Incentive Compensation Plan

Gannett Co., Inc. 2015 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan


Exhibit 4.1

 

Gannett Co., Inc.

2015 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan

 



 

Contents

 

Introduction

 

1

 

 

 

Article 1.

Establishment, Objectives, Duration and Service Credit

1

 

 

 

Article 2.

Definitions

2

 

 

 

Article 3.

Administration

7

 

 

 

Article 4.

Shares Subject to the Plan and Maximum Awards; Adjusted and Substituted Awards

7

 

 

 

Article 5.

Eligibility and Participation

10

 

 

 

Article 6.

Stock Options

11

 

 

 

Article 7.

Stock Appreciation Rights

13

 

 

 

Article 8.

Restricted Stock/Stock Awards

14

 

 

 

Article 9.

Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares, and Cash-Based Awards

16

 

 

 

Article 10.

Performance Measures

17

 

 

 

Article 11.

Beneficiary Designation

19

 

 

 

Article 12.

Deferrals

19

 

 

 

Article 13.

Rights of Employees/Directors

20

 

 

 

Article 14.

Termination of Employment/Directorship

20

 

 

 

Article 15.

Change in Control

20

 

 

 

Article 16.

Amendment, Modification, Termination and Tax Compliance

23

 

 

 

Article 17.

Withholding

25

 

 

 

Article 18.

Successors

25

 

 

 

Article 19.

General Provisions

26

 

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Gannett Co., Inc.

2015 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan

 

Introduction

 

In 2015, Gannett Co., Inc. separated its digital/broadcast and publishing businesses into two separate publicly traded companies.  The separation occurred when Gannett Co., Inc. contributed its publishing businesses to a newly formed subsidiary, Gannett SpinCo, Inc., and distributed the stock of Gannett SpinCo, Inc. to its shareholders (the “Spin-off”).  In connection with the Spin-off, Gannett SpinCo, Inc. was renamed “Gannett Co., Inc.” (the “Company”).  The entity formerly known as Gannett Co., Inc. was renamed TEGNA Inc. (the “Predecessor Company”) and continues the digital/broadcast businesses.

 

Awards under this Plan include awards granted to employees and directors of the Predecessor Company or its affiliates under the Predecessor Company’s 2001 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan that have been converted in connection with the Spin-off to awards under this Plan (the “Adjusted Awards”).  The terms of such conversion are generally specified in that certain Employee Matters Agreement by and between the Company and Predecessor Company dated June 26, 2015 (the “Employee Matters Agreement”).  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Plan or the Predecessor Plan (as defined below), no Participant shall be entitled to duplicate benefits under both such Plans with respect to the same period of service or compensation.

 

Article 1.                                            Establishment, Objectives, Duration and Service Credit

 

1.1                               Establishment of the Plan.  The Company, a Delaware corporation, hereby adopts this Gannett Co., Inc. 2015 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan (hereinafter referred to as the “Plan”), as set forth in this document.  The Plan permits the grant of Nonqualified Stock Options, Incentive Stock Options, Stock Appreciation Rights, Restricted Stock, Stock Awards, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units, and Cash-Based Awards.  Subject to approval by the Company’s stockholders, the Plan shall become effective as of June 29, 2015 (the “Effective Date”) and shall remain in effect as provided in Section 1.3 hereof.

 

1.2                               Objectives of the Plan.  The objectives of the Plan are to optimize the profitability and growth of the Company through annual and long-term incentives that are consistent with the Company’s goals and that link the personal interests of Participants to those of the Company’s stockholders, to provide Participants with an incentive for excellence in individual performance, and to promote teamwork among Participants.  The Plan is further intended to provide flexibility to the Company and its Affiliates in their ability to motivate, attract, and retain the services of Participants who make significant contributions to the Company’s success and to allow Participants to share in that success.

 

1.3                               Duration of the Plan.  The Plan shall commence on the Effective Date and shall remain in effect, subject to the right of the Committee to amend or terminate the Plan at any time pursuant to Article 16 hereof, until all Shares subject to it shall have been purchased or acquired according to the Plan’s provisions.  However, in no event may an

 



 

Award be granted under the Plan on or after the tenth (10th) anniversary of the Effective Date.

 

1.4                               Service Credit.  For each Employee who is employed immediately following the Effective Date by the Company or an Affiliate and each “Former SpinCo Group Employee” (as defined in the Employee Matters Agreement), service shall be recognized with the Predecessor Company or any of its subsidiaries or predecessor entities at or before the Effective Date, to the same extent that such service was recognized by the Predecessor Company under the Predecessor Plan prior to the Effective Date as if such service had been performed for the Company for purposes of eligibility, vesting and determination of level of benefits under this Plan.

 

Article 2.                                            Definitions

 

Whenever used in the Plan, the following terms shall have the meanings set forth below, and when the meaning is intended, the initial letter of the word shall be capitalized:

 

2.1                               “Affiliate” shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in Rule 12b-2 of the General Rules and Regulations of the Exchange Act.

 

2.2                               Adjusted Award” means Awards granted under the Predecessor Plan that are converted into Awards in respect of Shares pursuant to the Employee Matters Agreement.

 

2.3                               “Award” means, individually or collectively, a grant under this Plan of Nonqualified Stock Options, Incentive Stock Options, Stock Appreciation Rights, Restricted Stock, Stock Awards, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units, or Cash-Based Awards, and including Adjusted Awards and Substitute Awards.

 

2.4                               “Award Agreement” means a written or electronic agreement entered into by the Company and each Participant or a written or electronic statement issued by the Company to a Participant, which in either case sets forth the terms and provisions applicable to Awards granted under this Plan.

 

2.5                               “Beneficial Owner” or “Beneficial Ownership” shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in Rule 13d-3 of the General Rules and Regulations under the Exchange Act.

 

2.6                               “Board” or “Board of Directors” means the Board of Directors of the Company.

 

2.7                               “Cash-Based Award” means an Award granted to a Participant whose value is denominated in cash as described in Article 9 hereof.

 

2.8                               “Change in Control” means the first to occur of the following:

 

(a)                                 the acquisition by any individual, entity or group (within the meaning of Section 13(d)(3) or 14(d)(2) of the Exchange Act) (a “Person”) of beneficial ownership (within the meaning of Rule 13d-3 promulgated under the Exchange Act) of 20% or more of either (i) the then-outstanding shares of common stock of the Company (the “Outstanding Company Common Stock”) or

 

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(ii) the combined voting power of the then-outstanding voting securities of the Company entitled to vote generally in the election of directors (the “Outstanding Company Voting Securities”); provided, however, that, for purposes of this Section, the following acquisitions shall not constitute a Change in Control:  (A) any acquisition directly from the Company, (B) any acquisition by the Company, (C) any acquisition by any employee benefit plan (or related trust) sponsored or maintained by the Company or one of its affiliates, or (D) any acquisition pursuant to a transaction that complies with (c)(i), (c)(ii) and (c)(iii) below;

 

(b)                                 individuals who, as of the Effective Date, constitute the Board (the “Incumbent Board”) cease for any reason to constitute at least a majority of the Board; provided, however, that any individual becoming a director subsequent to the date hereof whose election or nomination for election by the Company’s stockholders was approved by a vote of at least a majority of the directors then comprising the Incumbent Board shall be considered as though such individual were a member of the Incumbent Board, but excluding, for this purpose, any such individual whose initial assumption of office occurs as a result of an actual or threatened election contest with respect to the election or removal of directors or other actual or threatened solicitation of proxies or consents by or on behalf of a Person other than the Board;

 

(c)                                  consummation of a reorganization, merger, statutory share exchange or consolidation or similar corporate transaction involving the Company or any of its subsidiaries, a sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Company, or the acquisition of assets or stock of another entity by the Company or any of its subsidiaries (each, a “Business Combination”), in each case, unless, following such Business Combination, (i) all or substantially all of the individuals and entities that were the beneficial owners of the Outstanding Company Common Stock and the Outstanding Company Voting Securities immediately prior to such Business Combination beneficially own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of the then-outstanding shares of common stock and the combined voting power of the then-outstanding voting securities entitled to vote generally in the election of directors, as the case may be, of the corporation or entity resulting from such Business Combination (including, without limitation, a corporation or entity that, as a result of such transaction, owns the Company or all or substantially all of the Company’s assets either directly or through one or more subsidiaries) in substantially the same proportions as their ownership immediately prior to such Business Combination of the Outstanding Company Common Stock and the Outstanding Company Voting Securities, as the case may be, (ii) no Person (excluding any employee benefit plan (or related trust) of the Company or any corporation or entity resulting from such Business Combination) beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 20% or more of, respectively, the then-outstanding shares of common stock of the corporation or entity resulting from such Business Combination or the combined voting power of the then-outstanding voting securities of such corporation or entity, except to the extent that such ownership existed prior to the Business Combination, and (iii) at least a majority of the members of the board of directors of the corporation or entity resulting

 

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from such Business Combination were members of the Incumbent Board at the time of the execution of the initial agreement or of the action of the Board providing for such Business Combination; or

 

(d)                                 approval by the stockholders of the Company of a complete liquidation or dissolution of the Company.

