publicly-traded securities of our portfolio companies, except that we may enter into hedging transactions to manage the risks associated with interest rate fluctuations, and, in such cases, only after all necessary registrations (or exemptions from registration) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have been obtained. However, we may purchase or otherwise receive warrants to purchase the common stock or other equity securities of our portfolio companies in connection with acquisition financing or other investment. Similarly, in connection with an acquisition, we may acquire rights to require the issuers of acquired securities or their affiliates to repurchase them under certain circumstances. We also do not intend to acquire securities issued by any investment company that exceed the limits imposed by the 1940 Act. Under these limits, unless otherwise permitted by the 1940 Act, we currently cannot acquire more than 3% of the voting securities of any registered investment company, invest more than 5% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one investment company or invest, in the aggregate, in excess of 10% of the value of our total assets in the securities of one or more investment companies. With regard to that portion of our portfolio invested in securities issued by investment companies, it should be noted that such investments might subject our stockholders to additional expenses.
Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures
We have delegated our proxy voting responsibility to our investment adviser, TIM. The Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures of TIM are set forth below. The guidelines are reviewed periodically by TIM and our non-interested directors, and, accordingly, are subject to change. For purposes of these Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures described below, we our and us refers to TIM.
As an investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act, we have a fiduciary duty to act solely in the best interests of our clients. As part of this duty, we recognize that we must vote client securities in a timely manner free of conflicts of interest and in the best interests of our clients.
These policies and procedures for voting proxies for our investment advisory clients are intended to comply with Section 206 of, and Rule 206(4)-6 under, the Advisers Act.
We vote proxies relating to our portfolio securities in the best interests of our clients shareholders. We review on a case-by-case basis each proposal submitted to a shareholder vote to determine its impact on the portfolio securities held by our clients. Although we generally vote against proposals that may have a negative impact on our clients portfolio securities, we may vote for such a proposal if there exist compelling long-term reasons to do so.
Our proxy voting decisions are made by the senior officers who are responsible for monitoring each of our clients investments. To ensure that our vote is not the product of a conflict of interest, we require that: (i) anyone involved in the decision making process disclose to our Chief Compliance Officer any potential conflict that he or she is aware of and any contact that he or she has had with any interested party regarding a proxy vote; and (ii) employees involved in the decision making process or vote administration are prohibited from revealing how we intend to vote on a proposal in order to reduce any attempted influence from interested parties.
Proxy Voting Records
You may obtain information about how we voted proxies by making a written request for proxy voting information to: Chief Compliance Officer, Technology Investment Management, LLC, 8 Sound Shore Drive, Suite 255, Greenwich, CT 06830.
Periodic Reporting and Audited Financial Statements
We have registered our common stock under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and have reporting obligations thereunder, including the requirement that we file annual and quarterly reports with the SEC. In accordance with the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, this annual report contains financial statements audited and reported on by our independent registered public accounting firm. You may obtain our annual reports on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and our current reports on Form 8-K on our website at http://www.ticc.com free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such reports electronically with the SEC.
Nasdaq Global Select Market Requirements
We have adopted certain policies and procedures intended to comply with the Nasdaq Global Select Markets corporate governance rules. We will continue to monitor our compliance with all future listing standards that are approved by the SEC and will take actions necessary to ensure that we are in compliance therewith.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
An investment in our securities involves certain risks relating to our structure and investment objectives. The risks set forth below are not the only risks we face, and we face other risks which we have not yet identified, which we do not currently deem material or which are not yet predictable. If any of the following risks occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. In such case, our net asset value and the trading price of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.
RISKS RELATING TO OUR BUSINESS AND STRUCTURE
Any failure on our part to maintain our status as a business development company would reduce our operating flexibility.
If we do not remain a business development company, we might be regulated as a closed-end investment company under the 1940 Act, which would subject us to substantially more regulatory restrictions under the 1940 Act and correspondingly decrease our operating flexibility.
We are dependent upon TIMs key management personnel for our future success, particularly Jonathan H. Cohen and Saul B. Rosenthal.
We depend on the diligence, skill and network of business contacts of the senior management of TIM. The senior management, together with other investment professionals, will evaluate, negotiate, structure, close, monitor and service our investments. Our future success will depend to a significant extent on the continued service and coordination of the senior management team, particularly Jonathan H. Cohen, the Chief Executive Officer of TIM, and Saul B. Rosenthal, the President and Chief Operating Officer of TIM. Neither Mr. Cohen nor Mr. Rosenthal will devote all of their business time to our operations, and both will have other demands on their time as a result of their other activities. Neither Mr. Cohen nor Mr. Rosenthal is subject to an employment contract. The departure of either of these individuals could have a material adverse effect on our ability to achieve our investment objective.
