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SEC Filings

EQUINIX INC filed this Form 10-Q on 05/03/2019
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dividends, which may cause some investors to perceive that an investment in a REIT is less attractive than an investment in a non-REIT entity that pays dividends, thereby reducing the demand and market price of our common stock.
Our certificate of incorporation contains restrictions on the ownership and transfer of our stock, though they may not be successful in preserving our qualification for taxation as a REIT.
In order for us to remain qualified for taxation as a REIT, no more than 50% of the value of outstanding shares of our stock may be owned, beneficially or constructively, by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of each taxable year other than the first year for which we elected to be taxed as a REIT. In addition, rents from "affiliated tenants" will not qualify as qualifying REIT income if we own 10% or more by vote or value of the customer, whether directly or after application of attribution rules under the Code. Subject to certain exceptions, our certificate of incorporation prohibits any stockholder from owning, beneficially or constructively, more than (i) 9.8% in value of the outstanding shares of all classes or series of our capital stock or (ii) 9.8% in value or number, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of any class or series of our capital stock. We refer to these restrictions collectively as the "ownership limits" and we included them in our certificate of incorporation to facilitate our compliance with REIT tax rules. The constructive ownership rules under the Code are complex and may cause the outstanding stock owned by a group of related individuals or entities to be deemed to be constructively owned by one individual or entity. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of our outstanding common stock (or the outstanding shares of any class or series of our stock) by an individual or entity could cause that individual or entity or another individual or entity to own constructively in excess of the relevant ownership limits. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common stock or of any of our other capital stock in violation of these restrictions may result in the shares being automatically transferred to a charitable trust or may be void. Even though our certificate of incorporation contains the ownership limits, there can be no assurance that these provisions will be effective to prevent our qualification for taxation as a REIT from being jeopardized, including under the affiliated tenant rule. Furthermore, there can be no assurance that we will be able to monitor and enforce the ownership limits. If the restrictions in our certificate of incorporation are not effective and, as a result, we fail to satisfy the REIT tax rules described above, then absent an applicable relief provision, we will fail to remain qualified for taxation as a REIT.
In addition, the ownership and transfer restrictions could delay, defer or prevent a transaction or a change in control that might involve a premium price for our stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders. As a result, the overall effect of the ownership and transfer restrictions may be to render more difficult or discourage any attempt to acquire us, even if such acquisition may be favorable to the interests of our stockholders.
Legislative or other actions affecting REITs could have a negative effect on us or our stockholders.
At any time, the federal or state income tax laws governing REITs, or the administrative interpretations of those laws, may be amended. Federal and state tax laws are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and state taxing authorities. Changes to the tax laws, regulations and administrative interpretations, which may have retroactive application, could adversely affect us. In addition, some of these changes could have a more significant impact on us as compared to other REITs due to the nature of our business and our substantial use of TRSs, particularly non-U.S. TRSs.
In addition, December 2017 legislation made substantial changes to the Code, particularly as it relates to the taxation of both corporate income and international income. Among those changes are a significant permanent reduction in the generally applicable corporate income tax rate and modifications to the calculation of taxable income, including changes to credits and deductions available to businesses and individuals. This legislation also imposes additional limitations on the deduction of net operating losses, which may in the future cause us to make additional distributions that will be taxable to our stockholders to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. The effect of these and other changes made in this legislation is still uncertain in many respects, both in terms of their direct effect on the taxation of an investment in our common stock and their indirect effect on the value of assets owned by us. Furthermore, many of the provisions of the new law will require additional guidance in order to assess their effect. It is also possible that there will be subsequent legislative amendments proposed with respect to the new law, the effect of which cannot be predicted and may be adverse to us or our stockholders. Our stockholders are encouraged to consult with their tax advisors about the potential effects that changes in law may have on them and their ownership of our common stock.
We could incur adverse tax consequences if we fail to integrate an acquisition target in compliance with the requirements to qualify for taxation as a REIT.
We periodically explore and occasionally consummate merger and acquisition transactions. When we consummate these transactions, we structure the acquisition to successfully manage the REIT income, asset, and distribution tests that we must satisfy. We believe that we have and will in the future successfully integrate our acquisition targets in a manner that has and will allow us to timely satisfy the REIT tests applicable to us, but if we failed or in the future fail to do so, then we could jeopardize or lose our qualification for taxation as a REIT, particularly if we were not eligible to utilize relief provisions set forth in the Code.