 

Notwithstanding the foregoing, with respect to a Section 409A Award, the Committee may specify that the definition of Change in Control must also constitute an event that is a change in ownership or effective control of the Company or a change in the ownership of a substantial portion of the assets of the Company within the meaning of Section 409A.

 

2.9                               “Code” means the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time.

 

2.10                        “Committee” means any committee appointed by the Board to administer Awards to Employees or Directors, as specified in Article 3 hereof.

 

2.11                        “Company” means Gannett Co., Inc., a Delaware corporation and any successor thereto as provided in Article 18 hereof.

 

2.12                        “Covered Employee” means a Participant who, as of the date of vesting and/or payout of an Award, as applicable, is one of the group of “covered employees,” as defined in the regulations promulgated under Code Section 162(m), or any successor statute, or a Participant who is designated by the Committee to be treated as a “covered employee”.

 

2.13                        “Director” means any individual who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Company; provided, however, that any Director who is employed by the Company shall be considered an Employee under the Plan.

 

2.14                        “Disability” shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in the Award Agreement.  If no such definition is provided in the Award Agreement, “Disability” shall mean a medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than six months if such disabling condition renders the person unable to perform the material and substantial duties of his or her occupation.  With respect to Section 409A Awards that become payable upon a disability, such disability must also qualify as a disability within the meaning of Treasury Regulation 1.409A-3(i)(4).

 

2.15                        “Effective Date” shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in Section 1.1 hereof.

 

2.16                        “Employee” means any employee of the Company or its Subsidiaries or Affiliates.

 

2.17                        Employee Matters Agreement” means the Employee Matters Agreement by and between the Company and Predecessor Company dated June 26, 2015.

 

2.18                        “Exchange Act” means the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended from time to time, or any successor act thereto.

 

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2.19                        “Fair Market Value” as of any date and in respect of any Share means the then most recent closing price of a Share, provided that, if Shares shall not have been traded on the New York Stock Exchange for more than 10 days immediately preceding such date or if deemed appropriate by the Committee for any other reason, the fair market value of Shares shall be as determined by the Committee in such other manner as it may deem appropriate, provided that such valuation is consistent with the requirements of Section 409A.  In no event shall the fair market value of any Share be less than its par value.

 

2.20                        “Freestanding SAR” means an SAR that is granted independently of any Options, as described in Article 7 hereof.

 

2.21                        “Incentive Stock Option” or “ISO” means an option to purchase Shares granted under Article 6 hereof and that is designated as an Incentive Stock Option and that is intended to meet the requirements of Code Section 422.  To the extent that an option is granted that is intended to meet the requirements of Code Section 422, but fails to meet such requirements, the option will be treated as a NQSO.

 

2.22                        “Insider” shall mean an individual who is, on the relevant date, an executive officer, director or ten percent (10%) beneficial owner of any class of the Company’s equity securities that is registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act, all as defined under Section 16 of the Exchange Act.

 

2.23                        “Nonqualified Stock Option” or “NQSO” means an option to purchase Shares granted under Article 6 hereof and that is not intended to be treated as an Incentive Stock Option, or that otherwise does not meet such requirements.

 

2.24                        “Option” means an Incentive Stock Option or a Nonqualified Stock Option, as described in Article 6 hereof.

 

2.25                        “Option Price” means the price at which a Share may be purchased by a Participant pursuant to an Option.

 

2.26                        “Participant” means an Employee or Director who has been selected to receive an Award or who has outstanding an Award granted under the Plan.

 

2.27                        “Performance-Based Exception” means the performance-based exception from the tax deductibility limitations of Code Section 162(m).

 

2.28                        Performance Share” means an Award granted to a Participant whose value is denominated in Shares and is earned by satisfaction of specified performance goals and such other terms and conditions that the Committee may specify, as described in Article 9 hereof.

 

2.29                        Performance Unit” means an Award granted to a Participant whose value is specified by the Committee and is earned by satisfaction of specified performance goals and such other terms and conditions that the Committee may specify, as described in Article 9 hereof.

 

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2.30                        Period of Restriction” means the period during which the transfer of Shares of Restricted Stock is not permitted (e.g., based on the passage of time, the achievement of performance goals, or upon the occurrence of other events as determined by the Committee, at its discretion), and the Shares are subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture, pursuant to the Restricted Stock Award Agreement, as provided in Article 8 hereof.

 

2.31                        Person” shall have the meaning ascribed to such term in Section 3(a)(9) of the Exchange Act and used in Sections 13(d) and 14(d) thereof, including a “group” as defined in Section 13(d) thereof.

 

2.32                        Predecessor Company” means TEGNA Inc., formerly named Gannett Co. Inc. prior to the Effective Date.

 

2.33                        Predecessor Plan” means the Gannett Co., Inc. 2001 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan, as maintained by the Predecessor Company prior to the Effective Date of this Plan.

 

2.34                        Restricted Stock” means an Award granted to a Participant pursuant to Article 8 hereof.

 

2.35                        “Restricted Stock Units” means an Award granted to a Participant whose value is denominated in Shares and is earned by satisfaction of specified service requirements and such other terms and conditions that the Committee may specify, as described in Article 9 hereof.

 

2.36                        Retirement” means a termination of employment after attaining age 55 and completing 5 years of service or such other definition set forth in an Award Agreement.

 

2.37                        “Section 409A” means Code Section 409A and the regulations and other guidance issued thereunder.

 

2.38                        “Section 409A Award” means an Award that is subject to the requirements of Section 409A.

 

2.39                        Shares” means the Company’s common stock, par value $1.00 per share.

 

2.40                        Stock Appreciation Right” or “SAR” means an Award, granted alone or in connection with a related Option, designated as an SAR, pursuant to the terms of Article 7 hereof.

 

2.41                        “Stock Award” means an Award of Shares granted to a Participant pursuant to Section 8.7 hereof.

 

2.42                        Subsidiary” means any corporation, partnership, joint venture, or other entity in which the Company directly or indirectly has a majority voting interest.

 

2.43                        “Substitute Awards” means Awards granted upon assumption of, or in substitution for, outstanding awards previously granted by a company or other entity (i) all or a portion

 

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of the assets or equity of which is acquired by the Company or (ii) with which the Company merges or otherwise combines.

 

2.44                        Tandem SAR” means an SAR that is granted in connection with a related Option pursuant to Article 7 hereof, the exercise of which shall require forfeiture of the right to purchase a Share under the related Option (and when a Share is purchased under the Option, the Tandem SAR shall similarly be canceled).

 

Article 3.                                            Administration

 

3.1                               General.  Subject to the terms and conditions of the Plan, the Plan shall be administered by the Committee.  The members of the Committee shall be appointed from time to time by, and shall serve at the discretion of, the Board of Directors.  The Committee shall have the authority to delegate administrative duties to officers of the Company.