Our financial condition and results of operations will depend on our ability to manage our future growth effectively.
Our ability to achieve our investment objective will depend on our ability to grow, which will depend, in turn, on our investment advisers ability to identify, analyze, invest in and finance companies that meet our investment criteria. Accomplishing this result on a cost-effective basis is largely a function of our investment advisers structuring of the investment process, its ability to provide competent, attentive and efficient services to us and our access to financing on acceptable terms.
We and TIM, through TIMs managing member, BDC Partners, will need to continue to hire, train, supervise and manage new employees. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities.
A large number of entities compete with us to make the types of investments that we make in technology-related companies. We compete with a large number of private equity and venture capital funds, other equity and non-equity based investment funds, including other business development companies, investment banks and other sources of financing, including traditional financial services companies such as commercial banks and specialty finance companies. Many of our competitors are substantially larger than us and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. For example, some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. 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 and establish more relationships than us. Furthermore, many of our competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the 1940 Act imposes on us as a business development company. There can be no assurance that the competitive pressures we face will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, as a result of this competition, we may not be able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities from time to time, and we can offer no assurance that we will be able to identify and make investments that are consistent with our investment objective.
Our business model depends upon the development and maintenance of strong referral relationships with private equity and venture capital funds and investment banking firms.
If we fail to maintain our relationships with key firms, or if we fail to establish strong referral relationships with other firms or other sources of investment opportunities, we will not be able to grow our portfolio of loans and achieve our investment objective. In addition, persons with whom we have informal 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 not realize gains from our equity investments.
When we invest in debt securities, we generally expect to acquire warrants or other equity securities as well. However, the equity interests 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 we experience.
Because our investments are generally not in publicly traded securities, there is uncertainty regarding the value of our investments, which could adversely affect the determination of our net asset value.
Our portfolio investments are generally not in publicly traded securities. As a result, the fair value of these securities is not readily determinable. We value these securities at fair value as determined in good faith by our Board of Directors based upon the recommendation of the Boards Valuation Committee. In connection with that determination, members of TIMs portfolio management team prepare portfolio company valuations using the most recent portfolio company financial statements and forecasts. The Company also utilizes the services of a third party valuation firm which prepares valuations for each of our portfolio securities that, when combined with all other investments in the same portfolio company (i) have a book value as of the previous quarter of greater than or equal to 1% of the Companys total assets as of the previous quarter, and (ii) have a book value as of the current quarter of greater than or equal to 1% of the Companys total assets as of the previous quarter, after taking into account any repayment of principal during the current quarter. In addition, the frequency of the third party valuations of our portfolio securities is based upon the grade assigned to each such security under our credit grading system as follows: Grade 1, at least annually; Grade 2, at least semi-annually; Grades 3, 4, and 5, at least quarterly. However, the Board of Directors retains ultimate authority as to the appropriate valuation of each investment. The types of factors that the Valuation Committee takes into account in providing its fair value recommendation to the Board of Directors includes, as relevant, the nature and value of any collateral, the portfolio companys ability to make payments and its earnings, the markets in which the portfolio company does business, comparison to valuations of publicly traded companies, comparisons to recent sales of comparable companies, the discounted value of the cash flows of the portfolio company and other relevant factors. 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 readily available market for these securities existed.
The lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business.
As stated above, our investments are generally not in publicly traded securities. Substantially all of these securities are subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or will otherwise be less liquid than publicly traded securities. The illiquidity of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need arises. Also, 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 have previously recorded our investments.
In addition, because we generally invest in debt securities with a term of up to seven years and generally intend to hold such investments until maturity of the debt, we do not expect realization events, if any, to occur in the near-term. We expect that our holdings of equity securities may require several years to appreciate in value, and we can offer no assurance that such appreciation will occur.
We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly results.
We may experience fluctuations in our quarterly operating results due to a number of factors, including the rate at which we make new investments, the interest rates payable on the debt securities we acquire, the default rate on such securities, the level of our expenses, variations in and the timing of the recognition of realized and unrealized gains or losses, the degree to which we encounter competition in our markets and general economic conditions. As a result of these factors, results for any period should not be relied upon as being indicative of performance in future periods.
