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Section 1: 424B5 (424B5)

424B5
Table of Contents

Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(5)
Registration No. 333-214659

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 and the accompanying prospectus are not an offer to sell these securities and are not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED AUGUST 2, 2018

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To Prospectus Dated November 16, 2016)

 

50,000,000 Shares

 

LOGO

Common Stock

We are offering for sale 50,000,000 shares of our common stock, par value $0.01 per share. Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, or the NYSE, under the symbol “MFA.” The last reported sale price of our common stock on the NYSE on August 1, 2018 was $8.04 per share.

Our common stock is subject to certain restrictions on ownership designed to preserve our qualification as a real estate investment trust for federal income tax purposes. See “Description of Common Stock and Preferred Stock—Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” in the accompanying prospectus.

Investing in our common stock involves certain risks. Before buying any shares, you should read the discussion of material risks of investing in our common stock under the caption “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-5 of this prospectus supplement and beginning on page 6 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, which is incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.

We are selling to the underwriters the shares of common stock at a price of $         per share, resulting in aggregate net proceeds to us of approximately $         before expenses. The underwriters propose to offer the shares of common stock from time to time for sale in negotiated transactions or otherwise, at market prices prevailing at the time of sale, at prices related to such prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices. Delivery of the shares of common stock is expected to be made on or about August    , 2018.

We have also granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 7,500,000 shares of common stock from us at a price of $         per share, for 30 days after the date of this prospectus supplement.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission, or 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.

Joint Book-Running Managers

 

Morgan Stanley   Wells Fargo Securities

The date of this prospectus supplement is August    , 2018


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

     S-ii  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     S-iii  

OUR COMPANY

     S-1  

THE OFFERING

     S-3  

RISK FACTORS

     S-5  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     S-7  

UNDERWRITING

     S-8  

LEGAL MATTERS

     S-12  

WHERE YOU CAN OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION

     S-12  

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

     S-12  
PROSPECTUS   

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

     1  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     2  

MFA FINANCIAL, INC.

     4  

RISK FACTORS

     6  

RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES AND OF EARNINGS TO COMBINED FIXED CHARGES AND PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS

     7  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     8  

DESCRIPTION OF COMMON STOCK AND PREFERRED STOCK

     9  

DESCRIPTION OF DEPOSITARY SHARES

     13  

DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS

     15  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF MARYLAND LAW AND OF OUR CHARTER AND BYLAWS

     16  

DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES

     21  

DESCRIPTION OF OTHER SECURITIES

     37  

MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

     38  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     59  

LEGAL MATTERS

     61  

EXPERTS

     62  

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

     63  

INFORMATION WE FILE

     64  

You should rely only on the information contained in or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or any applicable free writing prospectus. We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized anyone to provide you with different information.

We are not, and the underwriters are not, making an offer of the shares of common stock covered by this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus in any jurisdiction where the offer is not permitted. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, any applicable free writing prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference herein or therein is accurate only as of their respective dates or on the date or dates which are specified in these documents. Our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.

 

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

This document consists of two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, which describes the specific terms of this offering and certain other matters relating to us and also adds to or updates information contained in the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference herein and therein. The second part is the accompanying prospectus, which gives more general information, some of which may not apply to this offering. This prospectus supplement may add to, update or change information in the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.

Any statement herein or in a document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated herein or in the accompanying prospectus by reference shall be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus to the extent that a statement contained in any subsequently filed document, which also is incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference herein and therein, modifies or supersedes such statement. Any such statement so modified or superseded shall not be deemed, except as so modified or superseded, to constitute a part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. This prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated into each by reference include important information about us, the common stock being offered and other information you should know before investing in these securities. All references to “we,” “our,” “us” or “the company” in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus mean MFA Financial, Inc.

You should rely only on the information contained in, or incorporated by reference into, this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. We have not authorized anyone, and the underwriters are not authorized, to provide you with information that is different from that contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus or in any free writing prospectuses we have prepared. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We are not, and the underwriters are not, offering to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should not assume that the information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus is accurate as of any date other than the date of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus, as the case may be, or in the case of the documents incorporated by reference, the date of such documents, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or any sale of our common stock. Our business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, and prospects may have changed since those dates.

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including the information incorporated by reference herein and therein, contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (or the Securities Act), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (or the Exchange Act). When used, statements which are not historical in nature, including those containing words such as “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “continue,” “intend,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “may” and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negatives of these terms or similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements and, as such, may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

These forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those relating to:

 

   

changes in interest rates and the market (i.e., fair) value of our residential mortgage backed securities (or MBS), residential whole loans, CRT securities and other assets;

 

   

changes in the prepayment rates on the mortgage loans securing our residential mortgage assets, an increase of which could result in a reduction of the yield on MBS in our portfolio and an increase of which could require us to reinvest the proceeds received by us as a result of such prepayments in MBS with lower coupons;

 

   

credit risks underlying our assets, including changes in the default rates and management’s assumptions regarding default rates on the mortgage loans securing our MBS that are not guaranteed by any U.S. Government agency or any federally chartered corporation (or Non-Agency MBS) and relating to our residential whole loan portfolio;

 

   

our ability to borrow to finance our assets and the terms, including the cost, maturity and other terms, of any such borrowings;

 

   

implementation of or changes in government regulations or programs affecting our business;

 

   

our estimates regarding taxable income, the actual amount of which is dependent on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, changes in the amount of interest income and financing costs, the method elected by us to accrete the market discount on Non-Agency MBS and residential whole loans and the extent of prepayments, realized losses and changes in the composition of our residential MBS that are issued or guaranteed as to principal and/or interest by a federally chartered corporation (our Agency MBS) such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or an agency of the U.S. Government, such as Ginnie Mae, Non-Agency MBS and residential whole loan portfolios that may occur during the applicable tax period, including gain or loss on any MBS disposals and whole loan modification, foreclosure and liquidation;

 

   

the timing and amount of distributions to stockholders, which are declared and paid at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on, among other things, our taxable income, our financial results and overall financial condition and liquidity, maintenance of our real estate investment trust (“REIT”) qualification and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant; our ability to maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes;

 

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our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (or the Investment Company Act), including statements regarding the concept release issued by the SEC relating to interpretive issues under the Investment Company Act with respect to the status under the Investment Company Act of certain companies that are engaged in the business of acquiring mortgages and mortgage-related interests;

 

   

our ability to successfully implement our strategy to grow our residential whole loan portfolio, which is dependent on, among other things, the supply of loans offered for sale in the market;

 

   

expected returns on our investments in nonperforming loans (or NPLs), which are affected by, among other things, the length of time required to foreclose upon, sell, liquidate or otherwise reach a resolution of the property underlying the NPL, home price values, amounts advanced to carry the asset (e.g., taxes, insurance, maintenance expenses, etc. on the underlying property) and the amount ultimately realized upon resolution of the asset; and

 

   

risks associated with our investments in MSR related assets, including servicing, regulatory and economic risks, and risks associated with investing in real estate assets, including changes in business conditions and the general economy.

These and other risks, uncertainties and factors, including those identified in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, and those discussed in subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements we make. All forward-looking statements are based on beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. New risks and uncertainties arise over time and it is not possible to predict those factors or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we are not obligated to, and are not undertaking to, update or revise any forward-looking statements.

 

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SUMMARY

The following summary is qualified in its entirety by the more detailed information included elsewhere or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Because this is a summary, it may not contain all of the information that is important to you. You should read the entire prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, including the section entitled “Risk Factors” and the documents incorporated by reference herein and therein before making an investment decision. Unless the context indicates or requires otherwise, the information in this prospectus supplement assumes the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional shares.

OUR COMPANY

We are an internally-managed REIT primarily engaged in the real estate finance business. We engage in our business through subsidiaries that invest, on a leveraged basis, in residential mortgage assets, including Non-Agency MBS, Agency MBS, residential whole loans and credit risk transfer (or CRT) securities. Our principal business objective is to deliver shareholder value through the generation of distributable income and through asset performance linked to residential mortgage credit fundamentals. We selectively invest in residential mortgage assets with a focus on credit analysis, projected prepayment rates, interest rate sensitivity and expected return.

At June 30, 2018, we had total assets of approximately $10.6 billion, of which $5.6 billion, or 52.7%, represented our MBS portfolio. At such date, our MBS portfolio was comprised of $2.4 billion of Agency MBS and $3.2 billion of Non-Agency MBS, which includes $2.3 billion of Legacy Non-Agency MBS and $907.9 million of MBS that are primarily structured with a contractual coupon step-up feature where the coupon increases up to 300 basis points at 36 months from issuance or sooner (or 3 Year Step-up securities). These 3 Year Step-up securities are primarily backed by securitized re-performing and non-performing loans. In addition, at June 30, 2018, we had approximately $3.4 billion in residential whole loans acquired through interests in certain trusts established to acquire the loans, which represented approximately 32.0% of our total assets at June 30, 2018. Our remaining assets were primarily comprised of securities obtained and pledged as collateral, CRT securities, cash and cash equivalents (including restricted cash), real estate owned (or REO), MBS-related receivables, and derivative instruments.

In the current low interest rate environment, we expect to continue to seek investments in more credit sensitive, less interest rate sensitive residential mortgage assets, including residential whole loans, MBS, CRT securities and investments related to mortgage servicing rights. We believe that there will be select opportunities to invest in such assets at what we consider to be attractive prices. No assurances can be given as to the form of financing we will use for any such investments and we expect to consider a range of financing options based upon prevailing market conditions and our assessment of the availability and cost of capital for any such financings.

Compliance with REIT Requirements and the Investment Company Act

We have elected to be treated as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In order to maintain our qualification as a REIT, we must comply with a number of requirements under U.S. federal income tax law that are discussed under the heading “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in the accompanying prospectus. To assist us in qualifying as a REIT, among other purposes, our charter generally limits any person or entity from beneficially or constructively owning more than 9.8% in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of our capital stock. See “Description of Common Stock and Preferred Stock—Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” in the accompanying prospectus.



 

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In addition, we intend to conduct our business at all times so as to maintain our exempt status under, and not to become regulated as an investment company for purposes of, the Investment Company Act.

General Information

We were incorporated in Maryland on July 24, 1997, and began operations on April 10, 1998. Our principal executive offices are located at 350 Park Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, New York 10022. Our telephone number is (212) 207-6400. Our common stock, our 7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock and our 8.00% Senior Notes due 2042 are listed on the NYSE under the symbols “MFA”, “MFA PrB” and “MFO”, respectively. We maintain a website at www.mfafinancial.com. Information contained on our website is not, and should not be interpreted to be, part of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.



 

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THE OFFERING

The terms of this offering of common stock are summarized below. For a more complete description of the terms of our common stock, see “Description of Common Stock and Preferred Stock” in the accompanying prospectus.

 

Issuer    MFA Financial, Inc., a Maryland corporation.
Securities offered by us    50,000,000 shares of common stock, $0.01 par value per share. We have granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 7,500,000 shares of common stock.
Shares of common stock outstanding immediately prior to this offering    398,532,534(1)( 2)
shares.
Shares of common stock outstanding upon completion of this offering    448,532,534(1)(2) shares (456,032,534 shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full).
Use of proceeds    We estimate that the net proceeds that we will receive from this offering will be approximately $                     million, after deducting our expenses, or approximately $                     million, after deducting our expenses, if the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares is exercised in full. We intend to add the net proceeds from this offering to our general corporate funds, which we may use for general working capital purposes, including to invest in additional residential mortgage-related assets, including but not limited to, residential whole loans, MBS, CRT securities and investments related to mortgage servicing rights, and for working capital, which may include, among other things, the repayment of amounts outstanding under our repurchase agreements. See “Use of Proceeds.”
Restrictions on ownership    Our charter contains restrictions on the ownership and transfer of our stock that are intended to assist us in complying with the requirements for qualification as a REIT. Among other things, our charter provides that, subject to certain exceptions, no person or entity may actually or beneficially own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the applicable constructive ownership provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, more than 9.8% (in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of the outstanding shares of our capital stock.

 

 

(1)

Includes unvested restricted shares of common stock granted under our Equity Compensation Plan as of July 30, 2018.

(2)

Excludes restricted stock units and unvested shares of common stock, which were granted prior to December 31, 2017, and remained outstanding at such date. In addition, the number of securities remaining available for issuance under our Equity Compensation Plan does not reflect time-based restricted stock units and performance-based restricted stock units which were granted after December 31, 2017.



 

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   See “Description of Common Stock and Preferred Stock—Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” in the accompanying prospectus.
Risk factors    Investing in our common stock involves certain risks and the purchasers of our common stock may lose their entire investment. Before deciding to invest in our common stock, please carefully read the section entitled “Risk Factors” herein and the risk factors described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 and our other periodic reports filed with the SEC and incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.
NYSE Symbol    “MFA”


 

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RISK FACTORS

An investment in our common stock involves risks. Before acquiring any shares of our common stock offered pursuant to this prospectus supplement, you should carefully consider the risks set forth under the caption “Risk Factors” in this prospectus supplement, in the accompanying prospectus and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017, which is incorporated by reference herein. The risks and uncertainties described below and in other documents we have filed with the SEC are not the only risks and uncertainties we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial also may impair our business operations. If certain of the risks described in the risk factors incorporated by reference herein actually occur, our business, results of operations and financial condition could suffer. In that event, the trading prices of our common stock could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Relating to Our Common Stock and this Offering

The market price and trading volume of our shares of common stock may be volatile.

The market price of shares of our common stock may be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations. In addition, the trading volume in our shares of common stock may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. We cannot assure you that the market price of our shares of common stock will not fluctuate or decline significantly in the future. Some of the factors that could negatively affect our share price or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our shares of common stock include:

 

   

actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly operating results or business prospects;

 

   

changes in our earnings estimates or publication of research reports about us or the real estate industry;

 

   

an inability to meet or exceed securities analysts’ estimates or expectations;

 

   

increases in market interest rates;

 

   

hedging or arbitrage trading activity in our shares of common stock;

 

   

capital commitments;

 

   

changes in market valuations of similar companies;

 

   

changes in valuations of our assets;

 

   

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

 

   

additions or departures of management personnel;

 

   

actions by institutional shareholders, including large block sales at a discount;

 

   

speculation in the press or investment community;

 

   

yields on our common stock as compared to yields on other financial instruments;

 

   

changes in our dividend or distribution policy;

 

   

regulatory changes affecting our industry generally or our business;

 

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general market and economic conditions; and

 

   

future sales of our shares of common stock or securities convertible into, or exchangeable or exercisable for, our shares of common stock.

In addition, the stock market in general has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that may be unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of companies like us. These broad market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our common stock, regardless of our operating performance.

We will have broad discretion as to the use of, and as to the timing of when we deploy, the net proceeds we receive from this offering.

We will retain broad discretion to use the net proceeds from this offering for general working capital purposes, which may include the acquisition of additional residential mortgage-related assets and the repayment of indebtedness. See “Use of Proceeds.” We may temporarily invest the net proceeds before use in interest-bearing, short-term, marketable investment grade securities or (interest or non-interest bearing) checking (or escrow) accounts or money market accounts that are consistent with our intention to maintain our qualification as a REIT, and no assurances can be given as to how quickly we will be able to deploy the net proceeds from this offering in our target assets. Our management may spend a portion or all of the net proceeds we receive from this offering in ways that our stockholders may not desire or that may not yield a favorable return.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We intend to add the net proceeds from this offering to our general corporate funds, which we may use for general working capital purposes, including to invest in additional residential mortgage-related assets, including but not limited to, residential whole loans, MBS, CRT securities and investments related to mortgage servicing rights, and for working capital, which may include, among other things, the repayment of amounts outstanding under our repurchase agreements.

 

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UNDERWRITING

Under the terms and subject to the conditions contained in an underwriting agreement dated August     , 2018, we have agreed to sell to the underwriters named below, for whom Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC are acting as representatives, the following respective numbers of shares of common stock:

 

Underwriter

   Number
of Shares
 

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

  

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

  

Total

     50,000,000  
  

 

 

 

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

We have granted to the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase on a pro rata basis up to 7,500,000 additional shares at the price per share set forth on the cover of this prospectus supplement.

The underwriters propose to offer the shares of common stock for sale from time to time in one or more transactions (which may include block transactions), in negotiated transactions or otherwise, or a combination of those methods of sale, at market prices prevailing at the time of sale, at prices related to prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices, subject to receipt and acceptance by the underwriters and subject to the underwriters’ right to reject any order in whole or in part. The underwriters may do so by selling the shares to or through broker/dealers, who may receive compensation in the form of underwriting discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters and/or the purchasers of the shares for whom they may act as agents or to whom they may sell as principal.

We estimate that our out-of-pocket expenses for this offering will be approximately $350,000.

Subject to certain exceptions, we have agreed that we will not offer, sell, contract to sell, contract to purchase, pledge, register, grant any option to purchase, enter into any swap, hedge or any other agreement that transfers, in whole or in part, the economic consequences of ownership in, or otherwise dispose of, directly or indirectly, any shares of our common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for any shares of our common stock, or publicly disclose the intention to make any offer, sale, pledge, disposition or filing, without the prior written consent of Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC for a period of 60 days after the date of this prospectus supplement.

Our officers and directors have agreed that they will not offer, sell, contract to sell, contract to purchase, pledge, register, grant any option to purchase, enter into any swap, hedge or any other agreement that transfers, in whole or in part, the economic consequences of ownership in, or otherwise dispose of, directly or indirectly, any shares of our common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for any shares of our common stock, enter into a transaction which would have the same effect, or enter into any swap, hedge or other arrangement that transfers, in whole or in part, any of the economic consequences of ownership of shares of our common stock, whether any such

 

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aforementioned transaction is to be settled by delivery of shares of our common stock or such other securities, in cash or otherwise, or publicly disclose the intention to make any such offer, sale, pledge or disposition, or to enter into any such transaction, swap, hedge or other arrangement, without, in each case, the prior written consent of Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC for a period of 60 days after the date of this prospectus supplement.

The restrictions contained in the preceding two paragraphs will not apply to common stock sold hereunder, grants of restricted common stock pursuant to our Equity Compensation Plan, provided that such securities will not vest or become exercisable, as applicable, during the 60-day restricted period without the underwriters’ prior written consent, the issuance of shares of common stock pursuant to a dividend reinvestment plan, or shares of common stock transferred as a bona fide gift or gifts.

We have agreed to indemnify the underwriters against liabilities under the Securities Act, or contribute to payments that the underwriters may be required to make in that respect.

Shares of our common stock are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “MFA.”

In connection with the offering the underwriters may engage in stabilizing transactions, over-allotment transactions, syndicate covering transactions and penalty bids in accordance with Regulation M under the Exchange Act.

 

   

Stabilizing transactions permit bids to purchase the underlying security so long as the stabilizing bids do not exceed a specified maximum.

 

   

Options to purchase additional shares of common stock relate to sales by the underwriters of shares in excess of the number of shares the underwriters are obligated to purchase, which creates a syndicate short position. The short position may be either a covered short position or a naked short position. In a covered short position, the number of shares sold by the underwriters is not greater than the number of shares that they may purchase in the option to purchase additional shares of common stock. In a naked short position, the number of shares involved is greater than the number of shares in the option. The underwriters may close out any covered short position by either exercising their option and/or purchasing shares in the open market.

 

   

Syndicate covering transactions involve purchases of the common stock in the open market after the distribution has been completed in order to cover syndicate short positions. In determining the source of shares to close out the short position, the underwriters will consider, among other things, the price of shares available for purchase in the open market as compared to the price at which they may purchase shares through their option to purchase additional shares. If the underwriters sell more shares than could be covered by their option, a naked short position, the position can only be closed out by buying shares in the open market. A naked short position is more likely to be created if the underwriters are concerned that there could be downward pressure on the price of the shares in the open market after pricing that could adversely affect investors who purchase in the offering.

 

   

Penalty bids permit the representatives to reclaim a selling concession from a syndicate member when the common stock originally sold by the syndicate member is purchased in a stabilizing or syndicate covering transaction to cover syndicate short positions.

These stabilizing transactions, syndicate covering transactions and penalty bids may have the effect of raising or maintaining the market price of our common stock or preventing or retarding a decline in the market price of the common stock. As a result the price of our common stock may be higher than the price that might otherwise exist in the open market. These transactions may be effected on the NYSE or otherwise and, if commenced, may be discontinued at any time.

 

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A prospectus in electronic format will be made available on the websites maintained by one or more of the underwriters, or selling group members, if any, participating in this offering and one or more of the underwriters participating in this offering may distribute prospectuses electronically. The representatives may agree to allocate a number of shares to underwriters and selling group members for sale to their online brokerage account holders. Internet distributions will be allocated by the underwriters and selling group members that will make internet distributions on the same basis as other allocations.

The underwriters and their affiliates are full service financial institutions engaged in various activities, which may include securities trading, commercial and investment banking, financial advisory, investment management, investment research, principal investment, hedging, financing and brokerage activities. The underwriters and their affiliates have, from time to time, performed, and may in the future perform, various financial advisory and investment banking services for us, for which they received or will receive customary fees and expenses. In addition, in the ordinary course of their business activities, the underwriters and their 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. 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.

Certain of the underwriters or 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 shares of our common stock offered hereby. Any such short positions could adversely affect future trading prices of the shares of our common stock offered hereby.