 

3.2                               Authority of the Committee.  Except as limited by law or by the Certificate of Incorporation or Bylaws of the Company, and subject to the provisions herein (including, with respect to Section 409A Awards, the requirements of Section 409A), the Committee shall have full power to select Employees and Directors who shall participate in the Plan; determine the sizes and types of Awards; determine the terms and conditions of Awards in a manner consistent with the Plan; construe and interpret the Plan and any agreement or instrument entered into under the Plan; establish, amend, or waive rules and regulations for the Plan’s administration; and amend the terms and conditions of any outstanding Award as provided in the Plan.  Further, the Committee shall make all other determinations that it deems necessary or advisable for the administration of the Plan.  As permitted by law and the terms of the Plan, the Committee may delegate its authority herein.  No member of the Committee shall be liable for any action taken or decision made in good faith relating to the Plan or any Award granted hereunder.

 

3.3                               Decisions Binding.  All determinations and decisions made by the Committee pursuant to the provisions of the Plan and all related orders and resolutions of the Committee shall be final, conclusive, and binding on all persons, including the Company, its stockholders, Directors, Employees, Participants, and their estates and beneficiaries, unless changed by the Board.

 

Article 4.                                            Shares Subject to the Plan and Maximum Awards; Adjusted and Substituted Awards

 

4.1                               Number of Shares Available for Grants; Share Counting and Reacquired Shares.  Subject to Sections 4.2 and 4.4, the number of Shares reserved for issuance to Participants under this Plan is eleven million (11,000,000).  Shares issued under the Plan may be authorized but unissued shares or treasury shares.

 

For purposes of counting the number of Shares available for Awards under the Plan, the full number of shares of the Company’s common stock covered by Freestanding SARs shall be counted against the number of Shares available for Awards (i.e., not the net Shares issued in satisfaction of a Freestanding SAR Award); provided, however, that Freestanding SARs that may be settled in cash only shall not be so counted.  Additionally, if an Option

 

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may be settled by issuing net Shares (i.e., withholding a number of Shares equal to the exercise price), the full number of shares of the Company’s common stock covered by the Option shall be counted against the number of Shares available for Awards, not the net Shares issued in satisfaction of an Option.  If any Award (a) expires or is terminated, surrendered or canceled without having been fully exercised or is forfeited in whole or in part, or (b) results in any Shares not being issued (including as a result of any Award that was settleable either in cash or in stock actually being settled in cash), the unissued Shares covered by such Award shall again be available for the grant of Awards; provided, however, in the case of Incentive Stock Options, the foregoing shall be subject to any limitations under the Code.  The following Shares shall not be added back to the number of Shares available for the future grant of Awards: (i) shares of the Company’s common stock tendered to the Company by a Participant to (A) purchase shares of the Company’s common stock upon the exercise of an Award, or (B) satisfy tax withholding obligations (including shares retained from the Award creating the tax obligation); and (ii) shares of the Company’s common stock repurchased by the Company on the open market using the proceeds from the exercise of an Award.  Subject to the foregoing, the Committee shall determine the appropriate methodology for calculating the number of Shares issued pursuant to the Plan.

 

The maximum number of Shares which may be issued under Incentive Stock Options granted under the Plan is five million (5,000,000).

 

The maximum number of Shares for which Awards may be granted under this Plan to any non-employee Director in any calendar year shall be fifty thousand (50,000) Shares.  For the avoidance of doubt, the foregoing limitation shall not apply to cash-based director fees that the non-employee Director elects to receive in the form of Shares or Share equivalents equal in value to such cash-based Director fees pursuant to another plan or policy of the Company.

 

The following rules shall apply to grants of Awards under the Plan:

 

(a)                                 Stock Options: The maximum aggregate number of Shares that may be granted in the form of Stock Options, pursuant to any Award granted in any one fiscal year to any one Participant shall be one million (1,000,000).

 

(b)                                 SARs: The maximum aggregate number of Shares that may be granted in the form of Stock Appreciation Rights, pursuant to any Award granted in any one fiscal year to any one Participant shall be one million (1,000,000).

 

(c)                                  Restricted Stock/Stock Awards: The maximum aggregate grant of Shares with respect to Awards of Restricted Stock or Stock Awards granted in any one fiscal year to any one Participant shall be five hundred thousand (500,000).

 

(d)                                 Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units and Cash-Based Awards:  The maximum aggregate grant with respect to Awards of Performance Shares or Restricted Stock Units made in any one fiscal year to any one Participant shall be equal to five hundred thousand (500,000) Shares; and the

 

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maximum aggregate amount awarded with respect to Cash-Based Awards or Performance Units to any one Participant in any one fiscal year may not exceed ten million dollars ($10,000,000).

 

4.2                               Adjustments in Authorized Shares.  Upon a change in corporate capitalization, such as a stock split, stock dividend or a corporate transaction, such as any merger, consolidation, combination, exchange of shares or the like, separation, including a spin-off, or other distribution of stock or property of the Company, any reorganization (whether or not such reorganization comes within the definition of such term in Code Section 368) or any partial or complete liquidation of the Company, the Committee shall make an appropriate adjustment in the number and class of Shares that may be delivered under Section 4.1, in the number and class of and/or price of Shares subject to outstanding Awards granted under the Plan, and in the Award limits set forth in Section 4.1, as may be determined to be equitable by the Committee, in its sole discretion, to prevent dilution or enlargement of rights.

 

4.3                               Adjustment of Awards Upon the Occurrence of Certain Unusual or Nonrecurring Events.  The Committee may make adjustments in the terms and conditions of, and the criteria included in, Awards in recognition of unusual or nonrecurring events (including, without limitation, the events described in Section 4.2 hereof) affecting the Company or the financial statements of the Company or of changes in applicable laws, regulations, or accounting principles, whenever the Committee determines that such adjustments are appropriate in order to prevent dilution or enlargement of the benefits or potential benefits intended to be made available under the Plan; provided that, with respect to Awards that are intended to comply with the requirements of the Performance-Based Exception, no such adjustment shall be authorized to the extent that such adjustment would be inconsistent with the Award’s satisfaction of the Performance-Based Exception.

 

4.4                               Adjusted and Substitute Awards.

 

(a)                                 Notwithstanding any terms or conditions of the Plan to the contrary, (i) Substitute Awards may have substantially the same terms and conditions, including without limitation provisions relating to vesting, exercise periods, expiration, payment, forfeiture, and the consequences of termination of service, as the awards that they replace, as determined by the Committee in its sole discretion, and (ii) Adjusted Awards shall have terms consistent with those set forth in the Employee Matters Agreement, which generally provide the Adjusted Awards will have substantially the same terms and conditions, including without limitation provisions relating to vesting, exercise periods, expiration, payment, forfeiture, and the consequences of termination of Service, as the awards that they replace which were granted under the Predecessor Plan.

 

(b)                                 The recipient or holder of a Substitute Award or an Adjusted Award shall be an eligible Participant hereunder even if not an Employee or Director with respect to the Company or an Affiliate.

 

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(c)                                  In the case of a Substitute Award, the date of grant may be treated as the effective date of the grant of such Award under the original plan under which the award was authorized, and in the case of an Adjusted Award, the date of grant shall be the effective date of the grant under the Predecessor Plan.

 

(d)                                 The per share exercise price of an Option that is a Substitute Award or Adjusted Award may be less than 100% of the Fair Market Value of a Share on the date of grant, provided that such substitution or adjustment complies with applicable laws and regulations, including the listing requirements of the New York Stock Exchange and Section 409A or Section 424 of the Code, as applicable.  The per share exercise price of a Freestanding SAR that is a Substitute Award or an Adjusted Award may be less than 100% of the Fair Market Value of a Share on the date of grant, provided that such substitution or adjustment complies with applicable laws and regulations, including the listing requirements of the New York Stock Exchange and Section 409A, as applicable.

 

(e)                                  Anything to the contrary in this Plan notwithstanding, any Shares underlying Substitute Awards or Adjusted Awards shall not be counted against the limits set forth in Section 4.1(a)-(d).  Anything to the contrary in this Plan notwithstanding, any Shares underlying Substitute Awards shall not be counted against the number of Shares authorized for issuance or the maximum number of Shares which may be issued under Incentive Stock Options, and the lapse, expiration, termination, forfeiture or cancellation of any Substitute Award without the issuance of Shares or payment of cash thereunder shall not result in an increase the number of Shares available for issuance under the Plan. For the avoidance of doubt, Adjusted Awards shall be treated as Awards generally (and not as Substitute Awards) for purposes of the preceding sentence.

