This Indemnification Agreement (“Agreement”) is made as of March __, 2011 by and between Merisel, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), and ___________________ (“Indemnitee”).
WHEREAS, highly competent persons have become more reluctant to serve corporations as directors or officers or in other capacities unless they are provided with adequate protection through insurance or adequate indemnification against inordinate risks of claims and actions against them arising out of their service to and activities on behalf of the corporation;
WHEREAS, directors, officers, and other persons in service to corporations or business enterprises are being increasingly subjected to expensive and time-consuming litigation relating to, among other things, matters that traditionally would have been brought only against the corporation itself;
WHEREAS, the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”) has determined that, in order to attract and retain qualified individuals, the Company will maintain on an ongoing basis, at its sole expense, liability insurance to protect persons serving the Company and its subsidiaries from certain liabilities, unless this provision is subsequently amended by action of the Board;
WHEREAS, the Bylaws of the Company (the “Bylaws”) and the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) permit indemnification of the directors and officers of the Company;
WHEREAS, the DGCL expressly provides that the indemnification provisions set forth therein are not exclusive, and thereby contemplate that contracts may be entered into between the Company and members of the Board, officers and other persons with respect to indemnification;
WHEREAS, the uncertainties relating to such insurance and to indemnification have increased the difficulty of attracting and retaining such persons;
WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the increased difficulty in attracting and retaining such persons is detrimental to the best interests of the Company’s stockholders and that the Company should act to assure such persons that there will be increased certainty of such protection in the future;
WHEREAS, it is reasonable, prudent and necessary for the Company contractually to obligate itself to indemnify, and to advance expenses on behalf of, such persons to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law so that they will serve or continue to serve the Company free from undue concern that they will not be so indemnified;
WHEREAS, this Agreement is a supplement to and in furtherance of the Bylaws and any resolutions adopted pursuant thereto, and shall not be deemed a substitute therefor, nor to diminish or abrogate any rights of Indemnitee thereunder;
WHEREAS, Indemnitee is willing to serve, continue to serve and to take on additional service for or on behalf of the Company on the condition that he be so indemnified; and
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the premises and the covenants contained herein, the Company and Indemnitee do hereby covenant and agree as follows:
Section 1. Services to the Company . Indemnitee agrees to continue to serve as a director and/or officer of the Company and/or any subsidiary of the Company. Indemnitee may at any time and for any reason resign from such position (subject to any other contractual obligation or any obligation imposed by operation of law), in which event the Company shall have no obligation under this Agreement to continue Indemnitee in such position. This Agreement shall not be deemed an employment contract between the Company (or any of its subsidiaries or any Enterprise (as defined below)) and Indemnitee. Indemnitee specifically acknowledges that Indemnitee’s employment with the Company (or any of its subsidiaries or any Enterprise), if any, is at will, and the Indemnitee may be discharged at any time for any reason, with or without cause, except as may be otherwise provided in any written employment contract between Indemnitee and the Company (or any of its subsidiaries or any Enterprise), other applicable formal severance policies duly adopted by the Board, or, with respect to service as a director or officer of the Company, by the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation, the Bylaws, and the DGCL. The foregoing notwithstanding, this Agreement shall continue in force after Indemnitee has ceased to serve as a director and/or officer of the Company or its subsidiaries, irrespective of whether Indemnitee is terminated with or without cause as those terms may be defined in such Indemnitee’s written employment agreement with the Company.
Section 2. Definitions . As used in this Agreement:
(a) A “Change in Control” shall be deemed to occur upon the earliest to occur after the date of this Agreement of any of the following events:
i. Acquisition of Stock by Third Party . Any Person (as defined below), other than Saints Capital VI, L.P. (“Investor”) or its Affiliates (as defined below), is or becomes the Beneficial Owner (as defined below), directly or indirectly, of securities of the Company representing thirty percent (30%) or more of the combined voting power of the Company’s then outstanding securities;
ii. Change in Board of Directors . During any period of two (2) consecutive years (not including any period prior to the execution of this Agreement), individuals who at the beginning of such period constitute the Board, and any new director (other than a director designated by a person who has entered into an agreement with the Company to effect a transaction described in Sections 2(a)(i), 2(a)(iii) or 2(a)(iv)) whose election by the Board or nomination for election by the Company’s stockholders was approved by a vote of at least two-thirds of the directors then still in office who either were directors at the beginning of the period or whose election or nomination for election was previously so approved, cease for any reason to constitute at least a majority of the members of the Board;
iii. Corporate Transactions . The effective date of a merger or consolidation of the Company with any other entity, other than a merger or consolidation which would result in the voting securities of the Company outstanding immediately prior to such merger or consolidation continuing to represent (either by remaining outstanding or by being converted into voting securities of the surviving entity) more than 51% of the combined voting power of the voting securities of the surviving entity outstanding immediately after such merger or consolidation and with the power to elect at least a majority of the board of directors or other governing body of such surviving entity;
iv. Liquidation . The approval by the stockholders of the Company of a complete liquidation of the Company or an agreement for the sale or disposition by the Company of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets; and
v. Other Events . There occurs any other event of a nature that would be required to be reported in response to Item 6(e) of Schedule 14A of Regulation 14A (or a response to any similar item on any similar schedule or form) promulgated under the Exchange Act (as defined below), whether or not the Company is then subject to such reporting requirement.