Notice to Prospective Investors in Hong Kong

The securities may not be offered or sold in Hong Kong, by means of any document, other than (a) to “professional investors” as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571, Laws of Hong Kong) and any rules made under that Ordinance or (b) in other circumstances which do not result in the document being a “prospectus” as defined in the Companies Ordinance (Cap. 32, Laws of Hong Kong) or which do not constitute an offer to the public within the meaning of that Ordinance. No advertisement, invitation or document relating to the securities may be issued or may be in the possession of any person for the purpose of the issue, whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere, which is directed at, or the contents of which are likely to be read by, the public in Hong Kong (except if permitted to do so under the laws of Hong Kong) other than with respect to the securities which are intended to be disposed of only to persons outside Hong Kong or only to “professional investors” as defined in the Securities and Futures Ordinance (Cap. 571, Laws of Hong Kong) or any rules made under that Ordinance.

Notice to Prospective Investors in Japan

The securities have not been and will not be registered under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law of Japan (Law No. 25 of 1948, as amended) and, accordingly, will not be offered or sold, directly or indirectly, in Japan, or for the benefit of any Japanese Person or to others for re-offering or resale, directly or indirectly, in Japan or to any Japanese Person, except in compliance with all applicable

 

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laws, regulations and ministerial guidelines promulgated by relevant Japanese governmental or regulatory authorities in effect at the relevant time. For the purposes of this paragraph, “Japanese Person” shall mean any person resident in Japan, including any corporation or other entity organized under the laws of Japan.

Notice to Prospective Investors in Singapore

This prospectus has not been registered as a prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Accordingly, this prospectus and any other document or material in connection with the offer or sale, or invitation for subscription or purchase, of Non-CIS Securities may not be circulated or distributed, nor may the Non-CIS Securities be offered or sold, or be made the subject of an invitation for subscription or purchase, whether directly or indirectly, to persons in Singapore other than (i) to an institutional investor under Section 274 of the Securities and Futures Act, Chapter 289 of Singapore (the “SFA”), (ii) to a relevant person pursuant to Section 275(1), or any person pursuant to Section 275(1A), and in accordance with the conditions specified in Section 275, of the SFA, or (iii) otherwise pursuant to, and in accordance with the conditions of, any other applicable provision of the SFA.

Where the Non-CIS Securities are subscribed or purchased under Section 275 of the SFA by a relevant person which is:

a)    a corporation (which is not an accredited investor (as defined in Section 4A of the SFA)) the sole business of which is to hold investments and the entire share capital of which is owned by one or more individuals, each of whom is an accredited investor; or

b)    a trust (where the trustee is not an accredited investor) whose sole purpose is to hold investments and each beneficiary of the trust is an individual who is an accredited investor, securities (as defined in Section 239(1) of the SFA) of that corporation or the beneficiaries’ rights and interest (howsoever described) in that trust shall not be transferred within six months after that corporation or that trust has acquired the Non-CIS Securities pursuant to an offer made under Section 275 of the SFA except:

i.    to an institutional investor or to a relevant person defined in Section 275(2) of the SFA, or to any person arising from an offer referred to in Section 275(1A) or Section 276(4)(i)(B) of the SFA;

ii.    where no consideration is or will be given for the transfer;

iii.    where the transfer is by operation of law;

iv.    as specified in Section 276(7) of the SFA; or

v.    as specified in Regulation 32 of the Securities and Futures (Offers of Investments) (Shares and Debentures) Regulations 2005 of Singapore.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Certain legal matters in connection with this offering will be passed upon for us by Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. Certain legal matters in connection with this offering will be passed upon for the underwriters by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, New York, New York. Venable LLP will issue an opinion to us regarding certain matters of Maryland law, including the validity of the securities offered hereby. Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP may rely as to certain matters of Maryland law upon the opinion of Venable LLP.

WHERE YOU CAN OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC under the Exchange Act. You may read and copy any reports, statements or other information on file at the SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room. The SEC filings are also available to the public from commercial document retrieval services. These filings are also available at the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. You can also inspect copies of our public filings at the offices of the NYSE. For further information about obtaining copies of our public filings from the NYSE, please call (212) 656-5060.

We have filed with the SEC a “shelf” registration statement on Form S-3 under the Securities Act relating to the securities that may be offered by this prospectus supplement. This prospectus supplement is a part of that registration statement but does not contain all of the information in the registration statement. We have omitted parts of the registration statement in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC. For more detail about us and any securities that may be offered by this prospectus supplement, you may examine the registration statement on Form S-3 and the exhibits filed with it at the locations listed in the previous paragraph.

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

We incorporate information into this prospectus supplement by reference, which means that we disclose important information to you by referring you to other documents filed separately with the SEC. The information incorporated by reference is deemed to be part of this prospectus supplement, except to the extent superseded by information contained herein or by information contained in documents filed with or furnished to the SEC after the date of this prospectus supplement. This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus incorporate by reference the documents set forth below that have been previously filed with the SEC:

 

   

our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, filed with the SEC on February 2, 2018;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on May 8, 2018;

 

   

our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended June 30, 2018, filed with the SEC on August 2, 2018;

 

   

our Current Reports on Form 8-K, filed with the SEC April 2, 2018 and May 24, 2018;

 

   

portions of our Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A, filed with the SEC on April 5, 2018 and incorporated by reference in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017; and

 

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the description of our common stock included in our Registration Statement on Form 8-A filed with the SEC on March 26, 1998, including all amendments and reports filed for the purpose of updating such description.

We also incorporate by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus additional documents that we may file with the SEC under Section 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act from the date of this prospectus supplement until we have sold all of the securities to which this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus relate or the offering is otherwise terminated; provided, however, that we are not incorporating any information furnished under either Item 2.02 or Item 7.01 of any Current Report on Form 8-K. These documents may include Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, as well as proxy statements. You may obtain copies of any of these filings through the SEC or through the SEC’s website as described above.

We maintain a website at www.mfafinancial.com. Information on our website is not, and should not be interpreted to be, a part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.

 

 

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LOGO

MFA FINANCIAL, INC.

Common Stock

Preferred Stock

Depositary Shares

Warrants

Debt Securities

Rights

Units

 

 

We may offer, issue and sell from time to time, together or separately:

 

   

shares of our common stock, par value $0.01 per share, or our common stock;

 

   

shares of our preferred stock, including our convertible preferred stock, (which we may issue in one or more series), par value $0.01 per share, or our preferred stock;

 

   

depositary shares representing shares of our preferred stock;

 

   

warrants entitling the holders to purchase our common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, debt securities or units;

 

   

debt securities;

 

   

rights issuable to our stockholders to purchase shares of our common stock or preferred stock, to purchase warrants exercisable for shares of our common stock, shares of our preferred stock, depositary shares, debt securities or units, to purchase our debt securities, to purchase depositary shares or to purchase units consisting of two or more of the foregoing; or

 

   

units consisting of two or more of the foregoing.

We will determine when we sell securities, the amounts of securities we will sell and the prices and other terms on which we will sell them. We may sell securities to or through underwriters, through agents or directly to purchasers.

We will describe in a prospectus supplement, which we will deliver with this prospectus, the terms of particular securities which we offer in the future. We may describe the terms of those securities in a term sheet which will precede the prospectus supplement.

In each prospectus supplement, we will include the following information:

 

   

The names of the underwriters or agents, if any, through which we will sell the securities.

 

   

The proposed amount of securities, if any, which the underwriters will purchase.

 

   

The compensation, if any, of those underwriters or agents.

 

   

The public offering price of the securities.

 

   

Information about securities exchanges, electronic communications networks or automated quotation systems on which the securities will be listed or traded.

 

   

Any other material information about the offering and sale of the securities.

The New York Stock Exchange lists our common stock under the symbol “MFA”, our 7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock under the symbol “MFA PrB” and our 8.00% Senior Notes due 2042 under the symbol “MFO.”

 

 

Investing in our securities involves certain risks. Before buying any of our securities, you should read the risks referenced under the caption “Risk Factors” on page 6 of this prospectus

NEITHER THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION NOR ANY STATE SECURITIES COMMISSION HAS APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED OF THESE SECURITIES OR DETERMINED THAT THIS PROSPECTUS IS TRUTHFUL OR COMPLETE. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

November 16, 2016


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CONTENTS

 

     Page  

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

     1  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     2  

MFA FINANCIAL, INC.

     4  

RISK FACTORS

     6  

RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES AND OF EARNINGS TO COMBINED FIXED CHARGES AND PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS

     7  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     8  

DESCRIPTION OF COMMON STOCK AND PREFERRED STOCK

     9  

DESCRIPTION OF DEPOSITARY SHARES

     13  

DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS

     15  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF MARYLAND LAW AND OF OUR CHARTER AND BYLAWS

     16  

DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES

     21  

DESCRIPTION OF OTHER SECURITIES

     37  

MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

     38  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     59  

LEGAL MATTERS

     61  

EXPERTS

     62  

INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

     63  

INFORMATION WE FILE

     64  


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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

This prospectus is part of a “shelf” registration statement. Under this shelf registration statement, we may sell any combination of our common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares representing shares of our preferred stock, warrants entitling the holders to purchase our common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, debt securities or units, debt securities, rights issuable to our stockholders to purchase shares of our common stock or preferred stock, to purchase warrants exercisable for shares of our common stock, shares of our preferred stock, depositary shares, debt securities or units, to purchase our debt securities, to purchase depositary shares or to purchase units consisting of two or more of the foregoing, or units consisting of two or more of the foregoing, in one or more offerings. This prospectus provides you with a general description of the securities we may offer. Each time we sell securities, we will provide a prospectus supplement that will contain specific information about the terms of that offering. The prospectus supplement may add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. Before you buy any of our securities, it is important for you to consider the information contained in this prospectus and any prospectus supplement together with additional information described under the heading “Incorporation of Certain Documents By Reference.”

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus contains or incorporates by reference certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (or the Securities Act), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (or the Exchange Act). When used, statements which are not historical in nature, including those containing words such as “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “continue,” “intend,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “may” and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negatives of these terms or similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements and, as such, may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

These forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those relating to:

 

   

credit risks underlying our assets, including changes in the default rates and management’s assumptions regarding default rates on the mortgage loans securing our Non-Agency MBS (as defined below) and relating to our residential whole loan portfolio;

 

   

changes in interest rates and the market value of our mortgage-backed securities (or MBS);

 

   

changes in the prepayment rates on the mortgage loans securing our MBS, an increase of which could result in a reduction of the yield on MBS in our portfolio and an increase of which could require us to reinvest the proceeds received by us as a result of such prepayments in MBS with lower coupons;

 

   

our ability to borrow to finance our assets and the terms; including the cost, maturity and other terms of any such borrowings;

 

   

implementation of or changes in government regulations or programs affecting our business;

 

   

our estimates regarding taxable income the actual amount of which is dependent on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, changes in the amount of interest income and financing costs, the method elected by us to accrete the market discount on Non-Agency MBS and residential whole loans and the extent of prepayments, realized losses and changes in the composition of our Agency MBS, Non-Agency MBS and residential whole loan portfolios that may occur during the applicable tax period, including gain or loss on any MBS disposals and whole loan modification, foreclosure and liquidation;

 

   

the timing and amount of distributions to stockholders, which are declared and paid at the discretion of our Board and will depend on, among other things, our taxable income, our financial results and overall financial condition and liquidity, maintenance of our real estate investment trust (or REIT) qualification and such other factors as the Board deems relevant;

 

   

our ability to maintain our qualification as a REIT for federal income tax purposes;

 

   

our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (or the Investment Company Act), including statements regarding the concept release issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (or the SEC) relating to interpretive issues under the Investment Company Act with respect to the status under the Investment Company Act of certain companies that are engaged in the business of acquiring mortgages and mortgage-related interests;

 

   

our ability to successfully implement our strategy to grow our residential whole loan portfolio;

 

   

expected returns on our investments in non-performing residential whole loans (or NPLs), which are affected by, among other things, the length of time required to foreclose upon, sell, liquidate or otherwise reach a resolution of the property underlying the NPL, home price values, amounts advanced to carry the asset (e.g., taxes, insurance, maintenance expenses, etc. on the underlying property) and the amount ultimately realized upon resolution of the asset; and

 

   

risks associated with investing in real estate assets, including changes in business conditions and the general economy.

 

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These and other risks, uncertainties and factors, including those identified in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, and those discussed in our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, could cause our actual results to differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statements we make. All forward-looking statements are based on beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. New risks and uncertainties arise over time and it is not possible to predict those factors or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we are not obligated to, and are not undertaking to, update or revise any forward-looking statements.

 

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The following information is qualified in its entirety by the more detailed information and financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in, or incorporated by reference into, this prospectus. We encourage you to read this prospectus, as well as the information which is incorporated by reference herein, in its entirety. You should carefully consider the material risks of investing in our securities referenced under the caption “Risk Factors” of this prospectus before making a decision to invest in our securities. All references to “we,” “us” or “our company” in this prospectus mean MFA Financial, Inc. The following defines certain of the terms used in this prospectus: MBS refers to mortgage-backed securities secured by pools of residential mortgage loans; Agency MBS refers to MBS that are guaranteed by a corporation under federal conservatorship, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or issued by an agency of the U.S. Government, such as Ginnie Mae; Non-Agency MBS are MBS that are not guaranteed or issued by any agency of the U.S. Government or any corporation under federal conservatorship; Legacy Non-Agency MBS refers to Non-Agency MBS issued prior to 2008; 3 Year Step-up Securities refers to Non-Agency MBS collateralized by re-performing/non-performing loans; and CRT securities refer to credit risk transfer securities which are general obligations of government-sponsored entities (e.g., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac).

MFA FINANCIAL, INC.

Our Business

We are a REIT primarily engaged in the business of investing, on a leveraged basis, in residential mortgage assets, including Agency MBS, Non-Agency MBS, residential whole loans and CRT securities. Our principal business objective is to deliver shareholder value through the generation of distributable income and through asset performance linked to residential mortgage credit fundamentals. We selectively invest in residential mortgage assets with a focus on credit analysis, projected prepayment rates, interest rate sensitivity and expected return.

At September 30, 2016, we had total assets of approximately $12.8 billion, of which $9.9 billion, or 77.9%, represented our MBS portfolio. At such date, our MBS portfolio was comprised of $4.0 billion of Agency MBS and $5.9 billion of Non-Agency MBS which includes $3.4 billion of Legacy Non-Agency MBS and $2.5 billion of MBS that are structured with a contractual coupon step-up feature where the coupon steps-up 300 basis points at 36 months from issuance or sooner (or 3 Year Step-up securities). These 3 Year Step-up securities are backed by securitized re-performing and non-performing loans. In addition, at September 30, 2016, we had approximately $1.3 billion in residential whole loans acquired through our consolidated trusts, which represented approximately 10.6% of our total assets. Our remaining investment-related assets were primarily comprised of collateral obtained in connection with reverse repurchase agreements, cash and cash equivalents (including restricted cash), CRT securities, real estate owned (REO), MBS-related receivables and derivative instruments.

Compliance with REIT Requirements and the Investment Company Act of 1940

We have elected to be treated as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In order to maintain our qualification as a REIT, we must comply with a number of requirements under U.S. federal income tax law that are discussed under the heading “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” in this prospectus. If we fail to maintain our qualification as a REIT, we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax, which could have an adverse impact on our business. In addition, we at all times intend to conduct our business so as to maintain our exempt status under, and not to become regulated as an investment company for purposes of, the Investment Company Act. If we fail to maintain our exempt status under the Investment Company Act, we would be unable to conduct our business as described in this prospectus. See “Risk Factors—Maintaining our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act imposes significant limits on our operations” in our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015, which is incorporated by reference into this prospectus.



 

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General Information

We were incorporated in Maryland on July 24, 1997, and began operations on April 10, 1998. Our principal executive offices are located at 350 Park Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, New York 10022. Our telephone number is (212) 207-6400. Our common stock, our 7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock and our 8.00% Senior Notes due 2042 are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (or NYSE) under the symbols “MFA”, “MFA PrB” and “MFO”, respectively. We maintain a website at www.mfafinancial.com. Information contained on our website is not, and should not be interpreted to be, part of this prospectus.



 

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RISK FACTORS

Investment in our securities involves risk. Before choosing to invest in our securities, you should carefully consider the risks of an investment in our company set forth under the caption “Item 1A. Risk Factors” (or similar captions) in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and under the caption “Item 1A. Risk Factors” (or similar captions) in any of our subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K, which risks are incorporated herein by reference. In the future, you should also carefully consider the disclosures relating to the risks of an investment in our company contained in the reports or documents we subsequently file under Section 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, which reports and documents will deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus upon their filing to the extent set forth under “Incorporation of Certain Documents by Reference,” below.

 

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RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES AND OF EARNINGS TO COMBINED FIXED CHARGES AND PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS

 

    Nine Months
Ended

September 30,
2016
   

 

Years Ended December 31,

 
  2015     2014     2013     2012     2011  

Ratio of earnings to fixed charges (1)

    2.67x       2.76x       2.95x       2.84x       2.78x       3.11x  

Ratio of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends (1)

    2.47x       2.55x       2.70x       2.58x       2.65x       2.95x  

 

(1)

The ratios of earnings to fixed charges were computed by dividing earnings by fixed charges. The ratios of earnings to combined fixed charges and preferred stock dividends were computed by dividing earnings by the sum of fixed charges and preferred stock dividends. For these purposes, earnings consist of net income from continuing operations and fixed charges. Fixed charges consist of our interest expense and estimated interest component within rental expense. Preferred stock dividends consist of pre-tax amounts required to pay dividends in respect of our previously outstanding 8.50% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (which was redeemed on May 16, 2013) and our currently outstanding 7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (which was issued on April 15, 2013).

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

Except as may be set forth in a particular prospectus supplement, we will add the net proceeds from sales of securities to our general corporate funds, which we may use to, among other things, acquire additional residential mortgage-related assets, including but not limited to, MBS, Residential Whole Loans and CRT securities, consistent with our investment policy, and for working capital, which may include, among other things, the repayment of amounts outstanding under our repurchase agreements.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF COMMON STOCK AND PREFERRED STOCK

The following description of the terms of our stock is only a summary. This summary is not complete and is qualified by the provisions of our charter and bylaws, and the Maryland General Corporation Law, or MGCL. See “Incorporation Of Certain Documents By Reference.”

General

Our charter provides that we may issue up to 1 billion shares of capital stock, all with a par value of $0.01 per share. As of September 30, 2016, 886,950,000 of these authorized shares were classified as common stock, par value $0.01 per share, 8,050,000 shares were classified as 7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock (or the Series B Preferred Stock), 5,000,000 are classified as Preferred Stock, par value $0.01 per share, without further designation and 100,000,000 shares were classified as excess stock, par value $0.01 per share. As of November 14, 2016, we had 371,651,807 shares of common stock, 8,000,000 shares of Series B Preferred Stock and no shares of excess stock outstanding.

Pursuant to our charter, the board of directors of our company (or our board) is authorized to classify and reclassify any unissued shares of our capital stock, to provide for the issuance of shares in other classes or series (including preferred stock in one or more series), to establish the number of shares in each class or series and to fix the preferences, conversion and other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends and other distributions, qualifications and terms and conditions of redemption of each class or series. Under Maryland law, stockholders are generally not liable for our debts or obligations.

Common Stock

All shares of our common stock offered hereby will be duly authorized, validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. Holders of our common stock will be entitled to receive distributions on their shares of common stock if, as and when our board authorizes and we declare distributions out of legally available funds. However, rights to distributions may be subordinated to the rights of holders of our preferred stock, when preferred stock is issued and outstanding, or subject to the provisions of our charter regarding the restrictions on ownership and transfer of shares of stock. See “—Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer” below. In the event of our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, each outstanding share of our common stock will entitle its holder to a proportionate share of the assets that remain after we pay our liabilities and any preferential distributions owed to preferred stockholders.

Holders of our common stock are entitled to one vote for each share on all matters submitted to a vote of the common stockholders. There is no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which means that the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock can elect all of the directors then standing for election, and the holders of the remaining shares will not be able to elect any directors.

Holders of shares of our common stock have no preference, conversion, sinking fund, redemption or exchange rights or any preemptive rights to subscribe for any of our securities and generally have no appraisal rights. Subject to the provisions of our charter regarding the restrictions on ownership and transfer of shares of stock, all shares of our common stock have equal dividend, distribution, liquidation and other rights.

Under the MGCL, a Maryland corporation cannot amend its charter, consolidate, convert, merge, sell all or substantially all of its assets, engage in a statutory share exchange or dissolve unless the action is advised by its board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of stockholders entitled to cast at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter unless a lesser percentage (but not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter) is set forth in the corporation’s charter. Our charter provides that these matters (other than certain amendments to the provisions of our charter related to our board, consideration of various factors when considering a change of control transaction, indemnification, exculpation, advance notice of

 

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stockholder proposals and the charter amendment section which must be approved by the affirmative vote of not less than 80% of the aggregate vote entitled to be cast) may be approved by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the total number of shares of all classes outstanding and entitled to vote thereon.

Our charter grants our board the power to authorize the issuance of additional authorized but unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock. Our board may also classify or reclassify unissued shares of common stock or preferred stock and authorize their issuance.

We believe that these powers of our board provide increased flexibility in structuring possible future financings and acquisitions and in meeting other needs which might arise. Although our board does not intend to do so at the present time, it could authorize the issuance of a class or series that could delay, defer or prevent a change of control or other transaction that might involve a premium price for the common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.

Preferred Stock

We may issue preferred stock, including convertible preferred stock, in one or more classes or series with any rights and preferences which may be authorized by our board. The preferred stock, when issued, will be duly authorized, validly issued, fully paid and nonassessable. Because our board has the power to establish the preferences, powers and rights of each series of preferred stock, our board may afford the holders of any series of preferred stock preferences, powers and rights, voting or otherwise, senior to the rights of the holders of our common stock.