 

Article 5.                                            Eligibility and Participation

 

5.1                               Eligibility.  Persons eligible to participate in this Plan include all Employees and Directors.

 

5.2                               Actual Participation.  Subject to the provisions of the Plan, the Committee may, from time to time, select from all eligible Employees and Directors, those to whom Awards shall be granted and shall determine the nature and amount of each Award.

 

5.3                               Newly Eligible Employees.  The Committee shall be entitled to make such rules, regulations, determinations and awards as it deems appropriate in respect of any Employee who becomes eligible to participate in the Plan after the commencement of an award or incentive period.

 

5.4                               Leaves of Absence.  The Committee shall be entitled to make such rules, regulations, and determinations as it deems appropriate under the Plan in respect of any leave of absence taken by the recipient of any award.  Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Committee shall be entitled to determine: (a) whether or not any such leave of absence shall constitute a termination of employment within the meaning of the Plan;

 

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and (b) the impact, if any, of such leave of absence on awards under the Plan theretofore made to any recipient who takes such leave of absence.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, with respect to any Section 409A Award, all leaves of absences and determinations of terminations of employment must be construed and interpreted consistent with the requirements of Section 409A and the definition of “separation from service” thereunder.

 

Article 6.                                            Stock Options

 

6.1                               Grant of Options.  Subject to the terms and provisions of the Plan, Options may be granted to Participants in such number, and upon such terms, and at any time and from time to time as shall be determined by the Committee.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, Incentive Stock Options may only be granted to Employees of Gannett Co., Inc. or its Affiliates or Subsidiaries; provided that the Affiliate or Subsidiary is a type of entity whose employees can receive such options under Code Sections 422 and 424.

 

6.2                               Award Agreement.  Each Option grant shall be evidenced by an Award Agreement that shall specify the Option Price, the duration of the Option, the number of Shares to which the Option pertains, and such other provisions as the Committee shall determine which are not inconsistent with the terms of the Plan.

 

6.3                               Option Price.  The Option Price for each grant of an Option under this Plan shall be as determined by the Committee; provided, however, the per-share exercise price shall not be less than 100 percent of the Fair Market Value of the Shares on the date the Option is granted.

 

6.4                               Duration of Options.  Each Option granted to a Participant shall expire at such time as the Committee shall determine at the time of grant; provided that the Option must expire on or before the date that is the tenth anniversary of the date of grant.

 

6.5                               Exercise of Options.  Options granted under this Article 6 shall be exercisable at such times and be subject to such restrictions and conditions as the Committee shall in each instance approve, which need not be the same for each grant or for each Participant.

 

6.6                               Payment.  Options granted under this Article 6 shall be exercised by the delivery of a written, electronic or telephonic notice of exercise to the Company, setting forth the number of Shares with respect to which the Option is to be exercised, accompanied by full payment for the Shares.

 

The Option Price upon exercise of any Option shall be payable to the Company in full either: (a) in cash or its equivalent; or (b) by tendering previously acquired Shares having an aggregate Fair Market Value at the time of exercise equal to the total Option Price; or (c) by a combination of (a) and (b); or (d) any other method approved by the Committee in its sole discretion.  The tendering of previously acquired shares may be done through attestation.  No fractional shares may be tendered or accepted in payment of the Option Price.

 

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Cashless exercises are permitted pursuant to Federal Reserve Board’s Regulation T, subject to applicable securities law restrictions, or by any other means which the Committee determines to be consistent with the Plan’s purpose and applicable law.

 

Subject to any governing rules or regulations, as soon as practicable after receipt of notification of exercise and full payment, the Company shall deliver to the Participant, in the Participant’s name, Share certificates in an appropriate amount based upon the number of Shares purchased under the Option(s).

 

Unless otherwise determined by the Committee, all payments under all of the methods indicated above shall be paid in United States dollars.

 

6.7                               Restrictions on Share Transferability.  The Committee may impose such restrictions on any Shares acquired pursuant to the exercise of an Option granted under this Article 6 as it may deem advisable, including, without limitation, restrictions under applicable federal securities laws, under the requirements of any stock exchange or market upon which such Shares are then listed and/or traded, or under any blue sky or state securities laws applicable to such Shares.

 

6.8                               Nontransferability of Options.

 

(a)                                 Incentive Stock Options.  No ISO granted under the Plan may be sold, transferred, pledged, assigned, or otherwise alienated or hypothecated, other than by will or by the laws of descent and distribution.  Further, all ISOs granted to a Participant under the Plan shall be exercisable during his or her lifetime only by such Participant.

 

(b)                                 Nonqualified Stock Options.  Except as otherwise provided in a Participant’s Award Agreement, no NQSO granted under this Article 6 may be sold, transferred, pledged, assigned, or otherwise alienated or hypothecated, other than by will or by the laws of descent and distribution.  Further, except as otherwise provided in a Participant’s Award Agreement, all NQSOs granted to a Participant under this Article 6 shall be exercisable during his or her lifetime only by such Participant or such Participant’s legal representative.

 

6.9                           Restriction on Cash Buyouts of Underwater Options.  The Company may not purchase, cancel or buy out an underwater Option in exchange for cash without first obtaining Shareholder approval.

 

6.10                    Service Requirement for Options that Vest Solely Based on Service.  Options granted to Employees that vest solely based on service will be subject to a minimum vesting period requiring at least one year of service; provided that the Committee may adopt shorter vesting periods or provide for accelerated vesting after less than one year: (i) in connection with terminations of employment due to death, disability, retirement or other circumstances that the Committee determines to be appropriate; (ii) in connection with a Change in Control in which the Option is not continued or assumed (e.g., the Option is not equitably converted or substituted for an option of the successor company); (iii) for grants made in connection with an acquisition by the Company or its Subsidiaries or Affiliates in

 

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substitution for pre-existing awards; (iv) for new hire inducement awards or off-cycle awards; or (v) to comply with contractual rights in effect on the Effective Date.

 

Article 7.                                            Stock Appreciation Rights

 

7.1                               Grant of SARs.  Subject to the terms and conditions of the Plan, SARs may be granted to Participants at any time and from time to time as shall be determined by the Committee.  The Committee may grant Freestanding SARs, Tandem SARs, or any combination of these forms of SARs.

 

Subject to the terms and conditions of the Plan, the Committee shall have complete discretion in determining the number of SARs granted to each Participant and, consistent with the provisions of the Plan, in determining the terms and conditions pertaining to such SARs.

 

The grant price of a Freestanding SAR shall not be less than the Fair Market Value of a Share on the date of grant of the SAR.  The grant price of Tandem SARs shall equal the Option Price of the related Option.

 

7.2                               SAR Agreement.  Each SAR grant shall be evidenced by an Award Agreement that shall specify the grant price, the term of the SAR, and such other provisions as the Committee shall determine.

 

7.3                               Term of SARs.  The term of an SAR granted under the Plan shall be determined by the Committee, in its sole discretion; provided that the SAR must expire on or before the date that is the tenth anniversary of the date of grant.

 

7.4                               Exercise of Freestanding SARs.  Freestanding SARs may be exercised upon whatever terms and conditions the Committee, in its sole discretion, imposes upon them.

 

7.5                               Exercise of Tandem SARs.  Tandem SARs may be exercised for all or part of the Shares subject to the related Option upon the surrender of the right to exercise the equivalent portion of the related Option.  A Tandem SAR may be exercised only with respect to the Shares for which its related Option is then exercisable.

 

7.6                               Payment of SAR Amount.  Upon exercise of an SAR, a Participant shall be entitled to receive payment from the Company in an amount determined by multiplying:

 

(a)                                 The excess of the Fair Market Value of a Share on the date of exercise over the grant price; by

 

(b)                                 The number of Shares with respect to which the SAR is exercised.

 

In the sole discretion of the Committee, the payment upon SAR exercise may be in cash, in Shares of equivalent value, in some combination thereof, or in any other manner approved by the Committee.  The Committee’s determination regarding the form of SAR payout shall be set forth in the Award Agreement pertaining to the grant of the SAR.