Even in the event the value of your investment declines, the management fee and, in certain circumstances, the incentive fee will still be payable.
The management fee is calculated as 2.0% of the value of our gross assets at a specific time. Accordingly, the management fee will be payable regardless of whether the value of our gross assets and/or your investment have decreased. Moreover, a portion of our incentive fee is payable if our net investment income for a calendar quarter exceeds a designated hurdle rate. This portion of the incentive fee is payable without regard to any capital gain, capital loss or unrealized depreciation that may occur during the quarter. Accordingly, this portion of our advisers incentive fee may also be payable notwithstanding a decline in net asset value that quarter. In addition, in the event we recognize deferred loan interest income in excess of our available capital as a result of our receipt of payment-in-kind, or PIK interest, we may be required to liquidate assets in order to pay a portion of the incentive fee. TIM, however, is not required to reimburse us for the portion of any incentive fees attributable to deferred loan interest income in the event of a default of the obligor.
We borrow money, which would magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested and may increase the risk of investing in us.
We currently have $100 million available to us under a credit facility, of which we had borrowed approximately $58.5 million as of December 31, 2006. Royal Bank of Canada, or RBC, serves as administrative agent under our credit facility, and RBC and Branch Banking and Trust Company, or BB&T, each serve as a lender under our credit facility.
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. We borrow from and issue senior debt securities to banks, insurance companies, and other lenders. Lenders of these senior securities have fixed dollar claims on our assets that are superior to the claims of our common shareholders. If the value of our assets increases, then leveraging would cause the net asset value attributable to our common stock to increase more sharply than it would have had we not leveraged. Conversely, if the value of our assets decreases, leveraging would cause net asset value to decline more sharply than it otherwise would have had we not leveraged. Similarly, any increase in our income in excess of interest payable on the borrowed funds would cause our net income to increase more than it would without the leverage, while any decrease in our income would cause net income to decline more sharply than it would have had we not borrowed. Such a decline could negatively affect our ability to make common stock dividend payments. Leverage is generally considered a speculative investment technique. 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. Moreover, as the management fee payable to our investment adviser, TIM, will be payable on our gross assets, including those assets acquired through the use of leverage, TIM may have a financial incentive to incur leverage which may not be consistent with our stockholders interests. In addition, our common stockholders will bear the burden of any increase in our expenses as a result of leverage, including any increase in the management fee payable to TIM.
Regulations governing our operation as a business development company affect our ability to, and the way in which we raise additional capital, which may expose us to risks, including the typical risks associated with leverage.
Our business will require a substantial amount of capital, which we may acquire from the following sources:
Senior Securities and Other Indebtedness
We issue debt securities or preferred stock and/or 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 provisions of the 1940 Act, we are permitted, as a business development company, to issue senior securities in amounts such that our asset coverage ratio, as defined in the 1940 Act, equals at least 200% of gross assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities, after each issuance of senior securities. As a result of the issuance of senior securities, including preferred stock and debt securities, we are exposed to typical risks associated with leverage, including an increased risk of loss and an increase in expenses, which are ultimately borne by our common stockholders. Because we incur leverage to make investments, a decrease in the value of our investments would have a greater negative impact on the value of our common stock. When we issue debt securities or preferred stock, it is likely that such securities will be governed by an indenture or other instrument containing covenants restricting our operating flexibility. In addition, such securities may be rated by rating agencies, and in obtaining a rating for such securities, we may be required to abide by operating and investment guidelines that could further restrict our operating flexibility. We currently have $100 million available to us under a credit facility, of which we had borrowed approximately $58.5 million as of December 31, 2006. RBC serves as administrative agent under our credit facility, and RBC and BB&T each serve as a lender under our credit facility.
Our ability to pay dividends or issue additional senior securities would be restricted if our asset coverage ratio was not at least 200%. If the value of our assets declines, we may be unable to satisfy this test. If that happens, we may be required to sell a portion of our investments and, depending on the nature of our leverage, repay a portion of our indebtedness at a time when such sales may be disadvantageous. Furthermore, any amounts that we use to service our indebtedness would not be available for distributions to our common stockholders.