On September 30, 2016, there were 8,000,000 shares of our Series B Preferred Stock outstanding. A description of our Series B Preferred Stock is set forth in our Articles Supplementary designating the Series B Preferred Stock, dated April 12, 2013, filed on Form 8-K with the SEC on April 15, 2013, and is incorporated herein by reference.

The rights, preferences, privileges and restrictions of each series of preferred stock will be fixed by the articles supplementary relating to such series. We will distribute a prospectus supplement with regard to each series of preferred stock. The prospectus supplement, relating to each such series, will specify the terms of the preferred stock, as follows:

 

   

the title and stated par value of the preferred stock;

 

   

the number of shares offered, the liquidation preference per share and the offering price per share of the preferred stock;

 

   

the dividend rate(s), period(s) and payment date(s) or method(s) of calculation applicable to the preferred stock;

 

   

the date from which dividends on the preferred stock will accumulate, if applicable;

 

   

the voting rights, if applicable, of the preferred stock;

 

   

the provision for a sinking fund, if any, for the preferred stock;

 

   

the provision for or any restriction on redemption or repurchase, if applicable, of the preferred stock;

 

   

any listing of the preferred stock on any securities exchange;

 

   

the terms and provisions, if any, upon which the preferred stock will be convertible into common stock, including the conversion price (or manner of calculation) and conversion period;

 

   

a discussion of certain material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the preferred stock;

 

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the relative ranking and preferences of the preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights upon the liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of our affairs;

 

   

any limitation on issuance of any series of preferred stock ranking senior to or on a parity with the series of preferred stock as to dividend rights and rights upon the liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of our affairs;

 

   

any limitations on direct or beneficial ownership and restrictions on transfer of the preferred stock, in each case as may be appropriate to, among other purposes, preserve our qualification as a REIT; and

 

   

any other specific terms, preference rights, limitations or restrictions of the preferred stock.

Restrictions on Ownership and Transfer

In order for us to qualify as a REIT, our stock must be beneficially owned by 100 or more persons for at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months or during a proportionate part of a shorter taxable year. Also, not more than 50% of the value of the outstanding shares of our stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (or the Code), to include certain exempt entities) during the last half of a taxable year.

Our charter provides that, subject to certain exceptions, no stockholder or “group” (as defined in Section 13(d)(3) of the Exchange Act) may own, or be deemed to own by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, more than 9.8% of the number or value of the outstanding shares of our capital stock (or the Ownership Limit). Our board may waive the Ownership Limit if it is presented with evidence satisfactory to it that the waiver will not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT. As a condition to any such waiver, our board may require opinions of counsel satisfactory to it and must receive an undertaking from the applicant with respect to preserving our REIT qualification. The Ownership Limit will not apply if our board determines that it is no longer in our best interests to continue to qualify as a REIT.

If shares of common stock and/or preferred stock (i) in excess of the Ownership Limit, (ii) which would cause us to be beneficially owned by fewer than 100 persons or (iii) that cause us to become “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Code, are issued or transferred to any person, the issuance or transfer shall be void as to the number of shares in violation of such restrictions and the intended transferee will acquire no rights to such shares of common stock and/or preferred stock. Shares issued or transferred that would cause any stockholder (or a Prohibited Owner) to own more than the Ownership Limit or cause us to become “closely held” under Section 856(h) of the Code will automatically be converted into an equal number of shares of excess stock. All excess stock will be automatically transferred, without action by the Prohibited Owner, to a trust for the exclusive benefit of one or more charitable beneficiaries that we select, and the Prohibited Owner will not acquire any rights in the shares of excess stock. Such automatic transfer shall be deemed to be effective as of the close of business on the day prior to the date of the transfer causing a violation. The trustee of the trust shall be appointed by us and must be independent of us and the Prohibited Owner. The Prohibited Owner shall have no right to receive dividends or other distributions with respect to, or be entitled to vote, any shares of excess stock held in the trust. Any dividend or other distribution paid prior to the discovery by us that excess stock has been transferred to the trust must be paid by the recipient of the dividend or distribution to the trustee upon demand for the benefit of the charitable beneficiary, and any dividend or other distribution authorized but unpaid shall be paid when due to the trust. The trust shall have all dividend and voting rights with respect to the shares of excess stock held in the trust, which rights shall be exercised for the exclusive benefit of the charitable beneficiary. Any dividend or distribution so paid to the trust shall be held in trust for the charitable beneficiary.

Within 20 days of receipt of our notice that excess stock has been transferred to the trust, the trustee will sell the excess stock held in the trust to a person, designated by the trustee, whose ownership of the shares will not violate the ownership limitations set forth in our charter. Upon such sale, any interest of the charitable beneficiary in the excess stock sold shall terminate and the trustee shall distribute the net proceeds of the sale to

 

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the Prohibited Owner and to the charitable beneficiary as follows. The Prohibited Owner shall receive the lesser of (a) the price paid by the Prohibited Owner for the excess stock or, if the Prohibited Owner did not give value for the excess stock in connection with the event causing the excess stock to be held in the trust (e.g., a gift, devise or other such transaction), the Market Price (as defined in our charter) of the excess stock on the day of the event causing the excess stock to be held in the trust, and (b) the price per share received by the trustee from the sale or other disposition of the excess stock held in the trust. Any net sale proceeds in excess of the amount payable to the Prohibited Owner will be paid immediately to the charitable beneficiary. If, prior to our discovery that excess stock has been transferred to the trust, the excess stock is sold by a Prohibited Owner, then the excess stock will be deemed to have been sold on behalf of the trust and, to the extent that the Prohibited Owner received an amount for the excess stock that exceeds the amount that such Prohibited Owner was entitled to receive pursuant to the aforementioned requirement, the excess shall be paid to the trustee upon demand.

The Ownership Limit provision will not be automatically removed even if the REIT provisions of the Code are changed so as to no longer contain any ownership concentration limitation or if the ownership concentration is increased. Any change in the Ownership Limit would require an amendment to our charter. Such an amendment will require the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock and any other class of capital stock with such voting rights. In addition to preserving our qualification as a REIT, the Ownership Limit may have the effect of precluding an acquisition of control of our company without the approval of our board.

To the extent our shares of stock are certificated, all certificates representing shares of our common stock or preferred stock will refer to the restrictions described above.

Any person who acquires or attempts or intends to acquire shares of our stock in violation of any of the foregoing restrictions on transferability and ownership will be required to give written notice immediately to us and provide us with such other information as we may request in order to determine the effect of such transfer on our qualification as a REIT.

All persons who own, directly or by virtue of the attribution provisions of the Code, 5% or more of our outstanding shares of stock (or such other percentage at the time prescribed by the Code or the regulations promulgated thereunder) must file a written statement with us containing the information specified in our charter within 30 days after January 1 of each year. In addition, each stockholder must upon demand disclose to us such information as we deem necessary in order to determine our qualification as a REIT and to ensure compliance with the Ownership Limit.

Transfer Agent and Registrar

The transfer agent and registrar for our common stock and preferred stock is Computershare, 480 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ 07310-1900. Its telephone number is 866-249-2610 and its website is www.computershare.com. The information on such website is not, and should not be interpreted to be, part of this prospectus.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF DEPOSITARY SHARES

We may issue depositary receipts representing interests in shares of a particular series of preferred stock, which are called depositary shares. We will deposit the shares of preferred stock of a series which is the subject of depositary shares with a depositary, which will hold that preferred stock for the benefit of the holders of the depositary shares, in accordance with a deposit agreement between the depositary and us. The deposit agreement and form of depositary receipt will be filed as exhibits to the Registration Statement of which this prospectus forms a part. The holders of depositary shares will be entitled to all of the rights and preferences of the shares of preferred stock to which the depositary shares relate, including dividend, voting, conversion, redemption and liquidation rights, to the extent of their interests in that preferred stock.

While the deposit agreement relating to a particular series of preferred stock may have provisions applicable solely to that series of preferred stock, all deposit agreements relating to preferred stock we issue will include the following provisions:

Dividends and Other Distributions. Each time we pay a cash dividend or make any other type of cash distribution with regard to preferred stock held by a depositary, the depositary will distribute the dividend or other distribution to the holders of depositary shares in proportion to the depositary shares held by each of them. If there is a distribution of property other than cash, the depositary either will distribute the property to the holders of depositary shares in proportion to the depositary shares held by each of them, or the depositary will, if we approve, sell the property and distribute the net proceeds to the holders of the depositary shares in proportion to the depositary shares held by them.

Withdrawal of Preferred Stock. A holder of depositary shares will be entitled to receive, upon surrender of depositary receipts representing depositary shares, the number of whole or fractional shares of the applicable series of preferred stock, and any money or other property, to which the depositary shares relate.

Redemption of Depositary Shares. Whenever we redeem shares of preferred stock held by a depositary, the depositary will be required to redeem, on the same redemption date, depositary shares constituting, in total, the number of shares of preferred stock held by the depositary which we redeem, subject to the depositary’s receiving the redemption price of those shares of preferred stock. If fewer than all the depositary shares relating to a series are to be redeemed, the depositary shares to be redeemed will be selected by lot or by another method we determine to be equitable.

Voting. Any time we send a notice of meeting or other materials relating to a meeting to the holders of a series of preferred stock to which depositary shares relate, we will provide the depositary with sufficient copies of those materials so they can be sent to all holders of record of the applicable depositary shares, and the depositary will send those materials to the holders of record of the depositary shares on the record date for the meeting. The depositary will solicit voting instructions from holders of depositary shares and will vote or not vote the preferred stock to which the depositary shares relate in accordance with those instructions.

Liquidation Preference. Upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up, the holder of each depositary share will be entitled to what the holder of the depositary share would have received if the holder had owned the number of shares (or fraction of a share) of preferred stock which is represented by the depositary share.

Conversion. If shares of a series of preferred stock are convertible into common stock or other of our securities or property, holders of depositary shares relating to that series of preferred stock will, if they surrender depositary receipts representing depositary shares and appropriate instructions to convert them, receive the shares of common stock or other securities or property into which the number of shares (or fractions of shares) of preferred stock to which the depositary shares relate could at the time be converted.

Amendment and Termination of a Deposit Agreement. We and the depositary may amend a deposit agreement, except that an amendment which materially and adversely affects the rights of holders of depositary

 

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shares, or would be materially and adversely inconsistent with the rights granted to the holders of the preferred stock to which they relate, must be approved by holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding depositary shares. No amendment will impair the right of a holder of depositary shares to surrender the depositary receipts evidencing those depositary shares and receive the preferred stock to which they relate, except as required to comply with law. We may terminate a deposit agreement with the consent of holders of a majority of the depositary shares to which it relates. Upon termination of a deposit agreement, the depositary will make the whole or fractional shares of preferred stock to which the depositary shares issued under the deposit agreement relate available to the holders of those depositary shares. A deposit agreement will automatically terminate if:

 

   

all outstanding depositary shares to which it relates have been redeemed or converted; or

 

   

the depositary has made a final distribution to the holders of the depositary shares issued under the deposit agreement upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up.

Miscellaneous. There will be provisions: (1) requiring the depositary to forward to holders of record of depositary shares any reports or communications from us which the depositary receives with respect to the shares of preferred stock to which the depositary shares relate; (2) regarding compensation of the depositary; (3) regarding resignation of the depositary; (4) limiting our liability and the liability of the depositary under the deposit agreement (usually to failure to act in good faith, gross negligence or willful misconduct); and (5) indemnifying the depositary against certain possible liabilities.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF WARRANTS

Each issue of warrants will be the subject of a warrant agreement which will contain the terms of the warrants. The warrant agreement and form of warrant will be filed as exhibits to the Registration Statement of which this prospectus forms a part. We will distribute a prospectus supplement with regard to each issue of warrants. Each prospectus supplement will describe, as to the warrants to which it relates:

 

   

the securities which may be purchased by exercising the warrants (which may be common stock, preferred stock, depositary shares, debt securities or units);

 

   

the exercise price of the warrants (which may be wholly or partly payable in cash or wholly or partly payable with other types of consideration);

 

   

the period during which the warrants may be exercised;

 

   

any provision adjusting the securities which may be purchased on exercise of the warrants and the exercise price of the warrants in order to prevent dilution or otherwise;

 

   

the place or places where warrants can be presented for exercise or for registration of transfer or exchange; and

 

   

any other material terms of the warrants.

 

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CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF MARYLAND LAW AND OF OUR CHARTER AND BYLAWS

The following description of the terms of our stock and of certain provisions of Maryland law is only a summary. This summary is not complete and is qualified by the provisions of our charter and bylaws, and the MGCL. See “Incorporation Of Certain Documents By Reference.”

Classification of Our Board

Our bylaws provide that the number of directors may be established by our board but may not be fewer than the minimum number permitted by the MGCL nor more than fifteen. Any vacancy may be filled, at any regular meeting or at any special meeting called for that purpose, only by a majority of the remaining directors. Any director elected to fill a vacancy by our board serves for the remainder of the full term of the class of directors in which the vacancy occurred and until his or her successor is elected and qualifies.

Pursuant to our charter, our board is divided into three classes of directors. Directors of each class serve for three-year terms and each year one class of directors will be elected by the stockholders. The number of directors in each class and the expiration of the current term of each class term is as follows:

 

Class I

     2 Directors        Expires 2017  

Class II

     3 Directors        Expires 2018  

Class III

     3 Directors        Expires 2019  

We believe that the classification of our board helps to assure the continuity and stability of our business strategies and policies as determined by our board. Common stockholders have no right to cumulative voting in the election of directors, which means that the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock can elect all of the directors then standing for election, and the holders of the remaining shares will not be able to elect any directors.

The classified board provision of our charter could have the effect of making the replacement of incumbent directors more time-consuming and difficult. At least two annual meetings of stockholders, instead of one, will generally be required to effect a change in a majority of our board. Thus, the classified board provision could increase the likelihood that incumbent directors will retain their positions. The staggered terms of directors may delay, defer or prevent a tender offer or an attempt to change control of our company, even though the tender offer or change in control might be in the best interest of our stockholders.

Removal of Directors

Our charter provides that a director may be removed only for cause and only by the affirmative vote of at least 80% of the votes entitled to be cast in the election of directors. This provision, when coupled with the exclusive power of our board to fill vacant directorships, precludes stockholders from removing incumbent directors except for cause and by a substantial affirmative vote and filling the vacancies created by the removal with their own nominees.

Business Combinations

Under Maryland law, “business combinations” between a Maryland corporation and an interested stockholder or an affiliate of an interested stockholder are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. These business combinations include a merger, consolidation, share exchange, or, in circumstances specified in the statute, an asset transfer or issuance or reclassification of equity securities. An interested stockholder is defined as:

 

   

any person who beneficially owns ten percent or more of the voting power of the corporation’s outstanding voting stock; or

 

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an affiliate or associate of the corporation who, at any time within the two-year period immediately prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of ten percent or more of the voting power of the then outstanding voting stock of the corporation.

A person is not an interested stockholder under the statute if our board approved in advance the transaction by which he or she otherwise would have become an interested stockholder. However, in approving a transaction, our board may provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by our board.

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

 

   

80% of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation; and

 

   

two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by holders of outstanding shares of voting stock of the corporation other than shares held by the interested stockholder with whom or with whose affiliate the business combination is to be effected or held by an affiliate or associate of the interested stockholder.

These super-majority vote requirements do not apply if the corporation’s common stockholders receive a minimum price, as defined under Maryland law, for their shares in the form of cash or other consideration in the same form as previously paid by the interested stockholder for its shares.

The business combination statute may discourage others from trying to acquire control of us and increase the difficulty of consummating any offer.

Control Share Acquisitions

Maryland law provides that holders of control shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition have no voting rights except to the extent approved by a vote of two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Shares owned by the acquiror, by officers or by directors who are employees of the corporation are excluded from shares entitled to vote on the matter. Control shares are voting shares of stock which, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquiror or in respect of which the acquiror is able to exercise or direct the exercise of voting power (except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy), would entitle the acquiror to exercise voting power in electing directors within one of the following ranges of voting power:

 

   

one-tenth or more but less than one-third;

 

   

one-third or more but less than a majority; or

 

   

a majority or more.

Control shares do not include shares the acquiring person is then entitled to vote as a result of having previously obtained stockholder approval or shares acquired directly from the corporation. A control share acquisition means the acquisition of issued and outstanding control shares, subject to certain exceptions.

A person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition may compel our board of the corporation to call a special meeting of stockholders to be held within 50 days of demand to consider the voting rights of the shares. The right to compel the calling of a special meeting is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including an undertaking to pay the expenses of the meeting. If no request for a meeting is made, the corporation may itself present the question at any stockholders meeting.

 

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If voting rights are not approved at the meeting or if the acquiring person does not deliver an acquiring person statement as required by the statute, then the corporation may redeem for fair value any or all of the control shares, except those for which voting rights have previously been approved. The right of the corporation to redeem control shares is subject to certain conditions and limitations. Fair value is determined, without regard to the absence of voting rights for the control shares, as of the date of the last control share acquisition by the acquiror or of any meeting of stockholders at which the voting rights of the shares are considered and not approved. If voting rights for control shares are approved at a stockholders meeting and the acquiror becomes entitled to vote a majority of the shares entitled to vote, all other stockholders may exercise appraisal rights. The fair value of the shares as determined for purposes of appraisal rights may not be less than the highest price per share paid by the acquiror in the control share acquisition.

The control share acquisition statute does not apply (a) to shares acquired in a merger, consolidation or share exchange if the corporation is a party to the transaction, or (b) to acquisitions approved or exempted by the charter or bylaws of the corporation. Our bylaws contain a provision exempting from the control share acquisition statute any and all acquisitions by any person of shares of our stock. There can be no assurance that this provision will not be amended or eliminated at any time in the future.

Subtitle 8

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

 

   

a classified board;

 

   

a two-thirds vote requirement for removing a director;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

a majority requirement for the calling of a special meeting of stockholders.

Without our having elected to be subject to Subtitle 8, our charter and bylaws already (1) provide for a classified board, (2) require the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 80% of the votes entitled to be cast in the election of directors for the removal of any director from our board, which removal will be allowed only for cause, (3) vest in our board the exclusive power to fix the number of directorships and (4) require, unless called by our Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer or President or our board, the written request of stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of all votes entitled to be cast at such a meeting to call a special meeting. In addition, we have elected to be subject to the Subtitle 8 provision that requires a vacancy on our board to be filled only by the remaining directors in office and for the remainder of the full term of the class of directors in which the vacancy occurred.

Meetings of Stockholders

Pursuant to our bylaws, a meeting of our stockholders for the election of directors and the transaction of any business will be held annually. In addition, our Chairman of our Board, Chief Executive Officer, President or our board may call a special meeting of our stockholders. Subject to the provisions of our bylaws, a special meeting of our stockholders to act on any matter that may properly be considered at a meeting of our stockholders will also be called by our Secretary upon the written request of the stockholders entitled to cast not less than a majority of all the votes entitled to be cast at the meeting.

 

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Limitation and Indemnification of Directors’ and Officers’ Liability

Maryland law permits a Maryland corporation to include in its charter a provision limiting the liability of its directors and officers to the corporation and its stockholders for money damages except for liability resulting from (a) actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services or (b) active and deliberate dishonesty established by a final judgment and which is material to the cause of action. Our charter contains such a provision which eliminates directors’ and officers’ liability to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law.

Our charter obligates us to indemnify, to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, any director or officer or any individual who, while a director or officer of our company and at the request of our company, serves or has served another entity, from and against any claim or liability to which that individual may become subject or which that individual may incur by reason of his or her status as a director or officer of our company and to pay or reimburse his or her reasonable expenses in advance of final disposition of a proceeding. The charter also permits our company to indemnify and advance expenses to any employee or agent of our company.

Maryland law requires a corporation (unless its charter provides otherwise, which our charter does not) to indemnify a director or officer who has been successful in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made or threatened to be made a party by reason of his or her service in that capacity. Maryland law permits a corporation to indemnify its present and former directors and officers, among others, against judgments, penalties, fines, settlements and reasonable expenses actually incurred by them in connection with any proceeding to which they may be made or threatened to be made a party by reason of their service in those or other capacities unless it is established that (a) the act or omission of the director or officer was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding and (i) was committed in bad faith or (ii) was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty, (b) the director or officer actually received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services or (c) in the case of any criminal proceeding, the director or officer had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful. However, under Maryland law, a Maryland corporation may not indemnify for an adverse judgment in a suit by or in the right of the corporation or for a judgment of liability on the basis that personal benefit was improperly received, unless in either case a court orders indemnification and then only for expenses. In addition, Maryland law permits a corporation to advance reasonable expenses to a director or officer only upon the corporation’s receipt of (a) a written affirmation by the director or officer of his or her good faith belief that he or she has met the standard of conduct necessary for indemnification by the corporation and (b) a written undertaking by him or her or on his or her behalf to repay the amount paid or reimbursed by the corporation if it is ultimately determined that the standard of conduct was not met.

Amendment to Our Charter

Our charter may be amended only by the affirmative vote of the holders of not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter; provided, however, that certain amendments related to our board (including a declassification of the board), consideration of various factors when considering a change of control transaction, indemnification, exculpation, advance notice of stockholder proposals and the charter amendment section require the affirmative vote of not less than 80% of all the votes entitled to be cast on such matters.

Dissolution of Our Company

Our dissolution must be declared advisable by a majority of our entire board and approved by the affirmative vote of the holders of not less than a majority of all of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter.