 

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7.7                               Nontransferability of SARs.  Except as otherwise provided in a Participant’s Award Agreement, no SAR granted under the Plan may be sold, transferred, pledged, assigned, or otherwise alienated or hypothecated, other than by will or by the laws of descent and distribution.  Further, except as otherwise provided in a Participant’s Award Agreement, all SARs granted to a Participant under the Plan shall be exercisable during his or her lifetime only by such Participant or such Participant’s legal representative.

 

7.8                           Restriction on Cash Buyouts of Underwater SARs.  The Company may not purchase, cancel or buy out an underwater SAR in exchange for cash without first obtaining Shareholder approval.

 

7.9                           Service Requirement for SARs that Vest Solely Based on Service.  SARs granted to Employees that vest solely based on service will be subject to a minimum vesting period requiring at least one year of service; provided that the Committee may adopt shorter vesting periods or provide for accelerated vesting after less than one year: (i) in connection with terminations of employment due to death, disability, retirement or other circumstances that the Committee determines to be appropriate; (ii) in connection with a Change in Control in which the SAR is not continued or assumed (e.g., the SAR is not equitably converted or substituted for a stock appreciation right of the successor company); (iii) for grants made in connection with an acquisition by the Company or its Subsidiaries or Affiliates in substitution for pre-existing awards; (iv) for new hire inducement awards or off-cycle awards; or (v) to comply with contractual rights in effect on the Effective Date.

 

Article 8.                                            Restricted Stock/Stock Awards

 

8.1                               Grant of Restricted Stock.  Subject to the terms and provisions of the Plan, the Committee, at any time and from time to time, may grant Shares of Restricted Stock to Participants in such amounts, as the Committee shall determine.

 

8.2                               Restricted Stock Agreement.  Each Restricted Stock grant shall be evidenced by a Restricted Stock Award Agreement that shall specify the Period(s) of Restriction, the number of Shares of Restricted Stock granted, and such other provisions as the Committee shall determine.

 

8.3                               Transferability. The Shares of Restricted Stock granted herein may not be sold, transferred, pledged, assigned, or otherwise alienated or hypothecated until the end of the applicable Period of Restriction established by the Committee and specified in the Restricted Stock Award Agreement, or upon earlier satisfaction of any other conditions, as specified by the Committee in its sole discretion and set forth in the Restricted Stock Award Agreement.  All rights with respect to the Restricted Stock granted to a Participant under the Plan shall be available during his or her lifetime only to such Participant or such Participant’s legal representative.

 

8.4                               Other Restrictions.  The Committee shall impose such other conditions and/or restrictions on any Shares of Restricted Stock granted pursuant to the Plan as it may deem advisable including, without limitation, a requirement that Participants pay a stipulated

 

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purchase price for each Share of Restricted Stock, restrictions based upon the achievement of specific performance goals, time-based restrictions on vesting following the attainment of the performance goals, time-based restrictions, and/or restrictions under applicable federal or state securities laws.

 

To the extent deemed appropriate by the Committee, the Company may retain the certificates representing Shares of Restricted Stock in the Company’s possession until such time as all conditions and/or restrictions applicable to such Shares have been satisfied.

 

Except as otherwise provided in the Award Agreement, Shares of Restricted Stock covered by each Restricted Stock grant made under the Plan shall become freely transferable by the Participant after the last day of the applicable Period of Restriction.

 

8.5                               Voting Rights.  If the Committee so determines, Participants holding Shares of Restricted Stock granted hereunder may be granted the right to exercise full voting rights with respect to those Shares during the Period of Restriction.

 

8.6                               Dividends and Other Distributions.  During the Period of Restriction, Participants holding Shares of Restricted Stock granted hereunder may, if the Committee so determines, be credited with dividends paid with respect to the underlying Shares while they are so held.  The Committee may apply any restrictions to the dividends that the Committee deems appropriate.  Without limiting the generality of the preceding sentence, if the grant or vesting of Restricted Shares granted to a Covered Employee is designed to comply with the requirements of the Performance-Based Exception, the Committee may apply any restrictions it deems appropriate to the payment of dividends declared with respect to such Restricted Shares, such that the dividends and/or the Restricted Shares maintain eligibility for the Performance-Based Exception.

 

8.7                               Stock Award.  The Committee may grant and award Shares to a Participant that are not subject to Periods of Restrictions and which may be subject to such conditions or provisions as the Committee determines.

 

8.8                               Service Requirement for Restricted Stock that Vests Solely Based on Service.  Restricted Stock granted to Employees that vests and is paid solely based on service will be subject to a minimum vesting period requiring at least one year of service; provided that the Committee may adopt shorter vesting periods or provide for accelerated vesting after less than one year: (i) in connection with terminations of employment due to death, disability, retirement or other circumstances that the Committee determines to be appropriate; (ii) in connection with a Change in Control in which the Restricted Stock is not continued or assumed (e.g., the Restricted Stock is not equitably converted or substituted for restricted stock of the successor company); (iii) for grants made in connection with an acquisition by the Company or its Subsidiaries or Affiliates in substitution for pre-existing awards; (iv) for new hire inducement awards or off-cycle awards; or (v) to comply with contractual rights in effect on the Effective Date.

 

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Article 9.                                            Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares, and Cash-Based Awards

 

9.1                               Grant of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards.  Subject to the terms of the Plan, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units, and/or Cash-Based Awards may be granted to Participants in such amounts and upon such terms, and at any time and from time to time, as shall be determined by the Committee.

 

9.2                               Award Agreement.  At the Committee’s discretion, each grant of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units and Cash-Based Awards may be evidenced by an Award Agreement that shall specify the initial value, the duration of the Award, the performance measures and/or service requirements, if any, applicable to the Award, and such other provisions as the Committee shall determine which are not inconsistent with the terms of the Plan.

 

9.3                               Value of Performance Units/Shares and Cash-Based Awards.  Each Performance Unit shall have an initial value that is established by the Committee at the time of grant.  Each Restricted Stock Unit and Performance Share shall have an initial value equal to the Fair Market Value of a Share on the date of grant.  Each Cash-Based Award shall have a value as may be determined by the Committee.  The Committee shall set performance goals and/or service requirements in its discretion which, depending on the extent to which they are met, will determine the number and/or value of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards that will be paid out to the Participant.  Generally, a Participant’s right to receive amounts under a Restricted Stock Unit award shall be based on the Participant’s satisfaction of a service requirement and such other terms and conditions that the Committee may specify.  Generally, a Participant’s right to receive amounts under a Performance Unit, Performance Share or Cash-Based Award shall be based on the satisfaction of a performance requirement and such other terms and conditions that the Committee may specify.  The Committee has full discretionary authority to establish performance goals and/or service requirements, and a performance goal may include a service requirement.  For purposes of this Article 9, the time period during which the performance goals and/or service requirements must be met shall be called a “Performance Period.”

 

9.4                               Earning of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards.  Subject to the terms of this Plan and the Award Agreement (if any), after the applicable Performance Period has ended, the holder of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares or Cash-Based Awards shall be entitled to receive payout on the number and value of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares or Cash-Based Awards earned by the Participant over the Performance Period, to be determined as a function of the extent to which the corresponding performance goals and/or service requirements have been achieved.  Unless otherwise determined by the Committee, notwithstanding any other provision of the Plan, payment of Cash-Based Awards shall only be made for those Participants who are Directors or in the employ of the Company at the end of the Performance Period or, if none has been specified, the end of the applicable award year.

 

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9.5                               Form and Timing of Payment of Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards.  Payment of earned Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards shall be as determined by the Committee and, if applicable, as evidenced in the related Award Agreement.  Subject to the terms of the Plan, the Committee, in its sole discretion, may pay earned Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards in the form of cash or in Shares (or in a combination thereof) that have an aggregate Fair Market Value equal to the value of the earned Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards at the close of the applicable Performance Period.  Such Shares may be granted subject to any restrictions deemed appropriate by the Committee.  No fractional shares will be issued.  The determination of the Committee with respect to the form of payout of such Awards shall be set forth in the Award Agreement pertaining to the grant of the Award.