We are not generally able to issue and sell our common stock at a price below net asset value per share. We may, however, sell our common stock, or warrants, options or rights to acquire our common stock, at a price below the then-current net asset value of our common stock if our Board of Directors determines that such sale is in the best interests of TICC and its stockholders, and our stockholders approve such sale. In certain limited circumstances, pursuant to an SEC staff interpretation, we may also issue shares at a price below net asset value in connection with a transferable rights offering so long as: (1) the offer does not discriminate among shareholders; (2) we use our best efforts to ensure an adequate trading market exists for the rights; and (3) the ratio of the offering does not exceed one new share for each three rights held. If we raise additional funds by issuing more common stock or senior securities convertible into, or exchangeable for, our common stock, the percentage ownership of our stockholders at that time would decrease and they may 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.
Our Board of Directors is authorized to reclassify any unissued shares of stock into one or more classes of preferred stock, which could convey special rights and privileges to its owners.
Our charter permits our Board of Directors to reclassify any authorized but unissued shares of stock into one or more classes of preferred stock. We are currently authorized to issue up to 100,000,000 shares of common stock, of which 19,736,024 shares are currently issued and outstanding. In the event our Board of Directors opts to reclassify a portion of our unissued shares of common stock into a class of preferred stock, those preferred shares would have a preference over our common stock with respect to dividends and liquidation. The cost of any
such reclassification would be borne by our existing common stockholders. The class voting rights of any preferred shares we may issue could make it more difficult for us to take some actions that may, in the future, be proposed by the Board of Directors and/or the holders of our common stock, such as a merger, exchange of securities, liquidation, or alteration of the rights of a class of our securities, if these actions were perceived by the holders of preferred shares as not in their best interests. The issuance of preferred shares convertible into shares of common stock might also reduce the net income and net asset value per share of our common stock upon conversion. These effects, among others, could have an adverse effect on your investment in our common stock.
A change in interest rates may adversely affect our profitability.
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. We anticipate using a combination of equity and long-term and short-term borrowings to finance our investment activities. We currently have $100 million available to us under a credit facility, of which we had borrowed approximately $58.5 million as of December 31, 2006. RBC serves as administrative agent under our credit facility, and RBC and BB&T each serve as a lender under our credit facility. Some of our investments in debt securities are at fixed rates and others at variable rates. Although we have not done so in the past, we may in the future choose to hedge against interest rate fluctuations by using standard hedging instruments such as futures, options and forward contracts, subject to applicable legal requirements. These activities 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. Also, we have limited experience in entering into hedging transactions, and we will initially have to purchase or develop such expertise if we choose to employ hedging strategies in the future.
We will be subject to corporate-level income tax if we are unable to qualify as a RIC.
To remain entitled to the tax benefits accorded to RICs under the Code, we must meet certain income source, asset diversification and annual distribution requirements. In order to qualify as a RIC, we must derive each taxable year at least 90% of our gross income from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale of stock or other securities, or other income derived with respect to our business of investing in such stock or securities. The annual distribution requirement for a RIC is satisfied if we distribute at least 90% of our ordinary income and realized net short-term capital gains in excess of realized net long-term capital losses, if any, to our stockholders on an annual basis. Because we currently maintain a credit facility, and we may use additional debt financing in the future, we may be subject to certain asset coverage ratio requirements under the 1940 Act and financial covenants under loan and credit agreements that could, under certain circumstances, restrict us from making distributions necessary to satisfy the annual distribution requirement. If we are unable to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to qualify for special tax treatment as a RIC and, thus, may be subject to corporate-level income tax on all our income. To qualify as a RIC, we must also meet certain asset diversification requirements at the end of each calendar quarter. Failure to meet these tests may result in our having to dispose of certain investments quickly in order to prevent the loss of RIC status. Because most of our investments will be in private companies, any such dispositions could be made at disadvantageous prices and may result in substantial losses. If we fail to qualify as a RIC for any reason and remain or become subject to corporate income tax, the resulting corporate taxes could substantially reduce our net assets, the amount of income available for distribution and the amount of our distributions. Such a failure would have a material adverse effect on us and our stockholders.
We may have difficulty paying our required distributions if we recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income.
For federal income tax purposes, we will include in income certain amounts that we have not yet received in cash, such as original issue discount, which may arise if we receive warrants in connection with the making of a loan or possibly in other circumstances, or contracted PIK interest, which represents contractual interest added to the loan balance and due at the end of the loan term. A significant portion of our interest income from debt
investments since our inception has been attributable to PIK interest received from our debt investments that contain a PIK provision. We also may be required to include in income certain other amounts that we will not receive in cash.