Advance Notice of Director Nominations and New Business

Our charter provides that, with respect to annual meetings, timely notice of stockholder business proposals and stockholder nominees for directors must be received in accordance with the bylaws. The bylaws provide that with respect to an annual meeting of stockholders, nominations of individuals for election to our board and the

 

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proposal of other business to be considered by stockholders may be made only pursuant to our notice of the meeting, by or at the direction of our board or by a stockholder who was a shareholder of record both at the time the stockholder provided the notice required by the bylaws and at the time of the annual meeting, who is entitled to vote at the meeting in the election of each individual so nominated or any such other business and who has complied with the advance notice requirements of and provided the information and other materials required by the bylaws. With respect to special meetings of stockholders, proposals of business to be considered by stockholders may be made only pursuant to our notice of the meeting, by our board or by a stockholder who has complied with the advance notice provisions of the bylaws.

Exclusive Forum

Our bylaws provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland, or, if that court does not have jurisdiction, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Baltimore Division, will be the sole and exclusive forum for (a) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (b) any action asserting a claim of breach of any duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees to us or to our stockholders, (c) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers or other employees arising pursuant to any provision of the MGCL or our charter or bylaws or (d) any action asserting a claim against us or any of our directors, officers or other employees that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.

Anti-takeover Effect of Certain Provisions of Maryland Law and of Our Charter and Bylaws

The business combination provisions and the control share acquisition provisions of Maryland law, the provisions of our charter on classification of our board and removal of directors and the advance notice provisions of our bylaws could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control of our company that might involve a premium price for holders of common stock or otherwise be in their best interest.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF DEBT SECURITIES

The following description of our debt securities describes general terms and provisions of a series of debt securities to which any prospectus supplement may relate. When we offer to sell a series of debt securities, we will describe the specific terms of the series in the applicable prospectus supplement. If any particular terms of the debt securities of that series or the indenture described in a prospectus supplement differ from any of the terms described in this prospectus, then the terms described in the applicable prospectus supplement will supersede the terms described in this prospectus.

We may issue our debt securities either separately, or together with, or upon the conversion or exercise of or in exchange for, other securities described in this prospectus. The debt securities will be unsubordinated and, unless otherwise expressly stated in the applicable prospectus supplement, unsecured obligations and may be issued in one or more series. If so indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, we may issue debt securities that are secured by specified collateral. Unless otherwise expressly stated or the context otherwise requires, as used in this section, the term “secured debt securities” means any debt securities that, as described in the prospectus supplement relating thereto, are secured by collateral; the term “unsecured debt securities” means any debt securities that are not secured debt securities; and the term “debt securities” includes both unsecured debt securities and secured debt securities.

The debt securities will be issued under an indenture to be entered into by us and a trustee. The trustee shall be Wilmington Trust, National Association or such other trustee as may be named in the applicable prospectus supplement. Unless otherwise expressly stated in the applicable prospectus supplement, we may issue both secured and unsecured debt securities under the same indenture. Unless otherwise expressly stated or the context otherwise requires, references in this section to the “indenture” and the “trustee” refer to the applicable indenture pursuant to which any particular series of debt securities is issued and to the trustee under that indenture. The terms of any series of debt securities will be those specified in or pursuant to the applicable indenture and in the certificates evidencing that series of debt securities and those made part of the indenture by the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended, or the Trust Indenture Act of 1939.

The following summary of selected provisions of the indenture and the debt securities is not complete, and the summary of selected terms of a particular series of debt securities included in the applicable prospectus supplement also will not be complete. You should review the form of applicable indenture, the form of any applicable supplemental indenture and the form of certificate evidencing the applicable debt securities, which forms have been or will be filed as exhibits to the registration statement of which this prospectus is a part or as exhibits to documents which have been or will be incorporated by reference in this prospectus. To obtain a copy of the form of indenture, the form of any such supplemental indenture or the form of certificate for any debt securities, see “Information We File” in this prospectus. The following summary and the summary in the applicable prospectus supplement are qualified in their entirety by reference to all of the provisions of the applicable indenture, any supplemental indenture and the certificates evidencing the applicable debt securities, which provisions, including defined terms, are incorporated by reference in this prospectus.

Capitalized terms used in this section and not defined have the meanings assigned to those terms in the indenture. Unless otherwise expressly stated or the context otherwise requires, references in this section to “MFA,” “we,” “our company,” “us” and “our” and other similar references mean MFA Financial, Inc., excluding its subsidiaries.

General

The debt securities may be issued from time to time in one or more series. We can issue an unlimited amount of debt securities under the indenture. The indenture provides that debt securities of any series may be issued up to the aggregate principal amount which may be authorized from time to time by us. Please read the

 

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applicable prospectus supplement relating to the series of debt securities being offered for specific terms including, where applicable:

 

   

the title of the series of debt securities;

 

   

any limit on the aggregate principal amount of debt securities of the series;

 

   

whether any debt securities of the series will be issued in temporary or permanent global form (global debt securities) and, if so, the name of the depositary for the global debt securities;

 

   

the extent to which, or the manner in which, any interest payable on a temporary global debt security will be paid, if other than in the manner provided in the indenture;

 

   

the date or dates on which we will pay the principal of and premium, if any, on debt securities of the series, or the method or methods, if any, used to determine those dates;

 

   

the rate or rates, which may be fixed or variable, at which debt securities of the series will bear interest, if any, or the method or methods, if any, used to determine those rates;

 

   

the date or dates, if any, from which interest on the debt securities of the series will begin to accrue, or the method or methods, if any, used to determine those dates;

 

   

the dates on which the interest, if any, on the debt securities of the series will be payable and the record dates for the payment of interest;

 

   

the basis used to calculate interest, if any, on the debt securities of the series if other than a 360-day year of twelve 30-day months;

 

   

the place or places where amounts due on the debt securities of the series will be payable and where the debt securities of the series may be surrendered for registration of transfer and exchange, if other than the corporate trust office of the applicable trustee;

 

   

the terms and conditions, if any, upon which we may, at our option, redeem debt securities of the series;

 

   

the terms and conditions, if any, upon which we will repurchase or repay debt securities of the series at the option of the holders of debt securities of the series;

 

   

the authorized denominations in which the debt securities of the series will be issued, if other than denominations of $1,000 and any integral multiples of $1,000;

 

   

the terms, if any, upon which debt securities of the series may be convertible into or exchangeable for other securities or property;

 

   

the portion of the principal amount of the debt securities of the series which will be payable upon acceleration if other than the full principal amount;

 

   

if other than U.S. dollars, the foreign currency in which payment of the principal of, any premium or interest on or any Additional Amounts (as defined below) with respect to any of such Securities shall be payable;

 

   

if other than U.S. dollars, the currency in which the purchase price for the debt securities of the series will be payable, the currency in which payments on the debt securities of the series will be payable, and the ability, if any, of us or the holders of debt securities of the series to have payments made in any other currency or currencies;

 

   

if the amount of payments on the debt securities of the series may be determined with reference to an index, formula or other method or methods and the method used to determine those amounts;

 

   

any addition to, or modification or deletion of, any covenant or Event of Default with respect to debt securities of the series;

 

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any addition to, or modification or deletion of, any term related to satisfaction or discharge, defeasance or covenant defeasance with respect to debt securities of the series;

 

   

if any of such debt securities are to be issuable upon the exercise of warrants, and the time, manner and place for such debt securities to be authenticated and delivered;

 

   

if any of such debt securities are issuable in global form and are to be issuable in definitive form (whether upon original issue or upon exchange of a temporary debt security) only upon receipt of certain certificates or other documents or satisfaction of other conditions, then the form and terms of such certificates, documents or conditions;

 

   

if and under what circumstances we will pay additional amounts (“Additional Amounts”) on the debt securities of the series to any Holder who is a United States Alien in respect of specified taxes, assessments or other governmental charges and, if so, whether we will have the option to redeem the debt securities of the series rather than pay the Additional Amounts;

 

   

if there is more than one trustee, the identity of the trustee and, if not the trustee, the identity of each registrar, paying agent or authenticating agent with respect to the debt securities;

 

   

the Person to whom any interest on a debt security of the series shall be payable, if other than the Person in whose name that debt security is registered on the applicable record date;

 

   

if the debt securities of the series will be secured by any collateral and, if so, a general description of the collateral and of some of the terms of any related security, pledge or other agreements;

 

   

whether such debt securities of the series will be guaranteed, if so, the names of the guarantors of the debt securities of the series and a description of the guarantees; and

 

   

any other terms of the debt securities of the series (whether or not such other terms are consistent or inconsistent with any other terms of the indenture).

As used in this prospectus and any prospectus supplement relating to the offering of debt securities of any series, references to the principal of and premium, if any, and interest, if any, on the debt securities of the series include the payment of Additional Amounts, if any, required by the debt securities of the series to be paid in that context.

Debt securities may be issued as original issue discount securities to be sold at a substantial discount below their principal amount. In the event of an acceleration of the maturity of any original issue discount security, the amount payable to the holder upon acceleration will be determined in the manner described in the applicable prospectus supplement. Certain U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to original issue discount securities will be described in the applicable prospectus supplement, if applicable.

If the purchase price of any debt securities is payable in a foreign currency or if the principal of, or premium, if any, or interest, if any, on any debt securities is payable in a foreign currency, the specific terms of those debt securities and the applicable foreign currency will be specified in the prospectus supplement relating to those debt securities.

The terms of the debt securities of any series may differ from the terms of the debt securities of any other series, and the terms of particular debt securities within any series may differ from each other. Unless otherwise expressly provided in the prospectus supplement relating to any series of debt securities, we may, without the consent of the holders of the debt securities of any series, reopen an existing series of debt securities and issue additional debt securities of that series.

Unless otherwise described in a prospectus supplement relating to any series of debt securities and except to the limited extent set forth below under “—Merger, Consolidation and Transfer of Assets,” the indenture does not contain any provisions that would limit our ability or the ability of any of our subsidiaries to incur

 

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indebtedness or other liabilities or that would afford holders of debt securities protection in the event of a business combination, takeover, recapitalization or highly leveraged or similar transaction involving us. Accordingly, we and our subsidiaries may in the future enter into transactions that could increase the amount of our consolidated indebtedness and other liabilities or otherwise adversely affect our capital structure or credit rating without the consent of the holders of the debt securities of any series.

Registration, Transfer and Payment

Unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, each series of debt securities will be issued in registered form only, without coupons.

Unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, debt securities will be issued in denominations of $1,000 or any integral multiples of $1,000.

Unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, the debt securities will be payable and may be surrendered for registration of transfer or exchange and, if applicable, for conversion into or exchange for other securities or property, at an office or agency maintained by us in the United States of America. However, we, at our option, may make payments of interest on any debt security by check mailed to the address of the Person entitled to receive that payment or by wire transfer to an account maintained by the payee with a bank located in the United States of America. Unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, no service charge shall be made for any registration of transfer or exchange, redemption or repayment of debt securities, or for any conversion or exchange of debt securities for other securities or property, but we may require payment of a sum sufficient to cover any tax or other governmental charge that may be imposed in connection with that transaction.

Unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, we will not be required to:

 

   

issue, register the transfer of or exchange debt securities of any series during a period beginning at the opening of business 15 days before any selection of debt securities of that series of like tenor and terms to be redeemed and ending at the close of business on the day of that selection;

 

   

register the transfer of or exchange any debt security, or portion of any debt security, selected for redemption, except the unredeemed portion of any debt security being redeemed in part; or

 

   

issue, register the transfer of or exchange a debt security which has been surrendered for repayment at the option of the holder, except the portion, if any, of the debt security not to be repaid.

Book-entry Debt Securities

The debt securities of a series may be issued in whole or in part in the form of one or more global debt securities. Global debt securities will be deposited with, or on behalf of, a depositary which, unless otherwise specified in the applicable prospectus supplement relating to the series, will be The Depository Trust Company (or DTC). Global debt securities may be issued in either temporary or permanent form. Unless and until it is exchanged in whole or in part for individual certificates evidencing debt securities, a global debt security may not be transferred except as a whole by the depositary to its nominee or by the nominee to the depositary, or by the depositary or its nominee to a successor depositary or to a nominee of the successor depositary.

We anticipate that global debt securities will be deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC and that global debt securities will be registered in the name of DTC’s nominee, Cede & Co. All interests in global debt securities deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC will be subject to the operations and procedures of DTC and, in the case of any interests in global debt securities held through Euroclear Bank S.A./N.V. (“Euroclear”) or Clearstream Banking, société anonyme (“Clearstream, Luxembourg”), the operations and procedures of Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg, as the case may be. We also anticipate that the following provisions will apply to the depository arrangements with respect to global debt securities. Additional or differing terms of the depository arrangements may be described in the applicable prospectus supplement.

 

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DTC has advised us that it is:

 

   

a limited-purpose trust company organized under the New York Banking Law;

 

   

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

 

   

a member of the Federal Reserve System;

 

   

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

 

   

a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the Exchange Act.

DTC holds securities that its participants deposit with DTC. DTC also facilitates the settlement among its participants of securities transactions, including transfers and pledges, in deposited securities through electronic computerized book-entry changes in participants’ accounts, which eliminates the need for physical movement of securities certificates. Direct participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other organizations. Access to the DTC system is also available to others, sometimes referred to in this prospectus as indirect participants, that clear transactions through or maintain a custodial relationship with a direct participant either directly or indirectly. Indirect participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks and trust companies. The rules applicable to DTC and its participants are on file with the SEC.

Purchases of debt securities within the DTC system must be made by or through direct participants, which will receive a credit for the debt securities on DTC’s records. The ownership interest of the actual purchaser or beneficial owner of a debt security is, in turn, recorded on the direct and indirect participants’ records. Beneficial owners will not receive written confirmation from DTC of their purchases, but beneficial owners are expected to receive written confirmations providing details of the transactions, as well as periodic statements of their holdings, from the direct or indirect participants through which they purchased the debt securities. Transfers of ownership interests in debt securities are to be accomplished by entries made on the books of participants acting on behalf of beneficial owners. Beneficial owners will not receive certificates representing their ownership interests in the debt securities, except under the limited circumstances described below.

To facilitate subsequent transfers, all debt securities deposited by participants with DTC will be registered in the name of DTC’s nominee, Cede & Co. The deposit of debt securities with DTC and their registration in the name of Cede & Co. will not change the beneficial ownership of the debt securities. DTC has no knowledge of the actual beneficial owners of the debt securities. DTC’s records reflect only the identity of the direct participants to whose accounts the debt securities are credited. Those participants may or may not be the beneficial owners. The participants are responsible for keeping account of their holdings on behalf of their customers.

Conveyance of notices and other communications by DTC to direct participants, by direct participants to indirect participants and by direct and indirect participants to beneficial owners will be governed by arrangements among them, subject to any legal requirements in effect from time to time.

Redemption notices shall be sent to DTC or its nominee. If less than all of the debt securities of a series are being redeemed, DTC will reduce the amount of the interest of each direct participant in the debt securities under its procedures.

In any case where a vote may be required with respect to the debt securities of any series, neither DTC nor Cede & Co. will give consents for or vote the global debt securities. Under its usual procedures, DTC will mail an omnibus proxy to us after the record date. The omnibus proxy assigns the consenting or voting rights of Cede & Co. to those direct participants to whose accounts the debt securities are credited on the record date identified in a listing attached to the omnibus proxy.

Principal and premium, if any, and interest, if any, on the global debt securities will be paid to Cede & Co., as nominee of DTC. DTC’s practice is to credit direct participants’ accounts on the relevant payment date unless

 

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DTC has reason to believe that it will not receive payments on the payment date. Payments by direct and indirect participants to beneficial owners will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is the case with securities held for the account of customers registered in “street name.” Those payments will be the responsibility of DTC’s direct and indirect participants and not of DTC, us, any trustee or any underwriters or agents involved in the offering or sale of any debt securities. Payment of principal, premium, if any, and interest, if any, to DTC is our responsibility, disbursement of payments to direct participants is the responsibility of DTC, and disbursement of payments to the beneficial owners is the responsibility of direct and indirect participants.

Except under the limited circumstances described below, beneficial owners of interests in a global debt security will not be entitled to have debt securities registered in their names and will not receive physical delivery of debt securities. Accordingly, each beneficial owner must rely on the procedures of DTC to exercise any rights under the debt securities and the indenture.

The laws of some jurisdictions may require that some purchasers of securities take physical delivery of securities in definitive form. These laws may impair the ability to transfer or pledge beneficial interests in global debt securities.

DTC is under no obligation to provide its services as depositary for the debt securities of any series and may discontinue providing its services at any time. Neither we nor any trustee nor any underwriters or agents involved in the offering or sale of any debt securities will have any responsibility for the performance by DTC or its participants or indirect participants under the rules and procedures governing DTC. As noted above, beneficial owners of interests in global debt securities generally will not receive certificates representing their ownership interests in the debt securities. However, if DTC notifies us that it is unwilling or unable to continue as a depositary for the global debt securities of any series or if DTC ceases to be a clearing agency registered under the Exchange Act (if so required by applicable law or regulation) and a successor depositary for the debt securities of such series is not appointed within 90 days of the notification to us or of our becoming aware of DTC’s ceasing to be so registered, as the case may be, we determine, in our sole discretion, not to have the debt securities of any series represented by one or more global debt securities, or an Event of Default under the indenture has occurred and is continuing with respect to the debt securities of any series, we will prepare and deliver certificates for the debt securities of that series in exchange for beneficial interests in the global debt securities of that series. Any beneficial interest in a global debt security that is exchangeable under the circumstances described in the preceding sentence will be exchangeable for debt securities in definitive certificated form registered in the names and in the authorized denominations that the depositary shall direct. It is expected that these directions will be based upon directions received by the depositary from its participants with respect to ownership of beneficial interests in the global debt securities.

Clearstream, Luxembourg and Euroclear hold interests on behalf of their participating organizations through customers’ securities accounts in Clearstream, Luxembourg’s and Euroclear’s names on the books of their respective depositaries, which hold those interests in customers’ securities accounts in the depositaries’ names on the books of DTC. At the present time, Citibank, N.A. acts as U.S. depositary for Clearstream, Luxembourg and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. acts as U.S. depositary for Euroclear (the “U.S. Depositaries”).

Clearstream, Luxembourg holds securities for its participating organizations (“Clearstream Participants”) and facilitates the clearance and settlement of securities transactions between Clearstream Participants through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of Clearstream Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of certificates. Clearstream, Luxembourg provides to Clearstream Participants, among other things, services for safekeeping, administration, clearance and settlement of internationally traded securities and securities lending and borrowing.

Clearstream, Luxembourg is registered as a bank in Luxembourg, and as such is subject to regulation by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier and the Banque Centrale du Luxembourg, which supervise and oversee the activities of Luxembourg banks. Clearstream Participants are financial institutions including

 

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underwriters, securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies and clearing corporations, and may include any underwriters or agents involved in the offering or sale of any debt securities or their respective affiliates. Indirect access to Clearstream, Luxembourg is available to other institutions that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a Clearstream Participant. Clearstream, Luxembourg has established an electronic bridge with Euroclear as the operator of the Euroclear System (the “Euroclear Operator”) in Brussels to facilitate settlement of trades between Clearstream, Luxembourg and the Euroclear Operator.

Distributions with respect to global debt securities held beneficially through Clearstream, Luxembourg will be credited to cash accounts of Clearstream Participants in accordance with its rules and procedures, to the extent received by the U.S. Depositary for Clearstream, Luxembourg.

Euroclear holds securities and book-entry interests in securities for participating organizations (“Euroclear Participants”) and facilitates the clearance and settlement of securities transactions between Euroclear Participants, and between Euroclear Participants and participants of certain other securities intermediaries through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of such participants or other securities intermediaries. Euroclear provides Euroclear Participants, among other things, with safekeeping, administration, clearance and settlement, securities lending and borrowing, and related services. Euroclear Participants are investment banks, securities brokers and dealers, banks, central banks, supranationals, custodians, investment managers, corporations, trust companies and certain other organizations, and may include any underwriters or agents involved in the offering or sale of any debt securities or their respective affiliates. Non-participants in Euroclear may hold and transfer beneficial interests in a global debt security through accounts with a participant in the Euroclear System or another securities intermediary that holds a book-entry interest in a global debt security through one or more securities intermediaries standing between such other securities intermediary and Euroclear.

Securities clearance accounts and cash accounts with the Euroclear Operator are governed by the Terms and Conditions Governing Use of Euroclear and the related Operating Procedures of the Euroclear System, and applicable Belgian law (collectively, the “Terms and Conditions”). The Terms and Conditions govern transfers of securities and cash within Euroclear, withdrawals of securities and cash from Euroclear and receipts of payments with respect to securities in Euroclear. All securities in Euroclear are held on a fungible basis without attribution of specific certificates to specific securities clearance accounts. The Euroclear Operator acts under the Terms and Conditions only on behalf of Euroclear Participants, and has no record of or relationship with Persons holding through Euroclear Participants.

Distributions on interests in global debt securities held beneficially through Euroclear will be credited to the cash accounts of Euroclear Participants in accordance with the Terms and Conditions, to the extent received by the U.S. Depositary for Euroclear.

Transfers between Euroclear Participants and Clearstream Participants will be effected in the ordinary way in accordance with their respective rules and operating procedures.

Cross-market transfers between direct participants in DTC, on the one hand, and Euroclear Participants or Clearstream Participants, on the other hand, will be effected through DTC in accordance with DTC’s rules on behalf of Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg, as the case may be, by its U.S. Depositary; however, such cross-market transactions will require delivery of instructions to Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg, as the case may be, by the counterparty in such system in accordance with the applicable rules and procedures and within the established deadlines (European time) of such system. Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg, as the case may be, will, if the transaction meets its settlement requirements, deliver instructions to its U.S. Depositary to take action to effect final settlement on its behalf by delivering or receiving interests in global debt securities in DTC, and making or receiving payment in accordance with normal procedures for same-day fund settlement applicable to DTC. Euroclear Participants and Clearstream Participants may not deliver instructions directly to their respective U.S. Depositaries.