 

Unless otherwise provided by the Committee, Participants holding Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, or Performance Shares may be entitled to receive dividend units with respect to dividends declared with respect to the Shares underlying such Awards; provided that no dividend units may be paid on Performance Units or Performance Shares that are not earned.  Such dividends may be subject to the same accrual, forfeiture, and payout restrictions as apply to dividends earned with respect to Shares of Restricted Stock, as set forth in Section 8.6 hereof, as determined by the Committee.

 

9.6                               Nontransferability.  Except as otherwise provided in a Participant’s Award Agreement, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares and Cash-Based Awards may not be sold, transferred, pledged, assigned, or otherwise alienated or hypothecated, other than by will or by the laws of descent and distribution.  Further, except as otherwise provided in a Participant’s Award Agreement, a Participant’s rights under the such Awards shall be exercisable during the Participant’s lifetime only by such Participant or such Participant’s legal representative.

 

9.7                               Service Requirement for Restricted Stock Units that Vest Solely Based on Service.  Restricted Stock Units granted to Employees that vest and are paid solely based on service will be subject to a minimum vesting period requiring at least one year of service; provided that the Committee may adopt shorter or accelerated vesting periods: (i) in connection with terminations of employment due to death, disability, retirement or other circumstances that the Committee determines to be appropriate; (ii) in connection with a Change in Control in which the Restricted Stock Unit is not continued or assumed (e.g., the Restricted Stock Unit is not equitably converted or substituted for a restricted stock unit of the successor company); (iii) for grants made in connection with an acquisition by the Company or its Subsidiaries or Affiliates in substitution for pre-existing awards; (iv) for new hire inducement awards or off-cycle awards; or (v) to comply with contractual rights in effect on the Effective Date.

 

Article 10.                                     Performance Measures

 

Unless and until the Committee proposes for shareholder vote and shareholders approve a change in the general performance measures set forth in this Article 10, the attainment of which

 

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may determine the degree of payout and/or vesting with respect to Awards to Covered Employees that are designed to qualify for the Performance-Based Exception, the performance measure(s) to be used for purposes of such grants shall be chosen from among:

 

(a)                                 Earnings per share (basic or diluted);

 

(b)                                 Income before income taxes;

 

(c)                                  Income from continuing operations;

 

(d)                                 Net income or net income attributable to Gannett Co., Inc.;

 

(e)                                  Operating income;

 

(f)                                   Cash flow from operating activities, operating cash flow (defined as operating income plus non-cash charges for depreciation, amortization and impairment of operating assets) or free cash flow;

 

(g)                                  EBITDA, or net income attributable to Gannett Co., Inc., before interest, taxes, depreciation/amortization;

 

(h)                                 Return measures (including, but not limited to, return on assets, equity, capital or investment);

 

(i)                                     Cash flow return on investments, which equals net cash flows divided by owner’s equity;

 

(j)                                    Internal rate of return or increase in net present value;

 

(k)                                 Dividend payments;

 

(l)                                     Gross revenues;

 

(m)                             Gross margins;

 

(n)                                 Operating measures such as trends in digital metrics, circulation, television ratings and advertising measures;

 

(o)                                 Internal measures such as achieving a diverse workforce;

 

(p)                                 Share price (including, but not limited to, growth measures and total shareholder  return) and market value;

 

(q)                                 Debt (including, but not limited to, measures such as debt (book value or face value) outstanding and debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization); and

 

(r)                                    Any of the above measures compared to peer or other companies.

 

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Performance measures may be set either at the consolidated level, segment level, division level, group level, or the business unit level.  Additionally, performance measures may be measured either annually or cumulatively over a period of years, on an absolute basis or relative to pre-established targets, to a previous year’s results or to a designated comparison group, in each case as specified by the Committee.

 

Unless the Committee specifies otherwise at the time the performance goals are established (and the Committee may at such time decide to limit the “Extraordinary Items” for which it will make adjustments, or decide to not make adjustments for any “Extraordinary Items”), the Committee shall adjust a performance goal established under a performance measure set forth above to take into account the effects of “Extraordinary Items.”  “Extraordinary Items” means (1) items presented as such (or other comparable terms) on the Company’s audited financial statements, (2) unusual, special or nonrecurring charges, costs, credits or items of gain or loss (including, without limitation, an unbudgeted material expense incurred by or at the direction of the Board of Directors or a committee of the Board or a material litigation judgment or settlement), (3) changes in tax or accounting laws or rules, and/or (4) the effects of mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs or significant transactions (including, without limitation, a corporate merger, consolidation, acquisition of property or stock, reorganization, restructuring charge, or joint venture), each of which are identified in the quarterly and/or annual audited financial statements and notes thereto or in the “management’s discussion and analysis” of the financial statements in a period report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Exchange Act.  The Committee shall make such adjustments to the performance goals as shall be equitable and appropriate in order to make the goal, as nearly as practicable, equivalent to the goal immediately prior to such transaction or event.

 

Article 11.                                     Beneficiary Designation

 

The Committee may permit Participants under the Plan to name, from time to time, any beneficiary or beneficiaries (who may be named contingently or successively) to whom any benefit under the Plan is to be paid in case of his or her death before he or she receives any or all of such benefit.  Each such designation shall revoke all prior designations by the same Participant, shall be in a form prescribed by the Company, and will be effective only when filed by the Participant in writing with the Company during the Participant’s lifetime.  If a beneficiary designation has not been made, or the beneficiary was not properly designated (in the sole discretion of the Committee), has died or cannot be found, all payments after death shall be paid to the Participant’s estate.  In case of disputes over the proper beneficiary, the Company reserves the right to make any or all payments to the Participant’s estate.

 

Article 12.                                     Deferrals

 

Subject to the requirements of Section 409A, the Committee may permit or require a Participant to defer such Participant’s receipt of the payment of cash or the delivery of Shares that would otherwise be due to such Participant by virtue of the lapse or waiver of restrictions with respect to Restricted Stock, payment of a Stock Award or the satisfaction of any requirements or goals with respect to Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units/Shares and Cash-Based Awards.  If any such deferral election is required or permitted, the Committee shall, in its sole discretion,

 

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establish rules and procedures for such payment deferrals provided that such rules must comply with the requirements of Section 409A.

 

Article 13.                                     Rights of Employees/Directors

 

13.1                        Employment.  Nothing in the Plan shall confer upon any Participant any right to continue in the Company’s employ, or as a Director, or interfere with or limit in any way the right of the Company to terminate any Participant’s employment or directorship at any time.

 

13.2                        Participation.  No Employee or Director shall have the right to be selected to receive an Award under this Plan, or, having been so selected, to be selected to receive a future Award.

 

13.3                        Rights as a Stockholder.  Except as provided in Sections 8.5, 8.6 and 9.5, a Participant shall have none of the rights of a shareholder with respect to shares of Common Stock covered by any Award until the Participant becomes the record holder of such shares.

 

Article 14.                                     Termination of Employment/Directorship

 

Each Participant’s Award Agreement shall set forth the extent to which the Participant shall have the right to such Participant’s outstanding Award(s) following termination of the Participant’s employment or directorship with the Company.  Such provisions shall be determined in the sole discretion of the Committee, shall be included in the Award Agreements entered into with each Participant, need not be uniform among all Awards issued pursuant to the Plan, and may reflect distinctions based on the reasons for termination.