For purposes of this Section 2(a), the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(A) “Affiliate” shall have the meaning given to such term pursuant to Rule 12b-2 promulgated under the Exchange Act (as defined below).
(B) “Beneficial Owner” shall have the meaning given to such term in Rule 13d-3 under the Exchange Act; provided, however, that Beneficial Owner shall exclude any Person otherwise becoming a Beneficial Owner by reason of the stockholders of the Company approving a merger of the Company with another entity.
(C) “Exchange Act” shall mean the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
(D) “Person” shall have the meaning as set forth in Sections 13(d) and 14(d) of the Exchange Act; provided, however, that Person shall exclude (i) the Company, (ii) any trustee or other fiduciary holding securities under an employee benefit plan of the Company, and (iii) any corporation owned, directly or indirectly, by the stockholders of the Company in substantially the same proportions as their ownership of stock of the Company.
(b) “Corporate Status” describes the status of a person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Company or any of its subsidiaries, or of any other corporation, limited liability company, partnership or joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other Enterprise which such person is or was serving at the request of the Company.
(c) “Disinterested Director” means a director of the Company who is not and was not a party to, nor an officer, director or partner of a party to, the Proceeding in respect of which indemnification is sought by Indemnitee.
(d) “Enterprise” shall mean the Company and any other corporation, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust, employee benefit plan or other enterprise of which Indemnitee is or was serving at the request of the Company as a director, officer, employee, agent or fiduciary.
(e) “Expenses” shall include all reasonable attorneys’ fees, retainers, court costs, transcript costs, fees of experts, witness fees, travel expenses, duplicating costs, printing and binding costs, telephone charges, postage, delivery service fees, and all other disbursements or expenses of the types customarily incurred in connection with prosecuting, defending, preparing to prosecute or defend, investigating, being or preparing to be a witness in, or otherwise participating in, a Proceeding. Expenses also shall include (i) Expenses incurred in connection with any appeal resulting from any Proceeding, including without limitation the premium, security for, and other costs relating to any cost bond, supersedeas bond, or other appeal bond or its equivalent, and (ii) for purposes of Section 12(d) only, Expenses incurred by Indemnitee in connection with the interpretation, enforcement or defense of Indemnitee’s rights under this Agreement, by litigation or otherwise. Expenses, however, shall not include amounts paid in settlement by Indemnitee or the amount of judgments or fines against Indemnitee.
(f) “Independent Counsel” means a law firm, or a member of a law firm that is experienced in matters of corporation law and neither presently is, nor in the past five years has been, retained to represent: (i) the Company or Indemnitee in any matter material to either such party (other than with respect to matters concerning the Indemnitee under this Agreement, or of other indemnitees under similar indemnification agreements), or (ii) any other party to the Proceeding giving rise to a claim for indemnification hereunder. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the term “Independent Counsel” shall not include any person who, under the applicable standards of professional conduct then prevailing, would have a conflict of interest in representing either the Company or Indemnitee in an action to determine Indemnitee’s rights under this Agreement. The Company agrees to pay the reasonable fees and expenses of the Independent Counsel referred to above and to fully indemnify such counsel against any and all Expenses, claims, liabilities and damages arising out of or relating to this Agreement or its engagement pursuant hereto.
(g) The term “Proceeding” shall include any threatened, pending or completed action, suit, arbitration, alternate dispute resolution mechanism, investigation, inquiry, administrative hearing or any other actual, threatened or completed proceeding, formal or informal, whether brought in the right of the Company or otherwise and whether of a civil, criminal, administrative or investigative nature, in which Indemnitee was, is or will be involved as a party or otherwise by reason of the fact that Indemnitee is or was a director or officer of the Company, by reason of any action taken or omitted, or alleged to have been taken or omitted, by him or of any action taken or omitted, or alleged to have been taken or omitted, on his part while acting as director or officer of the Company, or by reason of the fact that he is or was serving at the request of the Company as a director, officer, employee or agent of another corporation, limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, in each case whether or not (i) the claim arose or is based on acts occurring before or after the date of this Agreement or (ii) he is acting or serving in such capacity at the time any liability or expense is incurred for which indemnification, reimbursement, or advancement of expenses can be provided under this Agreement; except one initiated by an Indemnitee to enforce his rights under this Agreement.
(h) Reference to “other enterprise” shall include employee benefit plans; references to “fines” shall include any excise tax assessed with respect to any employee benefit plan; references to “serving at the request of the Company” shall include any service as a director, officer, employee or agent of the Company which imposes duties on, or involves services by, such director, officer, employee or agent with respect to an employee benefit plan, its participants or beneficiaries; and a person who acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the participants and beneficiaries of an employee benefit plan shall be deemed to have acted in a manner “not opposed to the best interests of the Company” as referred to in this Agreement.
Section 3. Indemnity in Proceedings .