 

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Due to time zone differences, the securities accounts of a Euroclear Participant or Clearstream Participant purchasing an interest in a global debt security from a direct participant in DTC will be credited, and any such crediting will be reported to the relevant Euroclear Participant or Clearstream Participant, during the securities settlement processing day (which must be a business day for Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg) immediately following the settlement date of DTC. Cash received in Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg as a result of sales of interests in a global debt security by or through a Euroclear Participant or Clearstream Participant to a direct participant in DTC will be received with value on the settlement date of DTC but will be available in the relevant Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg cash account only as of the business day for Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg following DTC’s settlement date.

Euroclear and Clearstream, Luxembourg are under no obligation to perform or to continue to perform the foregoing procedures and such procedures may be discontinued at any time without notice. Neither we nor any trustee nor any underwriters or agents involved in the offering or sale of any debt securities will have any responsibility for the performance by Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg or their respective participants of their respective obligations under the rules and procedures governing their operations.

The information in this section concerning DTC, Euroclear and Clearstream, Luxembourg and their book-entry systems has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, but we take no responsibility for the accuracy of that information.

Redemption and Repurchase

The debt securities of any series may be redeemable at our option or may be subject to mandatory redemption by us as required by a sinking fund or otherwise. In addition, the debt securities of any series may be subject to repurchase or repayment by us at the option of the holders. The applicable prospectus supplement will describe the terms, the times and the prices regarding any optional or mandatory redemption by us or any repurchase or repayment at the option of the holders of any series of debt securities.

Conversion and Exchange

The terms, if any, on which debt securities of any series are convertible into or exchangeable for our common shares or any other securities or property will be set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement. Such terms may include provisions for conversion or exchange, either mandatory, at the option of the holders or at our option. Unless otherwise expressly stated in the applicable prospectus supplement or the context otherwise requires, references in this prospectus and any prospectus supplement to the conversion or exchange of debt securities of any series for other securities or property shall be deemed not to refer to or include any exchange of any debt securities of a series for other debt securities of the same series.

Secured Debt Securities

The debt securities of any series may be secured by collateral. The applicable prospectus supplement will describe any such collateral and the terms of such secured debt securities.

Merger, Consolidation and Transfer of Assets

The indenture provides that we will not, in any transaction or series of related transactions, consolidate with, or sell, lease or convey all or substantially all of our property and assets to, or merge with or into, any Person unless:

 

   

either (1) we shall be the continuing Person (in the case of a merger) or (2) the successor Person (if other than us) formed by or resulting from the consolidation or merger or which shall have received the transfer of assets shall be an entity organized and existing under the laws of the United States of

 

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America, any state thereof or the District of Columbia and shall expressly assume the due and punctual payment of the principal of, premium, if any, and interest, if any, on all the debt securities outstanding under the indenture and the due and punctual performance and observance of all covenants and conditions in such outstanding debt securities and the indenture to be performed or satisfied by us (including, without limitation, the obligation to convert or exchange any debt securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for other securities or property in accordance with the provisions of such debt securities and the indenture) by a supplemental indenture;

 

   

immediately after giving effect to the transaction described above, no Event of Default under the indenture, and no event which, after notice or lapse of time or both would become an Event of Default under the indenture, shall have occurred and be continuing; and

 

   

the trustee shall have received the officers’ certificate and opinion of counsel called for by the indenture.

In the case of any such consolidation, sale, lease, conveyance or merger in which we are not the continuing entity and upon execution and delivery by the successor Person of the supplemental indenture described above, such successor Person shall succeed to, and be substituted for, us and may exercise every right and power of ours under the indenture with the same effect as if such successor Person had been named as us therein, and we shall be automatically released and discharged from all obligations and covenants under the indenture and the debt securities issued under that indenture.

Events of Default

Unless otherwise specified in the applicable prospectus supplement, an “Event of Default” with respect to the debt securities of any series is defined in the indenture as being:

 

  1.

default in payment of any interest, if any, on, or any Additional Amounts, if any, payable in respect of any interest, if any, on, any of the debt securities of that series when due, and continuance of such default for a period of 30 days;

 

  2.

default in payment of any principal of or premium, if any, on, or any Additional Amounts, if any, payable in respect of any principal of or premium, if any, on, any of the debt securities of that series when due (whether at maturity, upon redemption, upon repayment or repurchase at the option of the holder or otherwise and whether payable in cash or in our common shares or other securities or property);

 

  3.

default in the deposit of any sinking fund payment or payment under any analogous provision when due with respect to any of the debt securities of that series;

 

  4.

default in the delivery when due of any securities, cash or other property (including, without limitation, any of our common shares) when required to be delivered upon conversion of any convertible debt security of that series or upon the exchange of any debt security of that series which is exchangeable for our common shares or other securities or property (other than an exchange of debt securities of that series for other debt securities of the same series);

 

  5.

default in the performance, or breach, of any other covenant or warranty applicable to us in the indenture or in any debt security of that series, other than a covenant or warranty included in the indenture solely for the benefit of a series of debt securities other than that series, and continuance of that default or breach (without that default or breach having been cured or waived in accordance with the indenture) for a period of 60 days after notice to us by the trustee or the holders of not less than 25% in aggregate principal amount of the debt securities of that series then outstanding;

 

  6.

default after the expiration of any applicable grace period in the payment of principal when due, or resulting in acceleration of, other indebtedness (other than Non-recourse Debt of us or any Significant Subsidiary of ours or indebtedness of any Structured Finance Subsidiary of ours) for borrowed money

 

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  where the aggregate principal amount with respect to which the default or acceleration has occurred exceeds $100 million and such indebtedness has not been discharged, or such default in payment or acceleration has not been cured or rescinded, prior to written notice of acceleration of the debt securities of that series;

 

  7.

failure by us or any of our Subsidiaries to pay final judgments entered by a court or courts of competent jurisdiction aggregating in excess of $100 million, which judgments are not paid, discharged or stayed for a period of 30 calendar days after such judgments become final and non-appealable;

 

  8.

specified events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization with respect to us or any Significant Subsidiary of ours; or

 

  9.

any other Event of Default established for the debt securities of that series.

No Event of Default with respect to any particular series of debt securities necessarily constitutes an Event of Default with respect to any other series of debt securities. The indenture provides that, within 90 days after the occurrence of any default with respect to the debt securities of any series, the trustee will mail to all holders of the debt securities of that series notice of that default if known to the trustee, unless that default has been cured or waived. However, the indenture provides that the trustee may withhold notice of a default with respect to the debt securities of that series, except a default in payment of principal, premium, if any, interest, if any, Additional Amounts, if any, or sinking fund payments, if any, if the trustee in good faith determines it in the interest of the holders to do so. As used in this paragraph, the term “default” means any event which is, or after notice or lapse of time or both would become, an Event of Default with respect to the debt securities of any series.

The indenture provides that if an Event of Default (other than an Event of Default specified in clause (9) of the second preceding paragraph with respect to us) occurs and is continuing with respect to any series of debt securities, either the trustee or the holders of at least 25% in principal amount of the debt securities of that series then outstanding may declare the principal of, or if debt securities of that series are original issue discount securities, such lesser amount as may be specified in the terms of that series of debt securities, and accrued and unpaid interest, if any, on all the debt securities of that series to be due and payable immediately. The indenture also provides that if an Event of Default specified in clause (9) of the second preceding paragraph with respect to us occurs with respect to any series of debt securities, then the principal of, or if debt securities of that series are original issue discount securities, such lesser amount as may be specified in the terms of that series of debt securities, and accrued and unpaid interest, if any, on all the debt securities of that series will automatically become and be immediately due and payable without any declaration or other action on the part of the trustee or any holder of the debt securities of that series. However, upon specified conditions, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the debt securities of a series then outstanding may rescind and annul an acceleration of the debt securities of that series and its consequences. For purposes of clarity, references to an Event of Default specified in clause (9) of the second preceding paragraph with respect to us shall not include any Event of Default specified in clause (9) of the second preceding paragraph with respect to any Significant Subsidiary of ours.

Subject to the provisions of the Trust Indenture Act of 1939 requiring the trustee, during the continuance of an Event of Default under the indenture, to act with the requisite standard of care, the trustee is under no obligation to exercise any of its rights or powers under the indenture at the request or direction of any of the holders of debt securities of any series unless those holders have offered the trustee indemnity reasonably satisfactory to the trustee against the costs, fees and expenses and liabilities which might be incurred in compliance with such request or direction. Subject to the foregoing, holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series issued under the indenture have the right to direct the time, method and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the trustee under the indenture with respect to that series. The indenture requires the annual filing by us with the trustee of a certificate which states whether or not we are in default under the terms of the indenture.

 

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No holder of any debt securities of any series shall 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:

 

   

such holder has previously given written notice to the trustee of a continuing Event of Default with respect to the debt securities of such series;

 

   

the holders of not less than 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of such series shall have made written request to the trustee to institute proceedings in respect of such Event of Default in its own name as trustee under the indenture;

 

   

such holder or holders have offered to the trustee indemnity reasonably satisfactory to the trustee against the costs, fees and expenses and liabilities which might be incurred in compliance with such request;

 

   

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

 

   

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 debt securities of such series.

Notwithstanding any other provision of the indenture, the holder of a debt security will have the right, which is absolute and unconditional, to receive payment of the principal of and premium, if any, and interest, if any, on that debt security on the respective due dates for those payments and, in the case of any debt security which is convertible into or exchangeable for other securities or property, to convert or exchange, as the case may be, that debt security in accordance with its terms, and to institute suit for the enforcement of those payments and any right to effect such conversion or exchange, and this right shall not be impaired without the consent of the holder.

Modification, Waivers and Meetings

Unless otherwise provided in the applicable prospectus supplement, the indenture permits us and the trustee, with the consent of the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of each series issued under the indenture and affected by a modification or amendment, to enter into an indenture or supplemental indentures for the purpose of modifying or amending any of the provisions of the indenture or of the debt securities of the applicable series or the rights of the holders of the debt securities of that series under the indenture. However, no such modification or amendment shall, among other things:

 

   

change the stated maturity of the principal of, or premium, if any, or any installment of interest, if any, on or any Additional Amounts, if any, with respect to any debt securities issued under the indenture;

 

   

reduce the principal of or any premium on any debt securities or reduce the rate of interest on any debt securities or reduce the price payable upon the redemption of any debt security, whether such redemption is mandatory or at our option, or upon the repurchase of any debt security at the option of the holder, or reduce any Additional Amounts with respect to any debt securities, or change our obligation to pay Additional Amounts;

 

   

reduce the amount of principal of any original issue discount securities that would be due and payable upon an acceleration of the maturity thereof;

 

   

adversely affect any right of repayment or repurchase of any debt securities at the option of any holder;

 

   

change any place where or the currency in which debt securities are payable;

 

   

impair the holder’s right to institute suit to enforce the payment of any debt securities on or after their stated maturity or, in the case of any debt security which is convertible into or exchangeable for other securities or property, to institute suit to enforce the right to convert or exchange that debt security in accordance with its terms;

 

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make any change that adversely affects the right, if any, to convert or exchange any debt securities for other securities or property;

 

   

reduce the percentage of debt securities of any series issued under the indenture whose holders must consent to any modification or amendment or any waiver of compliance with specific provisions of such indenture or specified defaults under the indenture and their consequences; or

 

   

reduce the requirements for a quorum or voting at a meeting of holders of the applicable debt securities,

without in each case obtaining the consent of the holder of each outstanding debt security issued under such indenture affected by the modification or amendment.

Unless otherwise provided in the applicable prospectus supplement, the indenture also contains provisions permitting us and the trustee, without the consent of the holders of any debt securities issued under the indenture, to modify or amend the indenture, among other things:

 

   

to evidence the succession of another Person to us and the assumption by that successor of our covenants contained in the indenture and in the debt securities issued under the indenture;

 

   

to add to our covenants for the benefit of the holders of all or any series of debt securities issued under the indenture or to surrender any right or power conferred upon us in the indenture with respect to all or any series of debt securities issued under the indenture;

 

   

to establish the form or terms of debt securities of any series including, without limitation, conversion and exchange provisions applicable to debt securities which are convertible into or exchangeable for other securities or property and to establish any provisions with respect to any security or other collateral for such debt securities and to make any deletions from or additions or changes to the indenture in connection with any of the matters referred to in this bullet point so long as those deletions, additions and changes are not applicable to any other series of debt securities then outstanding;

 

   

to evidence and provide for the acceptance of the appointment of a successor trustee in respect of the debt securities of one or more series;

 

   

to cure any ambiguity or correct or supplement any provision in such indenture which may be defective or inconsistent with other provisions in the indenture, or to make any other provisions with respect to matters or questions arising under the indenture which shall not adversely affect the interests of the holders of the debt securities of any series then outstanding in any material respect;

 

   

to add any additional Events of Default with respect to all or any series of debt securities;

 

   

to supplement any of the provisions of the indenture to permit or facilitate defeasance, covenant defeasance and/or satisfaction and discharge of any series of debt securities, provided that such action shall not adversely affect the interest of any holder of a debt security of such series or any other debt security in any material respect;

 

   

to add guarantees or guarantors in respect of all or any debt securities, to establish the forms and terms of the guarantees and to evidence the release and discharge of any guarantor from its obligations under its guarantee of any or all debt securities and its obligations under the indenture in respect of any or all debt securities in accordance with the terms of the indenture;

 

   

to secure or, if applicable, to provide additional security for all or any debt securities issued under the indenture and to provide for any and all matters relating thereto, and to provide for the release of any collateral as security for all or any debt securities in accordance with the terms of the indenture;

 

   

to make any change to the indenture or any debt securities to conform the terms thereof to the terms reflected in any prospectus (including this prospectus), prospectus supplement, offering memorandum or similar offering document used in connection with the initial offering or sale of any debt securities;

 

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in the case of any series of debt securities which are convertible into or exchangeable for our common shares or other securities or property, to provide for the conversion or exchange rights of those debt securities in the event of any reclassification or change of our common shares or any of our other securities into which such debt securities are convertible or for which such debt securities are exchangeable or any similar transaction if expressly required by the terms of that series of debt securities; or

 

   

to amend or supplement any provision contained in the indenture or in any debt securities, provided that such amendment or supplement does not apply to any outstanding debt securities issued prior to the date of such supplemental indenture and entitled to the benefits of such provisions.

Unless otherwise provided in the applicable prospectus supplement, the holders of a majority in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series may waive our compliance with the provisions described above under “—Merger, Consolidation and Transfer of Assets” and certain other provisions of the indenture and, if specified in the prospectus supplement relating to such series of debt securities, any additional covenants applicable to the debt securities of such series. The holders of a majority in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding debt securities of any series may, on behalf of all holders of debt securities of that series, waive any past default under the indenture with respect to debt securities of that series and its consequences, except a default in the payment of the principal of, or premium, if any, or interest, if any, on debt securities of that series or, in the case of any debt securities which are convertible into or exchangeable for other securities or property, a default in any such conversion or exchange, or a default in respect of a covenant or provision which cannot be modified or amended without the consent of the holder of each outstanding debt security of the affected series.

Discharge, Defeasance and Covenant Defeasance

Unless otherwise provided in the applicable prospectus supplement, upon our direction, the indenture shall cease to be of further effect with respect to any series of debt securities issued under the indenture specified by us, subject to the survival of specified provisions of the indenture (including the obligation to pay Additional Amounts to the extent described below and the obligation, if applicable, to exchange or convert debt securities of that series into other securities or property in accordance with their terms) when:

 

   

either

 

  (A)

all outstanding debt securities of that series have been delivered to the trustee for cancellation, subject to exceptions, or

 

  (B)

all debt securities of that series have become due and payable or will become due and payable at their stated maturity within one year or are to be called for redemption within one year and we have deposited with the trustee, in trust, funds in U.S. dollars or in the foreign currency in which the debt securities of that series are payable in an amount sufficient to pay the entire indebtedness on the debt securities of that series in respect of principal, premium, if any, and interest, if any (and, to the extent that (x) the debt securities of that series provide for the payment of Additional Amounts upon the occurrence of specified events of taxation, assessment or governmental charge with respect to payments on the debt securities and (y) the amount of any Additional Amounts which are or will be payable is at the time of deposit reasonably determinable by us, in the exercise of our sole and absolute discretion, those Additional Amounts) to the date of such deposit, if the debt securities of that series have become due and payable, or to the maturity or redemption date of the debt securities of that series, as the case may be;

 

   

we have paid all other sums payable under the indenture with respect to the debt securities of that series; and

 

   

the trustee has received an officers’ certificate and an opinion of counsel called for by the indenture.

 

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If the debt securities of any series provide for the payment of Additional Amounts, we will remain obligated, following the deposit described above, to pay (on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the applicable indenture) Additional Amounts with respect to those debt securities to the extent (and only to the extent) that they exceed the amount deposited in respect of those Additional Amounts as described above.

Unless otherwise provided in the applicable prospectus supplement, we may elect with respect to any series of debt securities either:

 

   

to defease and be discharged from all of our obligations with respect to that series of debt securities (“defeasance”), except for:

 

  (1)

the obligation to pay Additional Amounts, if any, upon the occurrence of specified events of taxation, assessment or governmental charge with respect to payments on that series of debt securities to the extent (and only to the extent) that those Additional Amounts exceed the amount deposited in respect of those Additional Amounts as provided below,

 

  (2)

the obligation, if applicable, to exchange or convert debt securities of that series into other securities or property in accordance with their terms, and

 

  (3)

certain other limited obligations.

 

   

to be released from our obligations with respect to the debt securities of such series under such covenants as may be specified in the applicable prospectus supplement, and any omission to comply with those obligations shall not constitute a default or an Event of Default with respect to that series of debt securities (“covenant defeasance”), in either case upon the irrevocable deposit with the trustee, or other qualifying trustee, in trust for that purpose, of an amount in U.S. dollars or in the foreign currency in which those debt securities are payable at stated maturity or, if applicable, upon redemption, and/or Government Obligations which through the payment of principal and interest in accordance with their terms will provide money, in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of and any premium and any interest on (and, to the extent that (x) the debt securities of that series provide for the payment of Additional Amounts and (y) the amount of the Additional Amounts which are or will be payable is at the time of deposit reasonably determinable by us, in the exercise of our sole and absolute discretion, the Additional Amounts with respect to) that series of debt securities, and any mandatory sinking fund or analogous payments on that series of debt securities, on the due dates for those payments.

If we effect defeasance with respect to the debt securities of any series and those debt securities provide for the payment of Additional Amounts, we will remain obligated, following the effectiveness of such defeasance, to pay (on the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the indenture) Additional Amounts with respect to those debt securities to the extent (and only to the extent) that they exceed the amount deposited in respect of those Additional Amount as described above.

The defeasance or covenant defeasance described above shall only be effective if, among other things:

 

   

it shall not result in a breach or violation of, or constitute a default under, the indenture;

 

   

in the case of defeasance, we shall have delivered to the trustee an opinion of independent counsel reasonably acceptable to the trustee confirming that (A) we have received from or there has been published by the IRS a ruling or (B) since the date of the indenture there has been a change in applicable U.S. federal income tax law, in either case to the effect that, and based on this ruling or change the opinion of counsel shall confirm that, the holders of the debt securities of the applicable series will not recognize income, gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a result of the defeasance and will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the same amounts, in the same manner and at the same times as would have been the case if the defeasance had not occurred;

 

   

in the case of covenant defeasance, we shall have delivered to the trustee an opinion of independent counsel reasonably acceptable to the trustee to the effect that the holders of the debt securities of the

 

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applicable series will not recognize income, gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a result of the covenant defeasance and will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on the same amounts, in the same manner and at the same times as would have been the case if the covenant defeasance had not occurred;

 

   

if the cash and Government Obligations deposited are sufficient to pay the outstanding debt securities of that series provided those debt securities are redeemed on a particular redemption date, we shall have given the trustee irrevocable instructions to redeem those debt securities on that date; and

 

   

no Event of Default or event which with notice or lapse of time or both would become an Event of Default with respect to debt securities of that series shall have occurred and be continuing on the date of the deposit into trust; and, solely in the case of defeasance, no Event of Default arising from specified events of bankruptcy, insolvency or reorganization with respect to us or event which with notice or lapse of time or both would become such an Event of Default with respect to us shall have occurred and be continuing during the period through and including the 91st day after the date of the deposit into trust.

The applicable prospectus supplement may further describe the provisions, if any, permitting or restricting satisfaction and discharge, defeasance or covenant defeasance with respect to the debt securities of a particular series.

Definitions

As used in the indenture, the following terms have the meanings specified below:

The term “Corporation” includes corporations, partnerships, associations, limited liability companies and other companies and business trusts. The term “corporation” means a corporation and does not include partnerships, associations, limited liability companies or other companies or business trusts.

“Equity Interests” means, with respect to any Person, all of the shares of capital stock of (or other ownership or profit interests in) such Person, all of the warrants, options or other rights for the purchase or acquisition from such Person of shares of capital stock of (or other ownership or profit interests in) such Person, all of the securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares of capital stock of (or other ownership or profit interests in) such Person or warrants, rights or options for the purchase or acquisition from such Person of such shares (or such other interests), and all of the other ownership or profit interests in such Person (including partnership, member or trust interests therein), whether voting or nonvoting, and whether or not such shares, warrants, options, rights or other interests are outstanding on any date of determination.

“Governmental Authority” means the government of the United States or any other nation, or of any political subdivision thereof, whether state or local, and any agency, authority, instrumentality, regulatory body, court, central bank or other entity exercising executive, legislative, judicial, taxing, regulatory or administrative powers or functions of or pertaining to government.