 

Article 15.                                     Change in Control

 

15.1                        Treatment of Outstanding Awards Other than Cash-Based Awards.  In the event of a Change in Control, unless otherwise specifically prohibited under applicable laws, or by the rules and regulations of any governing governmental agencies or national securities exchanges, or unless the Committee specifies otherwise in the Award Agreement:

 

(a)                                 Awards to Employees will fully vest if: (i) the Awards are not continued or assumed (e.g., the Awards are not equitably converted or substituted for awards of a successor entity) in connection with the Change in Control; or (ii) the Employee has a qualifying termination of employment (as defined in the Award Agreement) within two years following the date of the Change in Control.  Additionally, in the event that the Awards are not so continued or assumed in connection with the Change in Control or in the event of a qualifying termination of employment (as defined in the Award Agreement) within two years following the date of the Change in Control, then upon such Change in Control or such qualifying termination (as the case may be):

 

(i)                                     Any and all Options and SARs granted hereunder shall become fully exercisable during their remaining term; and

 

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(ii)                                  Any restriction periods and restrictions imposed on Restricted Stock that are not performance-based shall lapse; and

 

(iii)                               The target payout opportunities attainable under all outstanding Awards of performance-based Restricted Stock, Performance Units and Performance Shares shall be deemed to have been fully earned for the entire Performance Period (s) as of the effective date of the Change in Control or such qualifying termination.  The vesting of all such Awards denominated in Shares shall be accelerated as of the effective date of the Change in Control or such qualifying termination and shall be paid out to Participants within thirty (30) days following the effective date of the Change in Control or such qualifying termination based upon an assumed achievement of all relevant target performance goals (such payment shall be in full satisfaction of the Award).  Such Awards denominated in cash shall be paid to Participants in cash within thirty (30) days following the effective date of the Change in Control or such qualifying termination based on an assumed achievement of all relevant target performance goals (such payment shall be in full satisfaction of the Award).  Restricted Stock Units shall be fully vested as of the effective date of the Change in Control or such qualifying termination, and the full value of such an Award shall be paid out to Participants within thirty (30) days following the effective date of the Change in Control or such qualifying termination.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the Award is not so continued or assumed in connection with a Change in Control, the payment of a Section 409A Award will only be accelerated if the Change in Control also constitutes a change in ownership or effective control of the Company or a change in the ownership of a substantial portion of the assets of the Company within the meaning of Section 409A and will not result in additional taxes under Section 409A.

 

15.2                        Treatment of Cash-Based Awards.  In the event of a Change in Control, unless otherwise specifically prohibited under applicable laws, or by the rules and regulations of any governing governmental agencies or national securities exchanges, or unless the Committee shall provide otherwise in the Award Agreement or resolutions adopted by the Committee, Cash-Based Awards to Employees will fully vest if: (i) the Awards are not continued or assumed (e.g., the Awards are not equitably converted or substituted for awards of a successor entity) in connection with the Change in Control; or (ii) the Employee has a qualifying termination of employment (as defined in the Award Agreement) within two years following the date of the Change in Control.  In the event that the Cash-Based Awards are not so continued or assumed or in the event of a qualifying termination of employment (as defined in the Award Agreement) within two years following the date of the Change in Control, the vesting of all outstanding Cash-Based Awards shall be accelerated as of the date of such event (and, in the case of performance-based Cash-Based Awards, based on an assumed achievement of all relevant target performance goals), and all Cash-Based Awards shall be paid to Participants in cash within thirty (30) days following the effective date of such event (such payment shall be in full satisfaction of the Award).  Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the Cash-

 

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Based Awards is not so continued or assumed in connection with a Change in Control, the payment of a Cash-Based Section 409A Award will only be accelerated if the Change in Control also constitutes a change in ownership or effective control of the Company or a change in the ownership of a substantial portion of the assets of the Company within the meaning of Section 409A and will not result in additional taxes under Section 409A.

 

15.3                        Limitation.

 

(a)                                 Intention of Section 15.3: The acceleration or payment of Awards could, in certain circumstances, subject the Participant to the excise tax provided under Section 4999 of the Code.  It is the object of this Section 15.3 to enable each Participant to retain in full the benefits of the Plan and to provide for the maximum after-tax income to each Participant.  Accordingly, the Company will determine, before any payments are made on Awards governed by Section 15.1, which of two alternative forms of acceleration will maximize the Participant’s after-tax proceeds, and must notify the Participant in writing of its determination.  The first alternative is the payment in full of all Awards governed by Section 15.1 and any other payments or benefits potentially subject to the excise tax under Section 4999.  The second alternative is the payment of only a part of the Participant’s Awards (but taking into account any other payments or benefits potentially subject to the excise tax under Section 4999) so that the Participant receives the largest payment and benefits possible without causing an excise tax to be payable by the Participant under Section 4999 of the Code.  This second alternative is referred to in this Section as “Limited Vesting”.

 

(b)                                 Limitation on Participant’s Rights: The Participant’s Awards shall be paid only to the extent permitted under the alternative determined by the Company to maximize the Participant’s after-tax proceeds, and the Participant shall have no rights to any greater payments on his or her Awards.  For purposes of this determination, the Company shall take into account any rights or benefits the Participant has under another plan or agreement.

 

(c)                                  Determination to be Conclusive: The determination of whether Limited Vesting is required and the application of the rules in Section 15.4 shall initially be made by the Company in its sole discretion and any such determination shall be conclusive and binding on the Participant unless the Participant proves that it is clearly erroneous.  In the latter event, such determination shall be made by the Company in its sole discretion.

 

(d)                                 Section 409A Awards:  This Section 15.3 and Section 15.4 shall not apply to or affect a Section 409A Award, including without limitation the payment, vesting or timing of payment of a Section 409A Award.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the only remaining Awards that are subject to the excise tax under Section 4999  that could  be reduced to accomplish Limited Vesting are Section 409A Awards, then performance-based Section 409A Awards may be reduced followed by non-performance, service-based Section 409A Awards.

 

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15.4                        Limitation on Payment.  Notwithstanding Section 15.1, if Limited Vesting applies then the amount paid on exercise or payment of an Award shall not exceed the largest amount that can be paid without causing an excise tax to be payable by the Participant under Section 4999 of the Code.  If payments are so limited, awards shall be deemed paid in the following order:

 

(a)                                 all Options or SARs that were accelerated pursuant to Section 15.1(a) shall be deemed paid first;

 

(b)                                 all awards of Restricted Stock and Restricted Stock Units that are not performance-based shall be deemed paid; and

 

(c)                                  finally, all awards of Performance Units, Performance Shares and performance-based Restricted Stock and Cash Awards shall then be deemed paid.

 

As among awards or portions of awards of the same type, those vesting at the most distant time in the future (absent a Change in Control) shall be deemed paid last.

 

15.5                        Expenses.  The Company shall pay all legal fees, court costs, fees of experts and other costs and expenses when incurred by a Participant in connection with any actual, threatened or contemplated litigation or legal, administrative or other proceeding involving the provisions of Section 15.4, whether or not initiated by the Participant.

 

The reimbursements of such expenses and costs shall comply with the requirements of Section 409A, which generally require (i) that the amount of expenses and costs eligible for reimbursement during a calendar year may not affect the expenses and costs eligible for reimbursement in any other taxable year; (ii) the reimbursement of an eligible expense or cost is made on or before the last day of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the expense or cost was incurred; and (iii) the right to reimbursement is not subject to liquidation or exchange for another benefit.

 

15.6                        Termination, Amendment, and Modifications of Change-in-Control Provisions.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Plan or any Award Agreement provision, the provisions of this Article 15 may not be terminated, amended, or modified on or after the date of a Change in Control to affect adversely any Award theretofore granted under the Plan and any rights or benefits provided to a Participant this Article 15 without the prior written consent of the Participant with respect to said Participant’s outstanding Awards; provided, however, the Committee may terminate, amend, or modify this Article 15 at any time and from time to time prior to the date of a Change in Control.

 

Article 16.                                     Amendment, Modification, Termination and Tax Compliance.

 

16.1                        Amendment, Modification, and Termination.  Subject to the terms of the Plan, the Committee or the Board may at any time and from time to time, alter, amend, suspend, or terminate the Plan in whole or in part.

 

16.2                        Awards Previously Granted.  Notwithstanding any other provision of the Plan to the contrary, no termination, amendment, or modification of the Plan shall adversely affect

 

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in any material way any Award previously granted under the Plan, without the written consent of the Participant holding such Award; provided that no consent is required for any amendment the Committee deems necessary or appropriate to comply with applicable legal or tax requirements.

 

16.3                        Shareholder Approval Required for Certain Amendments.  Shareholder approval will be required for any amendment of the Plan that does any of the following: (a) permits the grant of any Option with an Option Price less than the Fair Market Value of the Shares on the date of grant; (b) reduces the Option Price of an outstanding Option, either by lowering the Option Price or by canceling an outstanding Option and granting a replacement Option with a lower exercise price; (c) permits the grant of any SAR with a grant price that is less than the Fair Market Value of the Shares on the date of grant; or (d) reduces the grant price of an outstanding SAR, either by lowering the grant price or by canceling an outstanding SAR and granting a replacement SAR with a lower exercise price.