(a) Third Party Proceedings . The Company shall indemnify Indemnitee in accordance with the provisions of this Section 3(a) if Indemnitee is, or is threatened to be made, a party to or a participant in any Proceeding other than a Proceeding by or in the right of the Company to procure a judgment in its favor. Pursuant to this Section 3(a), Indemnitee shall be indemnified to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law against all Expenses, judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by Indemnitee or on his behalf in connection with such Proceeding or any claim, issue or matter therein if Indemnitee acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Company and, in the case of a criminal proceeding had no reasonable cause to believe that his conduct was unlawful.
(b) Indemnity in Proceedings by or in the Right of the Company . The Company shall indemnify Indemnitee in accordance with the provisions of this Section 3(b) if Indemnitee is, or is threatened to be made, a party to or a participant in any Proceeding by or in the right of the Company to procure a judgment in its favor. Pursuant to this Section 3(b), Indemnitee shall be indemnified to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law against all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection with such Proceeding or any claim, issue or matter therein, if Indemnitee acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the Company. No indemnification for Expenses shall be made under this Section 3(b) in respect of any claim, issue or matter as to which Indemnitee shall have been finally adjudged by a court to be liable to the Company, unless and only to the extent that the Delaware Court of Chancery or any court in which the Proceeding was brought shall determine upon application that, despite the adjudication of liability but in view of all the circumstances of the case, Indemnitee is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnification.
Section 4. Indemnification for Expenses of a Party Who is Wholly or Partly Successful . Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Agreement, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law and to the extent that Indemnitee is a party to (or a participant in) and is successful, on the merits or otherwise, in any Proceeding or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, in whole or in part, the Company shall indemnify Indemnitee against all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection therewith. If Indemnitee is not wholly successful in such Proceeding but is successful, on the merits or otherwise, as to one or more but less than all claims, issues or matters in such Proceeding, the Company shall indemnify Indemnitee against all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection with each successfully resolved claim, issue or matter. If the Indemnitee is not wholly successful in such Proceeding, the Company also shall indemnify Indemnitee against all Expenses reasonably incurred in connection with a claim, issue or matter related to any claim, issue, or matter on which the Indemnitee was successful. For purposes of this Section and without limitation, the termination of any claim, issue or matter in such a Proceeding by dismissal, with or without prejudice, shall be deemed to be a successful result as to such claim, issue or matter.
Section 5. Indemnification For Expenses of a Witness . Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law and to the extent that Indemnitee is, by reason of his Corporate Status, a witness in any Proceeding to which Indemnitee is not a party, he shall be indemnified against all Expenses actually and reasonably incurred by him or on his behalf in connection therewith.
Section 6. Additional Indemnification .
(a) Notwithstanding any limitation in Section 3 or Section 4, the Company shall indemnify Indemnitee to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law if Indemnitee is a party to or threatened to be made a party to any Proceeding (including a Proceeding by or in the right of the Company to procure a judgment in its favor) against all Expenses, judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by Indemnitee in connection with the Proceeding.
(b) For purposes of Section 6(a), the meaning of the phrase “to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law” shall include, but not be limited to:
i. to the fullest extent permitted by the provision of the DGCL that authorizes or contemplates additional indemnification by agreement, or the corresponding provision of any amendment to or replacement of the DGCL, and
ii. to the fullest extent authorized or permitted by any amendments to or replacements of the DGCL adopted after the date of this Agreement that increase the extent to which a corporation may indemnify its officers and directors.
Section 7. Exclusions . Notwithstanding any provision in this Agreement, the Company shall not be obligated under this Agreement to make any indemnity in connection with any claim made against Indemnitee:
(a) for which payment has actually been made to or on behalf of Indemnitee under any insurance policy or other indemnity provision, except with respect to any excess beyond the amount paid under any insurance policy or other indemnity provision; or
(b) for (i) an accounting of profits made from the purchase and sale (or sale and purchase) by Indemnitee of securities of the Company within the meaning of Section 16(b) of the Exchange Act (as defined in Section 2(a)), or similar provisions of state statutory law or common law or (ii) any reimbursement of the Company by the Indemnitee of any remuneration, bonus or other incentive-based or equity-based compensation or of any profits realized by the Indemnitee from the sale of securities of the Company, as required in each case under the Exchange Act or if such remuneration, compensation or profit was in violation of law; or
(c) except as provided in Section 12(d), in connection with any Proceeding (or any part of any Proceeding) initiated by Indemnitee, including any Proceeding (or any part of any Proceeding) initiated by Indemnitee against the Company or its directors, officers, employees or other indemnitees, unless (i) the Board of the Company authorized the Proceeding (or any part of any Proceeding) prior to its initiation or (ii) the Company provides the indemnification, in its sole discretion, pursuant to the powers vested in the Company under applicable law; or
(d) to indemnify Indemnitee in connection with proceedings or claims involving the enforcement of non-compete and/or non-disclosure agreements or the non-compete and/or non-disclosure provisions of employment, consulting or similar agreements the Indemnitee may be a party to with the Company, or any subsidiary of the Company or any other applicable corporation, partnership, joint venture, trust or other Enterprise, if any.
Any provision herein to the contrary notwithstanding, the Company shall not be obligated to indemnify the Indemnitee or ot