Because in certain cases we may recognize income before or without receiving cash representing such income, we may have difficulty satisfying the annual distribution requirement applicable to RICs. Accordingly, we may have to sell some of our investments at times we would not consider advantageous, raise additional debt or equity capital or reduce new investments to meet these distribution requirements. If we are not able to obtain cash from other sources, we may fail to qualify for RIC tax treatment and thus be subject to corporate-level income tax.
There are significant potential conflicts of interest, which could impact our investment returns.
Our executive officers and directors, and the executive officers of our investment adviser, TIM, and its managing member, BDC Partners, serve or may serve as officers and directors of entities that operate in a line of business similar to our own. Accordingly, they may have obligations to investors in those entities, the fulfillment of which might not be in the best interests of us or our stockholders. For example, Jonathan H. Cohen, the Chief Executive Officer of TIM, BDC Partners and TICC, is a principal of JHC Capital Management, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Mr. Cohen also manages the Royce Technology Value Fund. Steven P. Novak, one of our independent directors, is the President of Palladio Capital Management, LLC, the manager of an equity-oriented hedge fund. Charles M. Royce, the non-executive Chairman of our Board of Directors, is the President and Chief Investment Officer of Royce & Associates, the non-managing member of our investment adviser.
In addition, Messrs. Cohen and Rosenthal currently serve as Chief Executive Officer, and President, respectively, for T2 Advisers, LLC, an investment adviser to T2 Income Fund Limited, a Guernsey fund, established and operated for the purpose of investing in bilateral transactions and syndicated loans across a variety of industries globally. BDC Partners is the managing member, and Royce & Associates is a non-managing member, of T2 Advisers, LLC. In addition, Patrick F. Conroy, the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, Treasurer and Corporate Secretary of TIM, BDC Partners and TICC, serves as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer and Treasurer for both T2 Income Fund Limited and T2 Advisers, LLC. Messrs. Rosenthal and Conroy also each serve as a non-independent director of T2 Income Fund Limited. Because of these possible conflicts of interest, these individuals may direct potential business and investment opportunities to other entities rather than to us or such individuals may undertake or otherwise engage in activities or conduct on behalf of such other entities that is not in, or which may be adverse to, our best interests.
Messrs. Cohen and Rosenthal also had previously served as Chief Executive Officer and President, respectively, of TAC Acquisition Corp. (TAC), a special purpose acquisition company formed for the purpose of acquiring one or more operating companies in the technology-related sector. On June 9, 2006, TAC entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with Aviel Systems, Inc., in which the Company currently has senior unsecured notes and warrants valued at approximately $15.5 million. On December 28, 2006, the proposed merger was rejected by shareholders of TAC. As a result, TAC was subsequently dissolved.
In order to minimize the potential conflicts of interest that might arise, we have adopted a policy that prohibits us from making investments in, or otherwise knowingly doing business with, any company in which any fund or other client account managed by JHC Capital Management, Royce & Associates, LLC, Palladio Capital Management or T2 Advisers, LLC holds a long or short position. The investment focus of each of these entities tends to be different from our investment objective. Nevertheless, it is possible that new investment opportunities that meet our investment objective may come to the attention of one of these entities in connection with another investment advisory client or program, and, if so, such opportunity might not be offered, or otherwise made available, to us. Also, our investment policy precluding the investments referenced above could cause us to miss out on some investment opportunities. However, our executive officers, directors and investment adviser intend to treat us in a fair and equitable manner over time consistent with their applicable duties under law so that we will not be disadvantaged in relation to any other particular client. In addition, we have adopted a formal Code of Ethics that governs the conduct of our officers and directors. Our officers and directors also remain subject to the fiduciary obligations imposed by both the 1940 Act and applicable state corporate law.
Finally, we pay BDC Partners our allocable portion of overhead and other expenses incurred by BDC Partners in performing its obligations under the administration agreement, including a portion of the rent and the compensation of our Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, Controller and other administrative support personnel, which creates conflicts of interest that our Board of Directors must monitor.
Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations may adversely affect our business.
We and our portfolio companies are subject to regulation by laws at the local, state and federal levels. These laws and regulations, as well as their interpretation, may be changed from time to time. Any change in these laws or regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business.
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 unless, at the time of and after giving effect to such acquisition, at least 70% of our total assets are qualifying assets. See BusinessRegulation as a Business Development Company.