 

16.4                        Compliance with Code Section 162(m).  At all times when Code Section 162(m) is applicable, if and to the extent the Committee so determines, Awards granted under this Plan to Employees who are or could reasonably become Covered Employees as determined by the Committee shall comply with the requirements of the Performance-Based Exception.  Generally, this requires that the amount paid under such an Award be determined based on the attainment of written, objective performance goals approved by the Committee for a performance period established by the Committee (i) while the outcome for that performance period is substantially uncertain and (ii) no more than 90 days after the commencement of the performance period to which the performance goal relates or, if less, the number of days which is equal to 25 percent of the relevant performance period.  The Committee shall determine whether, with respect to a performance period, the applicable performance goals have been met with respect to a given Participant and, if they have, shall so certify and ascertain the amount of the applicable Award.  No amount will be paid for such performance period until such certification is made by the Committee.  The amount actually paid to a given Participant may be less than (but not more than) the amount determined under the applicable performance formula, at the discretion of the Committee.

 

16.5                        Compliance with Section 409A.  It is intended that Awards under this Plan are either exempt from Section 409A or are structured to comply with the requirements of Section 409A.  The Plan shall be administered and interpreted in accordance with that intent.  By way of example, the following rules shall apply:

 

·                  Any provision of the Plan that would conflict with the requirements of a Section 409A Award shall not apply to a Section 409A Award.

 

·                  Any adjustment or modification to an Award shall be made in compliance with Section 409A (e.g., any adjustment to an Option or SAR under Section 4.2 shall be made in accordance with the requirements of Section 409A).

 

·                  For Section 409A Awards, all rights to amend, terminate or modify the Plan or any Award are subject to the requirements and limitations of Section 409A.

 

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·                  For Section 409A Awards, any payment or distribution that is triggered upon termination or cessation of employment or a comparable event shall be interpreted consistent with the definition of “separation from service” within the meaning of Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-1(h).

 

·                  With respect to amounts payable under a Section 409A Award, in the event that a Participant is a “specified employee” as defined in Section 409A, any amount that is payable in connection with the Participant’s separation from service shall not be paid prior to the date which is six months after the date the Participant separates from service (or, if earlier, the date the Participant dies).  A Participant who is subject to the restriction described in the previous sentence shall be paid on the first day of the seventh month after the Participant’s separation from service an amount equal to the benefit that the Participant would have received during such six month period absent the restriction.

 

While the Company intends for Awards to either be exempt from or in compliance with Section 409A, neither the Company nor the Committee shall be liable to any person for the tax consequences of any failure to comply with the requirements of Section 409A or any other tax consequences relating to Awards under this Plan.

 

Article 17.                                     Withholding

 

The Company shall have the power and the right to deduct or withhold, or require a Participant to remit to the Company, an amount sufficient to satisfy the Federal statutory minimum, state, and local taxes, domestic or foreign, required by law or regulation to be withheld with respect to any taxable event arising as a result of this Plan.  The Participant may satisfy, totally or in part, his obligations pursuant to this Article by electing to have Shares withheld, to redeliver Shares acquired under an Award, or to deliver previously owned Shares, provided that the election is made in writing on or prior to (i) the date of exercise, in the case of Options and SAR’s (ii) the date of payment, in respect of Stock Awards, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Units, Performance Shares, or Cash-Based Awards, and (iii) the expiration of the Period of Restriction, in respect of Restricted Stock.  Any election made under this Article shall be irrevocable by the Participant and may be disapproved by the Committee at any time in its sole discretion.  If an election is disapproved by the Committee, the Participant must satisfy his obligations pursuant to this paragraph in cash.

 

Article 18.                                     Successors

 

All obligations of the Company under the Plan with respect to Awards granted hereunder shall be binding on any successor to the Company, whether the existence of such successor is the result of a direct or indirect purchase, merger, consolidation, or otherwise, of all or substantially all of the business, stock and/or assets of the Company.

 

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Article 19.                                     General Provisions

 

19.1                        Gender and Number.  Except where otherwise indicated by the context, any masculine term used herein also shall include the feminine; the plural shall include the singular and the singular shall include the plural.

 

19.2                        Severability.  If any provision of the Plan shall be held illegal or invalid for any reason, the illegality or invalidity shall not affect the remaining parts of the Plan, and the Plan shall be construed and enforced as if the illegal or invalid provision had not been included.

 

19.3                        Requirements of Law.  The granting of Awards and the issuance of Shares under the Plan shall be subject to all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, and to such approvals by any governmental agencies or national securities exchanges as may be required.

 

19.4                        Securities Law Compliance.  With respect to Insiders, transactions under this Plan are intended to comply with all applicable conditions of Rule 16b-3 or its successors under the Exchange Act, unless determined otherwise by the Board.  To the extent any provision of the Plan or action by the Committee fails to so comply, it shall be deemed null and void, to the extent permitted by law and deemed advisable by the Board.

 

19.5                        Listing.  The Company may use reasonable endeavors to register Shares allotted pursuant to the exercise of an Option with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or to effect compliance with the registration, qualification, and listing requirements of any national securities laws, stock exchange, or automated quotation system.

 

19.6                        Inability to Obtain Authority.  The inability of the Company to obtain authority from any regulatory body having jurisdiction, which authority is deemed by the Company’s counsel to be necessary to the lawful issuance and sale of any Shares hereunder, shall relieve the Company of any liability in respect of the failure to issue or sell such Shares as to which such requisite authority shall not have been obtained.

 

19.7                        No Additional Rights.  Neither the Award nor any benefits arising under this Plan shall constitute part of an employment contract between the Participant and the Company or any Subsidiary or Affiliate, and accordingly, subject to Section 16.2, this Plan and the benefits hereunder may be terminated at any time in the sole and exclusive discretion of the Committee without giving rise to liability on the part of the Company or any Affiliate for severance payments.

 

19.8                        Employees Based Outside of the United States.  Notwithstanding any provision of the Plan to the contrary, to comply with provisions of laws in other countries in which the Company, its Affiliates, and its Subsidiaries operate or have Employees, the Committee, in its sole discretion, shall have the power and authority to:

 

(a)                                 Determine which Affiliates and Subsidiaries will be covered by the Plan or relevant subplans;

 

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(b)                                 Determine which Employees employed outside the United States are eligible to become Participants in the Plan;

 

(c)                                  Modify the terms and conditions of any Award granted to Participants who are employed outside the United States;

 

(d)                                 Establish subplans, modified exercise procedures, and other terms and procedures to the extent such actions may be necessary, advisable or convenient, or to the extent appropriate to provide maximum flexibility for the Participant’s financial planning.  Any subplans and modifications to the Plan terms or procedures established under this Section 19.8 by the Committee shall be filed with the Plan document as Appendices; and

 

(e)                                  Take any action, before or after an Award is made, which the Committee deems advisable to obtain, comply with, or otherwise reflect any necessary governmental regulatory procedures, exemptions or approvals, as they may affect this Plan, any subplan, or any Participant.

 

19.9                        Uncertificated Shares.  To the extent that the Plan provides for issuance of certificates to reflect the transfer of Shares, the transfer of such Shares may be effected on a noncertificated basis, to the extent not prohibited by applicable law or the rules of any stock exchange.

 

19.10                 Governing Law.  The Plan and each Award Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Delaware, excluding any conflicts or choice of law rule or principle that might otherwise refer construction or interpretation of the Plan to the substantive law of another jurisdiction.  Unless otherwise provided in the Award Agreement, recipients of an Award under the Plan are deemed to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the federal or state courts located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, County of Fairfax, to resolve any and all issues that may arise out of or relate to the Plan or any related Award Agreement.

 

 

Dated: June 26, 2015

GANNETT SPINCO, INC.

 

 

 

 

 

By:

/s/ Todd A. Mayman

 

Name:

Todd A. Mayman

 

Title:

Vice President

 

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