At the close of business on March 29, 2021, the record date for the Annual Meeting (the “record date”), the number of issued and outstanding shares of our Common Stock entitled to vote was 99,038,933. Each share of Common Stock entitles its holder to one vote with respect to all matters submitted to stockholders for a vote at the Annual Meeting. Consistent with the Company’s amended and restated bylaws (the “Bylaws”), uncontested director elections proceed by majority voting. In an uncontested election a nominee for director will be elected to the Board if the votes cast “for” such nominee’s election exceed the votes cast “against” such nominee’s election.
A complete list of Company stockholders entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting will be available at our principal executive offices during normal business hours, at least 10 days prior to the Annual Meeting and during the Annual Meeting at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/ABEO2021. According to our Bylaws, the presence, through virtual attendance or by proxy, of the holders of a majority of the shares of common stock outstanding and entitled to vote constitutes a quorum for the conduct of business at the Annual Meeting. Abstentions and broker non-votes are counted as present for purposes of determining whether a quorum is present.
A broker non-vote occurs when brokers, who hold their clients’ shares in street name, sign and submit proxies for such shares and vote such shares on some matters but not others. This would occur when brokers have not received any instructions from their clients, in which case the brokers, as the holders of record, are permitted to vote on “routine” matters, which include the ratification of the appointment of an independent registered public accounting firm, but not on “non-routine” matters, such as the election of directors and approval of an amendment to our Restated Certificate of Incorporation (the “Certificate of Incorporation”).
For Proposal 1, the directors will be elected upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast. For Proposal 1, stockholders may vote “FOR,” “AGAINST,” or “ABSTAIN.” Abstentions will have the effect of a “AGAINST” such proposal. Broker non-votes, if any, will be disregarded and will have no effect on the outcome of the vote for Proposal 1.
Proposal 2, to amend our Certificate of Incorporation to de-classify our Board of Directors so that all directors are elected annually (the “De-Classification Proposal”), will be approved upon the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 66 2/3% of the shares outstanding. For Proposal 2, stockholders may vote “FOR,” “AGAINST,” or “ABSTAIN.” Abstentions and broker non-votes, if any, will have the same effect as a vote “AGAINST” Proposal 2.
Proposal 3, ratification of Whitley Penn LLP as our independent public accountant, will be approved upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of Common Stock voting present through virtual attendance or by proxy at the Annual Meeting. Abstentions will have the effect of a vote “AGAINST” such proposal. Brokers may vote on Proposal 3 absent instructions from the beneficial owner.
The Board is not aware of any matters that will be brought before the Annual Meeting other than those matters specifically set forth in the Notice of Annual Meeting. However, if any other matter properly comes before the Annual Meeting, it is intended that the persons named in the enclosed form of proxy, or their substitutes acting thereunder, will vote on such matter in accordance with the recommendations of the Board, or, if no such recommendations are made, in accordance with their best judgment.
All expenses in connection with solicitation of proxies will be borne by us. We will also request brokers, dealers, banks and voting trustees, and their nominees, to make available the Notice of Annual Meeting, this proxy statement, the accompanying form of proxy and our annual report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 (the “Annual Report”) to beneficial owners and will reimburse them for their expenses in forwarding these materials. We expect to solicit proxies primarily by mail, but our directors, officers and employees may also solicit in person, by telephone or email.
Stockholders of record as of the record date can attend the Annual Meeting online by logging onto our virtual forum at www.virtualshareholdermeeting.com/ABEO2021 and following the instructions provided on their proxy card, vote instruction card or “Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials.” To participate in the Annual Meeting, you will need the 16-digit control number included on your proxy card, voter instruction card or “Important Notice Regarding the Availability of Proxy Materials.” If you do not have this control number at the time of the Annual Meeting, you will still be able to attend virtually, but you will not be able to vote or ask questions.