We believe that most of our portfolio investments 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. 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 inappropriate 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.
Provisions of the Maryland General Corporation Law and 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, as well as certain statutory and regulatory requirements, contain certain provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a third party from making an acquisition proposal for us. These anti-takeover provisions may inhibit a change of control in circumstances that could give the holders of our common stock the opportunity to realize a premium over the market price for our common stock.
RISKS RELATED TO OUR INVESTMENTS
Our portfolio may be concentrated in a limited number of portfolio companies in the technology-related sector, which will subject us to a risk of significant loss if any of these companies defaults on its obligations under any of its debt securities that we hold or if the technology-related sector experiences a market downturn.
A consequence of our 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 our income tax asset diversification requirements, we do not have fixed guidelines for diversification, and our investments could be concentrated in relatively few issuers. In addition, we intend to concentrate in the technology-related sector and to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of our net assets (including the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes) in technology-related companies. As a result, a market downturn in the technology-related sector could materially adversely affect us.
The technology-related sector is subject to many risks, including volatility, intense competition, decreasing life cycles and periodic downturns.
We invest in companies in the technology-related sector, some of which may have relatively short operating histories. The revenues, income (or losses) and valuations of technology-related companies can and often do fluctuate suddenly and dramatically. Also, the technology-related market is generally characterized by abrupt
business cycles and intense competition. Since mid-2000, there has been substantial excess capacity and a significant slowdown in many industries in the technology-related sector. In addition, this overcapacity, together with a cyclical economic downturn, resulted in substantial decreases in the market capitalization of many technology-related companies. While such valuations have recovered to some extent, we can offer no assurance that such decreases in market capitalizations will not recur, or that any future decreases in technology company valuations will be insubstantial or temporary in nature. Therefore, our portfolio companies may face considerably more risk of loss than companies in other industry sectors.
In addition, because of rapid technological change, the average selling prices of products and some services provided by the technology-related sector have historically decreased over their productive lives. As a result, the average selling prices of products and services offered by our portfolio companies may decrease over time, which could adversely affect their operating results and their ability to meet their obligations under their debt securities, as well as the value of any equity securities, that we may hold. This could, in turn, materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our investments in the technology-related companies that we are targeting may be extremely risky and we could lose all or part of our investments.
Although a prospective portfolio companys assets are one component of our analysis when determining whether to provide debt capital, we generally do not base an investment decision primarily on the liquidation value of a companys balance sheet assets. Instead, given the nature of the companies that we invest in, we also review the companys historical and projected cash flows, equity capital and soft assets, including intellectual property (patented and non-patented), databases, business relationships (both contractual and non-contractual) and the like. Accordingly, considerably higher levels of overall risk will likely be associated with our portfolio compared with that of a traditional asset-based lender whose security consists primarily of receivables, inventories, equipment and other tangible assets. Interest rates payable by our portfolio companies may not compensate for these additional risks.
Specifically, investment in the technology-related companies that we are targeting involves a number of significant risks, including:
these companies may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations under their debt securities that we hold, which may be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of us realizing any value from the liquidation of such collateral;
they typically have limited operating histories, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns;
because they tend to be privately owned, there is generally little publicly available information about these businesses; therefore, although TIMs agents will perform due diligence investigations on these portfolio companies, their operations and their prospects, we may not learn all of the material information we need to know regarding these businesses;
they are more likely to depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on our portfolio company and, in turn, on us; and
they generally have less predictable operating results, may from time to time be parties to litigation, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position. A portfolio companys failure to satisfy financial or operating covenants imposed by us or other lenders could lead to defaults and, potentially, termination of its loans and foreclosure on its assets, which could trigger cross-defaults under other agreements and jeopardize our portfolio companys 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. In addition, if a portfolio company goes bankrupt, even though we may have structured our interest as senior debt, depending on the facts and circumstances, including the extent to which we actually provided significant managerial assistance to that portfolio company, a bankruptcy court might recharacterize our debt holding and subordinate all or a portion of our claim to that of other creditors.
Our failure to make follow-on investments in our portfolio companies could impair the value of our portfolio.
Following an initial investment in a portfolio company, we may make additional investments in that portfolio company as follow-on investments, in order to: (i) increase or maintain in whole or in part our equity ownership percentage; (ii) exercise warrants, options or convertible securities that were acquired in the original or subsequent financing; or (iii) attempt to preserve or enhance the value of our investment.