“Non-recourse Debt” means an obligation for indebtedness that can only be satisfied out of the collateral securing the obligation and not out of the debtor’s other assets.

“Person” means any natural person, corporation, limited liability company, trust, joint venture, association, company, partnership, Governmental Authority or other entity.

“Significant Subsidiary” means, as of any date of determination, a Subsidiary of ours that would constitute a “significant subsidiary” as such term is defined under Rule 1-02(w) of Regulation S-X of the SEC as in effect on the date of the indenture.

 

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“Structured Finance Subsidiary” means a Subsidiary the primary function of which is to act as an issuer, depositor or special purpose entity in connection with issuances of obligations collateralized by loans, bonds, mortgages or other debt obligations issued by third parties.

“Subsidiary” of any Person means (a) any corporation, association or other business entity (other than a partnership, joint venture, limited liability company or similar entity) of which more than 50% of the aggregate ordinary voting power represented by the issued and outstanding Equity Interests or (b) any partnership, joint venture, limited liability company or similar entity of which more than 50% of the capital accounts, distribution rights, total equity and voting interests or general or limited partnership interests, as applicable, is, in the case of clauses (a) and (b), at the time owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by (1) such Person, (2) such Person and one or more Subsidiaries of such Person or (3) one or more Subsidiaries of such Person.

Governing Law

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

Regarding the Trustee

The Trust Indenture Act of 1939 limits the rights of a trustee, if the trustee becomes a creditor of us, to obtain payment of claims or to realize on property received by it in respect of those claims, as security or otherwise. Any trustee is permitted to engage in other transactions with us and our subsidiaries from time to time. However, if a trustee acquires any conflicting interest it must eliminate the conflict upon the occurrence of an Event of Default under the applicable indenture or resign as trustee.

Wilmington Trust, National Association may act as trustee under one or more of the indentures.

 

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DESCRIPTION OF OTHER SECURITIES

We will set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement a description of any rights or units that may be offered pursuant to this prospectus.

 

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MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

This section summarizes the material U.S. federal income tax considerations that (i) apply to you, as an Owner (as defined in the immediately succeeding paragraph) of shares of our capital stock and (ii) relate to our qualification as a REIT. Mayer Brown LLP has acted as our tax counsel, has reviewed this section and is of the opinion that the discussion contained herein fairly summarizes the U.S. federal income tax consequences that are likely to be material to an Owner. Because this section is a summary, it does not address all aspects of taxation that may be relevant to particular Owners in light of their personal investment or tax circumstances, or to certain types of Owners that are subject to special treatment under the U.S. federal income tax laws, such as insurance companies, tax-exempt organizations (except to the extent discussed in “—Taxation of Owners—Taxation of Tax-Exempt Owners” below), regulated investment companies, partnerships and other pass-through entities (including entities classified as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes), financial institutions or broker-dealers, persons liable for the alternative minimum tax, and non-U.S. individuals and foreign corporations (except to the extent discussed in “—Taxation of Owners—Taxation of Foreign Owners” below) and other persons subject to special tax rules.

You should be aware that in this section, when we use the term:

“Code,” we mean the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended;

“Disqualified Organization,” we mean any organization described in section 860E(e)(5) of the Code, including:

 

  (i)

the United States;

 

  (ii)

any state or political subdivision of the United States;

 

  (iii)

any foreign government;

 

  (iv)

any international organization;

 

  (v)

any agency or instrumentality of any of the foregoing;

 

  (vi)

any charitable remainder trust or other tax-exempt organization, other than a farmer’s cooperative described in section 521 of the Code, that is exempt both from income taxation and from taxation under the unrelated business taxable income provisions of the Code; and

 

  (vii)

any rural electrical or telephone cooperative;

“Domestic Owner,” we mean an Owner that is a U.S. Person;

“Foreign Owner,” we mean an Owner that is not a U.S. Person;

“IRS,” we mean the Internal Revenue Service;

“Owner,” we mean any person having a beneficial ownership interest in shares of our capital stock;

“REMIC,” we mean a real estate mortgage investment conduit as that term is defined in section 860D of the Code;

“TMP,” we mean a taxable mortgage pool as that term is defined in section 7701(i)(2) of the Code;

“TRS,” we mean a taxable REIT subsidiary described under “—Subsidiary Entities—Taxable REIT Subsidiaries” below; and

 

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“U.S. Person,” we mean (i) a citizen or resident of the United States; (ii) a corporation (or entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States or of any state thereof, including, for this purpose, the District of Columbia; (iii) a partnership (or entity treated as a partnership for tax purposes) organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States or of any state thereof, including, for this purpose, the District of Columbia (unless provided otherwise by future Treasury regulations); (iv) an estate whose income is includible in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes regardless of its source; or (v) a trust, if a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of the trust and one or more U.S. Persons have authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust. Notwithstanding the preceding clause, to the extent provided in Treasury regulations, certain trusts that were in existence on August 20, 1996, that were treated as U.S. Persons prior to such date, and that elect to continue to be treated as U.S. Persons, also are U.S. Persons.

The statements in this section are based on the current U.S. federal income tax laws. We cannot assure you that new laws, interpretations of law or court decisions, any of which may take effect retroactively, will not cause any statement in this section to be inaccurate. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain a position contrary to any of the tax consequences described below.

Except with respect to certain issues related to our right to make certain distributions on our common stock in additional shares of common stock, we have not sought and will not seek a private letter ruling from the IRS regarding any matter described in this prospectus.

We urge you to consult your tax advisor regarding the specific tax consequences to you of the purchase, ownership and sale of our capital stock and of our election to be taxed as a REIT. Specifically, you should consult your tax advisor regarding the federal, state, local, foreign, and other tax consequences of such purchase, ownership, sale and election, and regarding potential changes in applicable tax laws.

Federal Income Tax Considerations Relating to Our Treatment as a REIT

We have elected to be taxed as a REIT under Sections 856 through 860 of the Code commencing with our taxable year ending on December 31, 1998. We believe that we were organized and have operated and will continue to operate in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT under the federal income tax laws, but no assurances can be given that we will operate in a manner so as to qualify or remain qualified as a REIT. This section discusses the laws governing the federal income tax treatment of a REIT and the owners of REIT stock. These laws are highly technical and complex.

If we qualify as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income that we currently distribute to our stockholders, but taxable income generated by our domestic TRSs, if any, will be subject to regular U.S. federal (and applicable state and local) corporate income tax. However, we will be subject to U.S. federal tax in the following circumstances:

 

  1.

We will pay U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income, including net capital gain that we do not distribute to stockholders during, or within a specified time period after, the calendar year in which the income is earned.

 

  2.

We may be subject to the “alternative minimum tax”.

 

  3.

We will pay U.S. federal income tax at the highest corporate rate on:

 

   

net income from the sale or other disposition of property acquired through foreclosure, which we refer to as foreclosure property, that we hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, and

 

   

other non-qualifying income from foreclosure property.

 

  4.

We will pay a 100% tax on net income earned from sales or other dispositions of property, other than foreclosure property, that we hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business.

 

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  5.

If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as described below under “—Gross Income Tests,” but nonetheless continue to qualify as a REIT because we meet other requirements, we will be subject to a 100% tax on:

 

   

the greater of the amount by which we fail the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, multiplied, in either case, by

 

   

a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

 

  6.

If we fail to satisfy the asset tests by more than a de minimis amount, as described below under “—Asset Tests,” as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we dispose of the assets or otherwise comply with such asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure and we file a schedule with the IRS describing the assets that caused such failure, we will pay a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 or 35% of the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy such asset tests.

 

  7.

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, and such failure was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect, we will be required to pay a penalty of $50,000 for each such failure.

 

  8.

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

 

  9.

If we fail to distribute during a calendar year at least the sum of: (i) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for the year, (ii) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for the year and (iii) any undistributed taxable income from earlier periods, we will pay a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the amount we actually distributed, plus any retained amounts on which income tax has been paid at the corporate level.

 

  10.

We may elect to retain and pay U.S. federal income tax on our net long-term capital gain. In that case, a Domestic Owner would be taxed on its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain (to the extent that we make a timely designation of such gain to the stockholder) and would receive a credit or refund for its proportionate share of the tax we paid.

 

  11.

We will be subject to a 100% excise tax on transactions between us and any of our TRSs that are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis.

 

  12.

If (a) we recognize excess inclusion income for a taxable year as a result of our ownership of a 100% equity interest in a TMP or our ownership of a REMIC residual interest and (b) one or more Disqualified Organizations is the record owner of shares of our common stock during that year, then we will be subject to tax at the highest corporate U.S. federal income tax rate on the portion of the excess inclusion income that is allocable to the Disqualified Organizations. We do not anticipate owning REMIC residual interests; we may, however, own 100% of the equity interests in one or more trusts formed in connection with our securitization transactions that would be classified as a TMP. See “—Taxable Mortgage Pools.”

 

  13.

If we acquire any asset from a C corporation, or a corporation that generally is subject to full corporate-level tax, in a merger or other transaction in which we acquire a basis in the asset that is determined by reference either to the C corporation’s basis in the asset or to another asset, we will pay tax at the highest corporate U.S. federal income tax rate if we recognize gain on the sale or disposition of the asset during the up to 10-year period after we acquire the asset. The amount of gain on which we will pay tax is the lesser of:

 

   

the amount of gain that we recognize at the time of the sale or disposition, and

 

   

the amount of gain that we would have recognized if we had sold the asset at the time we acquired it, assuming that the C corporation will not elect in lieu of this treatment to an immediate tax when the asset is acquired.

 

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In addition, notwithstanding our qualification as a REIT, we may also have to pay certain state, local, and foreign income, property, and other taxes, because not all states and localities treat REITs in the same manner that they are treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Moreover, as further described below, any domestic TRS in which we own an interest will be subject to federal, state and local corporate income tax on its taxable income. We could also be subject to tax in situations and on transactions not presently contemplated.

Requirements for Qualification

A REIT is a corporation, trust, or association that meets each of the following requirements:

 

  1.

It is managed by one or more trustees or directors.

 

  2.

Its beneficial ownership is evidenced by transferable shares or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest.

 

  3.

It would be taxable as a domestic corporation, but for the REIT provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws.

 

  4.

It is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company subject to special provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws.

 

  5.

At least 100 persons are beneficial owners of its shares or ownership certificates.

 

  6.

Not more than 50% in value of its outstanding shares or ownership certificates is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals, which the U.S. federal income tax laws define to include certain entities, during the last half of any taxable year. For purposes of this requirement, indirect ownership will be determined by applying attribution rules set out in section 544 of the Code, as modified by section 856(h) of the Code.

 

  7.

It elects to be taxed as a REIT, or has made such election for a previous taxable year, and satisfies all relevant filing and other administrative requirements that must be met to elect and maintain REIT qualification.

 

  8.

It meets certain other qualification tests, described below, regarding the nature of its income and assets.

We must meet requirements 1 through 4 during our entire taxable year and must meet requirement 5 during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than twelve months. If we comply with all the requirements for ascertaining the ownership of our outstanding stock in a taxable year and have no reason to know that we violated requirement 6, we will be deemed to have satisfied requirement 6 for that taxable year. For purposes of determining share ownership under requirement 6, an “individual” generally includes a supplemental unemployment compensation benefits plan, a private foundation, or a portion of a trust permanently set aside or used exclusively for charitable purposes. An “individual” generally does not include a trust that is a qualified employee pension or profit sharing trust under the U.S. federal income tax laws, however, and beneficiaries of such a trust will be treated as owning our stock in proportion to their actuarial interests in the trust for purposes of requirement 6.

We believe that we have and have always had sufficient diversity of ownership to satisfy requirements 5 and 6. In addition, our charter restricts the ownership and transfer of our stock so that we should continue to satisfy these requirements.

To monitor compliance with the share ownership requirements, we generally are required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our shares. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of significant percentages of our stock pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the shares (i.e., the persons required to include our dividends in their gross income). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record keeping requirements. If you

 

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fail or refuse to comply with the demands, you will be required by Treasury regulations to submit a statement with your tax return disclosing your actual ownership of our shares and other information. In addition, we must satisfy all relevant filing and other administrative requirements that must be met to elect and maintain REIT qualification and use a calendar year for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We intend to continue to comply with these requirements.

Subsidiary Entities

Qualified REIT Subsidiaries

A corporation that is a “qualified REIT subsidiary” is not treated as a corporation separate from its parent REIT. All assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction and credit of a qualified REIT subsidiary are treated as assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction and credit of the REIT, including for purposes of the gross income and asset tests applicable to REITs (see “—Gross Income Tests” and “—Asset Tests”). A qualified REIT subsidiary is a corporation, other than a TRS, all of the capital stock of which is owned, directly or indirectly, by the REIT. Thus, in applying the requirements described herein, any qualified REIT subsidiary that we own will be ignored, and all assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction and credit of such subsidiary will be treated as our assets, liabilities, and items of income, deduction and credit.

Other Disregarded Entities and Partnerships

An unincorporated domestic entity, such as a partnership, limited liability company, or trust, that has a single owner generally is not treated as an entity separate from its parent for U.S. federal income tax purposes, including for purposes of the gross income and asset tests applicable to REITs. An unincorporated domestic entity with two or more owners generally is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our proportionate share of the assets, liabilities, and items of income of any partnership, joint venture or limited liability company that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes in which we acquire an interest, directly or indirectly, will be treated as our assets and gross income for purposes of applying the various REIT qualification requirements. For purposes of the 10% value test (see “—Asset Tests”), our proportionate share is based on our proportionate interest in the equity interests and certain debt securities issued by the partnership. For all of the other asset and income tests, our proportionate share is based on our proportionate interest in the capital interests in the partnership.

Actions taken by partnerships in which we own an interest, either directly or through one or more tiers of partnerships or qualified REIT subsidiaries, can affect our ability to satisfy the REIT income and assets tests and the determination of whether we have net income from prohibited transactions (for a brief description of prohibited transactions, see “—Prohibited Transactions”). If a disregarded subsidiary of ours ceases to be wholly-owned—for example, if any equity interest in the subsidiary is acquired by a person other than us or another disregarded subsidiary of ours—the subsidiary’s separate existence would no longer be disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Instead, the subsidiary would have multiple owners and would be treated as either a partnership or a taxable corporation. Such an event could, depending on the circumstances, adversely affect our ability to satisfy the various asset and gross income requirements applicable to REITs, including the requirement that REITs generally may not own, directly or indirectly, more than 10% of the securities of another corporation. See “—Asset Tests” and “—Gross Income Tests.”

Taxable REIT Subsidiaries

A REIT is permitted to own up to 100% of the stock of one or more TRSs. A TRS is a fully taxable corporation that may earn income that would not be qualifying income if earned directly by the parent REIT. The subsidiary and the REIT must jointly elect to treat the subsidiary as a TRS. Similarly, the election can be revoked at any time as long as the REIT and the TRS revoke such election jointly. A corporation with respect to which a TRS directly or indirectly owns more than 35% of the voting power or value of the stock will automatically be treated as a TRS. Overall, no more than 25% (20% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017) of the value of a REIT’s assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more TRSs.

 

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The separate existence of a TRS or other taxable corporation, unlike a qualified REIT subsidiary or other disregarded subsidiary as discussed above, is not ignored for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, a domestic TRS would generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax (and applicable state and local taxes) on its earnings, which may reduce the cash flow generated by us and our subsidiaries in the aggregate and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

A REIT is not treated as holding the assets of a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporation or as receiving any income that the subsidiary earns. Rather, the stock issued by the subsidiary is an asset in the hands of the REIT, and the REIT generally recognizes as income the dividends, if any, that it receives from the subsidiary. This treatment can affect the gross income and asset test calculations that apply to the REIT, as described below. Because a parent REIT does not include the assets and income of such subsidiary corporations in determining the parent’s compliance with the REIT requirements, such entities may be used by the parent REIT to undertake indirectly activities that the REIT rules might otherwise preclude it from doing directly or indirectly through pass-through subsidiaries. However, as noted below, no more than 25% (20% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017) of the value of our total assets may consist of the securities of one or more TRSs.

Certain restrictions imposed on TRSs are intended to ensure that such entities will be subject to appropriate levels of U.S. federal income taxation. If a TRS that has for any taxable year both (i) a debt-to-equity ratio in excess of 1.5 to 1, and (ii) accrued interest expense in excess of accrued interest income, then the TRS may be denied an interest expense deduction for a portion of the interest expense accrued on indebtedness owed to the parent REIT (although the TRS can carry forward the amount disallowed to subsequent taxable years). In addition, if amounts are paid to a REIT or deducted by a TRS due to transactions between the REIT and a TRS that exceed the amount that would be paid to or deducted by a party in an arm’s-length transaction, the REIT generally will be subject to an excise tax equal to 100% of such excess. We intend to scrutinize all of our transactions with any of our subsidiaries that are treated as a TRS in an effort to ensure that we do not become subject to this excise tax; however, we cannot assure you that we will be successful in avoiding this excise tax.

Gross Income Tests

We must satisfy two gross income tests annually to maintain qualification as a REIT. First, at least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year must consist of defined types of income that we derive from investments relating to real property or mortgages on real property, or from qualified temporary investments. Qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test generally includes:

 

   

rents from real property (subject to certain requirements);

 

   

interest on debt secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property;

 

   

dividends or other distributions on, and gain from the sale of, shares in other REITs;

 

   

gain from the sale of real estate assets (excluding gain from the sale of a “nonqualified publicly offered REIT debt instrument” (defined as a real estate asset that qualifies as such only because of the rule treating debt instruments issued by publicly offered REITs as real estate assets));

 

   

any amount includible in gross income with respect to a regular or residual interest in a REMIC, unless less than 95% of the REMIC’s assets are real estate assets, in which case only a proportionate amount of such income will qualify; and

 

   

income derived from certain temporary investments.

Second, in general, at least 95% of our gross income for each taxable year must consist of income that is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, other types of interest and dividends, gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities (provided that such stock or securities are not inventory property, i.e., property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business) or any combination of these.

 

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Gross income from the sale of inventory property is excluded from both the numerator and the denominator in both income tests. We intend to monitor the amount of our non-qualifying income and manage our investment portfolio to comply at all times with the gross income tests but we cannot assure you that we will be successful in this effort. Income and gain from hedging transactions that we enter into to hedge indebtedness incurred or to be incurred to acquire or carry real estate assets will generally be excluded from both the numerator and the denominator for purposes of the 95% gross income test and the 75% gross income test.

Interest

The term “interest,” as defined for purposes of both gross income tests, generally excludes any amount that is based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, interest generally includes the following: (i) an amount that is based on a fixed percentage or percentages of gross receipts or sales and (ii) an amount that is based on the income or profits of a borrower, where the borrower derives substantially all of its income from the real property securing the debt by leasing substantially all of its interest in the property, but only to the extent that the amounts received by the borrower would be qualifying “rents from real property” if received directly by a REIT.

If a loan contains a provision that entitles a REIT to a percentage of the borrower’s gain upon the sale of the real property securing the loan or a percentage of the appreciation in the property’s value as of a specific date, income attributable to that loan provision will be treated as gain from the sale of the property securing the loan, which generally is qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests, provided that the property is not held as inventory or dealer property.

Interest, including original issue discount and market discount, on debt secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property is generally qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Where a mortgage covers both real property and other property, an apportionment of interest income must be made for purposes of the 75% gross income test. If a mortgage is secured by both real property and personal property and if the fair market value of the personal property does not exceed 15% of the sum of the fair market values of the real property and personal property securing the mortgage loan (we refer to such personal property as “permitted personal property”), and the sum of the fair market values of the real property and permitted personal property securing the mortgage loan at the time we commit to originate, acquire or, in some instances, modify the mortgage loan equals or exceeds the highest principal amount of the loan during the year, then all of the interest we accrue on the mortgage loan will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test. If, however, the sum of the fair market values of the real property and permitted personal property were less than the highest principal amount, then only a portion of the interest income we accrue on the mortgage loan would qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test; such portion based on the percentage equivalent of a fraction, the numerator of which is the sum of the fair market value of the real property and permitted personal property securing the mortgage loan and the denominator of which is the principal amount of the mortgage loan.

Interest, including original issue discount or market discount, that we accrue on our real estate-related investments generally will be qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests. Interest income from investments that are not secured by mortgages on real property will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not the 75% gross income test.

MBS

We have acquired and expect to continue to acquire MBS, including Agency MBS, that will be treated either as interests in a grantor trust or as REMIC regular interests. We expect that all income from the MBS in which we invest will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. In the case of interests in grantor trusts, we will be treated as owning an undivided beneficial ownership interest in the mortgage loans held by the grantor trust. Thus, to the extent those mortgage loans are secured by real property or interests in real property, the income from the grantor trust will be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test.

 

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Income that we accrue with respect to REMIC regular interests will generally be treated as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income tests. If, however, less than 95% of the assets of the REMIC are real estate assets, then only a proportionate part of such income will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test. We expect that substantially all of the income we have accrued and will accrue on our investments in MBS, and any gain from the disposition of MBS, will be qualifying income for purposes of the both the 75% and the 95% gross income tests.

Foreign Currency Gains

Certain foreign currency gains are excluded from gross income for purposes of one or both of the gross income tests. “Real estate foreign exchange gain” is excluded from gross income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Real estate foreign exchange gain generally includes foreign currency gain attributable to any item of income or gain that is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, foreign currency gain attributable to the acquisition or ownership of (or becoming or being the obligor under) obligations secured by mortgages on real property or on interest in real property and certain foreign currency gain attributable to certain “qualified business units” of a REIT. “Passive foreign exchange gain” will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. Passive foreign exchange gain generally includes real estate foreign exchange gain as described above, and also includes foreign currency gain attributable to any item of income or gain that is qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test and foreign currency gain attributable to the acquisition or ownership of (or becoming or being the obligor under) obligations. Because passive foreign exchange gain includes real estate foreign exchange gain, real estate foreign exchange gain is excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income test. These exclusions for real estate foreign exchange gain and passive foreign exchange gain do not apply to foreign currency gain derived from dealing, or engaging in substantial and regular trading, in securities. Such gain is treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% gross income tests.

Fee Income

We may receive various fees in connection with our operations. The fees will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% gross income and 95% gross income tests if they are received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by a mortgage on real property or an interest in real property and the fees are not determined by income or profits of any person. Other fees are not qualifying income for purposes of either gross income test. Any fees earned by our TRS will not be included for purposes of the gross income tests.

Dividends

Our share of any dividends received from any corporation (including any TRS, but excluding any qualified REIT subsidiary) in which we own an equity interest will qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Our share of any dividends received from any other REIT in which we own an equity interest will be qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests.

Failure to Satisfy Gross Income Tests

We have monitored and will continue to monitor the amount of our non-qualifying income and manage our assets to comply with the gross income tests for each taxable year for which we seek to maintain our REIT qualification. We cannot assure you, however, that we will be able to satisfy the gross income tests. If we fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we may nevertheless qualify as a REIT for such year if we qualify for relief under certain provisions of the Code. These relief provisions will be generally available if (i) our failure to meet such tests was due to reasonable cause and not due to willful neglect, and (ii) we file with the IRS a schedule describing the sources of our gross income in accordance with Treasury regulations. We cannot predict, however, whether in all circumstances, we would qualify for the benefit of these

 

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relief provisions. In addition, as discussed above under “—Federal Income Tax Considerations Relating to Our Treatment as a REIT,” even if the relief provisions apply, a tax would be imposed upon the amount by which we fail to satisfy the particular gross income test.

In addition, the Secretary of the Treasury has been given broad authority to determine whether particular items of gain or income qualify or not under the 75% and 95% gross income tests, or are to be excluded from the measure of gross income for such purposes.

Cash/Income Differences – Phantom Income

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

We may acquire MBS in the secondary market for less than their face amount. The discount at which such debt instruments are acquired may reflect doubts about their ultimate collectability rather than current market interest rates. The amount of such discount may nevertheless be treated as “market discount” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Payments on mortgage loans are ordinarily made monthly, and consequently accrued market discount generally will have to be included in income each month as if the debt instrument were assured of ultimately being collected in full. If we collect less on the debt instrument than our purchase price plus the market discount we had previously reported as income, we may not be able to benefit from any offsetting loss deductions.

Some of the MBS that we acquire may have been issued with original issue discount. In general, we will be required to accrue original issue discount based on the constant yield to maturity of the MBS, and to treat the accrued original issue discount as taxable income in accordance with applicable U.S. federal income tax rules even though smaller or no cash payments are received on such debt instrument. As in the case of the market discount discussed in the preceding paragraph, the constant yield in question will be determined and we will be taxed based on the assumption that all future payments due on the MBS in question will be made, with consequences similar to those described in the previous paragraph if all payments on the MBS are not made. The REIT rules, however, permit us to exclude certain excess noncash income from the determination of the amount that we are required to distribute annually. Excess noncash income can include original issue discount accruals in excess of payments on a debt instrument.

In addition, if any debt instruments or MBS acquired by us are delinquent as to mandatory principal and interest payments, or if payments with respect to a particular debt instrument are not made when due, we may nonetheless be required to continue to recognize the unpaid interest as taxable income. Similarly, we may be required to accrue interest income with respect to subordinate MBS at the stated rate regardless of whether corresponding cash payments are received.

Finally, we may be required under the terms of indebtedness that we incur, whether to private lenders or pursuant to government programs, to use cash received from interest payments to make principal payments on that indebtedness, with the effect of recognizing income but not having a corresponding amount of cash available for distribution to our shareholders.

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

 

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Asset Tests

To qualify as a REIT, we also must satisfy the following asset tests at the end of each quarter of each taxable year. First, at least 75% of the value of our total assets must consist of some combination of “real estate assets,” cash, cash items, government securities, and, under some circumstances, stock or debt instruments purchased with new capital. For this purpose, the term “real estate assets” includes interests in real property (including leaseholds and options to acquire real property and leaseholds), stock of other corporations that qualify as REITs, and, to a limited extent, certain debt issued by publicly offered REITs and interests in mortgage loans secured by real property (including certain types of MBS). Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.

Second, the value of our interest in any one issuer’s securities (other than debt and equity securities issued by any of our TRSs, qualified REIT subsidiaries, any other entity that is disregarded as an entity separate from us, any equity interest we may hold in a partnership and any security that is a real estate asset, a government security, or a cash item) may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets. Third, we may not own more than 10% of the voting power or 10% of the value of any one issuer’s outstanding securities (other than debt and equity securities issued by any of our TRSs, qualified REIT subsidiaries, any other entity that is disregarded as an entity separate from us, any equity interest we may hold in a partnership, and any security that is a real estate asset, a government security, or a cash item, and any security that is a real estate asset, a government security, or a cash item). Solely for purposes of the 10% asset test, the determination of our interest in the assets of a partnership or limited liability company in which we own an interest will be based on our proportionate interest in any securities issued by the partnership or limited liability company, excluding for this purpose certain securities described in the Code. For purposes of the 10% value test, the term “securities” does not include certain “straight debt” securities. Fourth, no more than 25% (20% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017) of the value of our total assets may consist of the securities of one or more TRSs. Fifth, no more than 25% of the value of our total assets may consist of nonqualified publicly offered REIT debt instruments.

Notwithstanding the general rule that, for purposes of the gross income and asset tests, a REIT is treated as owning its proportionate share of the underlying assets of a partnership in which it holds a partnership interest, if a REIT holds indebtedness issued by a partnership, the indebtedness will be subject to, and may cause a violation of the asset tests, unless it is a qualifying mortgage asset or otherwise satisfies the rules for “straight debt.” Similarly, although stock of another REIT qualifies as a real estate asset for purposes of the REIT asset tests, non-mortgage debt issued by another REIT may not so qualify (such debt, however, will not be treated as a “security” for purposes of the 10% asset test).

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

We intend to acquire and manage, through our subsidiaries, MBS that are either interests in grantor trusts or REMIC regular interests. In the case of interests in grantor trusts, we will be treated as owning an undivided

 

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beneficial ownership interest in the mortgage loans held by the grantor trust, and we will be treated as owning an interest in real estate assets to the extent those mortgage loans held by the grantor trust represent real estate assets. In the case of REMIC regular interests, such regular interests will generally qualify as real estate assets. If, however, less than 95% of the REMIC’s assets are real estate assets, then only a proportionate part of the regular interest will be a real estate asset. We expect that substantially all of the MBS we acquire will be treated as real estate assets.

In addition, we have and expect to continue to enter into repurchase agreements under which we will nominally sell certain of our assets to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase the sold assets. We believe that we will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as the owner of the assets that are the subject of any such repurchase agreement and the repurchase agreement will be treated as a secured lending transaction notwithstanding that we may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could successfully assert that we did not own the assets during the term of the repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to qualify as a REIT.

We have monitored and will continue to monitor the status of our assets for purposes of the various asset tests and will seek to manage our portfolio to comply at all times with such tests. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be successful in this effort. In this regard, to determine our compliance with these requirements, we will need to estimate the value of our assets to ensure compliance with the asset tests. We will not obtain independent appraisals to support our conclusions concerning the values of our assets. Moreover, some of the assets that we may own may not be susceptible to precise valuation. Although we will seek to be prudent in making these estimates, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not disagree with these determinations and assert that a different value is applicable, in which case we might not satisfy the 75% asset test and the other asset tests and would fail to qualify as a REIT.

Failure to Satisfy Asset Tests

If we fail to satisfy the asset tests as the end of a quarter, we will not lose our REIT qualification if:

 

  1.

we satisfied the asset tests at the end of the preceding calendar quarter; and

 

  2.

the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset test requirements arose from changes in the market values of our assets and was not wholly or partly caused by the acquisition of one or more non-qualifying assets.

If we did not satisfy the condition described in the second bullet above, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose.

If we violate the 5% value test, 10% voting test or 10% value test described above at the end of any calendar quarter, we will not lose our REIT qualification if (i) the failure is de minimis (up to the lesser of 1% of our total assets or $10 million) and (ii) we dispose of these assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter. In the event of a more than de minimis failure of any of the asset tests, as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will not lose our REIT qualification if we (i) file with the IRS a schedule describing the assets that caused the failure, (ii) dispose of these assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter and (iii) pay a tax equal to the greater of $50,000 per failure or an amount equal to the product of the highest corporate income tax rate (currently 35%) and the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy the asset tests.

Annual Distribution Requirements

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

 

  (A)

the sum of

 

  (i)

90% of our “REIT taxable income” (computed without regard to the dividends paid deduction and our net capital gains), and

 

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  (ii)

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

 

  (B)

the sum of certain items of non-cash income.

Such distributions must be paid in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if either (i) we declare the distribution before we file a timely U.S. federal income tax return for the year and pay the distribution with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration or (ii) we declare the distribution in October, November or December of the taxable year, payable to stockholders of record on a specified day in any such month, and we actually pay the dividends before the end of January of the following year. The distributions under clause (i) are taxable to the Owners of our common stock in the year in which paid, and the distributions in clause (ii) are treated as paid on December 31 of the prior taxable year. In both instances, these distributions relate to our prior taxable year for purposes of the 90% distribution requirement.

With respect to our 2014 and prior taxable years, for distributions to be counted as satisfying the annual distribution requirements for REITs, and to provide us with a REIT-level tax deduction, the distributions must not be “preferential dividends.” A dividend is not a preferential dividend if the distribution is (i) pro rata among all outstanding shares of stock within a particular class, and (ii) in accordance with the preferences among different classes of stock as set forth in our organizational documents. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2014, the preferential dividend rule does not apply to “publicly offered REITS.” Thus, so long as we continue to qualify as a “publicly offered REIT,” the preferential dividend rate will not apply to our 2015 and subsequent taxable years.

We will pay U.S. federal income tax at corporate tax rates on our taxable income, including net capital gain that we do not distribute to stockholders. Furthermore, if we fail to distribute during each calendar year, or by the end of January following the calendar year in the case of distributions with declaration and record dates falling in the last three months of the calendar year, at least the sum of (i) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year, (ii) 95% of our REIT capital gain income for such year and (iii) any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the amounts actually distributed. We generally intend to make timely distributions sufficient to satisfy the annual distribution requirements and to avoid corporate U.S. federal income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax.

We may elect to retain rather than distribute our net capital gain and pay tax on such gains. In this case, we could elect to have our stockholders include their proportionate share of such undistributed capital gains in income and to receive a corresponding credit or refund, as the case may be, for their share of the tax paid by us. Stockholders would then increase the adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between the designated amounts of capital gains from us that they include in their taxable income, and the tax paid on their behalf by us with respect to that income.

To the extent that a REIT has available net operating losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that it must make to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Such losses, however, will generally not affect the character, in the hands of stockholders, of any distributions that are actually made by the REIT, which are generally taxable to stockholders to the extent that the REIT has current or accumulated earnings and profits. See “—Taxation of Owners —Taxation of Taxable Domestic Owners.”

We may find it difficult or impossible to meet distribution requirements in certain circumstances. Due to the nature of the assets in which we will invest, we may be required to recognize taxable income from those assets in advance of our receipt of cash flow on or proceeds from disposition of such assets. For instance, we may be required to accrue interest and discount income on mortgage loans, mortgage backed securities, and other types of debt securities or interests in debt securities before we receive any payments of interest or principal on such assets. Moreover, in certain instances we may be required to accrue taxable income that we may not actually recognize as economic income. For example, if we own a residual equity position in a mortgage loan securitization, we may recognize taxable income that we will never actually receive due to losses sustained on

 

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the underlying mortgage loans. Although those losses would be deductible for tax purposes, they would likely occur in a year subsequent to the year in which we recognized the taxable income. Thus, subject to a relief rule for certain types of non-cash income, including income earned from REMIC residual interests, for any taxable year, we may be required to fund distributions in excess of cash flow received from our investments. If such circumstances arise, then to fund our distribution requirement and maintain our status as a REIT we may have to sell assets at unfavorable prices, borrow at unfavorable terms, make taxable stock dividends, or pursue other strategies. We cannot be assured, however, that any such strategy would be successful if our cash flow were to become insufficient to make the required distributions. Alternatively, we may declare a taxable dividend payable in cash or stock at the election of each stockholder, where the aggregate amount of cash to be distributed in such dividend may be subject to limitation. In such case, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the amount of the dividend paid in stock will be equal to the amount of cash that could have been received instead of stock.

Under certain circumstances, we may be able to rectify a failure to meet the distribution requirement for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to stockholders in a later year, which may be included in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. Thus, we may be able to avoid being taxed on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends; however, we will be required to pay interest and a penalty to the IRS based on the amount of any deduction taken for deficiency dividends.

Failure to Qualify

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

If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year, and the relief provisions do not apply, we will be subject to tax (including any applicable alternative minimum tax) on our taxable income at regular federal corporate income tax rates. Distributions to stockholders in any year in which we fail to qualify will not be deductible by us nor will they be required to be made. In such event, to the extent of current and accumulated earnings and profits, all distributions to stockholders will be taxable as ordinary income, and, subject to certain limitations of the Code, corporate stockholders may be eligible for the dividends received deduction, and individual stockholders and other non-corporate stockholders may be eligible to be taxed at the reduced 20% rate currently applicable to qualified dividend income. Unless entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we will also be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which qualification was lost. We cannot predict whether in all circumstances we would be entitled to such statutory relief.

Prohibited Transactions

Net income derived by a REIT from a prohibited transaction is subject to a 100% excise tax. The term “prohibited transaction” generally includes a sale or other disposition of property (other than foreclosure property) that is held “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business.” Although we do not expect that our assets will be held primarily for sale to customers, these terms are dependent upon the particular facts and circumstances, and we cannot assure you that we will never be subject to this excise tax. The 100% tax does not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular federal corporate income tax rates. We intend to structure our activities to avoid transactions that are prohibited transactions.

 

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Foreclosure Property

A REIT is subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate (currently 35%) on any income from foreclosure property, including gain from the disposition of such foreclosure property, other than income that otherwise would be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Foreclosure property is real property and any personal property incident to such real property (i) that is acquired by a REIT as result of the REIT having bid on such property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced the property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after there was a default (or default was imminent) on a lease of such property or a mortgage loan held by the REIT and secured by the property, (ii) for which the related loan or lease was acquired by the REIT at a time when default was not imminent or anticipated and (iii) for which such REIT makes a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property. Any gain from the sale of property for which a foreclosure election has been made will not be subject to the 100% excise tax on gains from prohibited transactions described above, even if the property would otherwise constitute inventory or dealer property in the hands of the selling REIT. We do not expect to receive income from foreclosure property that is not qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. However, if we do receive any such income, we intend to make an election to treat the related property as foreclosure property.

Derivatives and Hedging Transactions

We and our subsidiaries may enter into hedging transactions with respect to interest rate exposure on one or more of our assets or liabilities. Any such hedging transactions could take a variety of forms, including the use of derivative instruments such as interest rate swap contracts, interest rate cap or floor contracts, futures or forward contracts, and options. Except to the extent provided by Treasury regulations, any income from a hedging transaction we enter into (i) in the normal course of our business primarily to manage risk of interest rate or price changes or currency fluctuations with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets, which is clearly identified as specified in Treasury regulations before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated, or entered into, including gain from the sale or disposition of such a transaction, and (ii) primarily to manage risk of currency fluctuations with respect to any item of income or gain that would be qualifying income under the 75% or 95% income tests (or any asset that produces such income) which is clearly identified as such before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated, or entered into, will not constitute gross income for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income test. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both of the 75% and 95% gross income tests. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our qualification as a REIT. We may conduct some or all of our hedging activities (including hedging activities relating to currency risk) through a TRS or other corporate entity, the income from which may be subject to U.S. federal income tax, rather than by participating in the arrangements directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. No assurance can be given, however, that our hedging activities will not give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of either or both of the REIT gross income tests, or that our hedging activities will not adversely affect our ability to satisfy the REIT qualification requirements.

Taxable Mortgage Pools

An entity, or a portion of an entity, may be classified as a TMP under the Code if (i) substantially all of its assets consist of debt obligations or interests in debt obligations, (ii) more than 50% of those debt obligations are real estate mortgage loans, interests in real estate mortgage loans or interests in certain MBS as of specified testing dates, (iii) the entity has issued debt obligations that have two or more maturities and (iv) the payments required to be made by the entity on its debt obligations “bear a relationship” to the payments to be received by the entity on the debt obligations that it holds as assets. Under Treasury regulations, if less than 80% of the assets of an entity (or a portion of an entity) consists of debt obligations, these debt obligations are considered not to comprise “substantially all” of its assets, and therefore the entity would not be treated as a TMP.

 

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We may structure or enter into securitization or financing transactions that will cause us to be viewed as owning interests in one or more TMPs. Generally, if an entity or a portion of an entity is classified as a TMP, then the entity or portion thereof is treated as a taxable corporation and it cannot file a consolidated U.S. federal income tax return with any other corporation. If, however, a REIT owns 100% of the equity interests in a TMP, then the TMP is a qualified REIT subsidiary and, as such, ignored as an entity separate from the REIT.

As long as we owned 100% of the equity interests in the TMP, all or a portion of the income that we recognize with respect to our investment in the TMP will be treated as excess inclusion income. Section 860E(c) of the Code defines the term “excess inclusion” with respect to a residual interest in a REMIC. The IRS, however, has yet to issue guidance on the computation of excess inclusion income on equity interests in a TMP held by a REIT. Generally, however, excess inclusion income with respect to our investment in any TMP and any taxable year will equal the excess of (i) the amount of income we accrue on our investment in the TMP over (ii) the amount of income we would have accrued if our investment were a debt instrument having an issue price equal to the fair market value of our investment on the day we acquired it and a yield to maturity equal to 120% of the long-term applicable federal rate in effect on the date we acquired our interest. The term “applicable federal rate” refers to rates that are based on weighted average yields for treasury securities and are published monthly by the IRS for use in various tax calculations. If we undertake securitization transactions that are TMPs, the amount of excess inclusion income we recognize in any taxable year could represent a significant portion of our total taxable for that year.

If we recognized excess inclusion income, then under guidance issued by the IRS we would be required to allocate the excess inclusion income proportionately among the dividends we pay to our stockholders and we must notify our stockholders of the portion of our dividends that represents excess inclusion income. The portion of any dividend you receive that is treated as excess inclusion income is subject to special rules. First, your taxable income can never be less than the sum of your excess inclusion income for the year; excess inclusion income cannot be offset with net operating losses or other allowable deductions. Second, if you are a tax-exempt organization and your excess inclusion income is subject to the unrelated business income tax, then the excess inclusion portion of any dividend you receive will be treated as unrelated business taxable income. Third, dividends paid to Foreign Owners who hold stock for investment and not in connection with a trade or business conducted in the United States will be subject to United States federal withholding tax without regard to any reduction in rate otherwise allowed by any applicable income tax treaty.

If we recognize excess inclusion income, and one or more Disqualified Organizations are record holders of shares of common stock, we will be taxable at the highest federal corporate income tax rate on the portion of any excess inclusion income equal to the percentage of our stock that is held by Disqualified Organizations. In such circumstances, we may reduce the amount of our distributions to a Disqualified Organization whose stock ownership gave rise to the tax. To the extent that our common stock owned by Disqualified Organizations is held by a broker/dealer or other nominee, the broker/dealer or other nominee would be liable for a tax at the highest corporate tax rate on the portion of our excess inclusion income allocable to our common stock held by the broker/dealer or other nominee on behalf of the Disqualified Organizations.

If we own less than 100% of the equity interests in a TMP, the foregoing rules would not apply. Rather, the TMP would be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes and would potentially be subject to federal corporate income tax. This could adversely affect our compliance with the REIT gross income and asset tests described above. We currently do not have, and currently do not intend to enter into any securitization or financing transaction that is a TMP in which we own some, but less than all, of the equity interests, and we intend to monitor the structure of any TMPs in which we have an interest to ensure that they will not adversely affect our status as a REIT. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in this regard.

 

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Taxation of Owners

Taxation of Taxable Domestic Owners

Distributions. As long as we qualify as a REIT, distributions we make to our taxable Domestic Owners out of current or accumulated earnings and profits (and not designated as capital gain dividends) will be taken into account by them as ordinary income. Dividends we pay to a corporation will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction. In addition, distributions we make to individuals and other Owners that are not corporations generally will not be eligible for the 20% reduced rate of tax currently in effect for “qualified dividend income.” However, provided certain holding period and other requirements are met, and subject to certain limitations, an individual or other non-corporate Owner may be eligible for the 20% reduced rate with respect to (i) distributions attributable to dividends we receive from certain “C” corporations, such as our TRSs, and (ii) distributions attributable to income upon which we have paid corporate income tax.

Distributions that we designate as capital gain dividends will be taxed as long-term capital gains (to the extent that they do not exceed our actual net capital gain for the taxable year) without regard to the period for which you have owned our common stock.

Rather than distribute our net capital gains, we may elect to retain and pay the U.S. federal income tax on them, in which case you will (i) include your proportionate share of the undistributed net capital gains in income, (ii) receive a credit for your share of the U.S. federal income tax we pay and (iii) increase the basis in your common stock by the difference between your share of the capital gain and your share of the credit.

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will not be taxable to you to the extent that they do not exceed your adjusted tax basis in our common stock you own, but rather, will reduce your adjusted tax basis in your common stock, but not below zero. Assuming that the common stock you own is a capital asset, to the extent that such distributions exceed your adjusted tax basis in the common stock you own, you must include them in income as long-term capital gain (or short-term capital gain if the common stock has been held for one year or less). For individuals, trusts and estates, long-term capital gains are currently taxable at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 20% and short-term capital gains are currently taxable at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 39.6%. Gains for corporations, whether characterized as long-term or short-term, are currently taxable at a maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 35%. Capital gains attributable to the sale of depreciable real property held for more than 12 months are subject to a 25% maximum U.S. federal income tax rate for taxpayers who are taxed as individuals, to the extent of previously claimed depreciation deductions.

If we declare a dividend in October, November or December of any year that is payable to stockholders of record on a specified date in any such month, but actually distribute the amount declared in January of the following year, then you must treat the January distribution as though you received it on December 31 of the year in which we declared the dividend. In addition, we may elect to treat other distributions after the close of the taxable year as having been paid during the taxable year, but you will be treated as having received these distributions in the taxable year in which they are actually made.

To the extent that we have available net operating losses and capital losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. See “—Annual Distribution Requirements.” Such losses, however, are not passed through to you and do not offset your income from other sources, nor would they affect the character of any distributions that you receive from us; you will be subject to tax on those distributions to the extent that we have current or accumulated earnings and profits.

If we did recognize excess inclusion income, we would identify a portion of the distributions that we make to you as excess inclusion income. Your taxable income can never be less than the sum of your excess inclusion income for the year; excess inclusion income cannot be offset with net operating losses or other allowable deductions. See “—Taxable Mortgage Pools.”

 

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Dispositions of Our Stock. Any gain or loss you recognize upon the sale or other disposition of our common stock will generally be capital gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if you held the common stock for more than one year. In addition, any loss you recognize upon a sale or exchange of our common stock that you have owned for six months or less (after applying certain holding period rules) will generally be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of distributions received from us that you are required to treat as long-term capital gain.

If you recognize a loss upon a disposition of our common stock in an amount that exceeds a prescribed threshold, it is possible that the provisions of Treasury regulations involving “reportable transactions” could apply, with a resulting requirement to separately disclose the loss-generating transaction to the IRS. While these regulations are directed towards “tax shelters,” they are written quite broadly, and apply to transactions that would not typically be considered tax shelters. In addition, recently enacted legislation imposes significant penalties for failure to comply with these requirements. You should consult your tax advisor concerning any possible disclosure obligation with respect to the receipt or disposition of our common stock, or transactions that might be undertaken directly or indirectly by us. Moreover, you should be aware that we and other participants in the transactions involving us (including our advisors) may be subject to disclosure or other requirements pursuant to these regulations.

Amounts that you are required to include in taxable income with respect to our common stock you own, including taxable distributions and the income you recognize with respect to undistributed net capital gain, and any gain recognized upon your disposition of our common stock, will not be treated as passive activity income. You may not offset any passive activity losses you may have, such as losses from limited partnerships in which you have invested, with income you recognize with respect to our shares of common stock. Generally, income you recognize with respect to our common stock will be treated as investment income for purposes of the investment interest limitations.

Additional Medicare Tax. Individuals, estates or trusts whose income exceeds certain thresholds will be subject to an additional 3.8% Medicare tax on dividends and certain other investment income. Such other investment income will include capital gains from the sale or other disposition of our capital stock.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding. We will report to our stockholders and to the IRS the amount of distributions we pay during each calendar year and the amount of tax we withhold, if any. Under the backup withholding rules, you may be subject to backup withholding at a current rate of 28% with respect to distributions unless you:

 

   

are a corporation or come within certain other exempt categories and, when required, demonstrate this fact; or

 

   

provide a taxpayer identification number, certify as to no loss of exemption from backup withholding, and otherwise comply with the applicable requirements of the backup withholding rules.

Any amount paid as backup withholding will be creditable against your income tax liability. For a discussion of the backup withholding rules as applied to foreign owners, see “—Taxation of Foreign Owners.” In addition, we may be required to withhold a portion of capital gain distributions to any Domestic Owners who fail to certify their non-foreign status.

Taxation of Tax-Exempt Owners

Tax-exempt entities, including qualified employee pension and profit sharing trusts and individual retirement accounts, are generally exempt from U.S. federal income taxation. However, they are subject to taxation on their unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”). Provided that a tax-exempt Owner (i) has not held our common stock as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code and (ii) has not used our common stock in an unrelated trade or business, amounts that we distribute to tax-exempt Owners and income from the

 

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sale of our common stock generally should not constitute UBTI. To the extent that we are (or a part of us, or a disregarded subsidiary of ours is) a TMP, a portion of the dividends paid to a tax-exempt stockholder that is allocable to excess inclusion income may be treated as UBTI. If, however, excess inclusion income is allocable to some categories of tax-exempt stockholders that are not subject to UBTI, we might be subject to corporate level tax on such income, and, in that case, may reduce the amount of distributions to those stockholders whose ownership gave rise to the tax. However, a tax-exempt Owner’s allocable share of any excess inclusion income that we recognize will be subject to tax as UBTI. See “—Taxable Mortgage Pools.” As required by IRS guidance, we intend to notify our stockholders if a portion of a dividend paid by us is attributable to excess inclusion income.

Tax-exempt Owners that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts and qualified group legal services plans, exempt from taxation under special provisions of the U.S. federal income tax laws, are subject to different UBTI rules, which generally will require them to characterize distributions that they receive from us as UBTI.

In certain circumstances, a qualified employee pension trust or profit sharing trust that owns more than 10% of our stock could be required to treat a percentage of the dividends that it receives from us as UBTI if we are a “pension-held REIT.” We will not be a pension-held REIT unless either (a) one pension trust owns more than 25% of the value of our stock or (b) a group of pension trusts individually holding more than 10% of our stock collectively owns more than 50% of the value of our stock. However, the restrictions on ownership and transfer of our stock are designed, among other things, to prevent a tax-exempt entity from owning more than 10% of the value of our stock, thus making it unlikely that we will become a pension-held REIT.

Taxation of Foreign Owners

The following is a summary of certain U.S. federal income and estate tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of our common stock applicable to a Foreign Owner.

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

This discussion is based on current law and is for general information only. This discussion addresses only certain and not all aspects of U.S. federal income and estate taxation.

General. For most foreign investors, investment in a REIT that invests principally in mortgage loans and MBS is not the most tax-efficient way to acquire and manage, through our subsidiaries, such assets. That is because receiving distributions of income derived from such assets in the form of REIT dividends subjects most foreign investors to withholding taxes that direct investment in those asset classes, and the direct receipt of interest and principal payments with respect to them, would not. The principal exceptions are foreign sovereigns and their agencies and instrumentalities, which may be exempt from withholding taxes on REIT dividends under the Code, and certain foreign pension funds or similar entities able to claim an exemption from withholding taxes on REIT dividends under the terms of a bilateral tax treaty between their country of residence and the United States.

Ordinary Dividend Distributions. The portion of dividends received by a Foreign Owner payable out of our current and accumulated earnings and profits that are not attributable to our capital gains and that are not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the Foreign Owner will be subject to U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30% (unless reduced by an applicable income tax treaty). In general, a Foreign Owner will not be considered engaged in a U.S. trade or business solely as a result of its ownership of our common stock. In cases

 

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where the dividend income from a Foreign Owner’s investment in our common stock is (or is treated as) effectively connected with the Foreign Owner’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the Foreign Owner generally will be subject to U.S. tax at graduated rates, in the same manner as Domestic Owners are taxed with respect to such dividends (and may also be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the case of a foreign owner that is a foreign corporation). If a Foreign Owner is the record holder of shares of our common stock, we plan to withhold U.S. income tax at the rate of 30% on the gross amount of any distribution paid to a Foreign Owner unless:

 

   

a lower income treaty rate applies and the Foreign Owner provides us with an IRS Form W-8BEN evidencing eligibility for that reduced rate; or

 

   

the Foreign Owner provides us with an IRS Form W-8ECI certifying that the distribution is effectively connected income.

Under some income tax treaties, lower withholding tax rates do not apply to ordinary dividends from REITs. Furthermore, reduced treaty rates are not available to the extent that distributions are treated as excess inclusion income. See “—Taxable Mortgage Pools.” As required by IRS guidance, we intend to notify our stockholders if a portion of a dividend paid by us is excess inclusion income.

Non-Dividend Distributions. Distributions we make to a Foreign Owner that are not considered to be distributions out of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax unless the distribution exceeds the Foreign Owner’s adjusted tax basis in our common stock at the time of the distribution and, as described below, the Foreign Owner would otherwise be taxable on any gain from a disposition of our common stock. If it cannot be determined at the time a distribution is made whether or not such distribution will be in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, the entire distribution will be subject to withholding at the rate applicable to dividends. A Foreign Owner may, however, seek a refund of such amounts from the IRS if it is subsequently determined that the distribution was, in fact, in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, provided the proper forms are timely filed with the IRS by the Foreign Owner.

Capital Gain Dividends. Distributions that we make to Foreign Owners that are attributable to our disposition of U.S. real property interests (“USRPI,” which term does not include interests in mortgage loans and mortgage backed securities) are subject to U.S. federal income and withholding taxes pursuant to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Act of 1980, or FIRPTA, and may also be subject to branch profits tax if the Foreign Owner is a corporation that is not entitled to treaty relief or exemption. Although we do not anticipate recognizing any gain attributable to the disposition of USRPI, as defined by FIRPTA, Treasury regulations interpreting the FIRPTA provisions of the Code could be read to impose a withholding tax at a rate of 35% on all of our capital gain dividends (or amounts we could have designated as capital gain dividends) paid to Foreign Owners, even if no portion of the capital gains we recognize during the year are attributable to our disposition of USRPI. However, in any event, the FIRPTA rules will not apply to distributions to a Foreign Owner so long as (i) our common stock is regularly traded (as defined by applicable Treasury regulations) on an established securities market, and (ii) the Foreign Owner owns (actually or constructively) no more than 10% of our common stock at any time during the one-year period ending with the date of the distribution.

Dispositions of Our Stock. Unless our common stock constitutes a USRPI, a sale of our common stock by a Foreign Owner generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax under FIRPTA. We do not expect that our common stock will constitute a USRPI. Our common stock will not constitute a USRPI if less than 50% of our assets throughout a prescribed testing period consist of interests in real property located within the United States, excluding, for this purpose, interest in real property solely in the capacity as a creditor. Even if the foregoing test is not met, our common stock will not constitute a USRPI if we are a domestically controlled REIT. A “domestically controlled REIT” is a REIT in which, at all times during a specified testing period, less than 50% in value of its shares is held directly or indirectly by foreign owners. We believe that we will be a domestically controlled REIT, and that a sale of our stock should not be subject to taxation under FIRPTA. However, no assurance can be given that we are or will remain a domestically controlled REIT.

 

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Even if we do not constitute a domestically controlled REIT, a Foreign Owner’s sale of our common stock generally will still not be subject to tax under FIRPTA as a sale of a USRPI provided that (i) our stock is “regularly traded” (as defined by applicable Treasury regulations) on an established securities market and (ii) the selling Foreign Owner has owned (actually or constructively) 10% or less of our outstanding common stock at all times during a specified testing period.

If gain on the sale of our stock were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the Foreign Owner would generally be subject to the same treatment as a Domestic Owner with respect to such gain (subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals) and the purchaser of the common stock could be required to withhold 15% of the purchase price and remit such amount to the IRS.

Capital gains not subject to FIRPTA will nonetheless be taxable in the United States to a Foreign Owner in two cases. First, if the Foreign Owner’s investment in our common stock is effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business conducted by such Foreign Owner, the Foreign Owner will generally be subject to the same treatment as a Domestic Owner with respect to such gain. Second, if the Foreign Owner is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and has a “tax home” in the United States, the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gain.

Estate Tax. Our common stock owned or treated as owned by an individual who is not a citizen or resident of the United States (as specially defined for U.S. federal estate tax purposes) at the time of death will be includible in the individual’s gross estate for U.S. federal estate tax purposes, unless an applicable estate tax treaty provides otherwise. Such individual’s estate may be subject to U.S. federal estate tax on the property includible in the estate for U.S. federal estate tax purposes.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding. Under current Treasury regulations, information reporting and backup withholding will not apply to payments on the common stock made by us or our paying agent (in its capacity as such) to you if you have provided the required certification that you are a Foreign Owner provided that neither we nor our paying agent has actual knowledge or reason to know that you are a Domestic Owner. However, we or our paying agent may be required to report to the IRS and you payments of dividends on our common stock and the amount of tax, if any, withheld with respect to those payments. Copies of the information returns reporting such 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. The gross proceeds from the disposition of your common stock may be subject to information reporting and backup withholding tax (currently at a maximum rate of 28%). If you sell your common stock outside the United States through a non-U.S. office of a non-U.S. broker and the sales proceeds are paid to you outside the United States, then the U.S. information reporting and backup withholding requirements generally will not apply to that payment. However, U.S. information reporting, but not backup withholding, will apply to a payment of sales proceeds, even if that payment is made outside the United States, if you sell your debt securities or common stock through a non-U.S. office of a broker that:

 

   

is a U.S. person;

 

   

derives 50% or more of its gross income in specific periods from the conduct of a trade or business in the United States;

 

   

is a “controlled foreign corporation” for U.S. federal income tax purposes; or

 

   

is a foreign partnership, if at any time during its tax year:

 

   

one or more of its partners are U.S. persons who in the aggregate hold more than 50% of the income or capital interests in the partnership; or

 

   

the foreign partnership is engaged in a U.S. trade or business,

 

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unless the broker has documentary evidence in its files that you are a Foreign Owner and certain other conditions are met or you otherwise establish an exemption. If you receive payment of the proceeds of a sale of your common stock to or through a U.S. office of a broker, the payment is subject to both U.S. backup withholding and information reporting unless you provide an IRS Form W-8BEN certifying that you are a Foreign Owner or you otherwise establish an exemption, provided that the broker does not have actual knowledge or reason to know that you are not a Foreign Owner or the conditions of any other exemption are not, in fact, satisfied.

You are encouraged to consult your own tax advisor regarding application of backup withholding in your particular circumstance and the availability of and procedure for obtaining an exemption from backup withholding under current Treasury regulations. Any amounts withheld under the backup withholding rules from a payment to you will be allowed as a refund or credit against your U.S. federal income tax liability, provided the required information is timely furnished to the IRS.

Other Tax Consequences

Possible Legislative or Other Actions Affecting Tax Consequences. Prospective investors should recognize that the present U.S. federal income tax treatment of an investment in our common stock may be modified by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time, and that any such action may affect investments and commitments previously made. The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and Treasury Department, resulting in revisions of regulations and revised interpretations of established concepts as well as statutory changes. Revisions in U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could adversely affect the tax consequences of an investment in our common stock.

Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. U.S. tax legislation enacted in 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, and subsequent IRS guidance regarding the implementation of FATCA, provides that 30% U.S. federal withholding tax will be imposed on distributions to, and, after December 31, 2018, the gross proceeds from a sale of shares to, a foreign entity if such entity fails to satisfy certain due diligence, disclosure and reporting rules. In the event of noncompliance with the FATCA requirements, as set forth in Treasury Regulations, withholding at a rate of 30% on distributions in respect of our stock and gross proceeds from the sale of our stock held by or through such foreign entities would be imposed. Non-U.S. Persons that are otherwise eligible for an exemption from, or a reduction of, U.S. withholding tax with respect to such distributions and sale proceeds would be required to seek a refund from the IRS to obtain the benefit of such exemption or reduction. We will not pay any additional amounts in respect of any amounts withheld (under FATCA or otherwise). Additional requirements and conditions may be imposed pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement (if and when entered into) between the United States and the non-U.S. Person’s home jurisdiction. Prospective investors are urged to consult with their tax advisors regarding the application of these rules to an investment in our stock.

State and Local Taxes. We and our stockholders may be subject to state or local taxation in various state or local jurisdictions, including those in which we or they transact business or reside. The state and local tax treatment may not conform to the U.S. federal income tax consequences discussed above. Consequently, prospective investors should consult their own tax advisors regarding the effect of state and local tax laws on an investment in our common stock.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

We may sell the securities offered by this prospectus to one or more underwriters for public offering and sale by them or we may sell the securities to investors directly or through agents. Any underwriter or agent involved in the offer and sale of the securities will be named in the applicable prospectus supplement.

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

Securities may also be sold in one or more of the following transactions: (a) block transactions (which may involve crosses) in which a broker-dealer may sell all or a portion of the securities as agent but may position and resell all or a portion of the block as principal to facilitate the transaction; (b) purchases by a broker-dealer as principal and resale by the broker-dealer for its own account pursuant to a prospectus supplement; (c) a special offering, an exchange distribution or a secondary distribution in accordance with applicable NYSE or other stock exchange rules; (d) ordinary brokerage transactions and transactions in which a broker-dealer solicits purchasers; (e) sales “at the market” to or through a market maker or into an existing trading market, on an exchange or otherwise, for shares; and (f) sales in other ways not involving market makers or established trading markets, including direct sales to purchasers. Broker-dealers may also receive compensation from purchasers of these securities which is not expected to exceed that customary in the types of transactions involved.

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

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

In connection with the offering of the securities described in this prospectus and an accompanying prospectus supplement, certain underwriters and selling group members and their respective affiliates, may engage in transactions that stabilize, maintain or otherwise affect the market price of the security being offered. These transactions may include stabilization transactions effected in accordance with Rule 104 of Regulation M promulgated by the SEC pursuant to which these persons may bid for or purchase securities for the purpose of stabilizing their market price.

The underwriters in an offering of these securities may also create a “short position” for their account by selling more equity securities in connection with the offering than they are committed to purchase from us. In that case, the underwriters could cover all or a portion of the short position by either purchasing the securities in

 

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the open market following completion of the offering or by exercising any over-allotment option granted to them by us. In addition, the managing underwriter may impose “penalty bids” under contractual arrangements with other underwriters, which means that they can reclaim from an underwriter (or any selling group member participating in the offering) for the account of the other underwriters, the selling concession for the securities that is distributed in the offering but subsequently purchased for the account of the underwriters in the open market. Any of the transactions described in this paragraph or comparable transactions that are described in any accompanying prospectus supplement may result in the maintenance of the price of our securities at a level above that which might otherwise prevail in the open market. None of the transactions described in this paragraph or in an accompanying prospectus supplement are required to be taken by any underwriters and, if they are undertaken, may be discontinued at any time.

Any underwriters and their affiliates may be customers of, engage in transactions with and perform services for us and our subsidiaries in the ordinary course of business.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

The validity of the securities offered hereby is being passed upon for us by Venable LLP. If the validity of any securities is also passed upon by counsel for the underwriters of an offering of those securities, that counsel will be named in the prospectus supplement relating to that offering. In addition, the description of federal income tax consequences contained in the section of this prospectus entitled “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations” is based on the opinion of Mayer Brown LLP.

 

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EXPERTS

Our consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2015 and 2014 and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2015, and management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2015, have been incorporated by reference herein in reliance upon the reports of KPMG LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, incorporated by reference herein, and upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.

 

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INCORPORATION OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS BY REFERENCE

The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference the information we file with them, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to these documents. The information incorporated by reference is an important part of this prospectus, and information that we file later with the SEC will automatically update and supersede the information already incorporated by reference. We are incorporating by reference the documents listed below, which we have already filed with the SEC under the File Number 1-13991:

 

  (i)

Our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015;

 

  (ii)

Our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2016, June 30, 2016 and September 30, 2016;

 

  (iii)

Our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed May 26, 2016 and November 4, 2016;

 

  (iv)

The description of the shares of capital stock contained in the Registration Statement on Form 8-A filed on March 26, 1998, including all amendments and reports filed for the purpose of updating such description;

 

  (v)

The description of the shares of our 8.50% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock contained on Form 8-A filed on April 23, 2004; and

 

  (vi)

The description of the shares of our 7.50% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock contained on Form 8-A filed on April 15, 2013.

In addition, we incorporate by reference into this prospectus any reports or documents that we file with the SEC (other than any portion of such filings that are furnished under applicable SEC rules rather than filed) under Section 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act prior to the termination of the applicable offering under this prospectus. If anything in a report or document we file after the date of this prospectus changes anything in (or incorporated by reference in) it, this prospectus will be deemed to be changed by that subsequently filed report or document beginning on the date the report or document is filed.

Upon request, we will provide, without charge, to each person, including any beneficial owner, to whom a copy of this prospectus is delivered a copy of the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus. You may request a copy of these filings, and any exhibits we have specifically incorporated by reference as an exhibit in this prospectus, by writing or telephoning us at: MFA Financial, Inc., 350 Park Avenue, 20th Floor, New York, New York 10022, attention: Investor Relations Department; telephone: 212-207-6488.

 

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INFORMATION WE FILE

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other materials with the SEC. The public may read and copy any materials we file with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC maintains a website that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers (including us) that file electronically with the SEC. The address of that website is http://www.sec.gov.

Reports, proxy statements and other information we file also can be inspected at the offices of the New York Stock Exchange, 20 Broad Street, New York, New York 10005.

We maintain a website at www.mfafinancial.com. Information contained on our website is not, and should not be interpreted to be, part of this prospectus.

 

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50,000,000 Shares

 

 

LOGO

Common Stock

 

 

Prospectus Supplement

 

 

Morgan Stanley

Wells Fargo Securities

 

 

August    , 2018

 

 

 

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