We may elect not to make follow-on investments or otherwise lack sufficient funds to make those investments. We have the discretion to make any follow-on investments, subject to the availability of capital resources. The failure to make follow-on investments may, in some circumstances, jeopardize the continued viability of a portfolio company and our initial investment, or may result in a missed opportunity for us to increase our participation in a successful operation. Even if we have sufficient capital to make a desired follow-on investment, we may elect not to make a follow-on investment because we may not want to increase our concentration of risk, because we prefer other opportunities, or because we are inhibited by compliance with business development company requirements or the desire to maintain our tax status.
Our incentive fee may induce TIM to make speculative investments.
The incentive fee payable by us to TIM may create an incentive for TIM to make investments on our behalf that are risky or more speculative than would be the case in the absence of such compensation arrangement. The way in which the incentive fee payable to TIM is determined, which is calculated as a percentage of the return on invested capital, may encourage TIM to use leverage to increase the return on our investments. Under certain circumstances, the use of leverage may increase the likelihood of default, which would disfavor holders of our common stock. Similarly, because TIM will receive the incentive fee based, in part, upon the capital gains realized on our investments, the investment adviser may invest more than would otherwise be appropriate in companies whose securities are likely to yield capital gains, as compared to income producing securities. Such a practice could result in our investing in more speculative securities than would otherwise be the case, which could result in higher investment losses, particularly during cyclical economic downturns.
Our portfolio companies may incur debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, our investments in such companies.
We intend to invest primarily in senior debt securities, but may also invest in subordinated debt securities, issued by our portfolio companies. In some cases portfolio companies will be permitted to have other debt that ranks equally with, or senior to, the debt securities in which we invest. By their terms, such debt instruments may provide that the holders thereof are entitled to receive payment of interest or principal on or before the dates on which we are entitled to receive payments in respect of the debt securities in which we invest. Also, in the event of insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of a portfolio company, holders of debt instruments 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 senior creditors, such portfolio company may not have any remaining assets to use for repaying its obligations to us. In
the case of debt ranking equally with debt securities in which we invest, we would have to share on an equal basis any distributions with other creditors holding such debt in the event of an insolvency, liquidation, dissolution, reorganization or bankruptcy of the relevant portfolio company. In addition, we will not be in a position to control any portfolio company by investing in its debt securities. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company in which we invest may make business decisions with which we disagree and the management of such companies, as representatives of the holders of their common equity, may take risks or otherwise act in ways that do not best serve our interests as debt investors.
Because we generally do not hold controlling equity interests in our portfolio companies, we may not be in a position to exercise control over our portfolio companies or to prevent decisions by the managements of our portfolio companies that could decrease the value of our investments.
Although we have taken and may in the future take controlling equity positions in our portfolio companies from time to time, we generally do not do so. As a result, we are subject to the risk that a portfolio company may make business decisions with which we disagree, and the stockholders and management of a portfolio company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that are adverse to our interests. Due to the lack of liquidity for the debt and equity investments that we typically hold in our portfolio companies, we may not be able to dispose of our investments in the event we disagree with the actions of a portfolio company, and may therefore suffer a decrease in the value of our investments.
RISKS RELATED TO AN INVESTMENT IN OUR COMMON STOCK
Our common stock price may be volatile.
The trading price of our common stock may fluctuate substantially depending on many factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be directly related to our operating performance. These factors 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 regulated investment companies, business development companies or other financial services companies;
changes in regulatory policies or tax guidelines with respect to regulated investment companies or business development companies;
actual or anticipated changes in our earnings or fluctuations in our operating results or changes in the expectations of securities analysts;
general economic conditions and trends;
loss of a major funding source; or
departures of key personnel. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market price of a companys securities, securities class action litigation has often been brought against that company. Due to the potential volatility of our stock price, we may therefore be the target of securities litigation in the future. Securities litigation could result in substantial costs and divert managements attention and resources from our business.
Our shares may trade at discounts from net asset value 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 net asset value that is attributable to those shares. The possibility that our shares of common stock will trade at a discount from net asset value or at premiums that are unsustainable over the long term are separate and distinct from the risk that our net asset value will decrease. During the second and third quarters of 2004, and during the same periods of 2006, our shares of common stock traded at a discount to the net asset value attributable to those shares.
There is a risk that you may not receive dividends or that our dividends may not grow over time.
We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results or maintain a tax status that will allow or require any specified level of cash distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments