497 1 d424047d497.htm THE GDL FUND THE GDL FUND
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THE GDL FUND
Filed Pursuant to Rule 49(c)
Registration Statement No. 333-213902

LOGO

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To Prospectus dated December 15, 2017)

2,624,025 Rights for 2,624,025 Series C Preferred Shares

The GDL Fund

Subscription Rights to Purchase Series C Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares

The GDL Fund (the “Fund,” “we,” “us” or “our”) is issuing subscription rights (the “Rights”) at no charge to our preferred shareholders who hold Series B Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares (the “Series B Preferred Shares” or “Existing Preferred Shares”) to purchase Series C Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares (the “Series C Preferred Shares” or “New Preferred Shares”). Our Existing Preferred Shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) under the symbol “GDL Pr B.” The last reported NYSE sale price of our Existing Preferred Shares on February 13, 2018 was $50.42.

The Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve absolute returns in various market conditions without excessive risk of capital. We cannot assure you that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The Fund’s investment adviser is Gabelli Funds, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”). An investment in the Fund is not appropriate for all investors.

You should read this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus before deciding whether to invest in the New Preferred Shares, and retain it for future reference. The Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus contain important information about us. Material that has been incorporated by reference and other information about us can be obtained from us by calling 800-GABELLI (422-3554) or from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) website (http://www.sec.gov).

Investing in Series C Preferred Shares involves certain risks that are described in the “Special Features and Risks of the Series C Preferred Shares” section beginning on page S-17 of this Prospectus Supplement. You should also review the information set forth under “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” on page 43 of the accompanying Prospectus before investing in the New Preferred Shares.

Neither the SEC nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved these securities or determined if this Prospectus Supplement is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

     Per Share      Total (1)  

Subscription price of Preferred Shares to shareholders exercising Rights

   $ 50.00      $ 131,201,250  

Underwriting discounts and commissions

     None        None  

Proceeds, before expenses, to the Fund (1)

   $ 50.00      $ 131,201,250  

 

(1) The aggregate expenses of the offering (excluding underwriting discounts and commissions) are estimated to be $350,000. This estimate includes certain expenses of G.research, LLC, the dealer manager for the Rights offering, that may be reimbursed by the Fund. See “Distribution Arrangements.”

The New Preferred Shares are expected to be ready for delivery in book-entry form through the Depository Trust Company on or about March 26, 2018, unless the offer is extended.

The date of this Prospectus Supplement is February 14, 2018.


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You should rely only on the information contained or incorporated by reference in this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. The Fund has not authorized anyone to provide you with different information. The Fund is not making an offer to sell these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should not assume that the information contained in this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus is accurate as of any date other than the date of this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, respectively.

Series C Preferred Shares issued as a result of the Rights offering will not be record date shares for the Fund’s 2018 annual meeting, scheduled to be held on May 14, 2018.

The Series B Preferred Shares are puttable to the Fund during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2018, and you will receive documentation for effectuating this put. If you wish to exercise your Rights and purchase Series C Preferred Shares, DO NOT submit your Series B Preferred Shares for redemption pursuant to this put.

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prospectus Supplement

 

     Page  

CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     S-4  

SUMMARY OF THE TERMS OF THE RIGHTS OFFERING

     S-5  

SUMMARY OF THE TERMS OF THE SERIES C PREFERRED SHARES

     S-7  

CAPITALIZATION

     S-9  

DESCRIPTION OF THE RIGHTS OFFERING

     S-10  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     S-15  

ASSET COVERAGE RATIO

     S-16  

SPECIAL FEATURES AND RISKS OF THE SERIES C PREFERRED SHARES

     S-17  

EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN CONSIDERATIONS

     S-23  

RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS SUPPLEMENT

     S-24  

TAXATION

     S-25  

UNDERWRITING

     S-27  

LEGAL MATTERS

     S-27  

PROSPECTUS

 

     Page  

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

SUMMARY OF FUND EXPENSES

     24  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     26  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     30  

THE FUND

     31  

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

     31  

RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

     43  

HOW THE FUND MANAGES RISK

     69  

MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND

     70  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS

     73  

DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS

     73  

AUTOMATIC DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT AND VOLUNTARY CASH PURCHASE PLANS

     74  

DESCRIPTION OF THE SECURITIES

     76  

ANTI-TAKEOVER PROVISIONS OF THE FUND’S GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

     89  

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

     90  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     90  

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

     91  

TAXATION

     91  

CUSTODIAN, TRANSFER AGENT AND DIVIDEND DISBURSING AGENT

     94  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     95  

LEGAL MATTERS

     97  

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

     97  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     97  

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE FUND

     97  

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     98  

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     99  

CORPORATE BOND RATINGS

     A-1  

 

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CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Prospectus Supplement, the accompanying Prospectus and the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) contain “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words “may,” “will,” “intend,” “expect,” “estimate,” “continue,” “plan,” “anticipate,” and similar terms and the negative of such terms. Such forward-looking statements may be contained in this Prospectus Supplement as well as in the accompanying Prospectus and in the SAI. By their nature, all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Several factors that could materially affect our actual results are the performance of the portfolio of securities we hold, the price at which our shares will trade in the public markets and other factors discussed in our periodic filings with the SEC.

Although we believe that the expectations expressed in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in our forward-looking statements. Our future financial condition and results of operations, as well as any forward-looking statements, are subject to change and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties, such as those disclosed in the “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” section of the accompanying Prospectus and in “Description of the Rights Offering—Risks” and “Special Features and Risks of the Series C Preferred Shares” in this Prospectus Supplement. All forward-looking statements contained or incorporated by reference in this Prospectus Supplement or the accompanying Prospectus, or in the SAI, are made as of the date of this Prospectus Supplement or the accompanying Prospectus or SAI, as the case may be. Except for our ongoing obligations under the federal securities laws, we do not intend, and we undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this Prospectus Supplement, the accompanying Prospectus and the SAI are excluded from the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

Currently known risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include, but are not limited to, the factors described in the “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” section of the accompanying Prospectus as well as in the “Description of the Rights Offering—Risks” and “Special Features and Risks of the Series C Preferred Shares” sections of this Prospectus Supplement. We urge you to review carefully those sections for a more detailed discussion of the risks of an investment in the Preferred Shares.

 

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SUMMARY OF THE TERMS OF THE RIGHTS OFFERING

 

Terms of the Offering

One non-transferable subscription right (each, a “Right”) will be issued for each Series B Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Share (the “Existing Preferred Shares”) of the Fund held on the record date. These Rights will allow holders of Existing Preferred Shares to subscribe for new Series C Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares (the “Series C Preferred Shares” or “New Preferred Shares”) of the Fund. 2,624,025 Existing Preferred Shares are outstanding as of February 14, 2018. One Right will be required to purchase one New Preferred Share. An over-subscription privilege will be offered. 2,624,025 New Preferred Shares will be issued if all Rights are exercised. See “Terms of the Offering.”

 

Amount Available for Primary Subscription

$131,201,250

 

Title

Subscription Rights to Purchase Series C Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares

 

Subscription Price

Rights may be exercised at a price of $50.00 per New Preferred Share (the “Subscription Price”). The purchase price will be payable in cash, by surrender of Existing Preferred Shares at Liquidation Preference (as defined herein) or any combination of cash and such shares. Affiliated persons of the Fund will be permitted to purchase New Preferred Shares through the surrender of Existing Preferred Shares only to the extent permitted by law. See “Terms of the Offering.”

 

Record Date

Rights will be issued to holders of record of the Fund’s Existing Preferred Shares on February 14, 2018 (the “Record Date”). See “Terms of the Offering.”

 

Number of Rights Issued

One Right will be issued in respect of each Existing Preferred Share outstanding as of the close of business on the Record Date. See “Terms of the Offering.”

 

Mandatory Redemption of New Preferred Shares

March 26, 2025 (7 year term).

 

Number of Rights Required to Purchase One New Preferred Share

A holder of Rights may purchase one New Preferred Share of the Fund for every one Right exercised. See “Terms of the Offering.”

 

Over-Subscription Privilege

Holders of Existing Preferred Shares on the Record Date who fully exercise their rights are entitled to subscribe for additional New Preferred Shares at the same Subscription Price, subject to certain limitations, allotment, and the right of the Board of Trustees of the Fund (the “Board”) to eliminate the over-subscription privilege. To the extent sufficient New Preferred Shares are not available to fulfill all over-subscription requests, unsubscribed New Preferred Shares will be allocated pro-rata among those shareholders who over-subscribe based on the number of the Fund’s Existing Preferred Shares owned on the Record Date. See “Over-Subscription Privilege.”

 

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Transfer of Rights

The Rights will be non-transferable. See “Terms of the Offering.”

 

Subscription Period

The Rights may be exercised at any time after issuance and prior to expiration of the Rights, which will be 5:00 PM Eastern Time on March 20, 2018, unless otherwise extended (the “Subscription Period”). See “Terms of the Offering” and “Method of Exercise of Rights.”

 

ERISA

See “Employee Benefit Plan Considerations.”

 

Rights Agent

Computershare Trust Company, N.A.. See “Rights Agent.”

 

Administrative Agent

Morrow Sodali LLC. See “Administrative Agent.”

 

Use of Proceeds

The Fund currently intends to call within three months after expiration of the Subscription Period all outstanding Series B Preferred Shares that are not surrendered by holders to purchase Series C Preferred Shares in the offering. Pending such redemption, the proceeds will be held in high quality short term debt securities and instruments. See “Use of Proceeds.”

 

Rating

The Series C Preferred Shares will not be rated.

Series C Preferred Shares issued as a result of the Rights offering will not be record date shares for the Fund’s 2018 annual meeting, scheduled to be held on May 14, 2018.

The Series B Preferred Shares are puttable to the Fund during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2018, and you will receive documentation for effectuating this put. If you wish to exercise your Rights and purchase Series C Preferred Shares, DO NOT submit your Series B Preferred Shares for redemption pursuant to this put.

 

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SUMMARY OF THE TERMS OF THE SERIES C PREFERRED SHARES

 

Issue

Series C Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares

 

Mandatory Redemption

March 26, 2025 (7 year term).

 

Liquidation Preference

$50.00 per share (the “Liquidation Preference”).

 

Dividend Payment Dates

Quarterly dividend payments are expected to be made when, as and if declared by the Board on March 26, June 26, September 26, and December 26 of each year (each, a “Dividend Payment Date”), commencing on the Dividend Payment Date following the date on which such shares are originally issued, which is expected to be March 26, 2018 (the “Date of Original Issue”) (if any Dividend Payment Date is not a business day, then on the next succeeding business day).

 

  As used herein, each period beginning on and including a Dividend Payment Date (or beginning on the Date of Original Issue, in the case of the first Dividend Period after the issuance of such Series C Preferred Shares) and ending on but excluding the next succeeding Dividend Payment Date is referred to as a “Dividend Period.”

 

  The Dividend Period beginning on the Date of Original Issue, which constitutes the first Dividend Period, together with the next three Dividend Periods, are referred to herein as “Year 1,” the next four Dividend Periods are referred to as “Year 2,” and so on.

 

  See “Dividends.”

 

Dividend Rate

For the Dividend Periods occurring in Year 1, the Statement of Preferences for the Series C Preferred Shares provides for quarterly dividends to be paid at an annualized rate of 4.00% based on the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares. During the last Dividend Period occurring in Year 1, the Board will determine and publicly announce at least 30 days prior to the end of such Dividend Period a fixed annual dividend rate that will apply for the Dividend Periods occurring in Year 2 and Year 3. Further, during the last Dividend Period occurring in Year 3, the Board will determine and publicly announce at least 30 days prior to the end of such Dividend Period a fixed annual dividend rate that will apply for all remaining Dividend Periods prior to the mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2025. Each reset dividend rate will be determined by the Board or a committee thereof in its sole discretion, and the Statement of Preferences provides that such rate will be not less than an annualized rate of 4.00% and not greater than an annualized rate of 6.00% based on the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares.

 

  See “Dividends.”

 

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Holder Put Options

The Fund will redeem all or any part of the Series C Preferred Shares that holders have properly submitted for redemption and not withdrawn during the 30-day period prior to each of March 26, 2020 and March 26, 2022, at the Liquidation Preference, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends. See “Puts and Redemptions.”

 

Optional Redemption

The Fund may redeem all or any part of the Series C Preferred Shares, upon not less than 30 nor more than 60 days’ prior notice, at the Liquidation Preference, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends, on March 26, 2021 or March 26, 2023. See “Puts and Redemptions.” The Series C Preferred Shares are not otherwise subject to optional redemption by the Fund unless such redemption is necessary, in the judgment of the Board, to maintain the Fund’s status as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).

 

Stock Exchange Listing

An application will be made to list the Series C Preferred Shares on the NYSE. The Series C Preferred Shares are expected to commence trading on the NYSE within 30 days of the date of issuance. See “Stock Exchange Listing.”

 

Dividend Disbursing Agent

American Stock Transfer & Trust Company.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth the unaudited capitalization of the Fund as of June 30, 2017, and its adjusted capitalization assuming the Series C Preferred Shares offered in this Prospectus Supplement had been issued and all of the Series B Preferred Shares had been redeemed or surrendered.

 

     As of June 30, 2017
(unaudited)
 
     Actual     As adjusted  

Preferred shares, $0.001 par value per share, unlimited shares authorized. (The “Actual” column reflects the Fund’s outstanding capitalization as of June 30, 2017; the “As adjusted” column assumes the issuance of 2,624,025 Series C Preferred Shares, $50 liquidation preference per share, and the redemption or surrender of 2,624,025 Series B Preferred Shares, $50 liquidation preference per share)

   $ 131,201,250     $ 131,201,250  

Shareholders’ equity applicable to common shares:

    

Common shares, $0.001 par value per share; unlimited shares authorized, 17,932,412 shares outstanding

   $ 17,932     $ 17,932  

Paid-in surplus*

   $ 211,684,868     $ 211,334,868  

Accumulated net investment loss

   $ (1,368,470   $ (1,368,470

Distributions in excess of net realized gain on investments, securities sold short, swap contracts, and foreign currency transactions

   $ (204,902   $ (204,902

Net unrealized appreciation on investments, securities sold short, swap contracts, and foreign currency translations

   $ 276,009     $ 276,009  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net assets applicable to common shares

   $ 210,405,437     $ 210,055,437  

Liquidation preference of preferred shares

   $ 131,201,250     $ 131,201,250  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net assets, plus the liquidation preference of preferred shares

   $ 341,606,687     $ 341,256,687  

 

* As adjusted paid-in surplus reflects a deduction for the estimated offering expenses of the preferred shares offering borne by the Fund of $350,000.

For financial reporting purposes, the Fund is required to deduct the liquidation preference of its outstanding preferred shares from “net assets,” so long as the senior securities have redemption features that are not solely within the control of the Fund. Thus for accounting purposes, the Fund’s preferred shares will be treated as debt (rather than equity). For all regulatory purposes, the Fund’s preferred shares will be treated as equity (rather than debt).

 

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DESCRIPTION OF THE RIGHTS OFFERING

Terms of the Offering

The Fund is issuing to shareholders of record of Existing Preferred Shares as of February 14, 2018 (the “Record Date,” and such shareholders, the “Record Date Preferred Shareholders”) Rights to subscribe for the New Preferred Shares. Each Record Date Preferred Shareholder is being issued one non-transferable Right for each Existing Preferred Share owned on the Record Date. The Rights entitle the holders to acquire (i) for $50.00 in cash, (ii) by surrender of Existing Preferred Shares at liquidation preference, or (iii) for any combination of cash and such shares (the “Subscription Price”) one New Preferred Share for each one Right held. Rights may be exercised at any time during the period that commences on February 14, 2018, and ends at 5:00 PM Eastern Time on March 20, 2018 (the “Subscription Period”), unless otherwise extended. The right to acquire one additional New Preferred Share for each one Right held during the Subscription Period at the Subscription Price will be referred to in the remainder of this prospectus supplement as the “Subscription.” Rights will expire on the Expiration Date and thereafter may not be exercised. The New Preferred Shares will have a mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2025.

Rights will be evidenced by subscription certificates (“Subscription Certificates”) or may be uncertificated and evidenced by other appropriate documentation. The number of Rights issued to each holder will be stated on the Subscription Certificate delivered to the holder. The method by which Rights may be exercised and New Preferred Shares paid for is set forth below in “Method of Exercise of Rights” and “Payment for Shares.” A Rights holder will have no right to rescind a purchase after Computershare Trust Company, N.A. (the “Rights Agent”) has received payment. See “Payment for Shares” below. It is anticipated that the New Preferred Shares issued pursuant to an exercise of Rights will be listed on the NYSE.

Record Date Preferred Shareholders who fully exercise their Rights are entitled to subscribe for additional New Preferred Shares at the same Subscription Price pursuant to the over-subscription privilege, subject to certain limitations, allotment, and the right of the Board to eliminate the over-subscription privilege. See “Over-Subscription Privilege” below.

For purposes of determining the maximum number of shares a Record Date Preferred Shareholder may acquire pursuant to the offer, broker-dealers, trust companies, banks or others whose shares are held of record by Cede & Co. (“Cede”), as nominee for the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or by any other depository or nominee will be deemed to be the holders of the Rights that are held by Cede or such other depository or nominee on their behalf.

Nominees who hold the Fund’s Existing Preferred Shares for the account of others, such as banks, broker-dealers, trustees or depositories for securities, should notify the respective beneficial owners of such shares as soon as possible to ascertain such beneficial owners’ intentions and to obtain instructions with respect to the Rights. If the beneficial owner so instructs, the nominee will complete the Subscription Certificate and submit it to the Rights Agent with proper payment. In addition, beneficial owners of the Existing Preferred Shares or Rights held through such a nominee should contact the nominee and request the nominee to effect transactions in accordance with such beneficial owner’s instructions.

Series C Preferred Shares issued as a result of the Rights offering will not be record date shares for the Fund’s 2018 annual meeting, scheduled to be held on May 14, 2018.

The Series B Preferred Shares are puttable to the Fund during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2018, and you will receive documentation for effectuating this put. If you wish to exercise your Rights and purchase Series C Preferred Shares, DO NOT submit your Series B Preferred Shares for redemption pursuant to this put.

 

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Important Dates to Remember

Please note that the dates in the table below may change if the Rights offering is extended.

 

EVENT    DATE

Record Date

   February 14, 2018

Subscription Period*

   February 14, 2018 through March 20, 2018**

Expiration Date*

   March 20, 2018**

Payment for Shares and Subscription Certificate or Notice of Guaranteed Delivery Due*

   March 20, 2018**

Issuance Date

   March 26, 2018**

Confirmation Date

   March 29, 2018**

 

* A shareholder exercising Rights must deliver by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on March 20, 2018 (unless the offer is extended) either (a) a Subscription Certificate and payment for shares or (b) a notice of guaranteed delivery and payment for shares.
** Unless the offer is extended.

Over-Subscription Privilege

The Board has the right in its absolute discretion to eliminate the over-subscription privilege with respect to primary over-subscription shares if it considers it to be in the best interest of the Fund to do so. The Board may make that determination at any time, without prior notice to Rights holders or others, up to and including the fifth day following the Expiration Date. If the over-subscription privilege is not eliminated, it will operate as set forth below.

Record Date Preferred Shareholders who fully exercise their Rights are entitled to subscribe for additional New Preferred Shares at the same Subscription Price pursuant to the over-subscription privilege, subject to certain limitations, allotment, and the right of the Board to eliminate the over-subscription privilege.

Record Date Preferred Shareholders who fully exercise all Rights initially issued to them are entitled to buy those New Preferred Shares, referred to as “primary over-subscription shares,” that were not purchased by other holders of Rights at the same Subscription Price. If enough primary over-subscription shares are available, all such requests will be honored in full. If the requests for primary over-subscription shares exceed the primary over-subscription shares available, the available primary over-subscription shares (the “Excess Shares”) will be allocated pro rata among those fully exercising Record Date Preferred Shareholders who over-subscribe based on the number of Rights originally issued to them by the Fund. The allocation process may involve a series of allocations in order to assure that the total number of New Preferred Shares available for over-subscriptions is distributed on a pro rata basis. New Preferred Shares acquired pursuant to the over-subscription privilege are subject to allotment.

Record Date Preferred Shareholders who are fully exercising their Rights during the subscription period should indicate, on the Subscription Certificate that they submit with respect to the exercise of the Rights issued to them, how many New Preferred Shares they are willing to acquire pursuant to the over-subscription privilege.

The formula to be used in allocating the Excess Shares is as follows:

 

Shareholder’s Record Date Position

Total Record Date Position of All Over-Subscribers

   

 

X  Excess Shares Remaining

 

 

 

Banks, broker-dealers, trustees and other nominee holders of rights will be required to certify to the Rights Agent, before any over-subscription privilege may be exercised with respect to any particular beneficial owner, as to the aggregate number of Rights exercised during the Subscription Period and the number of New Preferred Shares subscribed for pursuant to the over-subscription privilege by such beneficial owner and that such beneficial owner’s Subscription was exercised in full. Nominee holder over-subscription forms and beneficial owner certification forms will be distributed to banks, broker-dealers, trustees and other nominee holders of rights with the Subscription Certificates.

 

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The Fund will not offer or sell any New Preferred Shares that are not subscribed for during the Subscription Period or pursuant to the over-subscription privilege.

The Fund has been advised that the Investment Adviser and each of the Fund’s trustees may exercise some or all of the Rights initially issued to them, and may request additional New Preferred Shares pursuant to the over-subscription privilege. In addition, Mario J. Gabelli or his affiliated entities may also purchase New Preferred Shares during the Subscription Period and pursuant to the over-subscription privilege.

Rights Agent

The Rights Agent is Computershare Trust Company, N.A. The Rights Agent will receive from the Fund an amount estimated to be $30,000 comprising the fee for its services and the reimbursement for certain expenses related to the Rights offering.

Inquiries

For additional information all holders of Rights should contact the Fund by telephone at 800-GABELLI or 914-921-5070, or by written request to The GDL Fund, One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422.

Administrative Agent

Morrow Sodali LLC is serving as administrative agent for this Rights offering. Morrow Sodali LLC will perform administrative services in connection with the Rights offering, including consultation and preparation in connection with the search of, and distribution of materials to, brokers and banks, and other nominees. Morrow Sodali LLC will also perform other administrative and back office services at the Fund’s authorization and instruction. For its services, Morrow Sodali LLC will receive a fee of $3,500 from the Fund, plus reimbursement of its out-of-pocket expenses.

Method of Exercise of Rights

Rights may be exercised by completing and signing the reverse side of the Subscription Certificate and mailing it in the envelope provided, or otherwise delivering the completed and signed Subscription Certificate to the Rights Agent, together with payment for the New Preferred Shares (including any surrender of Existing Preferred Shares) as described below under “Payment for Shares.” Rights may also be exercised through a Rights holder’s broker, who may charge the Rights holder a servicing fee in connection with such exercise.

Completed Subscription Certificates must be received by the Rights Agent prior to 5:00 PM Eastern Time on the Expiration Date (unless payment is effected by means of a notice of guaranteed delivery as described below under “Payment for Shares”). Your broker, bank, trust company or other intermediary may also impose a deadline for exercising Rights earlier than 5:00 PM, Eastern Time on the Expiration Date. The Subscription Certificate and payment should be delivered to the Rights Agent at the following address:

If By First Class Mail:

The GDL Fund

c/o Computershare Trust Company, N.A.

Attn: Voluntary Corporate Actions

PO Box 43011

Providence, RI 02940-3011

 

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If By Registered, Certified or Express Mail or Overnight Courier:

The GDL Fund

c/o Computershare Trust Company, N.A.

Voluntary Corporate Actions

250 Royall Street Suite V

Canton, MA 02021

Payment for Shares

Holders of Rights who acquire New Preferred Shares in the Subscription may choose between the following methods of payment:

(1) A holder of Rights can send the Subscription Certificate together with payment in the form of (i) a check; (ii) by surrender of Existing Preferred Shares at liquidation preference; or (iii) any combination of a check and such shares for the New Preferred Shares subscribed for in the Subscription and, if eligible, for any additional New Preferred Shares subscribed for pursuant to the over-subscription privilege, to the Rights Agent based on the Subscription Price of $50.00 per New Preferred Share. To be accepted, the payment (including surrender of the number of Existing Preferred Shares forming a portion of such payment), together with the executed Subscription Certificate, must be received by the Rights Agent at the addresses noted above prior to 5:00 PM Eastern Time on the Expiration Date. The Rights Agent will deposit all share purchase checks received by it prior to the final due date into a segregated account, and will hold any surrendered Existing Preferred Shares, in each case pending proration and distribution of New Preferred Shares. The Rights Agent will not accept cash as a means of payment for New Preferred Shares.

(2) Alternatively, a subscription will be accepted by the Rights Agent if, prior to 5:00 PM Eastern Time, on the Expiration Date, the Rights Agent has received a written notice of guaranteed delivery from a bank, a trust company, or a NYSE member, guaranteeing delivery of a properly completed and executed Subscription Certificate. In order for the notice of guaranteed delivery to be valid, full payment (by check, surrender of Existing Preferred Shares at liquidation preference, or any combination of check and such shares, as described above) for the New Preferred Shares subscribed for in the Subscription and, if eligible, for any additional New Preferred Shares subscribed for pursuant to the oversubscription privilege, at the Subscription Price of $50.00 per New Preferred Share must be received with the notice. The Rights Agent will not honor a notice of guaranteed delivery if a properly completed and executed Subscription Certificate is not received by the Rights Agent by the close of business on the second business day after the Expiration Date. The notice of guaranteed delivery must be emailed to the Rights Agent at canoticeofguarantee@computershare.com or delivered to the Rights Agent at one of the addresses noted above.

EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE SET FORTH BELOW AND EXCEPT FOR SURRENDERS OF EXISTING PREFERRED SHARES, A PAYMENT PURSUANT TO THIS METHOD MUST BE IN UNITED STATES DOLLARS BY CHECK DRAWN ON A BANK LOCATED IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, MUST BE PAYABLE TO THE GDL FUND AND MUST ACCOMPANY AN EXECUTED SUBSCRIPTION CERTIFICATE TO BE ACCEPTED.

Any payment required from a holder of Rights must be received by the Rights Agent prior to 5:00 PM Eastern Time on the Expiration Date. All payments by a holder of Rights must be in United States dollars check drawn on a bank located in the continental United States and payable to The GDL Fund. Whichever of the two methods of payment described above is used, issuance and delivery of certificates for the New Preferred Shares purchased are subject to collection of checks and Existing Preferred Shares.

Within seven business days following the Expiration Date (the “Confirmation Date”), a confirmation will be sent by the Rights Agent to each holder of Rights (or, if the Existing Preferred Shares are held by Cede or any

 

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other depository or nominee, to Cede or such other depository or nominee), showing (i) the number of New Preferred Shares acquired pursuant to the Subscription, (ii) the number of New Preferred Shares, if any, acquired pursuant to the over-subscription privilege, and (iii) the per share and total purchase price for the New Preferred Shares. Any payment required from a holder of Rights must be received by the Rights Agent on the Expiration Date. Any excess payment to be refunded by the Fund to a holder of Rights will be mailed by the Rights Agent to the holder within seven business days after the Expiration Date. If the aggregate Subscription Price paid by a Record Date Preferred Shareholder exceeds the amount necessary to purchase the number of Series C Preferred Shares for which the Record Date Preferred Shareholder has indicted an intention to subscribe on the subscription certificate, then the Record Date Preferred Shareholder will be deemed to have exercised first the primary subscription Right (if not already fully exercised), and second the over-subscription privilege to the full extent of the excess payment tendered.

A Rights holder will have no right to rescind a purchase after the Rights Agent has received payment by delivery of Existing Preferred Shares and/or a check, which must include the name of the shareholder on the check.

If a holder of Rights who acquires New Preferred Shares pursuant to the Subscription does not make payment of any amounts due, the Fund reserves the right to take any or all of the following actions: (i) find other purchasers for such subscribed-for and unpaid-for New Preferred Shares; (ii) apply any payment actually received by it toward the purchase of the greatest whole number of New Preferred Shares which could be acquired by such holder upon exercise of the Subscription or over-subscription privilege; and (iii) exercise any and all other rights or remedies to which it may be entitled, including, without limitation, the right to set off against payments actually received by it with respect to such subscribed New Preferred Shares and to enforce the relevant guaranty of payment.

Holders, such as broker-dealers, trustees or depositories for securities, who hold Existing Preferred Shares for the account of others, should notify the respective beneficial owners of the Existing Preferred Shares as soon as possible to ascertain such beneficial owners’ intentions and to obtain instructions with respect to the Rights. If the beneficial owner so instructs, the record holder of the Rights should complete Subscription Certificates and submit them to the Rights Agent with the proper payment. In addition, beneficial owners of Existing Preferred Shares or Rights held through such a holder should contact the holder and request the holder to effect transactions in accordance with the beneficial owner’s instructions.

THE INSTRUCTIONS ACCOMPANYING THE SUBSCRIPTION CERTIFICATES SHOULD BE READ CAREFULLY AND FOLLOWED IN DETAIL. DO NOT SEND SUBSCRIPTION CERTIFICATES TO THE FUND.

THE METHOD OF DELIVERY OF SUBSCRIPTION CERTIFICATES AND PAYMENT OF THE SUBSCRIPTION PRICE TO THE RIGHTS AGENT WILL BE AT THE ELECTION AND RISK OF THE RIGHTS HOLDERS, BUT IF SENT BY MAIL IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT THE CERTIFICATES AND PAYMENTS BE SENT BY REGISTERED MAIL, PROPERLY INSURED, WITH RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED, AND THAT A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF DAYS BE ALLOWED TO ENSURE DELIVERY TO THE RIGHTS AGENT AND CLEARANCE OF PAYMENT PRIOR TO 5:00 PM EASTERN TIME, ON THE EXPIRATION DATE.

All questions concerning the timeliness, validity, form and eligibility of any exercise of Rights will be determined by the Fund, whose determinations will be final and binding. The Fund in its sole discretion may waive any defect or irregularity, or permit a defect or irregularity to be corrected within such time as it may determine, or reject the purported exercise of any Right. Subscriptions will not be deemed to have been received or accepted until all irregularities have been waived or cured within such time as the Fund determines in its sole discretion. Neither the Fund nor the Rights Agent will be under any duty to give notification of any defect or irregularity in connection with the submission of Subscription Certificates or incur any liability for failure to give such notification.

 

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Foreign Restrictions

Subscription Certificates will not be mailed to Record Date Preferred Shareholders whose addresses are outside the United States (for these purposes, the United States includes the District of Columbia and the territories and possessions of the United States).

Risks

Under-Subscription. It is possible that the Rights offering will not be fully subscribed. Under-subscription of the Rights offering would have an impact on the net proceeds of the Rights offering, whether the Fund achieves any benefits and, depending on the Fund’s portfolio positioning and the level of cash and cash equivalents held, the Fund’s ability to fund calls or required redemptions of the Series B Preferred Shares.

The Series B Preferred Shares are puttable to the Fund during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2018 and have a mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2020. As of December 31, 2017, the liquidation preference of the Series B Preferred Shares represented approximately 39% of the Fund’s managed assets (total assets less liabilities other than the liquidation preference of the Series B Preferred Shares). To the extent the Fund is unable to obtain sufficient replacement financing for the Series B Preferred Shares though this Rights offering or otherwise, it will have to fund any calls or required redemptions of Series B Preferred Shares with portfolio assets and maintaining sufficient liquidity to meet these obligations could be disruptive to the implementation of the Fund’s investment strategy.

Benefits to Investment Adviser. The Investment Adviser will benefit from the Rights offering, in part, because the investment advisory fee paid by the Fund to the Investment Adviser is based on the Fund’s managed assets (including the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares). This Rights offering, if fully subscribed, would allow the Fund to maintain its existing amount of leverage, and therefore the size of the asset base on which the Investment Adviser’s fee is calculated relative to net assets attributable to common shares, whereas using portfolio assets to fund calls or required redemptions of Series B Preferred Shares would reduce the Fund’s managed assets and thus the size of the asset base on which the Investment Adviser’s fee is calculated relative to net assets attributable to common shares. All else being equal, this would allow the Investment Adviser to maintain its existing fee levels.

Non-Transferability. You may not sell, transfer, assign or give away your Rights. Because the Rights are non-transferable (other than by operation of law), there is no market or other means for you to directly realize any value associated with the Rights. You must exercise the Rights to realize any potential value from them.

USE OF PROCEEDS

The Fund estimates the net proceeds of the Offer to be approximately $130,851,250. This figure is based on the Subscription Price per share of $50.00 and assumes all new Series C Preferred Shares offered are sold and that the expenses related to the Offer estimated at approximately $350,000 are paid.

The Fund currently intends to call within three months after expiration of the Subscription Period all outstanding Series B Preferred Shares, which have an annual dividend rate of 3.00% and a mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2020, that are not surrendered by holders to purchase Series C Preferred Shares in the offering. Pending such redemption, the proceeds will be held in high quality short term debt securities and instruments.

 

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ASSET COVERAGE RATIO

As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund may issue debt and/or preferred shares with the condition that immediately after issuance the value of its total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, exceeds 300% of the amount of the debt outstanding and exceeds 200% of the sum of the amount of debt and preferred shares outstanding. The Fund’s preferred shares are expected to have an initial asset coverage on the date of issuance of approximately 39%, assuming the surrender in connection with this offering, or the redemption, in accordance with the Fund’s intended use of proceeds in this offering, of the Series B Preferred Shares. As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund will not be permitted to declare any dividend, or declare any other distribution, upon any outstanding common shares, or repurchase common shares, unless, in every such case, all preferred shares issued by the Fund have at the time of declaration of any such dividend or distribution or at the time of any such purchase an asset coverage of at least 200% (“1940 Act Asset Coverage Requirement”) after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or purchase price, as the case may be.

Because the Series C Preferred Shares are being issued for the purpose of refinancing the Series B Preferred Shares, the 1940 Act generally permits the Fund to ignore, for the purpose of these asset coverage requirements, the liquidation value of any Series B Preferred Shares that are not surrendered as consideration for the Series C Preferred Shares pending the redemption of any such remaining Series B Preferred Shares in accordance with their terms, assuming the offering is fully subscribed.

Additional information regarding 1940 Act Asset Coverage Requirements is contained in the Prospectus under the headings “Investment Objective and Policies—Current Investment Practices—Leverage” and “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Common Shares—Leverage Risk.”

 

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SPECIAL FEATURES AND RISKS OF THE SERIES C PREFERRED SHARES

The following is a brief description of the terms of the Series C Preferred Shares. This is not a complete description and is subject to and entirely qualified by reference to the Fund’s Statement of Preferences for the Series C Preferred Shares (the “Statement of Preferences”). The Statement of Preferences will be attached as an exhibit to post-effective amendment number 1 to the Fund’s registration statement. Copies may be obtained as described under “Additional Information” in the accompanying Prospectus. Any capitalized terms in this section that are not defined have the meaning assigned to them in the Statement of Preferences.

The Fund’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust, as amended from time to time, provides that the Board may authorize and issue classes of shares with rights and preferences as determined by the Board, by action of the Board without the approval of the holders of the common shares. Currently, an unlimited number of the Fund’s shares are available for classification by the Board as preferred shares, par value $0.001 per share. The Statement of Preferences authorizes the issuance of up to 2,624,025 Series C Preferred Shares. All Series C Preferred Shares will have a Liquidation Preference of $50.00 per share plus accumulated and unpaid dividends. Holders of Series C Preferred Shares shall be entitled to receive, when, as and if declared by, or under authority granted by the Board, out of funds legally available therefor, cumulative cash dividends and distributions at the rates described below under “—Dividends.” Dividends and distributions on Series C Preferred Shares will accumulate from the date of their original issue, which is expected to be March 26, 2018.

The Series C Preferred Shares, when issued by the Fund and paid for pursuant to the terms of this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, will be fully paid and non-assessable and will have no preemptive, exchange or conversion rights. Any Series C Preferred Shares purchased or redeemed by the Fund will, after such purchase or redemption, have the status of authorized but unissued preferred shares. The Board may by resolution classify or reclassify any authorized and unissued Series C Preferred Shares from time to time by setting or changing the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends and distributions, and qualifications or terms or conditions of redemption of such shares.

Any dividend payment made on the Series C Preferred Shares will first be credited against the dividends and distributions accumulated with respect to the earliest Dividend Period (as defined below) for which dividends and distributions have not been paid.

The Series C Preferred Shares will not be rated by any rating agency.

The disclosure set forth in this section and under the headings “Asset Coverage Ratio” and “Summary of the Terms of the Series C Preferred Shares” is intended to be a summary of the material provisions of the Series C Preferred Shares. Since this disclosure is only a summary, you should refer to the Statement of Preferences for a complete description of the obligations of the Fund and your rights. The disclosure set forth in this section and under the headings “Asset Coverage Ratio” and “Summary of the Terms of the Series C Preferred Shares” supplements the description of the preferred shares set forth under the caption “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares” in the accompanying Prospectus, and in the event that any provision described in the disclosure set forth in this section and under the headings “Asset Coverage Ratio” and “Summary of the Terms of the Series C Preferred Shares” is inconsistent with any description contained in the accompanying Prospectus, the disclosure set forth in this section and under the headings “Asset Coverage Ratio” and “Summary of the Terms of the Series C Preferred Shares” will apply and supersede the description in the accompanying Prospectus.

Dividends

Quarterly dividend payments are expected to be made when, as and if declared by the Board on March 26, June 26, September 26, and December 26 of each year (each, a “Dividend Payment Date”), commencing on the

 

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Dividend Payment Date following the date on which such shares are originally issued, which is expected to be March 26, 2018 (the “Date of Original Issue”) (if any Dividend Payment Date is not a “Business Day,” as that term is defined in the Statement of Preferences, then on the next succeeding Business Day). As used herein, each period beginning on and including a Dividend Payment Date (or beginning on the Date of Original Issue, in the case of the first Dividend Period after the issuance of such Series C Preferred Shares) and ending on but excluding the next succeeding Dividend Payment Date is referred to as a “Dividend Period.” The Dividend Period beginning on the Date of Original Issue, which constitutes the first Dividend Period, together with the next three Dividend Periods, are referred to herein as “Year 1,” the next four Dividend Periods are referred to as “Year 2,” and so on.

For the Dividend Periods occurring in Year 1, the Statement of Preferences provides for quarterly dividends to be paid at an annualized rate of 4.00% based on the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares. During the last Dividend Period occurring in Year 1, the Board will determine and publicly announce at least 30 days prior to the end of such Dividend Period a fixed annual dividend rate that will apply for the Dividend Periods occurring in Year 2 and Year 3. Further, during the last Dividend Period occurring in Year 3, the Board will determine and publicly announce at least 30 days prior to the end of such Dividend Period a fixed annual dividend rate that will apply for all remaining Dividend Periods prior to the mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2025. Each reset dividend rate will be determined by the Board or a committee thereof in its sole discretion, and the Statement of Preferences provides that such rate will be not less than an annualized rate of 4.00% and not greater than an annualized rate of 6.00% based on the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares.

Dividends and distributions will be paid to holders of record of Series C Preferred Shares as they appear on the stock register of the Fund at the close of business on the fifth preceding Business Day of a Dividend Payment Date in preference to dividends and distributions on common shares and any other capital shares of the Fund ranking junior to the Series C Preferred Shares in payment of dividends and distributions. Dividends and distributions on Series C Preferred Shares shall accumulate from the date on which such Series C Preferred Shares are originally issued. Dividends and distributions on account of arrears for any past Dividend Period or in connection with the redemption of Series C Preferred Shares may be declared and paid at any time, without reference to any Dividend Payment Date, to holders of record on such date not exceeding 30 days preceding the payment date thereof as shall be fixed by the Board.

No full dividends and distributions shall be declared or paid on Series C Preferred Shares for any Dividend Period or part thereof unless full cumulative dividends and distributions due through the most recent Dividend Payment Dates for all series of preferred shares of the Fund ranking on a parity with the Series C Preferred Shares as to the payment of dividends and distributions have been or contemporaneously are declared and paid through the most recent Dividend Payment Dates. If full cumulative dividends and distributions due have not been paid on all such outstanding preferred shares, any dividends and distributions being paid on such preferred shares (including the Series C Preferred Shares) will be paid as nearly pro rata as possible in proportion to the respective amounts of dividends and distributions accumulated but unpaid on each such series of preferred shares on the relevant Dividend Payment Date.

Voting Rights

Except as otherwise provided in the Fund’s governing documents or a resolution of the Board or its delegatee, or as required by applicable law, holders of Series C Preferred Shares shall have no power to vote on any matter except matters submitted to a vote of the Fund’s common shares. In any matter submitted to a vote of the holders of the common shares, each holder of Series C Preferred Shares shall be entitled to one vote for each Series C Preferred Share held and the holders of all outstanding preferred shares, including Series C Preferred Shares, and the common shares shall vote together as a single class; provided, however, that the holders of the outstanding preferred shares, including Series C Preferred Shares, shall be entitled, as a class, to the exclusion of the holders of all other securities and classes of capital shares of the Fund, to elect two of the Fund’s trustees.

 

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During any period in which any one or more of the conditions described below shall exist (such period being referred to herein as a “Voting Period”), the number and/or composition of trustees constituting the Board shall be adjusted as necessary to permit the holders of outstanding preferred shares, including the Series C Preferred Shares, voting separately as one class (to the exclusion of the holders of all other securities and classes of capital shares of the Fund) to elect the number of trustees that, when added to the two trustees elected exclusively by the holders of outstanding preferred shares, would constitute a simple majority of the Board as so adjusted. The Fund and the Board shall take all necessary actions, including effecting the removal of trustees or amendment of the Fund’s governing documents, to effect an adjustment of the number and/or composition of trustees as described in the preceding sentence.

A Voting Period shall commence:

(i) if at any time accumulated dividends and distributions on the outstanding Series C Preferred Shares equal to at least two full years’ dividends and distributions shall be due and unpaid; or

(ii) if at any time holders of any other preferred shares are entitled to elect a majority of the trustees of the Fund under the 1940 Act or Statement of Preferences creating such shares.

Additionally, the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding preferred shares (as defined in the 1940 Act), voting as a separate class, will be required to amend, alter or repeal any of the provisions of the Statement of Preferences so as to in the aggregate adversely affect the rights and preferences set forth in the Statement of Preferences. To the extent permitted under the 1940 Act, in the event that more than one series of the Fund’s preferred shares is outstanding, the Fund will not effect any of the actions set forth in the preceding sentence which in the aggregate adversely affects the rights and preferences for a series of preferred shares differently than such rights and preferences for any other series of preferred shares without the affirmative vote of the holders of at least a majority (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund’s preferred shares outstanding of each series adversely affected (each such adversely affected series voting separately as a class to the extent its rights are affected differently). The holders of the Series C Preferred Shares are not entitled to vote on any matter that affects the rights or interests of only one or more other series of the Fund’s preferred shares. The class vote of holders of preferred shares described above will in each case be in addition to any other vote required to authorize the action in question. An increase in the number of authorized preferred shares or the issuance of additional shares of any series of preferred shares (including Series C Preferred Shares) shall not in and of itself be considered to adversely affect the rights and preferences of the Fund’s preferred shares.

Additional details regarding the voting rights of Series C Preferred Shares are included in the Prospectus under “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares—Voting Rights.”

Puts and Redemptions

Holder Put Rights. The Fund will redeem all or any part of the Series C Preferred Shares that holders have properly submitted for redemption and not withdrawn during the 30-day period prior to each of March 26, 2020 and March 26, 2022, at the Liquidation Preference, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends.

Optional Redemptions. The Fund may redeem all or any part of the Series C Preferred Shares, upon not less than 30 nor more than 60 days’ prior notice, at the Liquidation Preference, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends, on March 26, 2021 or March 26, 2023. The Series C Preferred Shares are not otherwise subject to optional redemption by the Fund unless such redemption is necessary, in the judgment of the Board, to maintain the Fund’s status as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code. Reference is also made to the heading “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares—Redemption Procedures” in the Prospectus.

Mandatory Redemptions. The Fund is required to redeem the Series C Preferred Shares on March 26, 2025 at the Liquidation Preference, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends. Reference is also made to the

 

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following headings in the Prospectus: “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares—Asset Maintenance Requirements,” “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares—Mandatory Redemption Relating to Asset Coverage Requirements” and “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares—Redemption Procedures.”

The cure period for 1940 Act asset coverage failures for the Series C Preferred Shares is 60 days and the excess amount that may be redeemed in the case of a 1940 Act asset coverage failure is 10% (i.e., the Fund may redeem an additional number of preferred shares, including Series C Preferred Shares, which, when aggregated with all other preferred shares redeemed by the Fund, permits the Fund to have with respect to the preferred shares, including Series C Preferred Shares, remaining outstanding after such redemption a 1940 Act asset coverage of as great as 220%).

Reference is also made to the heading “Asset Coverage Ratio” in this Prospectus Supplement regarding the application of the 1940 Act’s asset coverage requirements, and thus these and the other terms of the Series C Preferred Shares, in the context of this refinancing transaction.

Liquidation

In the event of any liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the affairs of the Fund, whether voluntary or involuntary, the holders of Series C Preferred Shares shall be entitled to receive out of the assets of the Fund available for distribution to shareholders, after satisfying claims of creditors but before any distribution or payment shall be made in respect of the Fund’s common shares or any other shares of the Fund ranking junior to the Series C Preferred Shares as to liquidation payments, a liquidation distribution in the amount of $50.00 per share, plus an amount equal to all unpaid dividends and distributions accumulated to and including the date fixed for such distribution or payment (whether or not earned or declared by the Fund, but excluding interest thereon), and such holders shall be entitled to no further participation in any distribution or payment in connection with any such liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Fund.

If, upon any liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the affairs of the Fund, whether voluntary or involuntary, the assets of the Fund available for distribution among the holders of all outstanding Series C Preferred Shares and all outstanding shares of any other series of the Fund’s preferred shares ranking on a parity with the Series C Preferred Shares as to payment upon liquidation shall be insufficient to permit the payment in full to such holders of Series C Preferred Shares of the Liquidation Preference plus accumulated and unpaid dividends and distributions and the amounts due upon liquidation with respect to all outstanding shares of such other series of preferred shares of the Fund, then such available assets shall be distributed among the holders of Series C Preferred Shares and such other series of preferred shares of the Fund ratably in proportion to the respective preferential liquidation amounts to which they are entitled. Unless and until the Liquidation Preference plus accumulated and unpaid dividends and distributions has been paid in full to the holders of Series C Preferred Shares, no dividends or distributions will be made to holders of the Fund’s common shares or any other shares of the Fund ranking junior to the Series C Preferred Shares as to liquidation.

Stock Exchange Listing

An application will be made to list the Series C Preferred Shares on the NYSE. The Series C Preferred Shares are expected to commence trading on the NYSE within 30 days of the date of issuance.

 

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Risks of Investing in the Series C Preferred Shares

Risk is inherent in all investing. Therefore, before investing in the Series C Preferred Shares you should consider the risks associated with such an investment carefully. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” in the Prospectus. Primary risks specially associated with an investment in the Series C Preferred Shares include:

Market Price Risk. The market price for the Series C Preferred Shares will be influenced by changes in interest rates, the perceived credit quality of the Series C Preferred Shares and other factors, and may be higher or lower than the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares. There is currently no market for the Series C Preferred Shares, so the market price for the Series C Preferred Shares cannot yet be determined. After a holder of Series B Preferred Shares subscribes for and purchases Series C Preferred Shares, and if a market is established for the Series C Preferred Shares, the public trading price of the Series C Preferred Shares may decline, in which case such holder would suffer an immediate unrealized loss.

Dividend Rate Risk. Holders of the Series C Preferred Shares will receive dividends and distributions on a quarterly basis. During Year 1, as defined herein, the annual dividend rate will be 4.00%. Thereafter, the Board, or a committee appointed by the Board, will have sole discretion to set the dividend rate, provided that the annual dividend rate must be at least 4.00% and at most 6.00%. The dividend reset dates occur at the end of Year 1 and Year 3 of the term of the Series C Preferred Shares.

If the Board or a committee thereof increases the dividend rate at the first reset date, there is no guarantee that it will not decrease the dividend rate (though not below 4%) at the second reset date. The dividend rate set at the second reset date applies for the final four years of the term of the Series C Preferred Shares. Therefore, investors are subject to a greater risk that the Series C Preferred Shares will decline in value during the last four years of the term of the Series C Preferred Shares if interest rates increase above the dividend rate set for the last four years of the term of the Series C Preferred Shares. This risk may be mitigated by the holder’s right to put at the end of the fourth year of the term of the Series C Preferred Shares.

Liquidity Risk. Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for the Series C Preferred Shares. As noted above, an application will be made to list the Series C Preferred Shares on the NYSE. However, during an initial period which is not expected to exceed 30 days after the date of its issuance, the Series C Preferred Shares will not be listed on any securities exchange. The dealer manager for the Rights offering may make a market in the Series C Preferred Shares; however, it has no obligation to do so. No assurances can be provided that listing on any securities exchange or market making by the dealer manager will result in the market for Series C Preferred Shares being liquid at any time.

Redemption Risk. The Fund may at any time redeem Series C Preferred Shares to the extent necessary to meet regulatory asset coverage requirements. For example, if the value of the Fund’s investment portfolio declines, thereby reducing the asset coverage for the Series C Preferred Shares, the Fund may be obligated under the terms of the Series C Preferred Shares to redeem Series C Preferred Shares. In addition, the Fund will be able to call the Series C Preferred Shares at the option of the Fund on March 26, 2021 and March 26, 2023. Investors may not be able to reinvest the proceeds of any redemption in an investment providing the same or a better rate than that of the Series C Preferred Shares. Although unlikely (except in exceptional circumstances), precipitous declines in the value of the Fund’s assets could result in the Fund having insufficient assets to redeem all of the Series C Preferred Shares for full redemption price.

Distribution Risk. The Fund may not meet the asset coverage requirements or earn sufficient income from its investments to make distributions on the Series C Preferred Shares, in which case the distributions on the Series C Preferred Shares would be considered a return of capital. Additionally, if the Fund were to issue notes, the Fund’s failure to meet certain asset coverage requirements with respect to such notes would prohibit the Fund from making distributions on the Series C Preferred Shares; any bank borrowings the Fund may enter into in the future could contain similarly restrictive terms. See “Description of the Securities—Notes—Limitations” in the Prospectus.

 

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Subordination Risk. The Series C Preferred Shares are not an obligation of the Fund. The Series C Preferred Shares are junior in respect of distributions and liquidation preference to any indebtedness incurred by the Fund, and are of the same ranking as the distributions and liquidation preference of the Existing Preferred Shares. The Series C Preferred Shares are subject to greater credit risk than any of the Fund’s debt instruments, which would be of higher priority in the Fund’s capital structure.

Interest Rate Risk. The Series C Preferred Shares pay dividends at a fixed rate that resets at the end of the first and third years of the term of the Series C Preferred Shares, as described in “Special Features and Risks of the Series C Preferred Shares—Dividends.” Prices of fixed income investments tend to vary inversely with changes in market yields. The market yields on securities comparable to the Series C Preferred Shares may increase, which would likely result in a decline in the value of the Series C Preferred Shares. Additionally, if interest rates rise, securities comparable to the Series C Preferred Shares may pay higher dividend rates and holders of the Series C Preferred Shares may not be able to sell the Series C Preferred Shares in the market at their Liquidation Preference and reinvest the proceeds at market rates. Likewise, the holders of the Series C Preferred Shares only have limited rights to put their Series C Preferred Shares to the Fund at the Liquidation Preference, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends, and this may also limit holders’ ability to sell the Series C Preferred Shares at their Liquidation Preference and reinvest the proceeds at market interest rates. The risks associated with rising interest rates are heightened given the historically low interest rate environment as of the date of this Prospectus Supplement. The Federal Reserve has begun to raise the Federal Funds rate, and each increase results in more pronounced interest rate risk in the current market environment.

The Investment Adviser and Mr. Gabelli have Certain Conflicts of Interest Relating to the Preferred Shares. As of the date of this Prospectus Supplement, Mario Gabelli was the beneficial owner of 489,300 Series B Preferred Shares, representing 18.6% of the Fund’s outstanding Series B Preferred Shares. The other trustees collectively own less than 1% of the Series B Preferred Shares. Mr. Gabelli has advised the Fund that he may participate in the Rights offering to purchase Series C Preferred Shares. The Board, or a committee thereof, will determine the dividend rate on the Series C Preferred Shares at such times and in such manner as is specified in this Prospectus Supplement. Because of the possible perception of a conflict of interest, Mr. Gabelli has agreed to recuse himself from all discussions by the Board or committee thereof related to the determination of the dividend rate for the Series C Preferred Shares for any period following initial issuance.

The Investment Adviser receives advisory compensation in respect of the managed assets of the Fund, including assets representing the Liquidation Preference of the Series C Preferred Shares, even if the Fund does not earn an incremental return from such assets for the benefit of the common shareholders. In addition, Mr. Gabelli receives incentive-based variable compensation based on a percentage of net revenues received by the Investment Adviser for managing the Fund, which will be greater to the extent that the Fund has preferred shares outstanding. Consequently, both the Investment Adviser, which is controlled by Mr. Gabelli, and Mr. Gabelli himself have a conflict of interest with respect to the Series C Preferred Shares inasmuch as each stands to benefit from the issuance of such shares whether or not such issuance benefits holders of the common shares.

 

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EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLAN CONSIDERATIONS

Preferred Shareholders that are employee benefit plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”) (including corporate savings and 401(k) plans each, an ERISA Plan), Keogh plans of self-employed individuals, Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRAs”) and other plans subject to Section 4975 of the Code (each a “Plan” and collectively, the “Plans”) should be aware that additional contributions of cash or Existing Preferred Shares to the Plan (other than rollover contributions or trustee-to-trustee transfers from other Plans) made in order to exercise Rights would be treated as Plan contributions and, when taken together with contributions previously made, may subject a Plan to excise taxes for excess or nondeductible contributions. In the case of Plans qualified under Section 401(a) of the Code and certain other plans, additional contributions of cash or Existing Preferred Shares could cause the maximum contribution limitations of Section 415 of the Code or other qualification rules to be violated. Plans contemplating the receipt of additional contributions of cash or Existing Preferred Shares to exercise Rights should consult with their counsel prior to receiving or using such contributions.

Each fiduciary of a Plan should consider, to the extent applicable, the fiduciary standards of ERISA and the Code in the context of the Plan’s particular circumstances before making any decision regarding the exercise or other disposition of rights, and any investment in Series C Preferred Shares as a consequence thereof. Under ERISA and the Code, any person who exercises any discretionary authority or control over the administration of a Plan or the management or disposition of the assets of a Plan, or who renders investment advice for a fee or other compensation to a Plan, is generally considered to be a fiduciary of the Plan. Accordingly, among other factors, the fiduciary should consider whether the exercise and investment would satisfy the prudence and diversification requirements of ERISA, to the extent applicable, and would be consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities, and the documents and instruments governing the Plan.

To the extent the Fund, the Investment Adviser or certain of their respective affiliates might be considered a “party in interest” or a “disqualified person” with respect to a Plan, prohibited transactions may arise in connection with exercises, transfers or other dispositions of Rights pursuant to an available exemption. In this regard the U.S. Department of Labor has issued prohibited transaction class exemptions that may apply. These exemptions include transactions effected on behalf of a Plan by a “qualified professional asset manager” (prohibited transaction exemption 84-14) or an “in-house asset manager” (prohibited transaction exemption 96-23), transactions involving insurance company general accounts (prohibited transaction exemption 95-60), transactions involving insurance company pooled separate accounts (prohibited transaction exemption 90-1), and transactions involving bank collective investment funds (prohibited transaction exemption 91-38). In addition, Section 408(b)(17) of ERISA and Section 4975(d)(20) of the Code provide relief from the prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA and Section 4975 of the Code for certain transactions, provided that neither the issuer of the securities nor any of its affiliates (directly or indirectly) have or exercise any discretionary authority or control or render any investment advice with respect to the assets of any Plan involved in the transaction and provided further that the Plan receives no less and pays no more than “adequate consideration” (within the meaning of Section 408(b)(17) of ERISA and Section 4975(f)(10) of the Code). There can be no assurance that all of the conditions of any such exemptions will be satisfied with respect to transactions involving Rights or any Series C Preferred Shares obtained pursuant to any Rights.

Governmental plans, certain church plans and non-U.S. plans may not be subject to the prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA or the Code but may be subject to similar laws (“Similar Laws”). Fiduciaries of any such plans should consult with counsel before exercise or transfer of Rights.

Because of the foregoing, the person making the decision on behalf of a Plan or a governmental, church or foreign plan will be deemed to represent on behalf of itself and the plan that the exercise of or disposition of any Rights will not result in a non-exempt prohibited transaction under ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code or any applicable Similar Law.

 

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In addition, the person making any decision on behalf of a Plan to exercise or transfer Rights (the “Plan Fiduciary”), at all times will be deemed to have represented, warranted and acknowledged that (1) neither the Fund nor the Investment Adviser, nor any of their respective affiliates (the “Transaction Parties”) has provided or will provide advice with respect to the disposition of Rights by the Plan, and the Plan Fiduciary either: (a) is a bank as defined in Section 202 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”), or similar institution that is regulated and supervised and subject to periodic examination by a state or federal agency; (b) is an insurance carrier which is qualified under the laws of more than one state to perform the services of managing, acquiring or disposing of assets of a Plan; (c) is an investment adviser registered under the Advisers Act, or, if not registered an as investment adviser under the Advisers Act by reason of paragraph (1) of Section 203A of the Advisers Act, is registered as an investment adviser under the laws of the state in which it maintains its principal office and place of business; (d) is a broker-dealer registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended; or (e) has, and at all times during the transactions contemplated hereunder will have, total assets of at least U.S. $50,000,000 under its management or control (provided that this clause (e) shall not be satisfied if the Plan Fiduciary is either (i) the owner or a relative of the owner of a Shareholder that is an individual retirement account (with respect to such account), or (ii) a participant or beneficiary of the Plan ); (2) the Plan Fiduciary is capable of evaluating investment risks independently, both in general and with respect to particular transactions and investment strategies, including the transactions pursuant hereto by the Plan; (3) the Plan Fiduciary is a “fiduciary” with respect to the Plan within the meaning of Section 3(21) of ERISA, Section 4975 of the Code, or both, and is responsible for exercising independent judgment in evaluating the Plan’s exercise or transfer of any Rights; (4) none of the Transaction Parties has exercised any authority to cause the Plan to take any action regarding the Rights; (5) none of the Transaction Parties receives a fee or other compensation from the Plan or Plan Fiduciary for the provision of investment advice in connection with the Rights; and (6) the Plan Fiduciary has been informed by the Transaction Parties: (a) that none of the Transaction Parties is undertaking to provide impartial investment advice or to give advice in a fiduciary capacity, and that no such entity has given investment advice or otherwise made a recommendation, in connection with the Plan’s exercise or other disposition of Rights; and (b) of the existence and nature of the Transaction Parties’ financial interests with respect to the Rights and Series C Preferred Shares. The above representations are intended to comply with the Department of Labor’s regulation Sections 29 C.F.R. 2510.3-21(a) and (c)(1) as promulgated on April 8, 2016 (81 Fed. Reg. 20,997). If these regulations are revoked, repealed or no longer effective, these representations shall be deemed to be no longer in effect. None of the Transaction Parties is undertaking to provide impartial investment advice, or to give advice in a fiduciary capacity, in connection with the sale or exercise of Rights by any Plan.

ERISA contains fiduciary responsibility requirements, and ERISA and the Code contain prohibited transaction rules that may impact the exercise or transfer of Rights. Due to the complexity of these rules and the penalties for non-compliance, Plans should consult with their counsel regarding the consequences of their exercise or transfer of Rights under ERISA and the Code.

RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS SUPPLEMENT

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Congress has passed, and the President has recently signed into law, a tax reform bill that will, among other things, significantly change the taxation of business entities (including by significantly lowering corporate tax rates), the deductibility of interest expense, and the timing in which certain income items are recognized (potentially including, in certain cases, income from debt and other financial instruments). We cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to our business. Until we can evaluate how these changes impact our business and the business of our competitors over the long term, we will not know if, overall, we will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.

 

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TAXATION

The following is a general summary of the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Rights offering to holders who are “U.S. Persons,” as defined below. The following summary supplements the discussion set forth in the accompanying Prospectus and SAI under the headings “Taxation” and is subject to the qualifications and assumptions set forth therein. Please refer to such discussion for a general description of the consequences of investing in Series C Preferred Shares.

The summary below is based upon the Code, Treasury regulations promulgated thereunder (“Treasury regulations”), judicial authorities, published positions of the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and other applicable authorities, all as in effect on the date hereof and all of which are subject to change or differing interpretations possibly with retroactive effect. The discussion does not address all of the tax consequences that may be relevant to a particular investor, including those subject to special treatment under U.S. federal income tax laws such as financial institutions, insurance companies, broker-dealers, tax-exempt organizations, non-U.S. persons or persons holding Rights or preferred shares as part of a straddle or conversion transaction. In addition, this discussion is limited to holders that hold Existing Preferred Shares as capital assets and, except as otherwise expressly indicated, assumes any exercise of Rights will be for cash rather than through a surrender of Existing Preferred Shares. Except as otherwise stated herein, no ruling has been or will be sought from the IRS regarding any matter discussed herein. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax aspects set forth below. Investors should consult their tax advisors as to the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Rights offering that are relevant to their particular situations, as well as the effects of state, local and non-U.S. tax laws.

For purposes of this discussion, a U.S. person means a holder that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, any one of the following:

 

    an individual who is a citizen or resident of the U.S.;

 

    a corporation or other entity treated as a corporation that is created or organized in or under the laws of the U.S. or any state thereof or the District of Columbia;

 

    a trust if a court within the U.S. is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of the trust and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust or the trust has a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person; or

 

    an estate, the income of which is includible in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes regardless of its source.

If a partnership (or any other entity treated as a partnership or other pass-through entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes) receives a Right, the U.S. federal income tax treatment of a partner generally will depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. Partners and partnerships holding Rights should consult their tax advisors concerning the U.S. federal income and other tax consequences relevant to their particular situation.

Issuance of the Rights. As more fully described below, upon receipt of the Rights, a holder of Existing Preferred Shares will generally be treated as receiving a taxable distribution in an amount equal to the fair market value at the time of issuance of the Rights received by such holder. The fair market value of the Rights on the date that the Rights are distributed will be uncertain, and we have not obtained, and do not intend to obtain, an appraisal of the fair market value of the Rights on that date. Although we will make a determination as to the value of the Rights and will report for tax purposes consistently therewith, no assurance can be given that our determination would not be challenged, and any such challenge could adversely affect the consequences to any particular holder.

 

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To the extent of the Fund’s earnings and profits, the distribution of Rights will be a taxable dividend to the holder of the Existing Preferred Shares. If the amount of the distribution received by the holder exceeds such holder’s proportionate share of the Fund’s earnings and profits, the excess will reduce the holder’s tax basis in the Existing Preferred Shares with respect to which the Rights were issued. To the extent that the excess is greater than the holder’s tax basis in the Existing Preferred Shares, such excess will be treated as gain from the sale of the Existing Preferred Shares. If the holder held the Existing Preferred Shares for more than one year, such gain will be treated as long-term capital gain.

A holder’s tax basis in the Rights received will equal the fair market value of the Rights on the date of the distribution.

Lapse or Transfer of Rights. A holder who allows the Rights received to expire generally will recognize a short-term capital loss equal to their basis in the Rights. The deductibility of capital losses is subject to a number of limitations under the Code.

The Rights are non-transferable except by operation of law. If a holder disposes of the Rights by operation of law in a transaction that is taxable for U.S. federal income tax purposes, such holder will generally recognize a short-term capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized on the sale and the holder’s tax basis in the Rights.

Exercise of Rights. A holder will not recognize any gain or loss upon the exercise of the Rights received in the Rights offering for cash. The tax basis of the New Preferred Shares acquired through exercise of the Rights will equal the sum of the subscription price for the New Preferred Shares and the holder’s tax basis in the Rights as described above. The holding period for the New Preferred Shares acquired through exercise of the Rights will begin on the date of exercise of the Right.

In the event that a holder of Rights elects to satisfy all or a portion of its subscription price through a surrender of Existing Preferred Shares, we intend to treat such surrender as part of a recapitalization under Section 368(a)(1)(E) of the Code. Under that characterization, the surrendering holder would generally not recognize gain or loss with respect to the Existing Preferred Shares surrendered in exchange for New Preferred Shares, except potentially with respect to accrued but unpaid dividends on the Existing Preferred Shares, which may be treated as such. A holder’s adjusted tax basis in the New Preferred Shares received upon exercise of the Rights (excluding any shares attributable to accrued but unpaid dividends and taxable as such, the tax basis of which would equal the fair market value of such shares) would equal the holder’s tax basis in the Existing Preferred Shares surrendered in exchange therefor plus the holder’s tax basis in the exercised Rights (as described above) plus the amount of any cash paid by the holder in respect of the subscription price. A holder’s holding period for the portion of the New Preferred Shares attributable to Existing Preferred Shares surrendered in exchange therefor (but not the portion of the New Preferred Shares attributable to accrued but unpaid dividends taxable as such or to the cash portion of the exercise price) would generally include the holding period for such Existing Preferred Shares. Holders should consult their tax advisor regarding the consequences of exercising rights through the surrender of Existing Preferred Shares.

 

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UNDERWRITING

G.research, LLC, which is a broker-dealer and member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) will act as dealer manager for the Rights offering (henceforth, the “Dealer Manager”). Under the terms and subject to the conditions contained in the Dealer Manager Agreement among the Fund, the Investment Adviser, and the Dealer Manager (the “Dealer Manager Agreement”), the Dealer Manager will provide financial structuring services and marketing services in connection with the offering and will solicit the exercise of Rights and participation in the over-subscription privilege. The Fund will not pay the Dealer Manager a fee for its financial structuring, marketing and soliciting services.

The Fund and the Investment Adviser have each agreed to indemnify the Dealer Manager or contribute to losses arising out of certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act. The Dealer Manager Agreement also provides that the Dealer Manager will not be subject to any liability to the Fund in rendering the services contemplated by the Dealer Manager Agreement except for any act of bad faith, willful misconduct or gross negligence of the Dealer Manager or reckless disregard by the Dealer Manager of its obligations and duties under the Dealer Manager Agreement.

In the ordinary course of their businesses, the Dealer Manager and/or its affiliates may engage in investment banking or financial transactions with the Fund, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates.

The Fund will pay the out-of-pocket expenses of the Dealer Manager, including fees and expenses incurred with respect to any filing with and review by FINRA, including the fees and disbursements of counsel to the Dealer Manager, not to exceed $5,000 with respect thereto, and the printing or other production, mailing and delivery expenses incurred in connection with Offering Materials (as defined in the Dealer Manager Agreement), including all reasonable out-of-pocket fees and expenses, if any and not to exceed $1,000, incurred by the Dealer Manager and other brokers, dealers and financial institutions in connection with their customary mailing and handling of materials related to the Rights offering to their customers. These reimbursements will not exceed 0.0046% of the total public offering price of the Series C Preferred Shares.

The principal business address of G.research, LLC is One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422.

G.research, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Institutional Services Holdings, LLC, which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Capital Group, Inc., an affiliate of the Investment Adviser, which is, in turn, indirectly majority-owned by Mario J. Gabelli. As a result of these relationships, Mr. Gabelli is a “controlling person” of G.research, LLC.

LEGAL MATTERS

Certain legal matters will be passed on by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, counsel to the Fund, in connection with this Rights offering and the offering of the New Preferred Shares.

 

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BASE PROSPECTUS   
dated December 15, 2017   

$200,000,000

The GDL Fund

Common Shares

Preferred Shares

Notes

Subscription Rights to Purchase Common Shares

Subscription Rights to Purchase Preferred Shares

Subscription Rights to Purchase Common and Preferred Shares

Investment Objective. The GDL Fund (the “Fund”) is a diversified, closed-end management investment company, formed as a Delaware statutory trust, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve absolute returns in various market conditions without excessive risk of capital. Absolute returns are defined as positive total returns, regardless of the direction of securities markets. The Fund will seek to achieve its objective by investing, under normal market conditions, primarily in merger arbitrage transactions and, to a lesser extent, in corporate reorganizations involving stubs, spin-offs and liquidations. Gabelli Funds, LLC serves as “Investment Adviser” to the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not appropriate for all investors. We cannot assure you that the Fund will achieve its objective.

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings, our common and/or fixed rate preferred shares, each with a par value $0.001 per share (together, “shares”), our promissory notes (“notes”), and/or our subscription rights to purchase our common and/or fixed rate preferred shares, which we refer to collectively as the “securities.” Securities may be offered at prices and on terms to be set forth in one or more supplements to this prospectus (this “Prospectus” and each supplement thereto, a “Prospectus Supplement”). You should read this Prospectus and the applicable Prospectus Supplement carefully before you invest in our securities.

Our securities may be offered directly to one or more purchasers, through agents designated from time to time by us, or to or through underwriters or dealers. The Prospectus Supplement relating to the offering will identify any agents or underwriters involved in the sale of our securities, and will set forth any applicable purchase price, fee, commission or discount arrangement between us and our agents or underwriters, or among our underwriters, or the basis upon which such amount may be calculated. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any sale of preferred shares will set forth the liquidation preference and information about the dividend period, dividend rate, any call protection or non-call period and other matters. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any sale of notes will set forth the principal amount, interest rate, interest payment dates, maturities, prepayment protection (if any) and other matters. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any offering of subscription rights will set forth the number of common and/or preferred shares issuable upon the exercise of each right and the other terms of such rights offering. We may offer subscription rights for common shares, preferred shares or common and preferred shares. We may not sell any of our securities through agents, underwriters or dealers without delivery of a Prospectus Supplement describing the method and terms of the particular offering of our securities. Our common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) under the symbol “GDL” and our Series B Preferred shares are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL Pr B.” On December 14, 2017, the last reported sale price of our common shares was $9.81. The net asset value of the Fund’s common shares at the close of business on December 14, 2017, was $11.48 per share.

Shares of closed-end funds often trade at a discount from net asset value. This creates a risk of loss for an investor purchasing shares in a public offering.

Investing in the Fund’s securities involves risks. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” beginning on page 43, “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Common


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Shares” beginning on page 65, and “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks of Notes to Holders of Preferred Shares” on page 65, for factors that should be considered before investing in securities of the Fund, including risks related to a leveraged capital structure.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved these securities or determined if this Prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

This Prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of securities by us through agents, underwriters or dealers unless accompanied by a Prospectus Supplement.

This Prospectus, together with an applicable Prospectus Supplement, sets forth concisely the information about the Fund that a prospective investor should know before investing. You should read this Prospectus, together with an applicable Prospectus Supplement, which contains important information about the Fund, before deciding whether to invest in the securities, and retain it for future reference. A Statement of Additional Information, dated December 15, 2017, containing additional information about the Fund, has been filed with the SEC and is incorporated by reference in its entirety into this Prospectus. You may request a free copy of our annual and semiannual reports, request a free copy of the Statement of Additional Information, the table of contents of which is on page 99 of this Prospectus, or request other information about us and make shareholder inquiries by calling (800) GABELLI (422-3554) or by writing to the Fund. You may also obtain a copy of the Statement of Additional Information (and other information regarding the Fund) from the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov). Our annual and semiannual reports are also available on our website (www.gabelli.com). The Statement of Additional Information is only updated in connection with an offering and is therefore not available on the Fund’s website.

Our securities do not represent a deposit or obligation of, and are not guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or other insured depository institution, and are not federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board, or any other government agency.

You should rely only on the information contained or incorporated by reference in this Prospectus and any applicable Prospectus Supplement. The Fund has not authorized anyone to provide you with different information. The Fund is not making an offer to sell these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should not assume that the information contained in this Prospectus and any applicable Prospectus Supplement is accurate as of any date other than the date of this Prospectus or the date of the applicable Prospectus Supplement.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

SUMMARY OF FUND EXPENSES

     24  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     26  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     30  

THE FUND

     31  

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

     31  

RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

     43  

HOW THE FUND MANAGES RISK

     69  

MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND

     70  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS

     73  

DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS

     73  

AUTOMATIC DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT AND VOLUNTARY CASH PURCHASE PLANS

     74  

DESCRIPTION OF THE SECURITIES

     76  

ANTI-TAKEOVER PROVISIONS OF THE FUND’S GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

     89  

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

     90  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     90  

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

     91  

TAXATION

     91  

CUSTODIAN, TRANSFER AGENT AND DIVIDEND DISBURSING AGENT

     94  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     95  

LEGAL MATTERS

     97  

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

     97  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     97  

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE FUND

     97  

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     98  

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     99  

CORPORATE BOND RATINGS

     A-1  

 


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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This is only a summary. This summary may not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in our securities. You should review the more detailed information contained in this prospectus (this “Prospectus”), including the section titled “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” beginning on page 43, the applicable Prospectus Supplement and the Statement of Additional Information, dated December 15, 2017 (the “SAI”).

 

The Fund

The GDL Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company organized under the laws of the State of Delaware on October 17, 2006. Throughout this prospectus, we refer to The GDL Fund as the “Fund” or as “we.” See “The Fund.”

 

  The Fund’s outstanding common shares, par value $0.001 per share, are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “GDL.” On December 14, 2017, the last reported NYSE sale price of our common shares was $9.81. The net asset value of the Fund’s common shares at the close of business on December 14, 2017 was $11.48 per share. As of October 31, 2017, the net assets of the Fund attributable to its common shares were $208,356,769. As of October 31, 2017, the Fund had outstanding 17,811,111 common shares. The Fund’s outstanding Series B Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares, par value $0.001 per share (the “Series B Preferred”), are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL Pr B”. As of October 31, 2017, the Fund had outstanding 2,624,025 Series B Preferred at a liquidation value of $50 per share for a total liquidation value of $131,201,250.

 

The Offering

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings, our common and/or fixed rate preferred shares, $0.001 par value per share, our notes, or our subscription rights to purchase our common or fixed rate preferred shares or both, which we refer to collectively as the “securities.” The securities may be offered at prices and on terms to be set forth in one or more supplements to this Prospectus (each a “Prospectus Supplement”). The offering price per common share of the Fund will not be less than the net asset value per common share at the time we make the offering, exclusive of any underwriting commissions or discounts; however, transferable rights offerings that meet certain conditions may be offered at a price below the then current net asset value per common share of the Fund. You should read this Prospectus and the applicable Prospectus Supplement carefully before you invest in our securities. Our securities may be offered directly to one or more purchasers, through agents designated from time to time by us, or through underwriters or dealers. The Prospectus Supplement relating to the offering will identify any agents, underwriters or dealers involved in the sale of our shares, and will set forth any applicable purchase price, fee, commission or discount arrangement between us and our agents or underwriters, or among our underwriters, or the basis upon which such amount may be calculated. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any sale of



 

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preferred shares will set forth the liquidation preference and information about the dividend period, dividend rate, any call protection or non-call period and other matters. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any sale of notes will set forth the principal amount, interest rate, interest payment dates, maturities, prepayment protection (if any), and other matters. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any offering of subscription rights will set forth the number of common and/or preferred shares issuable upon the exercise of each right and the other terms of such rights offering.

 

  While the aggregate number and amount of securities we may issue pursuant to this registration statement is limited to $200,000,000 of securities, our Board of Trustees (each member a “Trustee,” and collectively, the “Board”) may, without any action by the shareholders, amend our Agreement and Declaration of Trust from time to time to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares or the number of shares of any class or series that we have authority to issue. We may not sell any of our securities through agents, underwriters or dealers without delivery of a Prospectus Supplement describing the method and terms of the particular offering.

 

Investment Objective and Policies

The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve absolute returns in various market conditions without excessive risk of capital. Absolute returns are defined as positive total returns, regardless of the direction of securities markets. To achieve its investment objective, the Fund, under normal market conditions, will invest primarily in securities of companies (both domestic and foreign) involved in publicly announced mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts (i.e., merger arbitrage transitions) and, to a lesser extent, in corporate reorganizations involving stubs, spin-offs and liquidations. The key determinants of the profitability of a merger arbitrage transaction are the probability that the deal will close, the length of time to closing, the likelihood that the deal price will be increased or decreased and the level of short term interest rates.

 

 

Merger arbitrage is a highly specialized investment approach generally designed to profit from the successful completion of proposed mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts. Broadly speaking, an investor purchases the stock of a company in the process of being acquired by another company in anticipation of capturing the spread between the current market price and the acquisition price. A “stub” refers to a small stake in a target company division or subsidiary that is not purchased by an acquirer in a merger, takeover or leveraged buyout. The arbitrageur may buy the stub, and if the acquiring company is successful in boosting the target company’s appeal, the shares will benefit from a boost in price and the arbitrageur will profit. A spin-off occurs when an independent company is created from an existing part of another company through a distribution of new shares. An arbitrageur may benefit from the share price differential in the same manner as in traditional merger



 

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arbitrage if, upon completion of the spin-off, the separate securities trade for more in the aggregate than the former single security. Finally, when a company makes the decision to liquidate, or sell all of its assets, it is often worth more in liquidation than as an ongoing entity. An arbitrageur benefits when the company is able to distribute more than the price at which the stock is trading at the time the arbitrageur acquires its position.

 

  In order to minimize market exposure and volatility of such merger arbitrage strategies, the Fund may utilize hedging strategies, such as short selling and the use of options, futures, swaps, forward foreign exchange contracts and other derivatives. The Fund expects that it will invest in these types of instruments primarily for hedging and risk management purposes. The Fund may also invest in derivative instruments for the purposes of increasing the income of the Fund, hedging against changes in the value of its portfolio securities and in the value of securities it intends to purchase, or hedging against a specific transaction with respect to either the currency in which the transaction is denominated or another currency. There is no specific limit on the proportion of its assets that the Fund may use to invest in derivatives and conduct short sales in connection with its investments in corporate transactions and reorganizations.

 

 

Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in securities or hedging arrangements relating to companies involved in corporate transactions or reorganizations, giving rise to the possibility of realizing gains upon or within relatively short periods of time after the completion of such transactions, or reorganizations. This policy is not fundamental and may be changed by the Fund with notice of not less than 60 days to its shareholders. Securities in which the Fund may invest include both equity securities (e.g., common stocks and preferred stocks) and fixed-income securities. The Fund may make unlimited investments in securities rated below investment grade by recognized statistical rating agencies or unrated securities of comparable quality, including securities of issuers in default, which are likely to have the lowest rating. However, the Fund does not expect these investments to exceed 10% of its total assets. These securities, which may be preferred shares or debt, are predominantly speculative and involve major risk exposure to adverse conditions. Securities that are rated below Baa by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) or below BBB by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. (“S&P”), or unrated securities considered by the Investment Adviser to be of comparable quality, are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” or “high yield” securities. The Fund may also invest up to 15% of its assets in securities for which there is no readily available trading market or are otherwise illiquid. Illiquid securities include securities legally restricted as to resale, such as commercial paper issued pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and securities eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A thereunder. Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 144A



 

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securities may, however, be treated as liquid by the Investment Adviser pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board, which require consideration of factors such as trading activity, availability of market quotations and number of dealers willing to purchase the security.

 

  In applying the Fund’s investment policies, Gabelli Funds, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”) considers normal market conditions to exist when there are a substantial number of corporate transactions or reorganizations that, in the Investment Adviser’s judgment, have an attractive investment profile. Depending upon the level of merger activity and other economic and market conditions, and the availability of corporate transactions or reorganizations that, in the Investment Adviser’s judgment, have an attractive investment profile, the Fund may invest a substantial portion of its assets in other securities, including money market instruments such as U.S. Treasury bills and other short term obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities; shares of one or more money market funds managed by the Investment Adviser or unaffiliated managers; negotiable bank certificates of deposit; prime commercial paper; and repurchase agreements with respect to the above securities. During periods in which a substantial portion of the Fund’s assets are invested in other securities, it is less likely that the Fund will achieve its investment objective or an attractive rate of return.

 

  The Fund may invest without limitation in the securities of foreign and domestic issuers. The Fund’s investment strategy is to invest in merger arbitrage transactions and corporate reorganizations throughout the world. To the extent that the majority of mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts and corporate reorganizations are concentrated in any given geographic region, such as Europe, North America or Asia, a relatively high proportion of the Fund’s assets may be invested in that particular region.

 

  No assurances can be given that the Fund’s objective will be achieved. The Fund is intended for investors seeking long term growth of capital. The Fund is not intended to provide a vehicle for those who wish to play short term swings in the stock market.

 

  Neither the Fund’s investment objective nor, except as expressly stated herein, any of its policies are fundamental, and each may be modified by the Board without shareholder approval. The percentage and ratings limitations stated herein and in the SAI apply only at the time of investment and are not considered violated as a result of subsequent changes to the value, or downgrades to the ratings, of the Fund’s portfolio investments.

 

 

Gabelli Funds, LLC, a New York limited liability company, with offices at One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422, serves as investment adviser to the Fund. The Investment Adviser believes that



 

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blending traditional merger arbitrage for announced deals with strategies that focus on stubs, spin-offs and liquidations will produce absolute returns in excess of short term interest rates with less volatility than the returns typically associated with equity investing. A systematic and disciplined arbitrage program may produce attractive rates of return even in flat or down markets. The Investment Adviser will consider a number of factors in selecting merger arbitrage transactions in which to invest, including, but not limited to, the credibility, strategic motivation, and financial resources of the participants and the liquidity of the securities involved in the transaction.

 

Preferred Shares

The terms of each series of preferred shares may be fixed by the Board and may materially limit and/or qualify the rights of holders of the Fund’s common shares. If the Fund’s Board determines that it may be advantageous to the holders of the Fund’s common shares for the Fund to utilize additional leverage, the Fund may issue additional series of fixed rate preferred shares. Any fixed rate preferred shares issued by the Fund will pay distributions at a fixed rate. Leverage creates a greater risk of loss as well as a potential for more gains for the common shares than if leverage were not used. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risk Factors to Holders of Common Shares—Leverage Risk.” The Fund may also determine in the future to issue other forms of senior securities, such as securities representing debt, subject to the limitations of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The Fund may also engage in investment management techniques which will not be considered senior securities if the Fund establishes a segregated account with cash or other liquid assets or sets aside assets on the accounting records equal to the Fund’s obligations in respect of such techniques. The Fund may also borrow money, to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act.

 

Dividends and Distributions

Preferred Shares Distributions. In accordance with the Fund’s Governing Documents (as defined below) and as required by the 1940 Act, all preferred shares of the Fund must have the same seniority with respect to distributions. Accordingly, no complete distribution due for a particular dividend period will be declared or paid on any series of preferred shares of the Fund for any dividend period, or part thereof, unless full cumulative dividends and distributions due through the most recent dividend payment dates for all series of outstanding preferred shares of the Fund are declared and paid. If full cumulative distributions due have not been declared and made on all outstanding preferred shares of the Fund, any distributions on such preferred shares will be made as nearly pro rata as possible in proportion to the respective amounts of distributions accumulated but unmade on each such series of preferred shares on the relevant dividend payment date. As used herein, “Governing Documents” means the Fund’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust and By-Laws, together with any amendments or supplements thereto, including any Statement of Preferences establishing a series of preferred shares.


 

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  The distributions to the Fund’s preferred shareholders for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, were comprised of net investment income, short term capital gains and long term capital gains. The Fund’s preferred share distributions for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016 did not include a return of capital. The composition of each distribution is estimated based on the earnings of the Fund as of the record date for each distribution. The actual composition of each year’s distributions will be based on the Fund’s investment activity through the end of the applicable calendar year.

 

  Distributions on fixed rate preferred shares, at the applicable annual rate of the per share liquidation preference, are cumulative from the original issue date and are payable, when, as and if declared by the Board, out of funds legally available therefor.

 

  Common Shares Distributions. The Fund currently intends to make quarterly cash distributions of all or a portion of its investment company taxable income (which includes ordinary income and realized net short term capital gains) to common shareholders. The Fund also intends to make annual distributions of its realized net long term capital gains, if any. The Fund, however, may make more than one capital gain distribution to avoid paying U.S. federal excise tax. See “Taxation” in the Prospectus. A portion of each distribution may be a return of capital. Various factors will affect the level of the Fund’s income, such as its asset mix and use of merger arbitrage strategies. To permit the Fund to maintain more stable distributions, the Fund may from time to time distribute more or less than the entire amount of income earned in a particular period. The Fund’s distribution policy may be modified from time to time by the Board as it deems appropriate, including in light of market and economic conditions and the Fund’s current, expected and historical earnings and investment performance. Common shareholders are expected to be notified of any such modifications by press release or in the Fund’s periodic shareholder reports. Because the Fund’s current quarterly distributions are subject to modification by the Board at any time and the Fund’s income will fluctuate, there can be no assurance that the Fund will pay distributions at a particular rate or frequency. The Fund’s annualized distributions may contain a return of capital and should not be considered as the dividend yield or total return of an investment in its common shares. Shareholders who receive the payment of a distribution consisting of a return of capital may be under the impression that they are receiving net profits when they are not. Shareholders should not assume that the source of a distribution from the Fund is net profit.

 

  In addition, the amount treated as a tax free return of capital will reduce a shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in its shares, thereby increasing the shareholder’s potential taxable gain or reducing the potential taxable loss on the sale of the shares.


 

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  For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, the Fund made distributions of $0.64 per common share, approximately $0.05 of which constituted a return of capital. When the Fund makes distributions consisting of returns of capital, such distributions will further decrease the Fund’s total assets and therefore have the likely effect of increasing the Funds expense ratio as the Fund’s fixed expenses will become a larger percentage of the Fund’s average net assets. In addition, in order to make such distributions, the Fund may have to sell a portion of its investment portfolio at a time when independent judgement may not dictate such action. These effects could have a negative impact on the prices investors receive when they sell shares of the Fund.

 

Tax Treatment of Preferred Share Distributions

The Fund expects that distributions on the preferred shares may consist of (i) long term capital gain (gain from the sale of a capital asset held longer than 12 months), (ii) qualified dividend income (dividend income from certain domestic and foreign corporations) and (iii) investment company taxable income (other than qualified dividend income), including interest income, short term capital gain, and income from certain hedging and interest rate transactions. The Fund expects that a substantial portion of its income will consist of short term capital gains. For a more detailed discussion, see “Taxation.”

 

Indebtedness

Under applicable state law and our Agreement and Declaration of Trust, we may borrow money without prior approval of holders of common and preferred shares. We may issue debt securities, including notes, or other evidence of indebtedness and may secure any such notes or borrowings by mortgaging, pledging or otherwise subjecting as security our assets to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act or rating agency guidelines. Any borrowings, including without limitation any notes, will rank senior to the preferred shares and the common shares. The Prospectus Supplement will describe the interest payment provisions relating to notes. Interest on notes will be payable when due as described in the related Prospectus Supplement. If we do not pay interest when due, it will trigger an event of default and we will be restricted from declaring dividends and making other distributions with respect to our common shares and preferred shares.

 

Use of Proceeds

The Fund will use the net proceeds from the offering to purchase portfolio securities in accordance with its Investment Objective and Policies. The Investment Adviser anticipates that the investment of the proceeds will be made as appropriate investment opportunities are identified, which is expected to substantially be completed within three months; however, changes in market conditions could result in the Fund’s anticipated investment period extending to as long as six months. Depending on market conditions and operations, a portion of the proceeds to be identified in any relevant Prospectus Supplement may be used to pay distributions in accordance with the Fund’s distribution policy. See “Use of Proceeds” in the Prospectus.


 

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  The Fund may also use the net proceeds from the offering to call, redeem or repurchase shares of its Series B Preferred. The Series B Preferred pay quarterly distributions in March, June, September, and December of each year. On May 15, 2017, preferred shareholders approved an amendment to the Fund’s Statement of Preferences for the Series B Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares (the “Series B Preferred Statement of Preferences”), extending the mandatory redemption date for the Series B Preferred from March 26, 2018 to March 26, 2020, and adding March 26, 2018 as a date upon which the Fund will redeem all or any part of the Series B Preferred that holders have properly submitted for redemption and not withdrawn during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2018 (the “Put Right Date”), at the liquidation preference of $50.00 per share, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends. All other terms of the Series B Preferred remain unchanged and the annual dividend rate of 3.00% on the Series B Preferred remains unchanged for all dividend periods through the new mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2020.

 

Exchange Listing

The Fund’s outstanding common shares have been listed and traded on the NYSE under the trading or “ticker” symbol “GDL” and our Series B Preferred shares are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL Pr B.” See “Description of the Securities.” The Fund’s common shares have historically traded at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value. Since the Fund commenced trading on the NYSE, the Fund’s common shares have traded at a discount to net asset value as high as 29.06% and a premium as high as 9.74%. Any additional series of fixed rate preferred shares or subscription rights issued in the future pursuant to a Prospectus Supplement by the Fund would also likely be listed on the NYSE.

 

Risk Factors and Special Considerations

Risk is inherent in all investing. Therefore, before investing in the Fund’s shares, you should consider the risks carefully.

 

  A summary of certain risks associated with an investment in the Fund is set forth below. It is not complete and you should read and consider carefully the more detailed list of risks described in “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” in the Prospectus.

 

  Merger Arbitrage Risk. The principal risk associated with the Fund’s investment strategy is that certain of the proposed reorganizations in which the Fund invests may be renegotiated, terminated or involve a longer time frame than originally contemplated, in which case losses may be realized. The investment policies of the Fund are expected to lead to frequent changes in investments, which increase transaction costs to the Fund, and may also result in accelerated recognition of short term capital gain, which will be taxable to shareholders when distributed by the Fund. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Merger Arbitrage Risk” in the Prospectus.


 

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  Foreign Securities Risk. Investing in securities of foreign companies, which are generally denominated in foreign currencies, may involve certain risks and opportunities not typically associated with investing in domestic companies. Foreign companies generally are not subject to the same accounting, auditing, and financial standards and requirements as those applicable to U.S. companies.

 

  Investing in securities of companies in emerging markets may entail special risks relating to potential political and economic instability and the risks of expropriation, nationalization, confiscation or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investment, the lack of hedging instruments and restrictions on repatriation of capital invested. Emerging securities markets are substantially smaller, less developed, less liquid and more volatile than the major securities markets. The limited size of emerging securities markets and limited trading volume compared to the volume of trading in U.S. securities could cause prices to be erratic for reasons apart from factors that affect the quality of the securities. For example, limited market size may cause prices to be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions. Adverse publicity and investors’ perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may decrease the value and liquidity of portfolio securities, especially in these markets. Many emerging market countries have experienced substantial, and in some periods extremely high, rates of inflation for many years. Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates and corresponding currency devaluations have had and may continue to have negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging market countries.

 

  The Fund may invest in companies whose securities are denominated or quoted in currencies other than U.S. dollars or have significant operations or markets outside of the United States. In such instances, the Fund will be exposed to currency risk, including the risk of fluctuations in the exchange rate between U.S. dollars (in which the Fund’s shares are denominated) and such foreign currencies, the risk of currency devaluations and the risks of non-exchangeability and blockage. As non-U.S. securities may be purchased with and payable in currencies of countries other than the U.S. dollar, the value of these assets measured in U.S. dollars may be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in currency rates and exchange control regulations. Fluctuations in currency rates may adversely affect the ability of the Investment Adviser to acquire such securities at advantageous prices and may also adversely affect the performance of such assets.

 

  For more details on certain pronounced risks with foreign investing see “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Foreign Securities Risk” in the Prospectus.


 

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  Equity Risk. A principal risk of investing in the Fund is equity risk, which is the risk that the securities held by the Fund will fall in market value due to adverse market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the industries in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate and the particular circumstances and performance of particular companies whose securities the Fund holds. An investment in the Fund represents an indirect investment in the securities owned by the Fund, which are for the most part traded on securities exchanges or in the over-the-counter markets. The market value of these securities, like other market investments, may move up or down, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. The net asset value of the Fund may at any point in time be less than the net asset value of the Fund at the time the shareholder invested in the Fund, even after taking into account any reinvestment of distributions. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Equity Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

  Special Risks Related to Investing in Preferred Shares. Special risks associated with the Fund investing in preferred shares include deferral of distributions or dividend payments, in some cases the right of an issuer never to pay missed dividends, subordination to debt and other liabilities, illiquidity, limited voting rights and redemption by the issuer. Because the Fund has no limit on its investment in non-cumulative preferred shares, the amount of dividends the Fund pays may be adversely affected if an issuer of non-cumulative preferred shares held by the Fund determines not to pay dividends on such shares. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on preferred shares in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations — General Risks — Special Risks Related to Investing in Preferred Shares” in the Prospectus.

 

  Fixed Income Securities Risks. Fixed income securities in which the Fund may invest are generally subject to the following risks:

 

    Interest Rate Risk. The market value of bonds and other fixed-income or dividend paying securities changes in response to interest rate changes and other factors. Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of bonds and other income or dividend paying securities will increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise. The risks associated with rising interest rates are heightened given the historically low interest rate environment as of the date of this prospectus. The Federal Reserve has begun to raise the Federal Funds rate, and each increase results in more pronounced interest rate risk in the current market environment.

 

   

Issuer Risk. Issuer risk is the risk that the value of an income or dividend paying security may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management



 

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performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and prospective earnings of the issuer, and the value of the assets of the issuer.

 

    Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more income or dividend paying securities in the Fund’s portfolio will decline in price or fail to pay interest/distributions or principal when due because the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial status. Credit risk is increased when a portfolio security is downgraded or the perceived creditworthiness of the issuer deteriorates.

 

    Prepayment Risk. Prepayment risk is the risk that during periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled. For income or dividend paying securities, such payments often occur during periods of declining interest rates, forcing the Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities, resulting in a possible decline in the Fund’s income and distributions to shareholders.

 

    Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Fund’s portfolio will decline if the Fund invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called fixed income securities at market interest rates that are below the Fund portfolio’s current earnings rate.

 

    Duration and Maturity Risk. The Fund may incur costs in seeking to adjust the portfolio average duration or maturity. In comparison to maturity (which is the date on which the issuer of a debt instrument is obligated to repay the principal amount), duration is a measure of the price volatility of a debt instrument as a result in changes in market rates of interest, based on the weighted average timing of the instrument’s expected principal and interest payments. Specifically, duration measures the anticipated percentage change in net asset value (“NAV”) that is expected for every percentage point change in interest rates. The two have an inverse relationship. Duration can be a useful tool to estimate anticipated price changes to a fixed pool of income securities associated with changes in interest rates. Duration differs from maturity in that it takes into account a security’s yield, coupon payments and its principal payments in addition to the amount of time until the security matures. As the value of a security changes over time, so will its duration. There can be no assurance that the Investment Adviser’s assessment of current and projected market conditions will be correct or that any strategy to adjust duration or maturity will be successful at any given time.

 

  See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Fixed Income Securities Risk” in the Prospectus.


 

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  Non-Investment Grade Securities. The Fund may invest in securities rated below investment grade by recognized statistical rating agencies or unrated securities of comparable quality. The prices of these lower grade securities are more sensitive to negative developments, such as a decline in the issuer’s revenues or a general economic downturn, than are the prices of higher grade securities. Securities of below investment grade quality—those securities rated below Baa by Moody’s or below BBB by S&P (or unrated securities to comparable quality)—are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal when due and therefore involve a greater risk of default and are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” or “high yield” securities.

 

  As part of its investment in lower grade securities, the Fund may invest in securities of issuers in default. The Fund will make an investment in securities of issuers in default only when the Investment Adviser believes that such issuers will honor their obligations or emerge from bankruptcy protection under a plan pursuant to which the securities received by the Fund in exchange for its defaulted securities will have a value in excess of the Fund’s investment. By investing in securities of issuers in default, the Fund bears the risk that these issuers will not continue to honor their obligations or emerge from bankruptcy protection or that the value of the securities will not otherwise appreciate.

 

  See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Non-Investment Grade Securities” in the Prospectus.

 

 

U.S. Government Securities Risk and Credit Rating Downgrade Risk. The Fund may invest in direct obligations of the government of the United States or its agencies. Obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies, authorities and instrumentalities and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. guarantee only that principal and interest will be timely paid to holders of the securities. These entities do not guarantee that the value of such obligations will increase, and, in fact, the market values of such obligations may fluctuate. In addition, not all U.S. government securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States; some are the obligation solely of the entity through which they are issued. There is no guarantee that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies and instrumentalities if not required to do so by law. The events surrounding negotiations regarding the U.S. federal government debt ceiling and deficit reduction could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. In 2011, S&P lowered its long term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. to “AA+” from “AAA.” The downgrade by S&P increased volatility in both stock and bond markets, resulting in higher interest rates and higher Treasury yields, and increased the costs of all kinds of debt.



 

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Repeat occurrences of similar events could have significant adverse effects on the U.S. economy generally and could result in significant adverse impacts on issuers of securities held by the Fund itself. The Investment Adviser cannot predict the effects of similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets or on the Fund’s portfolio. The Investment Adviser monitors developments and seeks to manage the Fund’s portfolio in a manner consistent with achieving the Fund’s investment objective, but there can be no assurance that it will be successful in doing so and the Investment Adviser may not timely anticipate or manage existing, new or additional risks, contingencies or developments. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—U.S. Government Securities and Credit Rating Downgrade Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

  Derivative Transactions. The Fund may participate in certain derivative transactions. Such transactions entail certain execution, market, liquidity, counterparty, correlation, volatility, hedging and tax risks. Participation in the options or futures markets and in currency exchange transactions involves investment risks and transaction costs to which the Fund would not be subject absent the use of these strategies. If the Investment Adviser’s prediction of movements in the direction of the securities, foreign currency or interest rate markets is inaccurate, the consequences to the Fund may leave the Fund in a worse position than if it had not used such strategies. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Special Risks Related to Investment in Derivatives” in the Prospectus.

 

  Leverage Risk. The Fund currently uses financial leverage for investment purposes by issuing preferred shares and is also permitted to use other types of financial leverage, such as through the issuance of debt securities or additional preferred shares and borrowing from financial institutions. As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund may issue additional senior securities (which may be stock, such as preferred shares, and/or securities representing debt) only if immediately after such issuance the value of the Fund’s total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, exceeds 300% of the amount of the debt outstanding and exceeds 200% of the amount of preferred shares and debt outstanding. As of December 31, 2016, the amount of leverage represented approximately 32% of the Fund’s assets.

 

 

The Fund’s leveraged capital structure creates special risks not associated with unleveraged funds having a similar investment objective and policies. These include the possibility of greater loss and the likelihood of higher volatility of the net asset value of the Fund and the asset coverage for the preferred shares. Such volatility may increase the likelihood of the Fund having to sell investments in order to meet its obligations to make distributions on the preferred shares or principal or interest payments on debt securities, or to redeem preferred shares or repay debt, when it may be



 

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disadvantageous to do so. The Fund’s use of leverage may require it to sell portfolio investments at inopportune times in order to raise cash to redeem preferred shares or otherwise de-leverage so as to maintain required asset coverage amounts or comply with the mandatory redemption terms of any outstanding preferred shares. The use of leverage magnifies both the favorable and unfavorable effects of price movements in the investments made by the Fund. To the extent that the Fund employs leverage in its investment operations, the Fund is subject to substantial risk of loss. The Fund cannot assure you that borrowings or the issuance of notes or preferred shares will result in a higher yield or return to the holders of the common shares. Also, since the Fund utilizes leverage, a decline in net asset value could affect the ability of the Fund to make common share distributions and such a failure to make distributions could result in the Fund ceasing to qualify as a regulated investment company (a “RIC”) under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).

 

  Additionally, preferred shareholders approved a proposal to extend the mandatory redemption date for the Series B Preferred and to add a new Put Right Date for the Series B Preferred at the Fund’s 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. As such, the Fund’s existing preferred share leverage may remain outstanding for an additional two years, which may continue to expose the Fund and the common shareholders to the risks of leveraged investing for an additional two years regardless of any additional issuances of preferred shares or notes pursuant to this prospectus, or the incurrence of any debt in the form of bank borrowings.

 

  Any decline in the net asset value of the Fund’s investments would be borne entirely by the holders of common shares. Therefore, if the market value of the Fund’s portfolio declines, the leverage will result in a greater decrease in net asset value to the holders of common shares than if the Fund were not leveraged. This greater net asset value decrease will also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for the common shares. The Fund might be in danger of failing to maintain the required asset coverage of its borrowings, notes or preferred shares or of losing its ratings on its notes or preferred shares or, in an extreme case, the Fund’s current investment income might not be sufficient to meet the distribution or interest requirements on the borrowings, preferred shares or notes. In order to counteract such an event, the Fund might need to liquidate investments in order to fund redemption or repayment of some or all of the borrowings, preferred shares or notes.

 

 

The issuance of preferred shares or notes causes the net asset value and market value of the common shares to become more volatile. If the interest rate on the notes or the dividend rate on the preferred shares approaches the net rate of return on the Fund’s investment portfolio, the benefit of leverage to the holders of the common shares



 

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would be reduced. If the interest rates on the notes or the dividend rate on the preferred shares plus the Fund’s management fee rate exceeds the net rate of return on the Fund’s portfolio, the leverage will result in a lower rate of return to the holders of common shares than if the Fund had not issued preferred shares or notes.

 

  In addition, the Fund pays (and the holders of common shares bear) all costs and expenses relating to the issuance and ongoing maintenance of the preferred shares or notes, including any distributions on any preferred shares and interest payments on any notes, as well as any additional advisory fees on the incremental assets attributable to such preferred shares or notes. Holders of preferred shares and notes may have different interests than holders of common shares and at times may have disproportionate influence over the Fund’s affairs. As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund may issue senior securities (which may be stock, such as preferred shares, and/or securities representing debt, such as notes) only if immediately after such issuance the value of the Fund’s total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, exceeds 300% of the amount of the debt outstanding and exceeds 200% of the amount of preferred shares and debt outstanding, which is referred to as the “asset coverage” required by the 1940 Act. In the event the Fund fails to maintain an asset coverage of 100% for any notes outstanding for certain periods of time, the 1940 Act requires that either an event of default be declared or that the holders of such notes have the right to elect a majority of the Fund’s trustees (the “Trustees”) until asset coverage recovers to 110%. In addition, holders of preferred shares, voting separately as a single class, have the right to elect two members of the Board at all times and in the event dividends become in arrears for two full years would have the right (subject to the rights of noteholders) to elect a majority of the Trustees until the arrearage is completely eliminated. In addition, preferred shareholders have class voting rights on certain matters, including changes in fundamental investment restrictions and conversion of the Fund to open-end status, and accordingly can veto any such changes. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Common Shares—Leverage Risk” and “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares—Asset Maintenance Requirements” and “Description of the Securities—Notes—Limitations” in the Prospectus.

 

 

Market Discount Risk. The Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company. Whether investors will realize gains or losses upon the sale of additional securities of the Fund will depend upon the market price of the securities at the time of sale, which may be less or more than the Fund’s net asset value per share or the liquidation value of any Fund preferred shares issued. The Fund cannot predict whether any such securities will trade at, below or above net asset value or at, below or above their public offering price. The risk of a market price discount from net asset value is



 

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separate and in addition to the risk that net asset value itself may decline. The Fund’s securities are designed primarily for long term investors, and investors in the shares should not view the Fund as a vehicle for trading purposes. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Market Discount Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

  Special Risks to Holders of Fixed Rate Preferred Shares. In the event any additional series of fixed rate preferred shares are issued and such shares are intended to be listed on an exchange, prior application will have been made to list such shares on an exchange. Prior to the offering of any additional series of fixed rate preferred shares, there will be no public market for such shares. During an initial period, not expected to exceed 30 days after the date of initial issuance, such shares may not be listed on any securities exchange. During such period, the underwriters may make a market in such shares, although they will have no obligation to do so. Consequently, an investment in such shares may be illiquid during such period. Fixed rate preferred shares may trade at a premium to or discount from liquidation preference for a variety of reasons, including changes in interest rates. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Fixed Rate Preferred Shares” in the Prospectus.

 

  Special Risks to Holders of Notes. An investment in our notes is subject to special risks. Our notes are not likely to be listed on an exchange or automated quotation system. We cannot assure you that any market will exist for our notes or if a market does exist, whether it will provide holders with liquidity. Broker-dealers that maintain a secondary trading market for the notes are not required to maintain this market, and the Fund is not required to redeem notes if an attempted secondary market sale fails because of a lack of buyers. To the extent that our notes trade, they may trade at a price either higher or lower than their principal amount depending on interest rates, the rating (if any) on such notes and other factors. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Notes” in the Prospectus.

 

  Special Risks of Notes to Holders of Preferred Shares. As provided in the 1940 Act, and subject to compliance with the Fund’s investment limitations, the Fund may issue notes. In the event the Fund were to issue such securities, the Fund’s obligations to pay dividends or make distributions and, upon liquidation of the Fund, liquidation payments in respect of its preferred shares would be subordinate to the Fund’s obligations to make any principal and interest payments due and owing with respect to its outstanding notes. Accordingly, the Fund’s issuance of notes would have the effect of creating special risks for the Fund’s preferred shareholders that would not be present in a capital structure that did not include such securities. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks of Notes to Holders of Preferred Shares” in the Prospectus.


 

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  Special Risk to Holders of Subscription Rights. There is a risk that changes in market conditions may result in the underlying common or preferred shares purchasable upon exercise of the subscription rights being less attractive to investors at the conclusion of the subscription period. This may reduce or eliminate the value of the subscription rights. Investors who receive subscription rights may find that there is no market to sell rights they do not wish to exercise. If investors exercise only a portion of the rights, the number of common or preferred shares issued may be reduced, and the common or preferred shares may trade at less favorable prices than larger offerings for similar securities. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risk to Holders of Subscription Rights” in the Prospectus.

 

  Common Share Repurchases. Repurchases of common shares by the Fund may reduce the net asset coverage of the notes and preferred shares, which could adversely affect their liquidity or market prices. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Notes and Preferred Shares—Common Share Repurchases” in the Prospectus.

 

  Common Share Distribution Policy. In the event the Fund does not generate a total return from dividends and interest received and net realized capital gains in an amount at least equal to its distributions for a given year, the Fund may return capital as part of its distributions on common shares. This would decrease the asset coverage per share with respect to the Fund’s notes or preferred shares, which could adversely affect their liquidity or market prices. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Notes and Preferred Shares—Common Share Distribution Policy” in the Prospectus.

 

 

Credit Quality Ratings. The Fund may obtain credit quality ratings for its preferred shares or notes; however, it is not required to do so and may issue preferred shares or notes without any rating. If rated, the Fund does not impose any minimum rating necessary to issue such preferred shares or notes. In order to obtain and maintain attractive credit quality ratings for preferred shares or borrowings, if desired, the Fund’s portfolio must satisfy over-collateralization tests established by the relevant rating agencies. These tests are more difficult to satisfy to the extent the Fund’s portfolio securities are of lower credit quality, longer maturity or not diversified by issuer and industry. These guidelines could affect portfolio decisions and may be more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. A rating (if any) by a rating agency does not eliminate or necessarily mitigate the risks of investing in our preferred shares or notes, and a rating may not fully or accurately reflect all of the securities’ credit risks. A rating (if any) does not address liquidity or any other market risks of the securities being rated. A rating agency could downgrade the rating of our notes or preferred shares, which may make such securities less liquid in the secondary market. If a rating agency downgrades the



 

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rating assigned to notes or preferred shares, we may alter our portfolio or redeem the preferred securities or notes under certain circumstances. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Notes and Preferred Shares—Credit Quality Ratings” in the Prospectus.

 

  Dilution. Shareholders who do not exercise their subscription rights may, at the completion of such an offering, own a smaller proportional interest in the Fund than if they exercised their subscription rights. As a result of such an offering, a shareholder may experience dilution in net asset value per share if the subscription price per share is below the net asset value per share on the expiration date. If the subscription price per share is below the net asset value per share of the Fund’s shares on the expiration date, a shareholder will experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate net asset value of such shareholder’s shares if the shareholder does not participate in such an offering and the shareholder will experience a reduction in the net asset value per share of such shareholder’s shares whether or not the shareholder participates in such an offering. The Fund cannot state precisely the extent of this dilution (if any) if the shareholder does not exercise such shareholder’s subscription rights because the Fund does not know what the net asset value per share will be when the offer expires or what proportion of the subscription rights will be exercised.

 

  Long Term Objective; Not a Complete Investment Program. The Fund is intended for investors seeking long term growth of capital. The Fund is not meant to provide a vehicle for those who wish to play short term swings in the stock market. An investment in shares of the Fund should not be considered a complete investment program. Each shareholder should take into account the Fund’s investment objective as well as the shareholder’s other investments when considering an investment in the Fund. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Long Term Objective; Not a Complete Investment Program” in the Prospectus.

 

  Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. The Investment Adviser will apply investment techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Management Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

 

Dependence on Key Personnel. The Investment Adviser is dependent upon the expertise of Mr. Mario J. Gabelli in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Investment Adviser were to lose the services of Mr. Gabelli, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for Mr. Gabelli in the event of



 

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his death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Investment Adviser. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations — General Risks — Dependence on Key Personnel” in the Prospectus.

 

  Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk. Events of recent years, such as the aftermath of the war in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, ongoing epidemics of infectious diseases in certain parts of the world, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and around the world, social and political discord, debt crises (such as the Greek crisis), sovereign debt downgrades, continued tensions between North Korea and the United States and the international community generally, new and continued political unrest in various countries, such as Venezuela, the exit or potential exit of one or more countries from the European Union (“EU”) or the European Monetary Union (“EMU”), the change in the U.S. president and the new administration, among others, may result in market volatility, may have long term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets, and may cause further economic uncertainties in the United States and worldwide.

 

  As a consequence of the United Kingdom’s vote to withdraw from the EU, the government of the United Kingdom gave notice of its withdrawal from the EU (“BREXIT”). As a result of this decision, the financial markets experienced high levels of volatility and it is likely that, in the near term, BREXIT will continue to bring about higher levels of uncertainty and volatility. During this period of uncertainty, the negative impact on not only the United Kingdom and European economies, but the broader global economy, could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues. It is possible that certain economic activity will be curtailed until some signs of clarity begin to emerge, including negotiations around the terms for United Kingdom’s exit out of the EU. Any further exits from the EU, or the possibility of such exits, would likely cause additional market disruption globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.

 

  The value and risk profile of the Fund’s portfolio could be adversely impacted by the events above. The Fund does not know how long the securities markets may be affected by similar events and cannot predict the effects of similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets. There can be no assurance that similar events and other market disruptions will not have other material and adverse implications. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

 

Economic Events and Market Risk. Periods of market volatility remain, and may continue to occur in the future, in response to various political, social and economic events both within and outside



 

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of the United States. These conditions have resulted in, and in many cases continue to result in, greater price volatility, less liquidity, widening credit spreads and a lack of price transparency, with many securities remaining illiquid and of uncertain value. Such market conditions may make valuation of some of the Fund’s securities uncertain and/or result in sudden and significant valuation increases or declines in its holdings. If there is a significant decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio, this may impact the asset coverage levels for the Fund’s outstanding leverage.

 

  Risks resulting from any future debt or other economic crisis could also have a detrimental impact on the global economic recovery, the financial condition of financial institutions and our business, financial condition and results of operation. Downgrades to the credit ratings of major banks could result in increased borrowing costs for such banks and negatively affect the broader economy. Moreover, Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, rising interest rates and/or a return to unfavorable economic conditions could impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

 

  See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Economic Events and Market Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

  Government Intervention in Financial Markets Risk. The U.S. government and certain foreign governments have in the past taken actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity, including through direct purchases of equity and debt securities. Federal, state, and other governments, their regulatory agencies or self-regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the issuers in which the Fund invests, or the issuers of such securities, in ways that are unforeseeable. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Fund is regulated. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Government Intervention in Financial Markets Risk” in the Prospectus.

 

 

Status as a Regulated Investment Company. The Fund has elected to qualify as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. Qualification requires, among other things, compliance by the Fund with certain distribution requirements. Statutory limitations on distributions on the common shares if the Fund fails to satisfy the 1940 Act’s asset coverage requirements could jeopardize the Fund’s ability to meet such distribution requirements. While the Fund presently intends to purchase or redeem notes or preferred shares, if any, to the extent necessary in order to maintain compliance with such asset coverage



 

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requirements, there can be no assurance that such actions can be effected in time to meet the Code’s requirements. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Status as a Regulated Investment Company” in the Prospectus. See “Taxation” in the Prospectus for a more complete discussion of these and other U.S. federal income tax considerations.

 

  Anti-Takeover Provisions. The Fund’s Governing Documents (as defined herein) include provisions that could limit the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Fund or convert the Fund to an open-end fund. See “Anti-Takeover Provisions of the Fund’s Governing Documents” in the Prospectus.

 

Management and Fees

Gabelli Funds, LLC serves as the Fund’s Investment Adviser and its fee is calculated on the basis of the Fund’s managed assets, which includes all of the assets of the Fund without deduction for borrowings, repurchase transactions and other leveraging techniques, the liquidation value of any outstanding preferred shares or other liabilities except for certain ordinary course expenses. The fee may be higher when leverage is utilized, giving the Investment Adviser an incentive to utilize such leverage. The base rate is an annual rate of 0.50% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets payable monthly in arrears. In addition, the Investment Adviser will be entitled to receive an annual performance fee as of the end of each calendar year if the total return of the Fund on its common shares during the calendar year in question exceeds the total return of an index of three-month U.S. Treasury bills (the “T-Bill Index”) during the same period. If the Fund’s total return for the calendar year equals the total return of the T-Bill Index for the same period plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), the Investment Adviser will receive a performance fee of 0.75% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets during the calendar year measurement period for the Fund’s fulcrum fee. This performance fee will be increased by 0.01 percentage point (one basis point) for each 0.04 percentage point (four basis points) by which the Fund’s total return during the period exceeds the T-Bill Index total return plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), up to a maximum performance fee of 1.50% if the excess performance over the T-Bill Index is 6.0 percentage points (600 basis points) or greater and will be decreased at the same rate for the amount by which the Fund’s total return during the period is less than the T-Bill Index total return plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), until no performance fee is payable if the Fund’s total return is less than or equal to the T-Bill Index total return. See “Management of the Fund” in the Prospectus.

 

  Under the performance fee arrangement, the annual rate of the total fees paid to the Investment Adviser can range from 0.50% to 2.00% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets.


 

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  Because the investment advisory fees are based on a percentage of managed assets, which includes assets attributable to the Fund’s use of leverage, the Investment Adviser may have a conflict of interest in the input it provides to the Board regarding whether to use or increase the Fund’s use of leverage. The Board bases its decision, with input from the Investment Adviser, regarding whether and how much leverage to use for the Fund on its assessment of whether such use of leverage is in the best interests of the Fund, and the Board seeks to manage the Investment Adviser’s potential conflict of interest by retaining the final decision on these matters and by periodically reviewing the Fund’s performance and use of leverage.

Total Investment Advisory Fee Rate

(as a percentage of average weekly managed assets)

 

T-Bill Index

  The Fund’s Total Return  

Total Return

  0% or less     1%     2%     3%     4%     5%     6%     7%     8%     9%     10%     11%     12%  
0%     0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
1%     0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
2%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
3%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
4%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00  
5%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00  
6%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00  

 

Repurchase of Common Shares

The Fund’s Board has authorized the Fund to consider the repurchase of its common shares in the open market when the common shares are trading at a discount of 7.5% or more from net asset value (or such other percentage as the Board may determine from time to time). Although the Board has authorized such repurchases, the Fund is not required to repurchase its common shares. In total through September 30, 2017, the Fund has repurchased and retired 421,958 common shares in the open market at an average investment of $4,230,895 and at an average discount of approximately 15.34% from the Fund’s net asset value. Such repurchases are subject to certain notice and other requirements under the 1940 Act. See “Repurchase of Common Shares” in the Prospectus.

 

Anti-Takeover Provisions

Certain provisions of the Fund’s Governing Documents may be regarded as “anti-takeover” provisions. Pursuant to these provisions, only one of three classes of trustees is elected each year; super-majority voting requirements apply to the authorization of the conversion of the Fund from a closed-end to an open-end investment company or to the authorization of certain transactions between the Fund and a beneficial owner of more than 5% of any class of the Fund’s capital stock; advance notice to the Fund of any shareholder proposal is required; and any shareholder proposing the nomination or election of a person as a Trustee must supply significant amounts of information designed to enable verification of whether such person



 

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satisfies the qualifications required of potential nominees to the Board. The overall effect of these provisions is to render more difficult the accomplishment of a merger with, or the assumption of control by, a principal shareholder. These provisions may have the effect of depriving the Fund’s common shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium to the prevailing market price. The issuance of preferred shares could make it more difficult for the holders of common shares to avoid the effect of these provisions. See “Anti-Takeover Provisions of the Fund’s Governing Documents” in the Prospectus.

 

Custodian

The Bank of New York Mellon, located at 135 Santilli Highway, Everett, Massachusetts 02149, serves as the custodian (the “Custodian”) of the Fund’s assets pursuant to a custody agreement. Under the custody agreement, the Custodian holds the Fund’s assets in compliance with the 1940 Act. For its services, the Custodian receives a monthly fee paid by the Fund based upon, among other things, the average value of the total assets of the Fund, plus certain charges for securities transactions and out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Transfer Agent and Dividend Disbursing Agent

American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, located at 59 Maiden Lane, New York, New York 10038, serves as the Fund’s dividend disbursing agent, as agent under the Fund’s automatic dividend reinvestment and voluntary cash purchase plan, and as transfer agent and registrar with respect to the Series B Preferred and the common shares of the Fund.


 

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SUMMARY OF FUND EXPENSES

The following table shows the Fund’s expenses, including preferred shares offering expenses, as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares. All expenses of the Fund are borne, directly or indirectly, by the common shareholders. The purpose of the table and example below is to help you understand all fees and expenses that you, as a holder of Common Shares, would bear directly or indirectly.

 

Shareholder Transaction Expenses

  

Sales Load (as a percentage of offering price)

     1.86 %(1) 

Offering Expenses Borne by the Fund (excluding Preferred Shares Offering Expenses) (as a percentage of offering price)

     0.61 %(1) 

Dividend Reinvestment and Cash Purchase Plan Fees

  

Sale Transactions

   $ 1.00 (2) 

Preferred Shares Offering Expenses Borne by the Fund (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares)

     0.11 %(3) 

 

     Percentage of Net
Assets
Attributable
to Common Shares
 

Annual Expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares)

  

Management Fees

     1.31 %(4)(5) 

Base Fee

     0.82

Performance Fee

     0.49 %(5) 

Interest Expense

     1.19 %(6) 

Other Expenses

     0.24 %(7) 
  

 

 

 

Total Annual Expenses

     2.74

Dividends on Preferred Shares

     1.27 %(8) 
  

 

 

 

Total Annual Expenses and Dividends on Preferred Shares

     4.01
  

 

 

 

 

(1) Estimated maximum amount based on offering of $120 million in common shares and $80 million in preferred shares. The estimates assume a 1.00% sales load on common shares and $730,800 in common offering expenses, and 3.15% sales load on preferred shares and $370,200 in preferred offering expenses. The total sales load was estimated by adding together the dollar amount of the estimated sales loads on the estimated common and preferred share offerings, and dividing by the total maximum offering price of securities that may be sold pursuant to this registration statement. Sales load on preferred shares is an expense borne by the Fund and indirectly by the holders of its common shares. This estimated expense, which amounts to $2,520,000, based on the estimated preferred share offering amount of $80 million, is reflected in the expense example following this table, and reflects an expense to common shareholders that is estimated to equal 0.76% of net assets attributable to common shares, assuming net assets attributable to common shares of approximately $330.4 million (which includes issuance of $120 million in common shares). Actual sales loads and offering expenses may be higher or lower than these estimates and will be set forth in the Prospectus Supplement if applicable.
(2) Shareholders participating in the Fund’s Automatic Dividend Reinvestment Plan do not incur any additional fees. Shareholders participating in the Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan would pay their pro rata share of brokerage commissions for transactions to purchase shares and $1.00 per transaction plus their pro rata share of brokerage commissions per transaction to sell shares. See “Automatic Dividend Reinvestment and Voluntary Cash Purchase Plans.”
(3) Assumes issuance of $80 million in liquidation preference of fixed rate preferred shares, net assets attributable to common shares of approximately $330.4 million (which includes issuance of $120 million in common shares) and $370,200 in preferred offering expenses. The actual amounts in connection with any offering will be set forth in the Prospectus Supplement if applicable.

 

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(4) The base fee rate charged by the Investment Adviser is an annual rate of 0.50% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets payable monthly in arrears. In addition, the Investment Adviser will be entitled to receive an annual performance fee as of the end of each calendar year described below. The Fund’s managed assets includes all of the assets of the Fund without deduction for borrowings, repurchase transactions and other leveraging techniques, the liquidation value of any outstanding preferred shares or other liabilities except for certain ordinary course expenses. Consequently, since the Fund has preferred shares outstanding, the investment management fees and other expenses as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares may be higher than if the Fund does not utilize a leveraged capital structure.
(5) Based on semiannual period ending June 30, 2017, assuming completion of the proposed issuances. In addition to the base fee, the Investment Adviser will be entitled to receive an annual performance fee as of the end of each calendar year if the total return of the Fund on its common shares during the calendar year in question exceeds the total return of the T-Bill Index during the same period. If the Fund’s total return for the calendar year equals the total return of the T-Bill Index for the same period plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), the Investment Adviser will receive a performance fee of 0.75% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets during the calendar year measurement period for the Fund’s fulcrum fee. This performance fee will be increased by 0.01 percentage point (one basis point) for each 0.04 percentage point (four basis points) by which the Fund’s total return during the period exceeds the T-Bill Index total return plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), up to a maximum performance fee of 1.50% if the excess performance over the T-Bill Index is 6.0 percentage points (600 basis points) or greater and will be decreased at the same rate for the amount by which the Fund’s total return during the period is less than the T-Bill Index total return plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), until no performance fee is payable if the Fund’s total return is less than or equal to the T-Bill Index total return. Under the performance fee arrangement, the annual rate of the total fees paid to the Investment Adviser can range from 0.50% to 2.00% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets.
(6) The Series B Preferred have a mandatory call date of March 26, 2020. Therefore, for financial reporting purposes only, the dividends paid on the Series B Preferred are included as a component of “Interest Expense.”
(7) “Other Expenses” are based on estimated amounts for the current year assuming completion of the proposed issuances.
(8) Dividends on Preferred Shares represent the distributions that would be made assuming $80 million of preferred shares are issued with a fixed dividend rate of 5.25%, with no mandatory call date. There can, of course, be no guarantee that any preferred shares would be issued or, if issued, the terms thereof.

For a more complete description of the various costs and expenses a common shareholder would bear in connection with the issuance and ongoing maintenance of any preferred shares or notes issued by the Fund, see “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Common Shares—Leverage Risk.”

The following example illustrates the expenses you would pay on a $1,000 investment in common shares, followed by a preferred share offering, assuming a 5% annual portfolio total return.* The expenses illustrated in the following example include the maximum estimated sales load on common shares of $10 and on preferred shares of $31.50, and estimated offering expenses of $3.33 from the issuance of $120 million in common shares and $80 million in preferred shares. The preferred shares sales load is spread over the Fund’s entire net assets attributable to common shares (assuming completion of the proposed issuances); therefore, the allocable portion of such sales load to a common shareholder making a $1,000 investment in these circumstances is estimated to be $7.63. The actual amounts in connection with any offering will be set forth in the Prospectus Supplement if applicable.

 

     1 Year      3 Years      5 Years      10 Years  

Total Expenses incurred

   $ 61      $ 141      $ 223      $ 434  

 

* The example should not be considered a representation of future expenses. The example is based on total Annual Expenses and Dividends on Preferred Shares shown in the table above and assumes that the amounts set forth in the table do not change and that all distributions are reinvested at net asset value. Actual expenses may be greater or less than those assumed. Moreover, the Fund’s actual rate of return may be greater or less than the hypothetical 5% return shown in the example.

 

   The example includes Dividends on Preferred Shares. If Dividends on Preferred Shares were not included in the example calculation, the expenses for the 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-year periods in the table above would be as follows (based on the same assumptions as above): $49, $105, $164 and $322.

 

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FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The selected data below sets forth the per share operating performance and ratios for the periods presented. The financial information was derived from and should be read in conjunction with the Financial Statements of the Fund and Notes thereto, which are incorporated by reference into the SAI. The financial information for the six months ended June 30, 2017 is unaudited. The financial information for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 have been audited by Ernst & Young LLP, the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, whose unqualified report on such Financial Highlights is incorporated by reference into the SAI.

Selected data for a common share of beneficial interest outstanding throughout the period.

 

    Six Months Ended

June 30, 2017

(Unaudited)
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2016     2015     2014     2013     2012  

Operating Performance:

           

Net asset value, beginning of year

  $ 11.88     $ 11.93     $ 12.10     $ 12.78     $ 13.26     $ 13.94  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment loss

    (0.09     (0.36     (0.44     (0.26     (0.33     (0.46

Net realized and unrealized gain on investments, securities sold short, swap contracts, written options, and foreign currency transactions

    0.23       0.84       0.85       0.33       1.13       1.06  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total from investment operations

    0.14       0.48       0.41       0.07       0.80       0.60  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions to Common Shareholders:

           

Net investment income

    —         —         —         (0.06     —         (0.08

Net realized gain

    —         (0.59     (0.56     (0.53     (0.28     —    

Return of capital

    (0.32 )*      (0.05     (0.08     (0.21     (1.00     (1.20
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total distributions to common shareholders

    (0.32     (0.64     (0.64     (0.80     (1.28     (1.28
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Common Share Transactions:

           

Increase in net asset value from repurchase of common shares

    0.03       0.11       0.06       0.05       0.00 (a)      0.00 (a) 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Asset Value, End of Period

  $ 11.73     $ 11.88     $ 11.93     $ 12.10     $ 12.78     $ 13.26  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

NAV total return †

    1.53     5.09     3.95     0.94     6.31     4.44
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Market value, end of period

  $ 10.26     $ 9.84     $ 10.01     $ 10.23     $ 11.02     $ 11.42  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Investment total return ††

    7.06     4.79     4.12     (0.07 )%      7.79     7.67
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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Table of Contents
    Six Months Ended

June 30, 2017

(Unaudited)
    Year Ended December 31,  
    2016     2015     2014     2013     2012  

Ratios to Average Net Assets and Supplemental Data:

           

Net assets including liquidation value of preferred shares, end of period (in 000’s)

  $ 341,607     $ 347,980     $ 364,160     $ 381,126     $ 404,984     $ 422,956  

Net assets attributable to common shares, end of period (in 000’s)

  $ 210,405     $ 216,779     $ 232,959     $ 244,894     $ 268,751     $ 278,968  

Ratio of net investment loss to average net assets attributable to common shares including interest and offering costs(b)

    (1.58 )%(c)      (2.94 )%      (2.75 )%      (1.38 )%      (2.50 )%      (3.33 )% 

Ratio of operating expenses to average net assets attributable to common shares(d)

    3.49 %(c)(e)(f)      4.72 %(e)(g)      4.23 %(e)(g)      2.99 %(g)      4.76 %(g)      4.58 %(g) 

Portfolio turnover rate

    126 %     284     268     315     319     335

Series B Cumulative Preferred Shares

           

Liquidation value, end of period (in 000’s)

  $ 131,201     $ 131,201     $ 131,201     $ 136,232     $ 136,232     $ 143,988  

Total shares outstanding (in 000’s)

    2,624       2,624       2,624       2,725       2,725       2,880  

Liquidation preference per share

  $  50.00     $ 50.00     $ 50.00     $ 50.00     $ 50.00     $ 50.00  

Average market value (h)

  $  50.54     $ 50.51     $ 50.30     $ 50.36     $ 50.41     $ 50.63  

Asset coverage per share

  $  130.18     $ 132.61     $ 138.78     $ 139.88     $ 148.64     $ 146.87  

Asset coverage

    260 %     265     278     280     297     294

 

Based on net asset value per share, adjusted for reinvestment of distributions at prices at the net asset value per share on the ex-dividend dates. Total return for a period of less than one year is not annualized.
†† Based on market value per share, adjusted for reinvestment of distributions at prices obtained under the Fund’s dividend reinvestment plan. Total return for a period of less than one year is not annualized.
* Based on year to date book income. Amount are subject to change and recharacterization at year end.
(a)  Amount represents less than $0.005 per share.
(b)  The Fund incurred interest expense during all periods presented. Interest expense on Preferred Shares relate to the $50 Series B Preferred Shares through June 30, 2017 (see Footnotes 2 and 5).
(c)  Annualized.
(d)  Ratio of operating expenses excluding interest, dividends and service fees on securities sold short, and offering costs to average net assets attributable to common shares for the six months ended June 30, 2017 and the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 would have been 1.60%, 2.92%, 2.87%, 1.35%, 3.22%, and 2.58%, respectively.
(e)  The Fund received credits from a designated broker who agreed to pay certain Fund operating expenses. For the six months ended June 30, 2017 and the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015, there was no impact on the expense ratios.
(f)  The ratio of operating expenses does not include a custodian fee credit for the six months ended June 30, 2017. Including such custodian fee credit, the ratio of operating expenses to average net assets would have been 3.48%. For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012, the effect was minimal.
(g)  For the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012, the ratio of operating expenses excluded interest, dividends and service fees on securities sold short, and offering costs. Including these expenses, the ratio of operating expenses for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 would have been 4.84%, 4.43%, 3.07%, 4.80%, and 4.66%, respectively.
(h)  Based on weekly prices.

See Notes to Financial Statements.

 

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Financial Highlights, cont.

 

    Year Ended December 31,    

Period Ended

December 31,

 
    2011     2010     2009     2008     2007(g)  

Operating Performance:

         

Net asset value, beginning of period

  $ 15.02     $ 15.84     $ 16.20     $ 18.50     $ 19.06 (h) 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income/(loss)

    (0.55     (0.56     (0.54     0.18       0.37  

Net realized and unrealized gain/(loss) on investments, swap contracts, securities sold short, and foreign currency transactions

    0.74       1.02       1.46       (0.89     0.27  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total from investment operations

    0.19       0.46       0.92       (0.71     0.64  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions to Common Shareholders:

         

Net investment income

    (0.02     —         —         (0.18     (0.30

Net realized gain

    (0.39     (0.03     —         (0.43     (0.90

Return of capital

    (0.87     (1.25     (1.28     (0.99     —    
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total distributions to common shareholders

    (1.28     (1.28     (1.28     (1.60     (1.20
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Common Share Transactions:

         

Increase in net asset value from common share transactions

    —         —         —         0.01       0.00 (f) 

Increase / (Decrease) in net asset value from repurchase of common shares

    0.01       (0.00 )(f)      (0.00 )(f)      —         —    

Recapture of gain on sale of Fund shares by an affiliate

    —         0.00 (f)      —         —         —    
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total fund share transactions

    0.01       0.00 (f)      0.00 (f)      0.01       0.00 (f) 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net Asset Value, End of Period

    13.94     $ 15.02     $ 15.84     $ 16.20     $ 18.50  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

NAV total return †

    1.26     3.07     5.90     (4.06 )%      3.35 %** 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Market value, end of period

  $ 11.80     $ 13.37     $ 14.41     $ 13.14     $ 15.96  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Investment total return ††

    (2.51 )%      1.72     20.03     (8.39 )%      (14.55 )%*** 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Ratios to Average Net Assets and Supplemental Data:

         

Net assets including liquidation value of preferred shares, end of period (in 000’s)

  $ 437,755     $ 413,993     $ 431,498       —         —    

Net assets attributable to common shares, end of period (in 000’s)

  $ 293,767     $ 317,981     $ 335,486     $ 343,657     $ 394,017  

Ratio of net investment income to average net assets attributable to common shares including interest and offering costs

    (3.71 )%      (3.60 )%      (3.35 )%      1.02     2.12 %(i) 

Ratio of operating expenses including interest and offering costs to average net assets attributable to common shares(a)(b)

    4.89     4.39     4.67     0.67     0.64 %(i) 

Ratio of operating expenses excluding interest and offering costs to average net assets attributable to common shares

    1.56 %*      1.89 %*      2.53     0.65     0.62 %(i) 

Portfolio turnover rate

    336     365     371     334     177 %††† 

 

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     Year Ended December 31,     

Period Ended

December 31,

 
     2011     2010     2009     2008      2007(g)  

Preferred Stock:

           

8.500% Series A Cumulative Preferred Shares(c)

           

Liquidation value, end of period (in 000’s)

     —       $ 96,012     $ 96,012       —          —    

Total shares outstanding (in 000’s)

     —         1,920       1,920       —          —    

Liquidation preference per share

     —       $ 50.00     $ 50.00       —          —    

Average market value(d)

     —       $ 53.05     $ 53.40       —          —    

Asset coverage per share

     —       $ 215.59     $ 224.71       —          —    

Asset coverage

     —         431     449     —          —    

Series B Cumulative Preferred Shares(e)

           

Liquidation value, end of period (in 000’s)

   $ 143,988       —         —         —          —    

Total shares outstanding (in 000’s)

     2,880       —         —         —          —    

Liquidation preference per share

   $ 50.00       —         —         —          —    

Average market value(d)

   $ 52.46       —         —         —          —    

Asset coverage per share

   $ 152.01       —         —         —          —    

Asset coverage

     304     —         —         —          —    

 

Based on net asset value per share, adjusted for reinvestment of distributions at the net asset value per share on the ex-dividend dates. Total return for a period of less than one year is not annualized.
  Based on market value per share, adjusted for reinvestment of distributions at prices obtained under the Fund’s dividend reinvestment plan. Total return for a period of less than one year is not annualized.
  Effective in 2008, a change in accounting policy was adopted with regard to the calculation of the portfolio turnover rate to include cash proceeds due to mergers. Had this policy been adopted retroactively, the portfolio turnover rate for the period ended December 31, 2007 would have been 411%.
*  The ratio includes amortization of offering costs on preferred shares.
**  Based on net asset value per share at commencement of operations of $19.06 per share, adjusted for reinvestment of distributions at the net asset value per share on the ex-dividend dates.
***  Based on market value per share at initial public offering of $20.00 per share, adjusted for reinvestments of distributions at prices obtained under the Fund’s dividend reinvestment plan.
(a)  The ratios do not include a reduction for custodian fee credits on cash balances maintained with the custodian (“Custodian Fee Credits”). Including such Custodian Fee Credits, the expense ratios for the year ended December 31, 2008 and the period ended December 31, 2007 would have been 0.66% and 0.63%, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2011 and 2010, there were no Custodian Fee Credits, and for the year ended December 31, 2009, the effect of Custodian Fee Credits was minimal.
(b)  The Fund incurred interest expense during the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008 and the period ended December 31, 2007. Interest expense on preferred shares and offering costs include amounts relating to the 8.50% series A Preferred Shares from its issuance in 2009 to its repayment in 2011 and to the Series B Preferred Shares from its issuance in 2011 through year end (see Footnotes 2 and 5).
(c)  Series A Cumulative Preferred Shares were first issued on February 6, 2009 and were redeemed on May 31, 2011.
(d)  Based on weekly prices.
(e)  Series B Cumulative Preferred Shares were first issued on April 15, 2011.
(f)  Amount represents less than $0.005 per share.
(g)  The Gabelli Global Deal Fund commenced investment operations on January 31, 2007.
(h)  The beginning of period NAV reflects a $0.04 reduction for costs associated with the initial public offering.
(i)  Annualized.

See Notes to Financial Statements.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

The Investment Adviser expects that it will initially invest the proceeds of the offering in high quality short term debt securities and instruments. The Investment Adviser anticipates that the investment of the proceeds will be made in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies as appropriate investment opportunities are identified, which is expected to substantially be completed within three months; however, changes in market conditions could result in the Fund’s anticipated investment period extending to as long as six months. Depending on market conditions and operations, a portion of the cash held by the Fund, including any proceeds raised from this offering to be identified in any relevant Prospectus Supplement, may be used to pay distributions in accordance with the Fund’s distribution policy. Such distribution may include a return of capital and should not be considered as dividend yield or the total return from an investment in the Fund.

The Fund may also use the net proceeds from the offering to call, redeem or repurchase shares of one or more of its Series B Preferred. The Series B Preferred pay quarterly distributions in March, June, September, and December of each year. On May 15, 2017, preferred shareholders approved an amendment to the Fund’s Statement of Preferences for the Series B Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares (the “Series B Preferred Statement of Preferences”), extending the mandatory redemption date for the Series B Preferred from March 26, 2018 to March 26, 2020, and adding March 26, 2018 as a date upon which the Fund will redeem all or any part of the Series B Preferred that holders have properly submitted for redemption and not withdrawn during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2018 (the “Put Right Date”), at the liquidation preference of $50.00 per share, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends. All other terms of the Series B Preferred remain unchanged and the annual dividend rate of 3.00% on the Series B Preferred remains unchanged for all dividend periods through the new mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2020.

 

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THE FUND

The Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on October 17, 2006, pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust governed by the laws of the State of Delaware. The Fund commenced its investment operations on January 31, 2007. The Fund’s principal office is located at One Corporate Center, Rye, New York, 10580-1422 and its telephone number is (800) 422-3554.

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

Investment Objective and Policies

The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve absolute returns in various market conditions without excessive risk of capital. Absolute returns are defined as positive total returns, regardless of the direction of securities markets. To achieve its investment objective, the Fund, under normal market conditions, will invest primarily in securities of companies (both domestic and foreign) involved in publicly announced mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts (i.e., merger arbitrage transitions) and, to a lesser extent, in corporate reorganizations involving stubs, spin-offs and liquidations. The key determinants of the profitability of a merger arbitrage transaction are the probability that the deal will close, the length of time to closing, the likelihood that the deal price will be increased or decreased and the level of short term interest rates.

Merger arbitrage is a highly specialized investment approach generally designed to profit from the successful completion of proposed mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts. Broadly speaking, an investor purchases the stock of a company in the process of being acquired by another company in anticipation of capturing the spread between the current market price and the acquisition price. A “stub” refers to a small stake in a target company division or subsidiary that is not purchased by an acquirer in a merger, takeover or leveraged buyout. The arbitrageur may buy the stub, and if the acquiring company is successful in boosting the target company’s appeal, the shares will benefit from a boost in price and the arbitrageur will profit. A spin-off occurs when an independent company is created from an existing part of another company through a distribution of new shares. An arbitrageur may benefit from the share price differential in the same manner as in traditional merger arbitrage if, upon completion of the spin-off, the separate securities trade for more in the aggregate than the former single security. Finally, when a company makes the decision to liquidate, or sell all of its assets, it is often worth more in liquidation than as an ongoing entity. An arbitrageur benefits when the company is able to distribute more than the price at which the stock is trading at the time the arbitrageur acquires its position.

In order to minimize market exposure and volatility of such merger arbitrage strategies, the Fund may utilize hedging strategies, such as short selling and the use of options, futures, swaps, forward foreign exchange contracts and other derivatives. The Fund expects that it will invest in these types of instruments primarily for hedging and risk management purposes. The Fund may also invest in derivative instruments for the purposes of increasing the income of the Fund, hedging against changes in the value of its portfolio securities and in the value of securities it intends to purchase, or hedging against a specific transaction with respect to either the currency in which the transaction is denominated or another currency. There is no specific limit on the proportion of its assets that the Fund may use to invest in derivatives and conduct short sales in connection with its investments in corporate transactions and reorganizations.

Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its assets in securities or hedging arrangements relating to companies involved in corporate transactions or reorganizations, giving rise to the possibility of realizing gains upon or within relatively short periods of time after the completion of such transactions, or reorganizations. This policy is not fundamental and may be changed by the Fund with notice of not less than 60 days to its shareholders. Securities in which the Fund may invest include both equity securities (e.g., common stocks and preferred stocks) and fixed-income securities. The Fund may make unlimited

 

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investments in securities rated below investment grade by recognized statistical rating agencies or unrated securities of comparable quality, including securities of issuers in default, which are likely to have the lowest rating. However, the Fund does not expect these investments to exceed 10% of its total assets. These securities, which may be preferred shares or debt, are predominantly speculative and involve major risk exposure to adverse conditions. Securities that are rated lower than “BBB” by S&P, or lower than “Baa” by Moody’s or unrated securities considered by the Investment Adviser to be of comparable quality, are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” or “high yield” securities. The Fund may also invest up to 15% of its assets in securities for which there is no readily available trading market or are otherwise illiquid. Illiquid securities include securities legally restricted as to resale, such as commercial paper issued pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and securities eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A thereunder. Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 144A securities may, however, be treated as liquid by the Investment Adviser pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board, which require consideration of factors such as trading activity, availability of market quotations and number of dealers willing to purchase the security.

In applying the Fund’s investment policies, Gabelli Funds, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”) considers normal market conditions to exist when there are a substantial number of corporate transactions or reorganizations that, in the Investment Adviser’s judgment, have an attractive investment profile. Depending upon the level of merger activity and other economic and market conditions, and the availability of corporate transactions or reorganizations that, in the Investment Adviser’s judgment, have an attractive investment profile, the Fund may invest a substantial portion of its assets in other securities, including money market instruments such as U.S. Treasury bills and other short term obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities; shares of one or more money market funds managed by the Investment Adviser or unaffiliated managers; negotiable bank certificates of deposit; prime commercial paper; and repurchase agreements with respect to the above securities. During periods in which a substantial portion of the Fund’s assets are invested in other securities, it is less likely that the Fund will achieve its investment objective or an attractive rate of return.

The Fund may invest without limitation in the securities of foreign and domestic issuers. The Fund’s investment strategy is to invest in merger arbitrage transactions and corporate reorganizations throughout the world. To the extent that the majority of mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts and corporate reorganizations are concentrated in any given geographic region, such as Europe, North America or Asia, a relatively high proportion of the Fund’s assets may be invested in that particular region.

No assurances can be given that the Fund’s objective will be achieved. Neither the Fund’s investment objective nor, except as expressly stated herein, any of its policies are fundamental, and each may be modified by the Board without shareholder approval. The percentage and ratings limitations stated herein and in the SAI apply only at the time of investment and are not considered violated as a result of subsequent changes to the value, or downgrades to the ratings, of the Fund’s portfolio investments.

Gabelli Funds, LLC, a New York limited liability company, with offices at One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422, serves as investment adviser to the Fund.

Investment Methodology of the Fund

In selecting transactions in which the Fund will invest, the Investment Adviser normally considers the following factors, among others:

 

    the probability that the targeted acquisition or other transaction will close;

 

    the length of time to closing;

 

    the credibility, strategic motivation and financial resources of the participants;

 

    the liquidity of the securities involved in the transaction;

 

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    the issuer’s free cash flow and long term earnings trends;

 

    the likelihood of an overbid; and

 

    the presence of a catalyst: something indigenous to the issuer, its industry, or country to surface additional value.

The Investment Adviser believes that blending traditional merger arbitrage for announced deals with strategies that focus on stubs, spin-offs and liquidations will produce absolute returns in excess of short term interest rates with less volatility than the returns typically associated with equity investing. A systematic and disciplined arbitrage program may produce attractive rates of return even in flat or down markets.

Certain Investment Practices

Merger Arbitrage. Merger arbitrage is a highly specialized investment approach generally designed to profit from the successful completion of proposed mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts. Although a variety of strategies may be employed depending upon the nature of the reorganizations selected for investment, the most common merger arbitrage activity involves purchasing the shares of an announced acquisition target at a discount to their expected value upon completion of the acquisition. Although investors can utilize merger arbitrage techniques with respect to companies the investor believes may soon become subject to a merger proposal or negotiated transaction, the Fund intends to invest primarily in publicly announced transactions.

In general, securities which are the subject of such an offer or proposal sell at a premium to their historic market price immediately prior to the announcement of the offer but at a discount to what the stated or appraised value of the securities would be if the contemplated transaction were completed. Investments in these securities may be advantageous when the discount overstates the risk of the contingencies involved; undervalues the securities, assets or cash to be received by shareholders of the prospective portfolio company as a result of the contemplated transaction; or fails adequately to recognize the possibility that the offer or proposal may be replaced or superseded by an offer or proposal of greater value. The evaluation of such contingencies requires unusually broad knowledge and experience on the part of the Investment Adviser, which must appraise not only the value of the issuer and its component businesses as well as the assets or securities to be received as a result of the contemplated transaction, but also the financial resources and business motivation of the offering party and/or the dynamics and business climate when the offer or proposal is in process. Since such investments are ordinarily short term in nature, they will tend to increase the portfolio turnover ratio of the Fund (which may exceed 300%), thereby increasing its brokerage and other transaction expenses. The Investment Adviser intends to select investments of this type which, in its view, have reasonable prospects of capital appreciation which are significant in relation to both the risk involved and the potential of available alternative investments.

Foreign Securities. The Fund may invest, without limit, in the equity securities of companies located outside the United States, which are generally denominated in foreign currencies.

The Investment Adviser believes that investing in foreign securities offers both enhanced investment opportunities and additional risks beyond those present in U.S. securities. Investing in foreign securities may provide increased diversification by adding securities from various foreign countries (i) that offer different investment opportunities, (ii) that generally are affected by different economic trends and (iii) whose stock markets may not be correlated with U.S. markets. At the same time, these opportunities and trends involve risks that may not be encountered in U.S. investments.

The following considerations comprise both risks and opportunities not typically associated with investing in U.S. securities: fluctuations in exchange rates of foreign currencies; possible imposition of exchange control regulations or currency restrictions that would prevent cash from being brought back to the United States; less public information with respect to issuers of securities; less government supervision of stock exchanges, securities brokers and issuers of securities; lack of uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting

 

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standards; lack of uniform settlement periods and trading practices; less liquidity and frequently greater price volatility in foreign markets than in the United States; possible imposition of foreign taxes; the possibility of expropriation or confiscatory taxation, seizure or nationalization of foreign bank deposits or other assets; the adoption of foreign government restrictions and other adverse political, social or diplomatic developments that could affect investment; sometimes less advantageous legal, operational and financial protections applicable to foreign sub-custodial arrangements; and the historically lower level of responsiveness of foreign management to shareholder concerns (such as dividends and return on investment).

The Fund may purchase sponsored American Depository Receipts (“ADRs”) or U.S. dollar denominated securities of foreign issuers, which will be considered foreign securities for purposes of the Fund’s investment policies. ADRs are receipts issued by U.S. banks or trust companies in respect of securities of foreign issuers held on deposit for use in the U.S. securities markets. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Foreign Securities Risk.”

Emerging Market Countries. The risks described above for foreign securities, including the risks of nationalization and expropriation of assets, are typically increased to the extent that the Fund invests in companies headquartered in developing, or emerging market, countries. Investments in securities of companies headquartered in such countries may be considered speculative and subject to certain special risks. The political and economic structures in many of these countries may be in their infancy and developing rapidly, and such countries may lack the social, political and economic characteristics of more developed countries. Certain of these countries have in the past failed to recognize private property rights and have at times nationalized and expropriated the assets of private companies. Some countries have inhibited the conversion of their currency to another. The currencies of certain emerging market countries have experienced devaluation relative to the U.S. dollar, and future devaluations may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s assets denominated in such currencies. Some emerging market countries have experienced substantial rates of inflation for many years. Continued inflation may adversely affect the economies and securities markets of such countries. In addition, unanticipated political or social developments may affect the value of the Fund’s investments in these countries and the availability of the Fund of additional investments in these countries. The small size, limited trading volume and relative inexperience of the securities markets in these countries may make the Fund’s investments in such countries illiquid and more volatile than investments in more developed countries, and the Fund may be required to establish special custodial or other arrangements before making investments in these countries. There may be little financial or accounting information available with respect to companies located in these countries, and it may be difficult as a result to assess the value or prospects of an investment in such companies.

Equity Securities. The Fund invests in equity securities (such as common stock and preferred stock).

Common stocks represent the residual ownership interest in the issuer and holders of common stock are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the issuer after all of its debt obligations and obligations to preferred shareholders are satisfied. Common stocks generally have voting rights. Common stocks fluctuate in price in response to many factors including historical and prospective earnings of the issuer, the value of its assets, general economic conditions, interest rates, investor perceptions and market liquidity.

Equity securities also include preferred stock (whether or not convertible into common stock) and debt securities convertible into or exchangeable for common or preferred stock. Preferred stock has a preference over common stock in liquidation (and generally dividends as well) but is subordinated to the liabilities of the issuer in all respects. As a general rule the market value of preferred stock with a fixed dividend rate and no conversion element varies inversely with interest rates and perceived credit risk, while the market price of convertible preferred stock generally also reflects some element of conversion value. Because preferred stock is junior to debt securities and other obligations of the issuer, deterioration in the credit quality of the issuer will cause greater changes in the value of a preferred stock than in a more senior debt security with similarly stated yield

 

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characteristics. The market value of preferred stock will also generally reflect whether (and if so when) the issuer may force holders to sell their preferred stock back to the issuer and whether (and if so when) the holders may force the issuer to buy back their preferred stock. Generally speaking, the right of the issuer to repurchase the preferred stock tends to reduce any premium at which the preferred stock might otherwise trade due to interest rate or credit factors, while the right of the holders to require the issuer to repurchase the preferred stock tends to reduce any discount at which the preferred stock might otherwise trade due to interest rate or credit factors. In addition, some preferred stocks are non-cumulative, meaning that the dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. A portion of the portfolio may include investments in non-cumulative preferred stocks, whereby the issuer does not have an obligation to make up any arrearages to its shareholders. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on non-cumulative preferred stocks in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable.

Securities that are convertible into or exchangeable for preferred or common stock are liabilities of the issuer but are generally subordinated to more senior elements of the issuer’s balance sheet. Although such securities also generally reflect an element of conversion value, their market value also varies with interest rates and perceived credit risk. Many convertible securities are not investment grade, that is, not rated “BBB” or better by S&P or “Baa” or better by Moody’s or considered by the Investment Adviser to be of similar quality. Preferred stocks and convertible securities may have many of the same characteristics and risks as nonconvertible debt securities. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks—Non-Investment Grade Securities.”

Fixed Income Securities. Fixed income securities include securities such as bonds, debentures, notes, preferred stock, short term discounted U.S. Treasury Bills or certain securities of the U.S. government sponsored instrumentalities, as well as money market open-end funds that invest in those securities, which, in the absence of an applicable exemptive order, will not be affiliated with the Investment Adviser. Fixed income securities obligate the issuer to pay to the holder of the security a specified return, which may be either fixed or reset periodically in accordance with the terms of the security. Fixed income securities generally are senior to an issuer’s common stock and their holders generally are entitled to receive amounts due before any distributions are made to common shareholders. Common stocks, on the other hand, generally do not obligate an issuer to make periodic distributions to holders.

The market value of fixed income securities, especially those that provide a fixed rate of return, may be expected to rise and fall inversely with interest rates and in general is affected by the credit rating of the issuer, the issuer’s performance and perceptions of the issuer in the market place. The market value of callable or redeemable fixed income securities may also be affected by the issuer’s call and redemption rights. In addition, it is possible that the issuer of fixed income securities may not be able to meet its interest or principal obligations to holders. Further, holders of non-convertible fixed income securities do not participate in any capital appreciation of the issuer.

The Fund may also invest in obligations of government sponsored instrumentalities. Unlike non-U.S. government securities, obligations of certain agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. government, such as the Government National Mortgage Association, are supported by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government; others, such as those of the Export-Import Bank of the U.S., are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; others, such as those of the Federal National Mortgage Association, are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agency’s obligations; and still others, such as those of the Student Loan Marketing Association, are supported only by the credit of the instrumentality. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government would provide financial support to U.S. government sponsored instrumentalities if it is not obligated to do so by law.

Non-Investment Grade Securities. The Fund may make unlimited investments in securities rated below investment grade by recognized statistical rating agencies or unrated securities of comparable quality, including securities of issuers in default, which are likely to have the lowest rating. However, the Fund does not expect

 

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these investments to exceed 10% of its total assets. These securities, which may be preferred shares or debt, are predominantly speculative and involve major risk exposure to adverse conditions. Securities that are rated lower than “BBB” by S&P, or lower than “Baa” by Moody’s or unrated securities considered by the Investment Adviser to be of comparable quality, are commonly referred to in the financial press as “junk bonds” or “high yield” securities.

Generally, such lower grade securities and unrated securities of comparable quality offer a higher current yield than is offered by higher rated securities, but also (i) will likely have some quality and protective characteristics that, in the judgment of the rating organizations, are outweighed by large uncertainties or major risk exposures to adverse conditions and (ii) are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation. The market values of certain of these securities also tend to be more sensitive to individual corporate developments and changes in economic conditions than higher quality securities. In addition, such lower grade securities generally present a higher degree of credit risk. The risk of loss due to default by these issuers is significantly greater because such lower grade securities and unrated securities of comparable quality generally are unsecured and frequently are subordinated to the prior payment of senior indebtedness. In light of these risks, the Investment Adviser, in evaluating the creditworthiness of an issue, whether rated or unrated, will take various factors into consideration, which may include, as applicable, the issuer’s operating history, financial resources and its sensitivity to economic conditions and trends, the market support for the facility financed by the issue, the perceived ability and integrity of the issuer’s management and regulatory matters.

In addition, the market value of securities in lower rated categories is more volatile than that of higher quality securities, and the markets in which such lower rated or unrated securities are traded are more limited than those in which higher rated securities are traded. The existence of limited markets may make it more difficult for the Fund to obtain accurate market quotations for purposes of valuing its portfolio and calculating its net asset value. Moreover, the lack of a liquid trading market may restrict the availability of securities for the Fund to purchase and may also have the effect of limiting the ability of the Fund to sell securities at their fair value in response to changes in the economy or the financial markets.

Lower grade securities also present risks based on payment expectations. If an issuer calls the obligation for redemption (often a feature of fixed income securities), the Fund may have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, resulting in a decreased return for investors. Also, as the principal value of nonconvertible bonds and preferred shares moves inversely with movements in interest rates, in the event of rising interest rates the value of the securities held by the Fund may decline proportionately more than a portfolio consisting of higher rated securities. Investments in zero coupon bonds may be more speculative and subject to greater fluctuations in value due to changes in interest rates than bonds that pay regular income streams. Current interest rates are at historical lows and, therefore, it is likely that they will rise in the future.

The Fund may purchase securities of companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties, including companies involved in bankruptcy or other reorganization and liquidation proceedings. Although such investments may result in significant financial returns to the Fund, they involve a substantial degree of risk. The level of analytical sophistication, both financial and legal, necessary for successful investments in issuers experiencing significant business and financial difficulties is unusually high. There can be no assurance that the Fund will correctly evaluate the value of the assets collateralizing its investments or the prospects for a successful reorganization or similar action. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio investment, the Fund may lose all or part of its investment or may be required to accept collateral with a value less than the amount of the Fund’s initial investment.

As part of its investment in lower grade securities, the Fund may invest in securities of issuers in default. The Fund will make an investment in securities of issuers in default only when the Investment Adviser believes that such issuers will honor their obligations or emerge from bankruptcy protection under a plan pursuant to which the securities received by the Fund in exchange for its defaulted securities will have a value in excess of

 

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the Fund’s investment. By investing in securities of issuers in default, the Fund bears the risk that these issuers will not continue to honor their obligations or emerge from bankruptcy protection or that the value of the securities will not otherwise appreciate.

In addition to using statistical rating agencies and other sources, the Investment Adviser also performs its own analysis of issues in seeking investments that it believes to be underrated (and thus higher yielding) in light of the financial condition of the issuer. Its analysis of issuers may include, among other things, current and anticipated cash flow and borrowing requirements, value of assets in relation to historical cost, strength of management, responsiveness to business conditions, credit standing, and current anticipated results of operations. In selecting investments for the Fund, the Investment Adviser may also consider general business conditions, anticipated changes in interest rates and the outlook for specific industries.

Subsequent to its purchase by the Fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced. In addition, it is possible that statistical rating agencies may change their ratings of a particular issue to reflect subsequent events. Moreover, such ratings do not assess the risk of a decline in market value. None of these events will require the sale of the securities by the Fund, although the Investment Adviser will consider these events in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the securities.

Fixed income securities, including lower grade securities, frequently have call or buy-back features that permit their issuers to call or repurchase the securities from their holders, such as the Fund. If an issuer exercises these rights during periods of declining interest rates, the Fund may have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, thus resulting in a decreased return for the Fund.

The market for lower grade and comparable unrated securities has experienced periods of significantly adverse price and liquidity several times, particularly at or around times of economic recessions. Past market recessions have adversely affected the value of such securities as well as the ability of certain issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon or to refinance such securities. The market for those securities may react in a similar fashion in the future.

Short Sales. The Fund may make short sales of securities. A short sale is a transaction in which the Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. The market value of the securities sold short of any one issuer will not exceed either 25% of the Fund’s total assets or 5% of such issuer’s voting securities. The Fund also will not make a short sale, if, after giving effect to such sale, the market value of all securities sold short exceeds 50% of the value of its total assets. The Fund may also make short sales “against the box” without respect to such limitations. In this type of short sale, at the time of the sale, the Fund owns, or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire at no additional cost, the identical security.

The Fund expects to make short sales both to obtain capital gains from anticipated declines in securities and as a form of hedging to offset potential declines in long positions in the same or similar securities. The short sale of a security is considered a speculative investment technique. Short sales “against the box” may be subject to special tax rules, one of the effects of which may be to accelerate income to the Fund.

When the Fund makes a short sale, it must borrow the security sold short and deliver it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale in order to satisfy its obligation to deliver the security upon conclusion of the sale. The Fund may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to deliver any payments received on such borrowed securities, such as dividends.

If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Fund will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss will be increased, by the transaction costs incurred by the Fund, including the costs associated with providing collateral to the broker-dealer (usually cash, U.S. government securities or other highly liquid debt securities) and the maintenance of collateral with its custodian. Although the Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

 

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Derivatives. Investments in options, futures and swaps are often referred to as derivatives transactions. The Fund expects that it will invest in these types of instruments primarily for hedging and risk management purposes. The Fund may also invest in derivative instruments for the purposes of increasing the income of the Fund, hedging against changes in the value of its portfolio securities and in the value of securities it intends to purchase, or hedging against a specific transaction with respect to either the currency in which the transaction is denominated or another currency.

There is no specific limit on the proportion of its assets that the Fund may use to invest in derivatives and conduct short sales in connection with its investments in corporate transactions and reorganizations.

Limitations on the Purchase and Sale of Futures Contracts, Certain Options, and Swaps. Subject to the guidelines of the Board, the Fund may engage in “commodity interest” transactions (generally, transactions in futures, certain options, certain currency transactions, and certain types of swaps) only for bona fide hedging or other permissible transactions in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”). Pursuant to amendments by the CFTC to Rule 4.5 under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), the Investment Adviser has filed a notice of exemption from registration as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund. The Fund and the Investment Adviser are therefore not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the CEA. In addition, certain trading restrictions are applicable to the Fund as a result of this status. These trading restrictions permit the Fund to engage in commodity interest transactions that include (i) “bona fide hedging” transactions, as that term is defined and interpreted by the CFTC and its staff, without regard to the percentage of the Fund’s assets committed to margin and options premiums and (ii) non-bona fide hedging transactions, provided that the Fund does not enter into such non-bona fide hedging transactions if, immediately thereafter, either (a) the sum of the amount of initial margin deposits on the Fund’s existing futures positions or swaps positions and option or swaption premiums would exceed 5% of the market value of the Fund’s liquidating value, after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such transactions, or (b) the aggregate net notional value of the Fund’s commodity interest transactions would not exceed 100% of the market value of the Fund’s liquidating value, after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such transactions. In addition to meeting one of the foregoing trading limitations, the Fund may not market itself as a commodity pool or otherwise as a vehicle for trading in the futures, options or swaps markets. Therefore, in order to claim the Rule 4.5 exemption, the Fund is limited in its ability to invest in commodity futures, options, and certain types of swaps (including securities futures, broad based stock index futures, and financial futures contracts). As a result, the Fund is more limited in its ability to use these instruments than in the past, and these limitations may have a negative impact on the ability of the Investment Adviser to manage the Fund, and on the Fund’s performance. If the Investment Adviser was required to register as a commodity pool operator with respect to the Fund, compliance with additional registration and regulatory requirements would increase Fund expenses. Other potentially adverse regulatory initiatives could also develop.

Options. The Fund may purchase or sell, i.e., write, options on securities, securities indices and foreign currencies which are listed on a national securities exchange or in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) market as a means of achieving additional return or of hedging the value of the Fund’s portfolio. A call option is a contract that, in return for a premium, gives the holder of the option the right to buy from the writer of the call option the security or currency underlying the option at a specified exercise price at any time during the term of the option. The writer of the call option has the obligation, upon exercise of the option, to deliver the underlying security or currency upon payment of the exercise price during the option period. A put option is the reverse of a call option, giving the holder of the option the right, in return for a premium, to sell the underlying security to the writer, at a specified price, and obligating the writer to purchase the underlying security from the holder upon exercise of the exercise price.

If the Fund has written an option, it may terminate its obligation by effecting a closing purchase transaction. This is accomplished by purchasing an option of the same series as the option previously written. However, with respect to exchange-traded options, once the Fund has been assigned an exercise notice, the Fund will be unable

 

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to effect a closing purchase transaction. Similarly, if the Fund is the holder of an option it may liquidate its position by effecting a closing sale transaction on an exchange. This is accomplished by selling an option of the same series as the option previously purchased. There can be no assurance that either a closing purchase or sale transaction can be effected when the Fund so desires.

The Fund will realize a profit from a closing transaction if the price of the transaction is less than the premium received from writing the option or is more than the premium paid to purchase the option; the Fund will realize a loss from a closing transaction if the price of the transaction is more than the premium received from writing the option or is less than the premium paid to purchase the option. Since call option prices generally reflect increases in the price of the underlying security, any loss resulting from the repurchase of a call option may also be wholly or partially offset by unrealized appreciation of the underlying security. Other principal factors affecting the market value of a put or a call option include supply and demand, prevailing interest rates, the current market price and price volatility of the underlying security, and the time remaining until the expiration date of the option. Gains and losses on investments in options depend, in part, on the ability of the Investment Adviser to predict correctly the effect of these factors. The use of options cannot serve as a complete hedge since the price movement of securities underlying the options will not necessarily follow the price movements of the portfolio securities subject to the hedge.

An option position may be closed out only on an exchange which provides a secondary market for an option of the same series or in a private transaction. Although the Fund will generally purchase or write only those options for which there appears to be an active secondary market, there is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an exchange will persist for any particular option. In such event, it might not be possible to effect closing transactions in particular options, so that the Fund would have to exercise its options in order to realize any profit and would incur brokerage commissions upon the exercise of call options and upon the subsequent disposition of underlying securities for the exercise of put options. If the Fund, as a covered call option writer, is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction in a secondary market, it will not be able to sell the underlying security until the option expires or it delivers the underlying security upon exercise or otherwise covers the position.

The sale of covered call options may also be used by the Fund to reduce the risks associated with individual investments and to increase total investment return. A call option is “covered” if the Fund owns the underlying instrument covered by the call or has an absolute and immediate right to acquire that instrument without additional cash consideration (or for additional cash consideration held in a segregated account by its custodian) upon conversion or exchange of other instruments held in its portfolio. A call option is also covered if the Fund holds a call option on the same instrument as the call option written where the exercise price of the call option held is (i) equal to or less than the exercise price of the call option written or (ii) greater than the exercise price of the call option written if the difference is maintained by the Fund in cash, U.S. government securities or other high-grade short term obligations in a segregated account with its custodian. A put option is “covered” if the Fund maintains cash or other liquid securities with a value equal to the exercise price in a segregated account with its custodian, or else holds a put option on the same instrument as the put option written where the exercise price of the put option held is equal to or greater than the exercise price of the put option written.

To the extent that the Fund purchases options pursuant to a hedging strategy, the Fund will be subject to the following additional risks. If a put or call option purchased by the Fund is not sold when it has remaining value, and if the market price of the underlying security remains equal to or greater than the exercise price (in the case of a put), or remains less than or equal to the exercise price (in the case of a call), the Fund will lose its entire investment in the option.

Where a put or call option on a particular security is purchased to hedge against price movements in that or a related security, the price of the put or call option may move more or less than the price of the security. If restrictions on exercise are imposed, the Fund may be unable to exercise an option it has purchased. If the Fund is unable to close out an option that it has purchased on a security, it will have to exercise the option in order to realize any profit, or the option may expire worthless.

 

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Futures Contracts and Options on Futures. The Fund may purchase and sell financial futures contracts and options thereon which are traded on a commodities exchange or board of trade for certain hedging and risk management purposes. A financial futures contract is an agreement to purchase or sell an agreed amount of securities or currencies at a set price for delivery in the future. These futures contracts and related options may be on debt securities, financial indices, securities indices, U.S. government securities and foreign currencies.

Swaps. The Fund may enter into total rate of return, credit default or other types of swaps and related derivatives for the purpose of hedging and risk management. These transactions generally provide for the transfer from one counterparty to another of certain risks inherent in the ownership of a financial asset such as a common stock or debt instrument. Such risks include, among other things, the risk of default and insolvency of the obligor of such asset, the risk that the credit of the obligor or the underlying collateral will decline or the risk that the common stock of the underlying issuer will decline in value. The transfer of risk pursuant to a derivative of this type may be complete or partial, and may be for the life of the related asset or for a shorter period. These derivatives may be used as a risk management tool for a pool of financial assets, providing the Fund with the opportunity to gain or reduce exposure to one or more reference securities or other financial assets (each, a “Reference Asset”) without actually owning or selling such assets in order, for example, to increase or reduce a concentration risk or to diversify a portfolio. Conversely, these derivatives may be used by the Fund to reduce exposure to an owned asset without selling it.

Because the Fund would not own the Reference Assets, the Fund may not have any voting rights with respect to the Reference Assets, and in such cases all decisions related to the obligors or issuers of the Reference Assets, including whether to exercise certain remedies, will be controlled by the swap counterparties.

Total rate of return swap agreements are contracts in which one party agrees to make periodic payments to another party based on the change in market value of the assets underlying the contract, which may include a specified security, basket of securities or securities indices during the specified period, in return for periodic payments based on a fixed or variable interest rate or the total return from other underlying assets.

A credit default swap consists of an agreement between two parties in which the “buyer” agrees to pay to the “seller” a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract and the seller agrees to pay the buyer the par value (or other agreed-upon value) of a referenced debt obligation upon the occurrence of a credit event with respect to the issuer of the referenced debt obligation. Generally, a credit event means bankruptcy, failure to pay, obligation acceleration or modified restructuring. The Fund may be either the buyer or seller in a credit default swap. As the buyer in a credit default swap, the Fund would pay to the counterparty the periodic stream of payments. If no default occurs, the Fund would receive no benefit from the contract. As the seller in a credit default swap, the Fund would receive the stream of payments but would be subject to exposure on the notional amount of the swap, which it would be required to pay in the event of a credit event with respect to the issuer of the referenced debt obligation. Accordingly, if the Fund sells a credit default swap (or a credit default index swap), it intends at all times to segregate or designate on its books and records liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the notional amount of the swap (i.e., the cost of payment to the buyer if a credit event occurs).

The Fund may also enter into equity contract for difference swap transactions for the purpose of increasing the income of the Fund. In an equity contract for difference swap, a set of future cash flows is exchanged between two counterparties. One of these cash flow streams will typically be based on a reference interest rate combined with the performance of a notional value of shares of a stock. The other will be based on the performance of the shares of a stock. Depending on the general state of short term interest rates and the returns on the Fund’s portfolio securities at the time an equity contract for difference swap transaction reaches its scheduled termination date, there is a risk that the Fund will not be able to obtain a replacement transaction or that the terms of the replacement will not be as favorable as on the expiring transaction.

Total rate of return swaps and similar derivatives are subject to many risks, including the possibility that the market will move in a manner or direction that would have resulted in gain for the Fund had the swap or other

 

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derivative not been utilized (in which case it would have been better had the Fund not engaged in the hedging transactions), the risk of imperfect correlation between the risk sought to be hedged and the derivative transactions utilized, the possible inability of the counterparty to fulfill its obligations under the swap and potential illiquidity of the hedging instrument utilized, which may make it difficult for the Fund to close out or unwind one or more hedging transactions.

Total rate of return swaps and related derivatives are a relatively recent development in the financial markets. Consequently, there are certain legal, tax and market uncertainties that present risks in entering into such arrangements.

There is currently little or no case law or litigation characterizing total rate of return swaps or related derivatives, interpreting their provisions, or characterizing their tax treatment. In addition, additional regulations and laws may apply to these types of derivatives that have not previously been applied. There can be no assurance that future decisions construing similar provisions to those in any swap agreement or other related documents or additional regulations and laws will not have an adverse effect on the Fund that utilizes these instruments.

Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts. There is no limit on the Fund’s ability to invest in foreign currency exchange contracts, as the Fund may invest up to 100% of its assets in transactions involving securities denominated in foreign currencies. The Fund may hedge up to 100% of its currency exposure.

The Fund may enter into such contracts on a spot, i.e., cash, basis at the rate then prevailing in the currency exchange market or on a forward basis, by entering into a forward contract to purchase or sell currency. A forward contract on foreign currency is an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days agreed upon by the parties from the date of the contract at a price set on the date of the contract. The Fund expects to invest in forward currency contracts for hedging or currency risk management purposes and not in order to speculate on currency exchange rate movements. The Fund will only enter into forward currency contracts with parties which the Investment Adviser believes to be creditworthy. To ensure that its forward currency contracts are not used to achieve investment leverage, the Fund will segregate liquid assets with its custodian, or a designated sub-custodian, in an amount at all times equal to or exceeding its commitment with respect to the contracts.

Repurchase Agreement Transactions. Repurchase agreements may be seen as loans by the Fund collateralized by underlying debt securities. Under the terms of a typical repurchase agreement, the Fund would acquire an underlying security for a relatively short period (usually not more than one week) subject to an obligation of the seller to repurchase, and the Fund to resell, the security at an agreed price and time. This arrangement results in a fixed rate of return to the Fund that is not subject to market fluctuations during the holding period. The Fund bears a risk of loss in the event that the other party to a repurchase agreement defaults on its obligations and the Fund is delayed in or prevented from exercising its rights to dispose of the collateral securities, including the risk of a possible decline in the value of the underlying securities during the period in which it seeks to assert these rights. The Investment Adviser, acting under the supervision of the Board, reviews the creditworthiness of those banks and dealers with which the Fund enters into repurchase agreements to evaluate these risks and monitors on an ongoing basis the value of the securities subject to repurchase agreements to ensure that the value is maintained at the required level. The Fund will not enter into repurchase agreements with the Investment Adviser or any of its affiliates.

Restricted and Illiquid Securities. The Fund may invest up to 15% of its assets in securities for which there is no readily available trading market or are otherwise illiquid. Illiquid securities include securities legally restricted as to resale, such as commercial paper issued pursuant to Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act and securities eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A thereunder. Section 4(a)(2) and Rule 144A securities may, however, be treated as liquid by the Investment Adviser pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board, which require consideration of factors such as trading activity, availability of market quotations and number of dealers

 

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willing to purchase the security. If the Fund invests in Rule 144A securities, the level of portfolio illiquidity may be increased to the extent that eligible buyers become uninterested in purchasing such securities.

It may be difficult to sell such securities at a price representing the fair value until such time as such securities may be sold publicly. Where registration is required, a considerable period may elapse between a decision to sell the securities and the time when it would be permitted to sell. Thus, the Fund may not be able to obtain as favorable a price as that prevailing at the time of the decision to sell. The Fund may also acquire securities through private placements under which it may agree to contractual restrictions on the resale of such securities. Such restrictions might prevent their sale at a time when such sale would otherwise be desirable.

Leverage. As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund may issue senior securities (which may be stock, such as preferred shares, and/or securities representing debt) only if immediately after such issuance the value of the Fund’s total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, exceeds 300% of the amount of the debt outstanding and exceeds 200% of the amount of preferred shares and debt outstanding. Any such preferred shares may be convertible in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (the “SEC”) staff guidelines, which may permit the Fund to obtain leverage at attractive rates. The use of leverage magnifies the impact of changes in net asset value. Such volatility may increase the likelihood of the Fund having to sell investments in order to meet its obligations to make distributions on the preferred shares or principal or interest payments on debt securities, or to redeem preferred shares or repay debt, when it may be disadvantageous to do so. The Fund’s use of leverage may require it to sell portfolio investments at inopportune times in order to raise cash to redeem preferred shares or otherwise de-leverage so as to maintain required asset coverage amounts or comply with any mandatory redemption terms of any outstanding preferred shares. In addition, if the cost of leverage exceeds the return on the securities acquired with the proceeds of leverage, the use of leverage will diminish rather than enhance the return to the Fund. The use of leverage generally increases the volatility of returns to the Fund. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holders of Common Shares—Leverage Risk.”

In the event the Fund had both outstanding preferred shares and senior securities representing debt at the same time, the Fund’s obligations to pay dividends or distributions and, upon liquidation of the Fund, liquidation payments in respect of its preferred shares would be subordinate to the Fund’s obligations to make any principal and/or interest payments due and owing with respect to its outstanding senior debt securities. Accordingly, the Fund’s issuance of senior securities representing debt would have the effect of creating special risks for the Fund’s preferred shareholders that would not be present in a capital structure that did not include such securities.

Additionally, the Fund may enter into derivative transactions that have economic leverage embedded in them. Derivative transactions that the Fund may enter into and the risks associated with them are described elsewhere in this Prospectus and in the SAI. The Fund cannot assure you that investments in derivative transactions that have economic leverage embedded in them will result in a higher return on its common shares.

To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Fund to make payments, the Fund may earmark or segregate cash or liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the current value of the amount then payable by the Fund under the terms of such transactions or otherwise cover such transactions in accordance with applicable interpretations of the staff of the SEC. If the current value of the amount then payable by the Fund under the terms of such transactions is represented by the notional amounts of such investments, the Fund would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such notional amounts, and if the current value of the amount then payable by the Fund under the terms of such transactions is represented by the market value of the Fund’s current obligations, the Fund would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such current obligations. To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Fund to deliver particular securities to extinguish the Fund’s obligations under such transactions the Fund may “cover” its obligations under such transactions by either (i) owning the securities or collateral underlying such transactions or (ii) having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities or collateral without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, having earmarked or segregated an

 

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appropriate amount of cash or liquid assets). Such earmarking, segregation or cover is intended to provide the Fund with available assets to satisfy its obligations under such transactions. As a result of such earmarking, segregation or cover, the Fund’s obligations under such transactions will not be considered senior securities representing indebtedness for purposes of the 1940 Act, or considered borrowings subject to the Fund’s limitations on borrowings discussed above, but may create leverage for the Fund. To the extent that the Fund’s obligations under such transactions are not so earmarked, segregated or covered, such obligations may be considered “senior securities representing indebtedness” under the 1940 Act and therefore subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement.

These earmarking, segregation or cover requirements can result in the Fund maintaining securities positions it would otherwise liquidate, segregating or earmarking assets at a time when it might be disadvantageous to do so or otherwise restrict portfolio management.

Investment Restrictions. The Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions as fundamental policies of the Fund. Under the 1940 Act, a fundamental policy may not be changed without the vote of a majority, as defined in the 1940 Act, of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (voting together as a single class). In addition, pursuant to the Fund’s Series B Preferred Statement of Preferences, a majority, as defined in the 1940 Act, of the outstanding preferred shares of the Fund (voting separately as a single class) is also required to change a fundamental policy. See “Investment Restrictions” in the SAI.

Portfolio Turnover. The Fund will buy and sell securities to accomplish its investment objective. The investment policies of the Fund may lead to frequent changes in investments, particularly in periods of rapidly fluctuating interest or currency exchange rates.

Portfolio turnover generally involves some expense to the Fund, including brokerage commissions or dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of securities and reinvestment in other securities. The portfolio turnover rate is computed by dividing the lesser of the amount of the securities purchased or securities sold by the average monthly value of securities owned during the year (excluding securities whose maturities at acquisition were one year or less). Higher portfolio turnover may decrease the after-tax return to individual investors in the Fund to the extent it results in a decrease of the long term capital gains portion of distributions to shareholders.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016, the portfolio turnover rate of the Fund was 315%, 268% and 284%, respectively. The Fund anticipates that its portfolio turnover rate will be substantial and may exceed 300%.

Further information on the investment objective and policies of the Fund is set forth in the SAI.

RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Investors should consider the following risk factors and special considerations associated with investing in the Fund:

General Risks

Merger Arbitrage Risk. The Fund’s investment strategy involves investment techniques and securities holdings that entail risks, in some cases different from the risks ordinarily associated with investments in equity securities. The principal risk associated with the Fund’s arbitrage investments is that certain of the proposed reorganizations in which the Fund invests may be renegotiated, terminated or involve a longer time frame than originally contemplated, in which case the Fund may realize losses. Among the factors that affect the level of risk with respect to the completion of the transaction are the deal spread and number of bidders, the friendliness of the

 

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buyer and seller, the strategic rationale behind the transaction, the existence of regulatory hurdles, the level of due diligence completed on the target company and the ability of the buyer to finance the transaction. If the spread between the purchase price and the current price of the seller’s stock is small, the risk that the transaction will not be completed may outweigh the potential return. If there is very little interest by other potential buyers in the target company, the risk of loss may be higher than where there are back-up buyers that would allow the arbitrageur to realize a similar return if the current deal falls through. Unfriendly management of the target company or change in friendly management in the middle of a deal increases the risk that the deal will not be completed even if the target company’s board has approved the transaction and may involve the risk of litigation expense if the target company pursues litigation in an attempt to prevent the deal from occurring. The underlying strategy behind the deal is also a risk consideration because the less a target company will benefit from a merger or acquisition, the greater the risk. There is also a risk that an acquiring company may back out of an announced deal if, in the process of completing its due diligence of the target company, it discovers something undesirable about such company. In addition, merger transactions are also subject to regulatory risk because a merger transaction often must be approved by a regulatory body or pass governmental antitrust review. All of these factors affect the timing and likelihood that the transaction will close. Even if the Investment Adviser selects announced deals with the goal of mitigating the risks that the transaction will fail to close, such risks may still delay the closing of such transaction to a date later than the Fund originally anticipated, reducing the level of desired return to the Fund.

In recapitalizations, a corporation may restructure its balance sheet by selling specific assets, significantly leveraging other assets and creating new classes of equity securities to be distributed, together with a substantial payment in cash or in debt securities, to existing shareholders. In connection with such transactions, there is a risk that the value of the cash and new securities distributed will not be as high as the cost of the Fund’s original investment or that no such distribution will ultimately be made and the value of the Fund’s investment will decline. To the extent an investment in a company that has undertaken a recapitalization is retained by the Fund, the Fund’s risks will generally be comparable to those associated with investments in highly leveraged companies, generally including higher than average sensitivity to (i) short term interest rate fluctuations, (ii) downturns in the general economy or within a particular industry or (iii) adverse developments within the company itself.

Merger arbitrage positions are also subject to the risk of overall market movements. To the extent that a general increase or decline in equity values affects the stocks involved in a merger arbitrage position differently, the position may be exposed to loss.

Finally, merger arbitrage strategies depend for success on the overall volume of global merger activity, which has historically been cyclical in nature. During periods when merger activity is low, it may be difficult or impossible to identify opportunities for profit or to identify a sufficient number of such opportunities to provide balance among potential merger transactions. To the extent that the number of announced deals and corporate reorganizations decreases or the number of investors in such transactions increases, it is possible that merger arbitrage spreads will tighten, causing the profitability of investing in such transactions to diminish, which will in turn decrease the returns to the Fund from such investment activity.

Equity Risk. Investing in the Fund involves equity risk, which is the risk that the securities held by the Fund will fall in market value due to adverse market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the industries in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate and the particular circumstances and performance of particular companies whose securities the Fund holds. An investment in the Fund represents an indirect economic stake in the securities owned by the Fund, which are for the most part traded on securities exchanges or in the OTC markets. The market value of these securities, like other market investments, may move up or down, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. The net asset value of the Fund may at any point in time be less than the net asset value of the Fund at the time the shareholder invested in the Fund, even after taking into account any reinvestment of distributions.

 

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Common Stock Risk. Common stock of an issuer in the Fund’s portfolio may decline in price for a variety of reasons, including if the issuer fails to make anticipated dividend payments because, among other reasons, the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial condition. Common stock in which the Fund will invest is structurally subordinated as to income and residual value to preferred stock, bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure, in terms of priority to corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred stock or debt instruments of such issuers. In addition, while common stock has historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, common stock has also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns.

Preferred Stock Risk. There are special risks associated with the Fund’s investing in preferred securities, including:

 

    Deferral. Preferred securities may include provisions that permit the issuer, at its discretion, to defer dividends or distributions for a stated period without any adverse consequences to the issuer. If the Fund owns a preferred security that is deferring its dividends or distributions, the Fund may be required to report income for tax purposes although it has not yet received such income.

 

    Non-Cumulative Dividends. Some preferred securities are non-cumulative, meaning that the dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. A portion of the portfolio may include investments in non-cumulative preferred securities, whereby the issuer does not have an obligation to make up any arrearages to its shareholders. Should an issuer of a non-cumulative preferred security held by the Fund determine not to pay dividends or distributions on such security, the Fund’s return from that security may be adversely affected. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on non-cumulative preferred securities in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable.

 

    Subordination. Preferred securities are subordinated to bonds and other debt instruments in an issuer’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income and liquidation payments, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than more senior debt security instruments.

 

    Liquidity. Preferred securities may be substantially less liquid than many other securities, such as common stocks or U.S. government securities.

 

    Limited Voting Rights. Generally, preferred security holders (such as the Fund) have no voting rights with respect to the issuing company unless preferred dividends have been in arrears for a specified number of periods, at which time the preferred security holders may be entitled to elect a number of directors to the issuer’s board. Generally, once all the arrearages have been paid, the preferred security holders no longer have voting rights.

 

    Special Redemption Rights. In certain varying circumstances, an issuer of preferred securities may redeem the securities prior to a specified date. For instance, for certain types of preferred securities, a redemption may be triggered by a change in U.S. federal income tax or securities laws. A redemption by the issuer may negatively impact the return of the security held by the Fund.

Convertible Securities Risk. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. The market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. In the absence of adequate anti-dilution provisions in a convertible security, dilution in the value of the Fund’s holding may occur in the event the underlying stock is subdivided, additional equity securities are issued for below market value, a stock dividend is declared or the issuer enters into another type of corporate transaction that has a similar effect.

Fixed Income Securities Risks. Fixed income securities in which the Fund may invest are generally subject to the following risks:

 

    Interest Rate Risk. The market value of bonds and other fixed-income or dividend paying securities changes in response to interest rate changes and other factors. Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of bonds and other income or dividend paying securities will increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise.

 

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The risks associated with rising interest rates are heightened given the historically low interest rate environment as of the date of this prospectus. The Federal Reserve has begun to raise the Federal Funds rate, and each increase results in more pronounced interest rate risk in the current market environment. The magnitude of these fluctuations in the market price of bonds and other income or dividend paying securities is generally greater for those securities with longer maturities. Fluctuations in the market price of the Fund’s investments will not affect interest income derived from instruments already owned by the Fund, but will be reflected in the Fund’s net asset value. The Fund may lose money if short term or long term interest rates rise sharply in a manner not anticipated by Fund management. To the extent the Fund invests in debt securities that may be prepaid at the option of the obligor (such as mortgage-related securities), the sensitivity of such securities to changes in interest rates may increase (to the detriment of the Fund) when interest rates rise. Moreover, because rates on certain floating rate debt securities typically reset only periodically, changes in prevailing interest rates (and particularly sudden and significant changes) can be expected to cause some fluctuations in the net asset value of the Fund to the extent that it invests in floating rate debt securities. These basic principles of bond prices also apply to U.S. government securities. A security backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government is guaranteed only as to its stated interest rate and face value at maturity, not its current market price. Just like other income or dividend paying securities, government-guaranteed securities will fluctuate in value when interest rates change.

The Fund’s use of leverage will tend to increase the Fund’s interest rate risk. The Fund may utilize certain strategies, including taking positions in futures or interest rate swaps, for the purpose of reducing the interest rate sensitivity of income or dividend paying securities held by the Fund and decreasing the Fund’s exposure to interest rate risk. The Fund is not required to hedge its exposure to interest rate risk and may choose not to do so. In addition, there is no assurance that any attempts by the Fund to reduce interest rate risk will be successful or that any hedges that the Fund may establish will perfectly correlate with movements in interest rates.

The Fund may invest in variable and floating rate debt instruments, which generally are less sensitive to interest rate changes than longer duration fixed rate instruments, but may decline in value in response to rising interest rates if, for example, the rates at which they pay interest do not rise as much, or as quickly, as market interest rates in general. Conversely, variable and floating rate instruments generally will not increase in value if interest rates decline. The Fund also may invest in inverse floating rate debt securities, which may decrease in value if interest rates increase, and which also may exhibit greater price volatility than fixed rate debt obligations with similar credit quality. To the extent the Fund holds variable or floating rate instruments, a decrease (or, in the case of inverse floating rate securities, an increase) in market interest rates will adversely affect the income received from such securities, which may adversely affect the net asset value of the Fund’s common shares.

 

    Issuer Risk. Issuer risk is the risk that the value of an income or dividend paying security may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and prospective earnings of the issuer and the value of the assets of the issuer.

 

    Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more income or dividend paying securities in the Fund’s portfolio will decline in price or fail to pay interest/distributions or principal when due because the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial status. Credit risk is increased when a portfolio security is downgraded or the perceived creditworthiness of the issuer deteriorates. To the extent the Fund invests in below investment grade securities, it will be exposed to a greater amount of credit risk than a fund which only invests in investment grade securities. See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations — General Risks — Non-Investment Grade Securities.” In addition, to the extent the Fund uses credit derivatives, such use will expose it to additional risk in the event that the bonds underlying the derivatives default. The degree of credit risk depends on the issuer’s financial condition and on the terms of the securities.

 

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    Prepayment Risk. Prepayment risk is the risk that during periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled. For income or dividend paying securities, such payments often occur during periods of declining interest rates, forcing the Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities, resulting in a possible decline in the Fund’s income and distributions to shareholders. This is known as prepayment or “call” risk. Below investment grade securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the security at dates prior to its stated maturity at a specified price (typically greater than par) only if certain prescribed conditions are met (“call protection”). For premium bonds (bonds acquired at prices that exceed their par or principal value) purchased by the Fund, prepayment risk may be enhanced.

 

    Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Fund’s portfolio will decline if the Fund invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called fixed income securities at market interest rates that are below the Fund portfolio’s current earnings rate.

 

    Duration and Maturity Risk. The Fund has no set policy regarding portfolio maturity or duration of the fixed-income securities it may hold. The Investment Adviser may seek to adjust the duration or maturity of the Fund’s fixed-income holdings based on its assessment of current and projected market conditions and all other factors that the Investment Adviser deems relevant. In comparison to maturity (which is the date on which the issuer of a debt instrument is obligated to repay the principal amount), duration is a measure of the price volatility of a debt instrument as a result in changes in market rates of interest, based on the weighted average timing of the instrument’s expected principal and interest payments. Specifically, duration measures the anticipated percentage change in NAV that is expected for every percentage point change in interest rates. The two have an inverse relationship. Duration can be a useful tool to estimate anticipated price changes to a fixed pool of income securities associated with changes in interest rates. For example, a duration of five years means that a 1% decrease in interest rates will increase the NAV of the portfolio by approximately 5%; if interest rates increase by 1%, the NAV will decrease by 5%. However, in a managed portfolio of fixed income securities having differing interest or dividend rates or payment schedules, maturities, redemption provisions, call or prepayment provisions and credit qualities, actual price changes in response to changes in interest rates may differ significantly from a duration-based estimate at any given time. Actual price movements experienced by a portfolio of fixed income securities will be affected by how interest rates move (i.e., changes in the relationship of long term interest rates to short term interest rates), the magnitude of any move in interest rates, actual and anticipated prepayments of principal through call or redemption features, the extension of maturities through restructuring, the sale of securities for portfolio management purposes, the reinvestment of proceeds from prepayments on and from sales of securities, and credit quality-related considerations whether associated with financing costs to lower credit quality borrowers or otherwise, as well as other factors. Accordingly, while duration maybe a useful tool to estimate potential price movements in relation to changes in interest rates, investors are cautioned that duration alone will not predict actual changes in the net asset or market value of the Fund’s shares and that actual price movements in the Fund’s portfolio may differ significantly from duration-based estimates. Duration differs from maturity in that it takes into account a security’s yield, coupon payments and its principal payments in addition to the amount of time until the security matures. As the value of a security changes over time, so will its duration. Prices of securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with shorter durations. In general, a portfolio of securities with a longer duration can be expected to be more sensitive to interest rate changes than a portfolio with a shorter duration. Any decisions as to the targeted duration or maturity of any particular category of investments will be made based on all pertinent market factors at any given time. The Fund may incur costs in seeking to adjust the portfolio average duration or maturity. There can be no assurance that the Investment Adviser’s assessment of current and projected market conditions will be correct or that any strategy to adjust duration or maturity will be successful at any given time.

 

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Corporate Bonds Risk. The market value of a corporate bond generally may be expected to rise and fall inversely with interest rates. The market value of intermediate and longer term corporate bonds is generally more sensitive to changes in interest rates than is the market value of shorter term corporate bonds. The market value of a corporate bond also may be affected by factors directly related to the issuer, such as investors’ perceptions of the creditworthiness of the issuer, the issuer’s financial performance, perceptions of the issuer in the market place, performance of management of the issuer, the issuer’s capital structure and use of financial leverage and demand for the issuer’s goods and services. Certain risks associated with investments in corporate bonds are described elsewhere in this prospectus in further detail, including under “Risk Factors and Special Considerations — General Risks — Fixed Income Securities Risks — Credit Risk,” “—Fixed Income Securities Risks—Interest Rate Risk” and “—Fixed Income Securities Risks—Prepayment Risk.” There is a risk that the issuers of corporate bonds may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument. Corporate bonds of below investment grade quality are often high risk and have speculative characteristics and may be particularly susceptible to adverse issuer-specific developments. Corporate bonds of below investment grade quality are subject to the risks described herein under “—Non-Investment Grade Securities.”

Non-Investment Grade Securities. The Fund may invest in below investment-grade securities, also known as “high-yield” securities or “junk” bonds. These securities, which may be preferred stock or debt, are predominantly speculative and involve major risk exposure to adverse conditions. Securities that are rated lower than “BBB” by S&P or lower than “Baa” by Moody’s (or unrated debt securities of comparable quality) are referred to in the financial press as “junk bonds” or “high-yield” securities and generally pay a premium above the yields of U.S. government securities or debt securities of investment grade issuers because they are subject to greater risks than these securities. These risks, which reflect their speculative character, include the following:

 

    greater volatility;

 

    greater credit risk and risk of default;

 

    potentially greater sensitivity to general economic or industry conditions;

 

    potential lack of attractive resale opportunities (illiquidity); and

 

    additional expenses to seek recovery from issuers who default.

In addition, the prices of these non-investment grade securities are more sensitive to negative developments, such as a decline in the issuer’s revenues or a general economic downturn, than are the prices of higher grade securities. Non-investment grade securities tend to be less liquid than investment grade securities. The market value of non-investment grade securities may be more volatile than the market value of investment grade securities and generally tends to reflect the market’s perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and short term market developments to a greater extent than investment grade securities, which primarily reflect fluctuations in general levels of interest rates.

Ratings are relative and subjective and not absolute standards of quality. Securities ratings are based largely on the issuer’s historical financial condition and the rating agencies’ analysis at the time of rating. Consequently, the rating assigned to any particular security is not necessarily a reflection of the issuer’s current financial condition.

The Fund may purchase securities of companies that are experiencing significant financial or business difficulties, including companies involved in bankruptcy or other reorganization and liquidation proceedings. Although such investments may result in significant financial returns to the Fund, they involve a substantial degree of risk. The level of analytical sophistication, both financial and legal, necessary for successful investments in issuers experiencing significant business and financial difficulties is unusually high. There can be no assurance that the Fund will correctly evaluate the value of the assets collateralizing its investments or the prospects for a successful reorganization or similar action. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio investment, the Fund may lose all or part of its investment or may be required to accept collateral with a value less than the amount of the Fund’s initial investment.

 

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As a part of its investments in non-investment grade securities, the Fund may invest in the securities of issuers in default. The Fund invests in securities of issuers in default only when the Investment Adviser believes that such issuers will honor their obligations and emerge from bankruptcy protection and that the value of such issuers’ securities will appreciate. By investing in the securities of issuers in default, the Fund bears the risk that these issuers will not continue to honor their obligations or emerge from bankruptcy protection or that the value of these securities will not otherwise appreciate.

In addition to using statistical rating agencies and other sources, the Investment Adviser will also perform its own analysis of issuers in seeking investments that it believes to be underrated (and thus higher yielding) in light of the financial condition of the issuer. Its analysis of issuers may include, among other things, current and anticipated cash flow and borrowing requirements, value of assets in relation to historical cost, strength of management, responsiveness to business conditions, credit standing and current anticipated results of operations. In selecting investments for the Fund, the Investment Adviser may also consider general business conditions, anticipated changes in interest rates and the outlook for specific industries.

Subsequent to its purchase by the Fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced. In addition, it is possible that statistical rating agencies might change their ratings of a particular issue to reflect subsequent events on a timely basis. Moreover, such ratings do not assess the risk of a decline in market value. None of these events will require the sale of the securities by the Fund, although the Investment Adviser will consider these events in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the securities.

Fixed income securities, including non-investment grade securities and comparable unrated securities, frequently have call or buy-back features that permit their issuers to call or repurchase the securities from their holders, such as the Fund. If an issuer exercises these rights during periods of declining interest rates, the Fund may have to replace the security with a lower yielding security, thus resulting in a decreased return for the Fund.

The market for non-investment grade and comparable unrated securities has at various times, particularly during times of economic recession, experienced substantial reductions in market value and liquidity. Past recessions have adversely affected the ability of certain issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon. The market for those securities could react in a similar fashion in the event of any future economic recession.

U.S. Government Securities and Credit Rating Downgrade Risk. The Fund may invest in direct obligations of the government of the United States or its agencies. Obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies, authorities and instrumentalities and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. guarantee only that principal and interest will be timely paid to holders of the securities. These entities do not guarantee that the value of such obligations will increase, and, in fact, the market values of such obligations may fluctuate. In addition, not all U.S. government securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States; some are the obligation solely of the entity through which they are issued. There is no guarantee that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies and instrumentalities if not required to do so by law.

The events surrounding negotiations regarding the U.S. federal government debt ceiling and deficit reduction could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. In 2011, S&P lowered its long term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. to “AA+” from “AAA.” The downgrade by S&P increased volatility in both stock and bond markets, resulting in higher interest rates and higher Treasury yields, and increased the costs of all kinds of debt. Repeat occurrences of similar events could have significant adverse effects on the U.S. economy generally and could result in significant adverse impacts on issuers of securities held by the Fund itself. The Investment Adviser cannot predict the effects of similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets or on the Fund’s portfolio. The Investment Adviser monitors developments and seeks to manage the Fund’s portfolio in a manner consistent with achieving the Fund’s investment objective, but there can be no assurance that it will be successful in doing so and the Investment Adviser may not timely anticipate or manage existing, new or additional risks, contingencies or developments.

 

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Industry Concentration Risk. The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in securities of a single industry. Should the Fund choose to do so, the net asset value of the Fund will be more susceptible to factors affecting those particular types of companies, which, depending on the particular industry, may include, among others: governmental regulation; inflation; cost increases in raw materials, fuel and other operating expenses; technological innovations that may render existing products and equipment obsolete; and increasing interest rates resulting in high interest costs on borrowings needed for capital investment, including costs associated with compliance with environmental and other regulations. In such circumstances the Fund’s investments may be subject to greater risk and market fluctuation than a fund that had securities representing a broader range of industries.

Foreign Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve certain considerations and risks not ordinarily associated with investments in securities of domestic issuers and such securities may be more volatile than those of issuers located in the United States. Foreign companies are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial standards and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies. Foreign securities exchanges, brokers and listed companies may be subject to less government supervision and regulation than exists in the United States. Dividend and interest income may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes, which may adversely affect the net return on such investments. There may be difficulty in obtaining or enforcing a court judgment abroad. In addition, it may be difficult to effect repatriation of capital invested in certain countries. In addition, with respect to certain countries, there are risks of expropriation, confiscatory taxation, political or social instability or diplomatic developments that could affect assets of the Fund held in foreign countries. Dividend income the Fund receives from foreign securities may not be eligible for the special tax treatment applicable to qualified dividend income. Moreover, certain equity investments in foreign issuers classified as passive foreign investment companies may be subject to additional taxation risk.

There may be less publicly available information about a foreign company than a U.S. company. Foreign securities markets may have substantially less volume than U.S. securities markets and some foreign company securities are less liquid than securities of otherwise comparable U.S. companies. A portfolio of foreign securities may also be adversely affected by fluctuations in the rates of exchange between the currencies of different nations and by exchange control regulations. Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures that could cause the Fund to encounter difficulties in purchasing and selling securities on such markets and may result in the Fund missing attractive investment opportunities or experiencing loss. In addition, a portfolio that includes foreign securities can expect to have a higher expense ratio because of the increased transaction costs on non-U.S. securities markets and the increased costs of maintaining the custody of foreign securities.

The Fund also may purchase ADRs or U.S. dollar-denominated securities of foreign issuers. ADRs are receipts issued by U.S. banks or trust companies in respect of securities of foreign issuers held on deposit for use in the U.S. securities markets. While ADRs may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the securities into which they may be converted, many of the risks associated with foreign securities may also apply to ADRs. In addition, the underlying issuers of certain depositary receipts, particularly unsponsored or unregistered depositary receipts, are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities.

The following provides more detail on certain pronounced risks with foreign investing:

 

   

Foreign Currency Risk. The Fund may invest in companies whose securities are denominated or quoted in currencies other than U.S. dollars or have significant operations or markets outside of the United States. In such instances, the Fund will be exposed to currency risk, including the risk of fluctuations in the exchange rate between U.S. dollars (in which the Fund’s shares are denominated) and such foreign currencies, the risk of currency devaluations and the risks of non-exchangeability and blockage. As non-U.S. securities may be purchased with and payable in currencies of countries other than the U.S. dollar, the value of these assets measured in U.S. dollars may be affected favorably or unfavorably

 

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by changes in currency rates and exchange control regulations. Fluctuations in currency rates may adversely affect the ability of the Investment Adviser to acquire such securities at advantageous prices and may also adversely affect the performance of such assets.

Certain non-U.S. currencies, primarily in developing countries, have been devalued in the past and might face devaluation in the future. Currency devaluations generally have a significant and adverse impact on the devaluing country’s economy in the short and intermediate term and on the financial condition and results of companies’ operations in that country. Currency devaluations may also be accompanied by significant declines in the values and liquidity of equity and debt securities of affected governmental and private sector entities generally. To the extent that affected companies have obligations denominated in currencies other than the devalued currency, those companies may also have difficulty in meeting those obligations under such circumstances, which in turn could have an adverse effect upon the value of the Fund’s investments in such companies. There can be no assurance that current or future developments with respect to foreign currency devaluations will not impair the Fund’s investment flexibility, its ability to achieve its investment objective or the value of certain of its foreign currency-denominated investments.

 

    Tax Consequences of Foreign Investing. The Fund’s transactions in foreign currencies, foreign currency-denominated debt obligations and certain foreign currency options, futures contracts and forward contracts (and similar instruments) may give rise to ordinary income or loss to the extent such income or loss results from fluctuations in the value of the foreign currency concerned. This treatment could increase or decrease the Fund’s ordinary income distributions to you, and may cause some or all of the Fund’s previously distributed income to be classified as a return of capital. In certain cases, the Fund may make an election to treat gain or loss attributable to certain investments as capital gain or loss.

 

    EMU and Redenomination Risk. As the European debt crisis progressed, the possibility of one or more Eurozone countries exiting the European Monetary Union (“EMU”), or even the collapse of the Euro as a common currency, arose, creating significant volatility at times in currency and financial markets generally. The effects of the collapse of the Euro, or of the exit of one or more countries from the EMU, on the U.S. and global economies and securities markets are impossible to predict and any such events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Fund’s portfolio. Any partial or complete dissolution of the EMU could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets, and on the values of the Fund’s portfolio investments. If one or more EMU countries were to stop using the Euro as its primary currency, the Fund’s investments in such countries may be redenominated into a different or newly adopted currency. As a result, the value of those investments could decline significantly and unpredictably. In addition, securities or other investments that are redenominated may be subject to foreign currency risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk to a greater extent than similar investments currently denominated in Euros. To the extent a currency used for redenomination purposes is not specified in respect of certain EMU-related investments, or should the Euro cease to be used entirely, the currency in which such investments are denominated may be unclear, making such investments particularly difficult to value or dispose of. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek judicial or other clarification of the denomination or value of such securities.

 

   

Emerging Markets Risk. The considerations noted above in “Foreign Securities Risk” are generally intensified for investments in emerging market countries. Emerging market countries typically have economic and political systems that are less fully developed, and can be expected to be less stable than those of more developed countries. Investing in securities of companies in emerging markets may entail special risks relating to potential political and economic instability and the risks of expropriation, nationalization, confiscation or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investment, the lack of hedging instruments and restrictions on repatriation of capital invested. Economies of such countries can be subject to rapid and unpredictable rates of inflation or deflation. Emerging securities markets are substantially smaller, less developed, less liquid and more volatile than the major securities markets.

 

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The limited size of emerging securities markets and limited trading volume compared to the volume of trading in U.S. securities could cause prices to be erratic for reasons apart from factors that affect the quality of the securities. For example, limited market size may cause prices to be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions. Adverse publicity and investors’ perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may decrease the value and liquidity of portfolio securities, especially in these markets. Other risks include high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries; overdependence on exports, including gold and natural resources exports, making these economies vulnerable to changes in commodity prices; overburdened infrastructure and obsolete or unseasoned financial systems; environmental problems; less developed legal systems; and less reliable securities custodial services and settlement practices. Certain emerging markets may also face other significant internal or external risks, including the risk of war and civil unrest. For all of these reasons, investments in emerging markets may be considered speculative.

 

    Eurozone Risk. A number of countries in the EU have experienced, and may continue to experience, severe economic and financial difficulties. In particular, many EU nations are susceptible to economic risks associated with high levels of debt, notably due to investments in sovereign debt of countries such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. As a result, financial markets in the EU have been subject to increased volatility and declines in asset values and liquidity. Responses to these financial problems by European governments, central banks, and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not work, may result in social unrest, and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and others of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets, and asset valuations around the world. Greece, Ireland, and Portugal have already received one or more “bailouts” from other Eurozone member states, and it is unclear how much additional funding they will require or if additional Eurozone member states will require bailouts in the future. One or more other countries may also abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU, placing its currency and banking system in jeopardy. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching.

On March 29, 2017, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) notified the European Council, in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union (“Article 50”), of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union (the “EU”). In issuing the notice, the UK has begun the two year process set out in Article 50 for the UK and the EU to negotiate the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, taking into account the framework for the UK’s future relationship with the EU. In accordance with Article 50 the UK will cease to be a member of the EU from March 30, 2019, absent any agreement between the UK and the EU which results in a change to this date. This historic event is widely expected to have consequences that are both profound and uncertain for the economic and political future of the United Kingdom and the EU, and those consequences include significant legal and business uncertainties pertaining to an investment in the Fund. Due to the very recent occurrence of these events, the full scope and nature of the consequences are not at this time known and are unlikely to be known for a significant period of time. At the same time, it is reasonable to assume that the significant uncertainty in the business, legal and political environment engendered by these events has resulted in immediate and longer term risks that would not have been applicable had the UK not sought to withdraw from the EU (“BREXIT Risks”).

BREXIT Risks include short and long term market volatility and currency volatility, macroeconomic risk to the UK and European economies, impetus for further disintegration of the EU and related political stresses (including those related to sentiment against cross border capital movements and activities of investors like the Fund), prejudice to financial services businesses that are conducting business in the EU and which are based in the UK, disruption to regulatory regimes related to the operations of the Fund and the Investment Adviser, legal uncertainty regarding achievement of compliance with applicable financial and commercial laws and regulations in view of the expected

 

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steps to be taken pursuant to or in contemplation of Article 50 and negotiations undertaken under Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the unavailability of timely information as to expected legal, tax and other regimes.

In view of these risks and their application to the Investment Adviser and the Fund’s portfolio, prospective investors should take into account the significance of the BREXIT Risks, including the wide ranging and serious nature of these risks, and retain advice as needed, for purposes of evaluating an investment in the Fund. There can be no assurance that the BREXIT Risks will not alter, and alter significantly, the attractiveness of an investment in the Fund by, among other things, giving rise to impediments to the intended implementation of the business strategy of the Fund that would have material effects on performance, including the potential for capital losses, delays, legal and regulatory risk and general uncertainty.

Restricted and Illiquid Securities. Unregistered securities are securities that cannot be sold publicly in the United States without registration under the Securities Act. An illiquid investment is a security or other investment that cannot be disposed of within seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the value at which the Fund has valued the investment. Unregistered securities often can be resold only in privately negotiated transactions with a limited number of purchasers or in a public offering registered under the Securities Act. Considerable delay could be encountered in either event and, unless otherwise contractually provided for, the Fund’s proceeds upon sale may be reduced by the costs of registration or underwriting discounts. The difficulties and delays associated with such transactions could result in the Fund’s inability to realize a favorable price upon disposition of unregistered securities, and at times might make disposition of such securities impossible. The Fund may be unable to sell illiquid investments when it desires to do so, resulting in the Fund obtaining a lower price or being required to retain the investment. Illiquid investments generally must be valued at fair value, which is inherently less precise than utilizing market values for liquid investments, and may lead to differences between the price at which a security is valued for determining the Fund’s net asset value and the price the Fund actually receives upon sale.

Short Sales Risk. Short-selling involves selling securities which may or may not be owned and borrowing the same securities for delivery to the purchaser, with an obligation to replace the borrowed securities at a later date. If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Fund will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss will be increased, by the transaction costs incurred by the Fund, including the costs associated with providing collateral to the broker-dealer (usually cash and liquid securities) and the maintenance of collateral with its Custodian. Although the Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

Short-selling necessarily involves certain additional risks. However, if the short seller does not own the securities sold short (an uncovered short sale), the borrowed securities must be replaced by securities purchased at market prices in order to close out the short position, and any appreciation in the price of the borrowed securities would result in a loss. Uncovered short sales expose the Fund to the risk of uncapped losses until a position can be closed out due to the lack of an upper limit on the price to which a security may rise. Purchasing securities to close out the short position can itself cause the price of the securities to rise further, thereby exacerbating the loss. There is the risk that the securities borrowed by the Fund in connection with a short-sale must be returned to the securities lender on short notice. If a request for return of borrowed securities occurs at a time when other short-sellers of the security are receiving similar requests, a “short squeeze” can occur, and the Fund may be compelled to replace borrowed securities previously sold short with purchases on the open market at the most disadvantageous time, possibly at prices significantly in excess of the proceeds received at the time the securities were originally sold short.

In September 2008, in response to spreading turmoil in the financial markets, the SEC temporarily banned short selling in the stocks of numerous financial services companies, and also promulgated new disclosure

 

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requirements with respect to short positions held by investment managers. The SEC’s temporary ban on short selling of such stocks has since expired, but should similar restrictions and/or additional disclosure requirements be promulgated, especially if market turmoil occurs, the Fund may be forced to cover short positions more quickly than otherwise intended and may suffer losses as a result. Such restrictions may also adversely affect the ability of the Fund to execute its investment strategies generally. Similar emergency orders were also instituted in non-U.S. markets in response to increased volatility. In 2010, the SEC adopted amendments to Regulations SHO under the Exchange Act that restrict the ability to engage in a short sale at a price that is less than or equal to the current best bid if the price of the covered security has decreased by 10% or more from the covered security’s closing price as of the end of the prior day.

Leverage Risk. The Fund currently uses financial leverage for investment purposes by issuing preferred shares. As of December 31, 2016, the amount of leverage represented approximately 32% of the Fund’s assets. The Fund’s leveraged capital structure creates special risks not associated with unleveraged funds that have a similar investment objective and policies. These include the possibility of greater loss and the likelihood of higher volatility of the net asset value of the Fund and the asset coverage for any preferred shares or debt outstanding. Such volatility may increase the likelihood of the Fund having to sell investments in order to meet its obligations to make distributions on the preferred shares or principal or interest payments on debt securities, or to redeem preferred shares or repay debt when it may be disadvantageous to do so. The Fund’s use of leverage may require it to sell portfolio investments at inopportune times in order to raise cash to redeem preferred shares or otherwise de-leverage so as to maintain required asset coverage amounts or comply with the mandatory redemption terms of any outstanding preferred shares. The use of leverage magnifies both the favorable and unfavorable effects of price movements in the investments made by the Fund. To the extent the Fund is leveraged in its investment operations, the Fund will be subject to substantial risk of loss. The Fund cannot assure that borrowings or the issuance of notes or preferred shares will result in a higher yield or return to the holders of the common shares. Also, to the extent the Fund utilizes leverage, a decline in net asset value could affect the ability of the Fund to make common share distributions and such a failure to make distributions could result in the Fund ceasing to qualify as a RIC under the Code. Additionally, preferred shareholders approved a proposal to extend the mandatory redemption date for the Series B Preferred and to add a new Put Right Date for the Series B Preferred at the Fund’s 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. As such, the Fund’s existing preferred share leverage may remain outstanding for an additional two years, which may continue to expose the Fund and the common shareholders to the risks of leveraged investing for an additional two years regardless of any additional issuances of preferred shares or notes pursuant to this prospectus, or the incurrence of any debt in the form of bank borrowings.

For more information regarding the risks of a leverage capital structure to holders of the Fund’s common shares, see “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—Special Risks to Holder of Common Shares—Leverage Risk.”

Special Risks Related to Investment in Derivatives. The Fund may participate in derivative transactions. Such transactions entail certain execution, market, liquidity, counterparty, correlation, volatility, hedging and tax risks. Participation in the options or futures markets, in currency exchange transactions and in other derivatives transactions involves investment risks and transaction costs to which the Fund would not be subject absent the use of these strategies. If the Investment Adviser’s prediction of movements in the direction of the securities, foreign currency, interest rate or other referenced instruments or markets is inaccurate, the consequences to the Fund may leave the Fund in a worse position than if it had not used such strategies. Risks inherent in the use of options, swaps, foreign currency, futures contracts and options on futures contracts, securities indices and foreign currencies include:

 

    dependence on the Investment Adviser’s ability to predict correctly movements in the direction of the relevant measure;

 

    imperfect correlation between the price of the derivative instrument and movements in the prices of the referenced assets;

 

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    the fact that skills needed to use these strategies are different from those needed to select portfolio securities;

 

    the possible absence of a liquid secondary market for any particular instrument at any time;

 

    the possible need to defer closing out certain hedged positions to avoid adverse tax consequences;

 

    the possible inability of the Fund to purchase or sell a security or instrument at a time that otherwise would be favorable for it to do so, or the possible need for the Fund to sell a security or instrument at a disadvantageous time due to a need for the Fund to maintain “cover” or to segregate securities in connection with the hedging techniques; and

 

    the creditworthiness of counterparties.

Options, futures contracts, swaps contracts, and options thereon and forward contracts on securities and currencies may be traded on foreign exchanges. Such transactions may not be regulated as effectively as similar transactions in the United States, may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees, and are subject to the risk of governmental actions affecting trading in, or the prices of, foreign securities. The value of such positions also could be adversely affected by (i) other complex foreign political, legal and economic factors, (ii) lesser availability than in the United States of data on which to make trading decisions, (iii) delays in the ability of the Fund to act upon economic events occurring in the foreign markets during non-business hours in the United States, (iv) the imposition of different exercise and settlement terms and procedures and margin requirements than in the United States and (v) less trading volume. Exchanges on which options, futures, swaps and options on futures or swaps are traded may impose limits on the positions that the Fund may take in certain circumstances.

Many OTC derivatives are valued on the basis of dealers’ pricing of these instruments. However, the price at which dealers value a particular derivative and the price which the same dealers would actually be willing to pay for such derivative should the Fund wish or be forced to sell such position may be materially different. Such differences can result in an overstatement of the Fund’s net asset value and may materially adversely affect the Fund in situations in which the Fund is required to sell derivative instruments. Exchange-traded derivatives and OTC derivative transactions submitted for clearing through a central counterparty have become subject to minimum initial and variation margin requirements set by the relevant clearinghouse, as well as possible margin requirements mandated by the SEC or the CFTC. These regulators also have broad discretion to impose margin requirements on non-cleared OTC derivatives. These margin requirements will increase the overall costs for the Fund.

While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurance that the Fund’s hedging transactions will be effective.

Derivatives may give rise to a form of leverage and may expose the Fund to greater risk and increase its costs. Recent legislation calls for new regulation of the derivatives markets. The extent and impact of the regulation is not yet known and may not be known for some time. New regulation may make derivatives more costly, may limit the availability of derivatives, or may otherwise adversely affect the value or performance of derivatives.

Counterparty Risk. The Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts purchased by the Fund. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations under a derivative contract due to financial difficulties, the Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery under the derivative contract in bankruptcy or other reorganization proceeding. The Fund may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances.

 

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The counterparty risk for cleared derivatives is generally lower than for uncleared OTC derivative transactions since generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared derivative contract and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations under the derivative contract. However, there can be no assurance that a clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to the Fund, or that the Fund would be able to recover the full amount of assets deposited on its behalf with the clearing organization in the event of the default by the clearing organization or the Fund’s clearing broker. In addition, cleared derivative transactions benefit from daily marking-to-market and settlement, and segregation and minimum capital requirements applicable to intermediaries. Uncleared OTC derivative transactions generally do not benefit from such protections. This exposes the Fund to the risk that a counterparty will not settle a transaction in accordance with its terms and conditions because of a dispute over the terms of the contract (whether or not bona fide) or because of a credit or liquidity problem, thus causing the Fund to suffer a loss. Such “counterparty risk” is accentuated for contracts with longer maturities where events may intervene to prevent settlement, or where the Fund has concentrated its transactions with a single or small group of counterparties.

Failure of Futures Commission Merchants and Clearing Organizations Risk. The Fund may deposit funds required to margin open positions in the derivative instruments subject to the CEA with a clearing broker registered as a “futures commission merchant” (“FCM”). The CEA requires an FCM to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to any orders for the purchase or sale of U.S. domestic futures contracts and cleared swaps from the FCM’s proprietary assets. Similarly, the CEA requires each FCM to hold in a separate secure account all funds received from customers with respect to any orders for the purchase or sale of foreign futures contracts and segregate any such funds from the funds received with respect to domestic futures contracts. However, all funds and other property received by a clearing broker from its customers are held by the clearing broker on a commingled basis in an omnibus account and may be invested by the clearing broker in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulation. There is a risk that assets deposited by the Fund with any swaps or futures clearing broker as margin for futures contracts may, in certain circumstances, be used to satisfy losses of other clients of the Fund’s clearing broker. In addition, the assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the clearing broker’s bankruptcy, as the Fund would be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds segregated on behalf of the clearing broker’s combined domestic customer accounts.

Similarly, the CEA requires a clearing organization approved by the CFTC as a derivatives clearing organization to segregate all funds and other property received from a clearing member’s clients in connection with domestic futures, swaps and options contracts from any funds held at the clearing organization to support the clearing member’s proprietary trading. Nevertheless, with respect to futures contracts and options on futures, a clearing organization may use assets of a non-defaulting customer held in an omnibus account at the clearing organization to satisfy losses in that account resulting from the default by another customer on its payment obligations that leads to the clearing member’s default to the clearing organization. As a result, in the situation of a double default by a customer of the Fund’s clearing member and the clearing member itself with respect to payment obligations on the customer’s futures or options on futures, there is a risk that the Fund’s assets in an omnibus account with the clearing organization may be used to satisfy losses from the double default and that the Fund may not recover the full amount of any such assets.

Swaps Risk. Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign currency, or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index. The “notional amount” of the swap agreement is only a fictive basis on which to calculate the obligations that the parties to a swap agreement have agreed to exchange.

 

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Historically, swap transactions have been individually negotiated non-standardized transactions entered into in OTC markets and have not been subject to the same type of government regulation as exchange-traded instruments. However, the OTC derivatives markets have recently become subject to comprehensive statutes and regulations. In particular, in the U.S., the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) requires that certain derivatives with U.S. persons must be executed on a regulated market and a substantial portion of OTC derivatives must be submitted for clearing to regulated clearinghouses. As a result, swap transactions entered into by the Fund may become subject to various requirements applicable to swaps under the Dodd-Frank Act, including clearing, exchange-execution, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, which may make it more difficult and costly for the Fund to enter into swap transactions and may also render certain strategies in which the Fund might otherwise engage impossible or so costly that they will no longer be economical to implement. Furthermore, the number of counterparties that may be willing to enter into swap transactions with the Fund may also be limited if the swap transactions with the Fund are subject to the swap regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Swap agreements will tend to shift the Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another. For example, if the Fund agreed to pay fixed rates in exchange for floating rates while holding fixed-rate bonds, the swap would tend to decrease the Fund’s exposure to long term interest rates. Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. Depending on how they are used, swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investments and its share price and yield. The most significant factor in the performance of swap agreements is the change in the specific interest rate, currency, or other factors that determine the amounts of payments due to and from the Fund. If a swap agreement calls for payments by the Fund, the Fund must be prepared to make such payments when due.

The Fund may enter into swap agreements that would calculate the obligations of the parties to the agreements on a “net” basis. Consequently, the Fund’s obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). The Fund’s obligations under a swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to the Fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by the maintenance of liquid assets in accordance with SEC staff positions on the subject.

The Fund’s use of swap agreements may not be successful in furthering its investment objective, as the Investment Adviser may not accurately predict whether certain types of investments are likely to produce greater returns than other investments. Moreover, swap agreements involve the risk that the party with whom a Fund has entered into the swap will default on its obligation to pay a Fund and the risk that a Fund will not be able to meet its obligations to pay the other party to the agreement. The Fund may be able to eliminate its exposure under a swap agreement either by assignment or other disposition, or by entering into an offsetting swap agreement with the same party or a similarly creditworthy party.

Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts. The Fund may enter into forward foreign currency exchange contracts to protect the value of its portfolio against uncertainty in the level of future currency exchange rates between a particular foreign currency and the U.S. dollar or between foreign currencies in which its securities are or may be denominated. The Fund may enter into such contracts on a spot (i.e., cash) basis at the rate then prevailing in the currency exchange market or on a forward basis, by entering into a forward contract to purchase or sell currency. A forward contract on foreign currency is an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days agreed upon by the parties from the date of the contract at a price set on the date of the contract. Forward currency contracts (i) are traded in a market conducted directly between currency traders (typically, commercial banks or other financial institutions) and their customers, (ii) generally have no deposit requirements and (iii) are typically consummated without payment of any commissions. The Fund, however, may enter into forward currency contracts requiring deposits or involving the payment of commissions.

 

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The dealings of the Fund in forward foreign exchange are limited to hedging involving either specific transactions or portfolio positions. Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of one forward foreign currency for another currency with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Fund accruing in connection with the purchase and sale of its portfolio securities or its payment of distributions. Position hedging is the purchase or sale of one forward foreign currency for another currency with respect to portfolio security positions denominated or quoted in the foreign currency to offset the effect of an anticipated substantial appreciation or depreciation, respectively, in the value of the currency relative to the U.S. dollar. In this situation, the Fund also may, for example, enter into a forward contract to sell or purchase a different foreign currency for a fixed U.S. dollar amount where it is believed that the U.S. dollar value of the currency to be sold or bought pursuant to the forward contract will fall or rise, as the case may be, whenever there is a decline or increase, respectively, in the U.S. dollar value of the currency in which its portfolio securities are denominated (this practice being referred to as a “cross-hedge”).

In hedging a specific transaction, the Fund may enter into a forward contract with respect to either the currency in which the transaction is denominated or another currency deemed appropriate by the Investment Adviser. The amount the Fund may invest in forward currency contracts is limited to the amount of its aggregate investments in foreign currencies.

The use of forward currency contracts may involve certain risks, including the failure of the counterparty to perform its obligations under the contract, and such use may not serve as a complete hedge because of an imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the contracts and the prices of the currencies hedged or used for cover. The Fund will only enter into forward currency contracts with parties which the Investment Adviser believes to be creditworthy institutions.

Under current interpretations of the SEC and its staff under the 1940 Act, the Fund must segregate with its custodian liquid assets, or engage in other SEC or staff approved measures, to “cover” open positions in certain types of derivative instruments. The purpose of these requirements is to prevent the Fund from incurring excessive leverage through such instruments. In the case of futures and forward contracts, for example, that are not required as a result of one or more contractual arrangements to settle for cash only in an amount equal to the change in value of the contract over its term but rather may settle through physical delivery or in the notional amount, the Fund must segregate liquid assets equal to such contract’s full notional value while it has an open long position, or equal to the market value of the contract in the case of an open short position. With respect to contracts that the Fund is contractually obligated to settle for cash in an amount equal to the change in value of the contract, the Fund needs to segregate liquid assets only in an amount equal to the Fund’s unpaid mark to market obligation rather than the entire notional amount. This is because the Fund’s maximum potential obligation at that point in time is its net unpaid mark to market obligation rather than the full notional amount.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures. Futures and options on futures entail certain risks, including but not limited to the following: no assurance that futures contracts or options on futures can be offset at favorable prices; possible reduction of the yield of the Fund due to the use of hedging; possible reduction in value of both the securities hedged and the hedging instrument; possible lack of liquidity due to daily limits on price fluctuations; imperfect correlation between the contracts and the securities being hedged; losses from investing in futures transactions that are potentially unlimited; and the segregation requirements for such transactions.

Options Risk. To the extent that the Fund purchases options pursuant to a hedging strategy, the Fund will be subject to the following additional risks. If a put or call option purchased by the Fund is not sold when it has remaining value, and if the market price of the underlying security remains equal to or greater than the exercise price (in the case of a put), or remains less than or equal to the exercise price (in the case of a call), the Fund will lose its entire investment in the option.

 

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Where a put or call option on a particular security is purchased to hedge against price movements in that or a related security, the price of the put or call option may move more or less than the price of the security. If restrictions on exercise are imposed, the Fund may be unable to exercise an option it has purchased. If the Fund is unable to close out an option that it has purchased on a security, it will have to exercise the option in order to realize any profit or the option may expire worthless.

Dodd-Frank Act Risk. Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act (the “Derivatives Title”) imposed a new regulatory structure on derivatives markets, with particular emphasis on swaps and security based swaps (collectively “swaps”). This regulatory framework covers a broad range of swap market participants, including banks, non-banks, credit unions, insurance companies, broker-dealers and investment advisers.

The SEC, other U.S. regulators, and to a lesser extent the CFTC (the “Regulators”) still are in the process of adopting regulations to implement the Derivatives Title, though certain aspects of the regulations are substantially complete. Until the Regulators complete their rulemaking efforts, the full extent to which the Derivatives Title and the rules adopted thereunder will impact the Fund is unclear. It is possible that the continued development of this new regulatory structure for swaps may jeopardize certain trades and/or trading strategies that may be employed by the Investment Adviser, or at least make them more costly.

Current regulations require the mandatory central clearing and mandatory exchange trading of particular types of interest rate swaps and index credit default swaps (together, “Covered Swaps”). Together, these regulatory requirements change the Fund’s trading of Covered Swaps. With respect to mandatory central clearing, the Fund is now required to clear its Covered Swaps through a clearing broker, which requires, among other things, posting initial margin and variation margin to the Fund’s clearing broker in order to enter into and maintain positions in Covered Swaps. With respect to mandatory exchange trading, the Investment Adviser may be required to become a participant on an a type of execution platform called a swap execution facility (“SEF”) or may be required to access the SEF through an intermediary (such as an executing broker) in order to be able to trade Covered Swaps for the Fund. In either scenario, the Investment Adviser and/or the Fund may incur additional legal and compliance costs and transaction fees. Just as with the other regulatory changes imposed as a result of the implementation of the Derivatives Title, the increased costs and fees associated with trading Covered Swaps may jeopardize certain trades and/or trading strategies that may be employed by the Investment Adviser, or at least make them more costly.

Additionally, the Regulators have begun to implement finalized regulations that require swap dealers to collect from the Fund initial margin and variation margin for uncleared derivatives transactions. The Regulators also plan to finalize proposed regulations that would impose upon swap dealers new capital requirements. These requirements, when finalized and implemented, may make certain types of trades and/or trading strategies more costly or impermissible. The Derivatives Title also requires swap dealers and major swap participants to register with the SEC and/or the CFTC, as appropriate. Swap dealers and major swap participants are subject to a panoply of new regulations, including among others, capital and margin requirements and business conduct standards. Additionally, it is expected that swap dealers will transfer at least some of their compliance costs to counterparties in the form of higher fees or less favorable marks on swap transactions. This means that the Fund could face increased transaction costs when entering into swaps with a swap dealer.

The Fund may also be subject to systemic risk reporting requirements in the SEC’s Form PF and/or the CFTC’s Form CPO-PQR. The Derivatives Title also authorizes the CFTC to impose new position limit requirements, which once adopted, may impair the ability of the Fund to hedge exposure to or take a directional view of certain physical commodity markets.

These requirements of the Derivatives Title may also increase the cost of certain hedging and other derivatives transactions. Until the Regulators complete the rulemaking process for the Derivatives Title, it is unknown the extent to which such risks may materialize.

 

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There can be no assurance that these developments will not adversely affect the business and investment activities of the Investment Adviser and the Fund. In addition, the Investment Adviser may be subject to potential registration requirements or other additional responsibilities under the Derivatives Title and may therefore incur increased cost in conducting the Fund’s strategies, which may adversely affect the performance of the Fund.

Market Discount Risk. Whether investors will realize gains or losses upon the sale of additional securities of the Fund will depend upon the market price of the securities at the time of sale, which may be less or more than the Fund’s net asset value per share or the liquidation value of any Fund preferred shares issued. Since the market price of any additional securities the Fund may issue will be affected by such factors as the Fund’s dividend and distribution levels (which are in turn affected by expenses), dividend and distribution stability, net asset value, market liquidity, the relative demand for and supply of such securities in the market, general market and economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Fund, we cannot predict whether any such securities will trade at, below or above net asset value or at, below or above their public offering price or at, below or above their liquidation value, as applicable. For example, common shares of closed-end funds often trade at a discount to their net asset values and the Fund’s common shares may trade at such a discount. This risk may be greater for investors expecting to sell their securities of the Fund soon after the completion of a public offering for such securities. The risk of a market price discount from net asset value is separate and in addition to the risk that net asset value itself may decline. The Fund’s securities are designed primarily for long term investors, and investors in the shares should not view the Fund as a vehicle for trading purposes.

Long Term Objective; Not a Complete Investment Program. The Fund is intended for investors seeking long term growth of capital. The Fund is not meant to provide a vehicle for those who wish to play short term swings in the stock market. An investment in shares of the Fund should not be considered a complete investment program. Each shareholder should take into account the Fund’s investment objective as well as the shareholder’s other investments when considering an investment in the Fund.

Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. The Investment Adviser will apply investment techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results.

Dependence on Key Personnel. The Investment Adviser is dependent upon the expertise of Mr. Mario J. Gabelli in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Investment Adviser were to lose the services of Mr. Gabelli, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for Mr. Gabelli in the event of his death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Investment Adviser.

Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk. Events of recent years, such as the aftermath of the war in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, ongoing epidemics of infectious diseases in certain parts of the world, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and around the world, social and political discord, debt crises (such as the Greek crisis), sovereign debt downgrades, continued tensions between North Korea and the United States and the international community generally, new and continued political unrest in various countries, such as Venezuela, the exit or potential exit of one or more countries from the European Union (“EU”) or the European Monetary Union (“EMU”), the change in the U.S. president and the new administration, among others, may result in market volatility, may have long term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets, and may cause further economic uncertainties in the United States and worldwide.

As a consequence of the United Kingdom’s vote to withdraw from the EU, the government of the United Kingdom gave notice of its withdrawal from the EU (“BREXIT”). As a result of this decision, the financial markets experienced high levels of volatility and it is likely that, in the near term, BREXIT will continue to bring about higher levels of uncertainty and volatility. During this period of uncertainty, the negative impact on not only the United Kingdom and European economies, but the broader global economy, could be significant, potentially resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity and lower economic growth for companies that rely

 

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significantly on Europe for their business activities and revenues. It is possible that certain economic activity will be curtailed until some signs of clarity begin to emerge, including negotiations around the terms for United Kingdom’s exit out of the EU. Any further exits from the EU, or the possibility of such exits, would likely cause additional market disruption globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.

The value and risk profile of the Fund’s portfolio could be adversely impacted by the events above. The Fund does not know how long the securities markets may be affected by similar events and cannot predict the effects of similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets. There can be no assurance that similar events and other market disruptions will not have other material and adverse implications.

Economic Events and Market Risk. Periods of market volatility remain, and may continue to occur in the future, in response to various political, social and economic events both within and outside of the United States. These conditions have resulted in, and in many cases continue to result in, greater price volatility, less liquidity, widening credit spreads and a lack of price transparency, with many securities remaining illiquid and of uncertain value. Such market conditions may adversely affect the Fund, including by making valuation of some of the Fund’s securities uncertain and/or result in sudden and significant valuation increases or declines in the Fund’s holdings. If there is a significant decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio, this may impact the asset coverage levels for the Fund’s outstanding leverage.

Risks resulting from any future debt or other economic crisis could also have a detrimental impact on the global economic recovery, the financial condition of financial institutions and our business, financial condition and results of operation. Market and economic disruptions have affected, and may in the future affect, consumer confidence levels and spending, personal bankruptcy rates, levels of incurrence and default on consumer debt and home prices, among other factors. To the extent uncertainty regarding the U.S. or global economy negatively impacts consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected. Downgrades to the credit ratings of major banks could result in increased borrowing costs for such banks and negatively affect the broader economy. Moreover, Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, rising interest rates and/or a return to unfavorable economic conditions could impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

Government Intervention in Financial Markets Risk. Past instability in the financial markets has led the U.S. government and certain foreign governments to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity, including through direct purchases of equity and debt securities. The U.S. government and certain foreign governments and their regulatory agencies or self-regulatory organizations have in the past taken, and may in the future take, legislative and regulatory actions that may affect the Fund, its securities and/or the Fund’s investments in ways that are unforeseeable. Such legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Fund is regulated and could limit or preclude the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

The Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law by President Obama on July 21, 2010, contains sweeping financial legislation regarding the operation of banks, private fund managers and other financial institutions. The Dodd-Frank Act includes provisions regarding, among other things, the regulation of derivatives (see “—Dodd-Frank Act Risk” above), the identification, monitoring and prophylactic regulation of systemic risks to financial markets, and the regulation of proprietary trading and investment activity of banking institutions. The continuing implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and any other regulations could adversely affect the Investment Adviser and the Fund. The Investment Adviser may attempt to take certain actions to lessen the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and any other legislation or regulation affecting the Fund, although no assurance can be given that such actions would be successful and no assurance can be given that such actions would not have a significant negative impact on the Fund. The ultimate impact of the Dodd-Frank Act, and any additional future legislation or regulation, is not yet certain and the Investment Adviser and the Fund may be affected by governmental action in ways that are unforeseeable.

 

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Additionally, the SEC and its staff are also reportedly engaged in various initiatives and reviews that seek to improve and modernize the regulatory structure governing investment companies. These efforts appear to be focused on risk identification and controls in various areas, including imbedded leverage through the use of derivatives and other trading practices, cybersecurity, liquidity, enhanced regulatory and public reporting requirements and the evaluation of systemic risks. Any new rules, guidance or regulatory initiatives resulting from these efforts could increase the Fund’s expenses and impact its returns to shareholders or, in the extreme case, impact or limit the Fund’s use of various portfolio management strategies or techniques and adversely impact the Fund.

In the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, there appears to be a renewed popular, political and judicial focus on finance related consumer protection. Financial institution practices are also subject to greater scrutiny and criticism generally. In the case of transactions between financial institutions and the general public, there may be a greater tendency toward strict interpretation of terms and legal rights in favor of the consuming public, particularly where there is a real or perceived disparity in risk allocation and/or where consumers are perceived as not having had an opportunity to exercise informed consent to the transaction. In the event of conflicting interests between retail investors holding shares of common stock of a closed-end investment company such as the Fund and a large financial institution, a court may similarly seek to strictly interpret terms and legal rights in favor of retail investors.

The Trump administration has called for substantial changes to U.S. fiscal and tax policies, which may include comprehensive corporate and individual tax reform. In addition, the Trump administration has called for significant changes to U.S. trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign, and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or Trump administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas. Some particular areas identified as subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and various swaps and derivatives regulations, credit risk retention requirements and the authorities of the Federal Reserve, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the SEC. We cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to our business. Until we know what policy changes are made and how those changes impact our business and the business of our competitors over the long term, we will not know if, overall, we will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.

Inflation Risk. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be worth less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the real value of the Fund’s shares and distributions thereon can decline. In addition, during any periods of rising inflation, dividend rates of any debt securities issued by the Fund would likely increase, which would tend to further reduce returns to common shareholders.

Deflation Risk. Deflation risk is the risk that prices throughout the economy decline over time, which may have an adverse effect on the market valuation of companies, their assets and their revenues. In addition, deflation may have an adverse effect on the creditworthiness of issuers and may make issuer default more likely, which may result in a decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio.

1940 Act Regulation. The Fund is a registered closed-end investment company and as such is subject to regulations under the 1940 Act. Generally speaking, any contract or provision thereof that is made, or where performance involves a violation of the 1940 Act or any rule or regulation thereunder is unenforceable by either party unless a court finds otherwise.

 

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Legislation Risk. At any time after the date of this Prospectus, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Fund. Legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Fund itself is regulated. The Investment Adviser cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

Reliance on Service Providers Risk. The Fund must rely upon the performance of service providers to perform certain functions, which may include functions that are integral to the Fund’s operations and financial performance. Failure by any service provider to carry out its obligations to the Fund in accordance with the terms of its appointment, to exercise due care and skill or to perform its obligations to the Fund at all as a result of insolvency, bankruptcy or other causes could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s performance and returns to shareholders. The termination of the Fund’s relationship with any service provider, or any delay in appointing a replacement for such service provider, could materially disrupt the business of the Fund and could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s performance and returns to shareholders.

Cyber Security Risk. The Fund and its service providers are susceptible to cyber security risks that include, among other things, theft, unauthorized monitoring, release, misuse, loss, destruction or corruption of confidential and highly restricted data; denial of service attacks; unauthorized access to relevant systems, compromises to networks or devices that the Fund and its service providers use to service the Fund’s operations; or operational disruption or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support the Fund and its service providers. Cyber attacks against or security breakdowns of the Fund or its service providers may adversely impact the Fund and its stockholders, potentially resulting in, among other things, financial losses; the inability of Fund stockholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions; inability to calculate the Fund’s NAV; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; and/or additional compliance costs. The Fund may incur additional costs for cyber security risk management and remediation purposes. In addition, cyber security risks may also impact issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which may cause the Fund’s investment in such issuers to lose value. There can be no assurance that the Fund or its service providers will not suffer losses relating to cyber attacks or other information security breaches in the future.

Misconduct of Employees and of Service Providers Risk. Misconduct or misrepresentations by employees of the Investment Adviser or the Fund’s service providers could cause significant losses to the Fund. Employee misconduct may include binding the Fund to transactions that exceed authorized limits or present unacceptable risks and unauthorized trading activities, concealing unsuccessful trading activities (which, in any case, may result in unknown and unmanaged risks or losses) or making misrepresentations regarding any of the foregoing. Losses could also result from actions by the Fund’s service providers, including, without limitation, failing to recognize trades and misappropriating assets. In addition, employees and service providers may improperly use or disclose confidential information, which could result in litigation or serious financial harm, including limiting the Fund’s business prospects or future marketing activities. Despite the Investment Adviser’s due diligence efforts, misconduct and intentional misrepresentations may be undetected or not fully comprehended, thereby potentially undermining the Investment Adviser’s due diligence efforts. As a result, no assurances can be given that the due diligence performed by the Investment Adviser will identify or prevent any such misconduct.

Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund’s annual portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year, as well as within a given year. Portfolio turnover rate is not considered a limiting factor in the execution of investment decisions for the Fund. A higher portfolio turnover rate results in correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and other transactional expenses that are borne by the Fund. High portfolio turnover may result in an increased realization of net short term capital gains by the Fund which, when distributed to common shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. Additionally, in a declining market, portfolio turnover may create realized capital losses.

 

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Tax Risk. We cannot assure you what percentage of the distributions paid on the Fund’s shares, if any, will consist of tax-advantaged qualified dividend income or long term capital gains or what the tax rates on various types of income will be in future years. See “Taxation.”

Status as a Regulated Investment Company. The Fund has elected to qualify as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. Qualification requires, among other things, compliance by the Fund with certain distribution requirements. Statutory limitations on distributions on the common shares if the Fund fails to satisfy the 1940 Act’s asset coverage requirements could jeopardize the Fund’s ability to meet such distribution requirements. To qualify and maintain its status as a RIC, the Fund must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources and distribute for each taxable year at least 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (generally, ordinary income plus excess, if any, of net short term capital gain over net long term capital loss). While the Fund presently intends to purchase or redeem notes or preferred shares, if any, to the extent necessary in order to maintain compliance with such asset coverage requirements, there can be no assurance that such actions can be effected in time to meet the Code requirements. If the Fund fails to qualify as a RIC for any reason, it will be subject to U.S. federal income tax at regular corporate rates on all of its taxable income and gains. The resulting corporate taxes would materially reduce the Fund’s net assets and the amount of cash available for distribution to holders of the Units. For a more complete discussion of these and other U.S. federal income tax considerations, see “Taxation” below.

Anti-Takeover Provisions. The Agreement and Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of the Fund include provisions that could limit the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Fund or convert the Fund to an open-end fund. See “Anti-Takeover Provisions of the Fund’s Governing Documents.”

Special Risks to Holders of Notes

An investment in our notes is subject to special risks. Our notes are not likely to be listed on an exchange or automated quotation system. We cannot assure you that any market will exist for our notes or if a market does exist, whether it will provide holders with liquidity. Broker-dealers that maintain a secondary trading market for the notes are not required to maintain this market, and the Fund is not required to redeem notes if an attempted secondary market sale fails because of a lack of buyers. To the extent that our notes trade, they may trade at a price either higher or lower than their principal amount depending on interest rates, the rating (if any) on such notes and other factors.

Special Risks to Holders of Fixed Rate Preferred Shares

Illiquidity Prior to Exchange Listing. Prior to an offering, there will be no public market for any series of fixed rate preferred shares. In the event any additional series of fixed rate preferred shares are issued, we expect to apply to list such shares on a national securities exchange, which will likely be the NYSE. However, during an initial period, which is not expected to exceed 30 days after the date of initial issuance, such shares may not be listed on any securities exchange. During such period, the underwriters may make a market in such shares, though they will have no obligation to do so. Consequently, an investment in such shares may be illiquid during such period.

Market Price Fluctuation. Fixed rate preferred shares may trade at a premium to or discount from liquidation value for various reasons, including changes in interest rates, perceived credit quality and other factors.

Special Risks to Holders of Notes and Preferred Shares

Common Share Repurchases. Repurchases of common shares by the Fund may reduce the net asset coverage of the notes and preferred shares, which could adversely affect their liquidity or market prices.

 

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Common Share Distribution Policy. In the event the Fund does not generate a total return from dividends and interest received and net realized capital gains in an amount at least equal to its distributions for a given year, the Fund may return capital as part of its distribution. This would decrease the asset coverage per share with respect to the Fund’s notes or preferred shares, which could adversely affect their liquidity or market prices.

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, the Fund made distributions of $0.64 per common share, approximately $0.05 of which constituted a return of capital. The composition of each distribution is estimated based on earnings as of the record date for the distribution. The actual composition of each distribution may change based on the Fund’s investment activity through the end of the calendar year.

Credit Quality Ratings. The Fund may obtain credit quality ratings for its preferred shares or notes, if desired; however, it is not required to do so and may issue preferred shares or notes without any rating. If rated, the Fund does not impose any minimum rating necessary to issue such preferred shares or notes. In order to obtain and maintain attractive credit quality ratings for preferred shares or borrowings, if desired, the Fund’s portfolio must satisfy over-collateralization tests established by the relevant rating agencies. These tests are more difficult to satisfy to the extent the Fund’s portfolio securities are of lower credit quality, longer maturity or not diversified by issuer and industry.

These guidelines could affect portfolio decisions and may be more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. With respect to ratings (if any) of the notes or preferred shares, a rating by a ratings agency does not eliminate or necessarily mitigate the risks of investing in our preferred shares or notes, and a rating may not fully or accurately reflect all of the securities’ credit risks. A rating does not address the liquidity or any other market risks of the securities being rated. A rating agency could downgrade the rating of our notes or preferred shares, which may make such securities less liquid in the secondary market. If a rating agency downgrades the rating assigned to our preferred shares or notes, we may alter our portfolio or redeem all or a portion of the preferred shares or notes that are then redeemable under certain circumstances.

Special Risks of Notes to Holders of Preferred Shares

As provided in the 1940 Act, and subject to compliance with the Fund’s investment limitations, the Fund may issue notes. In the event the Fund were to issue such securities, the Fund’s obligations to pay dividends or make distributions and, upon liquidation of the Fund, liquidation payments in respect of its preferred shares would be subordinate to the Fund’s obligations to make any principal and interest payments due and owing with respect to its outstanding notes. Accordingly, the Fund’s issuance of notes would have the effect of creating special risks for the Fund’s preferred shareholders that would not be present in a capital structure that did not include such securities.

Special Risks to Holders of Common Shares

Dilution Risk. If the Fund determines to conduct a rights offering to subscribe for common shares, holders of common shares may experience dilution of the aggregate net asset value of their common shares. Such dilution will depend upon whether (i) such shareholders participate in the rights offering and (ii) the Fund’s net asset value per common share is above or below the subscription price on the expiration date of the rights offering.

Shareholders who do not exercise their subscription rights may, at the completion of such an offering, own a smaller proportional interest in the Fund than if they exercised their subscription rights. As a result of such an offering, a shareholder may experience dilution in net asset value per share if the subscription price per share is below the net asset value per share on the expiration date. If the subscription price per share is below the net asset value per share of the Fund’s shares on the expiration date, a shareholder will experience an immediate dilution of the aggregate net asset value of such shareholder’s shares if the shareholder does not participate in such an offering and the shareholder will experience a reduction in the net asset value per share of such shareholder’s

 

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shares whether or not the shareholder participates in such an offering. The Fund cannot state precisely the extent of this dilution (if any) if the shareholder does not exercise such shareholder’s subscription rights because the Fund does not know what the net asset value per share will be when the offer expires or what proportion of the subscription rights will be exercised.

Leverage Risk. The Fund currently uses financial leverage for investment purposes by issuing preferred shares and is also permitted to use other types of financial leverage, such as through the issuance of debt securities or additional preferred shares and borrowing from financial institutions. As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund may issue additional senior securities (which may be stock, such as preferred shares, and/or securities representing debt) only if immediately after such issuance the value of the Fund’s total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, exceeds 300% of the amount of the debt outstanding and exceeds 200% of the amount of preferred shares and debt outstanding. As of December 31, 2016, the amount of leverage represented approximately 32% of the Fund’s assets.

The Fund’s leveraged capital structure creates special risks not associated with unleveraged funds having a similar investment objective and policies. These include the possibility of greater loss and the likelihood of higher volatility of the net asset value of the Fund and the asset coverage for the preferred shares. Such volatility may increase the likelihood of the Fund having to sell investments in order to meet its obligations to make distributions on the preferred shares or principal or interest payments on debt securities, or to redeem preferred shares or repay debt, when it may be disadvantageous to do so. The Fund’s use of leverage may require it to sell portfolio investments at inopportune times in order to raise cash to redeem preferred shares or otherwise de-leverage so as to maintain required asset coverage amounts or comply with the mandatory redemption terms of any outstanding preferred shares. The use of leverage magnifies both the favorable and unfavorable effects of price movements in the investments made by the Fund. To the extent that the Fund employs leverage in its investment operations, the Fund is subject to substantial risk of loss. The Fund cannot assure you that borrowings or the issuance of preferred shares will result in a higher yield or return to the holders of the common shares. Also, since the Fund utilizes leverage, a decline in net asset value could affect the ability of the Fund to make common share distributions and such a failure to make distributions could result in the Fund ceasing to qualify as a RIC under the Code. See “Taxation.”

Any decline in the net asset value of the Fund’s investments would be borne entirely by the holders of common shares. Therefore, if the market value of the Fund’s portfolio declines, the leverage will result in a greater decrease in net asset value to the holders of common shares than if the Fund were not leveraged. This greater net asset value decrease will also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for the common shares. The Fund might be in danger of failing to maintain the required asset coverage of its borrowings, notes or preferred shares or of losing its ratings on its notes or preferred shares or notes or, in an extreme case, the Fund’s current investment income might not be sufficient to meet the distribution or interest requirements on the borrowings, preferred shares or notes. In order to counteract such an event, the Fund might need to liquidate investments in order to fund a redemption or repayment of some or all of the borrowings, preferred shares or notes.

 

    Preferred Share and Note Risk. The issuance of preferred shares or notes causes the net asset value and market value of the common shares to become more volatile. If the dividend rate on the preferred shares or the interest rate on the notes approaches the net rate of return on the Fund’s investment portfolio, the benefit of leverage to the holders of the common shares would be reduced. If the dividend rate on the preferred shares or the interest rate on the notes plus the management fee rate exceeds the net rate of return on the Fund’s portfolio, the leverage will result in a lower rate of return to the holders of common shares than if the Fund had not issued preferred shares or notes. If the Fund has insufficient investment income and gains, all or a portion of the distributions to preferred shareholders or interest payments to note holders would come from the common shareholders’ capital. Such distributions and interest payments reduce the net assets attributable to common shareholders. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any sale of preferred shares will set forth dividend rate on such preferred shares.

 

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In addition, the Fund would pay (and the holders of common shares will bear) all costs and expenses relating to the issuance and ongoing maintenance of the preferred shares or notes, including the advisory fees on the incremental assets attributable to the preferred shares or notes.

Holders of preferred shares and notes may have different interests than holders of common shares and may at times have disproportionate influence over the Fund’s affairs. As provided in the 1940 Act and subject to certain exceptions, the Fund may issue senior securities (which may be stock, such as preferred shares, and/or securities representing debt, such as notes) only if immediately after the issuance the value of the Fund’s total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, exceeds 300% of the amount of the debt outstanding (i.e., for every dollar of indebtedness outstanding, the Fund is required to have at least three dollars of assets) and exceeds 200% of the amount of preferred shares and debt outstanding (i.e., for every dollar in liquidation preference of preferred stock outstanding, the Fund is required to have two dollars of assets), which is referred to as the “asset coverage” required by the 1940 Act. In the event the Fund fails to maintain an asset coverage of 100% for any notes outstanding for certain periods of time, the 1940 Act requires that either an event of default be declared or that the holders of such notes have the right to elect a majority of the Fund’s Trustees until asset coverage recovers to 110%. In addition, holders of preferred shares, voting separately as a single class, have the right (subject to the rights of noteholders) to elect two members of the Board at all times and in the event dividends become two full years in arrears would have the right to elect a majority of the Trustees until such arrearage is completely eliminated. In addition, preferred shareholders have class voting rights on certain matters, including changes in fundamental investment restrictions and conversion of the Fund to open-end status, and accordingly can veto any such changes. Further, interest on notes will be payable when due as described in a Prospectus Supplement and if the Fund does not pay interest when due, it will trigger an event of default and the Fund expects to be restricted from declaring dividends and making other distributions with respect to common shares and preferred shares. Upon the occurrence and continuance of an event of default, the holders of a majority in principal amount of a series of outstanding notes or the trustee will be able to declare the principal amount of that series of notes immediately due and payable upon written notice to the Fund. The 1940 Act also generally restricts the Fund from declaring distributions on, or repurchasing, common or preferred shares unless notes have an asset coverage of 300% (200% in the case of declaring distributions on preferred shares). The Fund’s common shares are structurally subordinated as to income and residual value to any preferred shares or notes in the Fund’s capital structure, in terms of priority to income and payment in liquidation. See “Description of the Securities—Preferred Shares” and “Description of the Securities—Notes.”

Restrictions imposed on the declarations and payment of dividends or other distributions to the holders of the Fund’s common shares and preferred shares, both by the 1940 Act and by requirements imposed by rating agencies, might impair the Fund’s ability to maintain its qualification as a RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. While the Fund intends to redeem its preferred shares or notes to the extent necessary to enable the Fund to distribute its income as required to maintain its qualification as a RIC under the Code, there can be no assurance that such actions can be effected in time to meet the Code requirements.

 

    Portfolio Guidelines of Rating Agencies for Preferred Shares and/or Credit Facility. In order to obtain and maintain attractive credit quality ratings for Preferred shares or borrowings, the Fund must comply with investment quality, diversification and other guidelines established by the relevant rating agencies. These guidelines could affect portfolio decisions and may be more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. In the event that a rating on the Fund’s preferred shares or notes is lowered or withdrawn by the relevant rating agency, the Fund may also be required to redeem all or part of its outstanding preferred shares or notes, and the common shares of the Fund will lose the potential benefits associated with a leveraged capital structure.

 

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    Impact on Common Shares. Assuming that leverage will (1) be equal in amount to approximately 39% of the Fund’s total net assets, and (2) charge interest or involve dividend payments at a projected blended annual average leverage dividend or interest rate of 3.85%, then the total return generated by the Fund’s portfolio (net of estimated expenses) must exceed approximately 1.52% of the Fund’s total net assets in order to cover such interest or dividend payments and other expenses specifically related to leverage. Of course, these numbers are merely estimates, used for illustration. Actual dividend rates, interest or payment rates may vary frequently and may be significantly higher or lower than the rate estimated above. The following table is furnished in response to requirements of the SEC. It is designed to illustrate the effect of leverage on common share total return, assuming investment portfolio total returns (comprised of net investment income of the Fund, realized gains or losses of the Fund and changes in the value of the securities held in the Fund’s portfolio) of -10%, -5%, 0%, 5% and 10%. These assumed investment portfolio returns are hypothetical figures and are not necessarily indicative of the investment portfolio returns experienced or expected to be experienced by the Fund. The table further reflects leverage representing 39% of the Fund’s total assets, the Fund’s current projected blended annual average leverage dividend or interest rate of 3.85%, a base management fee at an annual rate of 0.50%, and a performance fee at an annual rate of 0.30%, of the liquidation preference of any outstanding preferred shares and estimated annual incremental expenses attributable to any outstanding preferred shares of 0.02% of the Fund’s net assets attributable to common shares. These assumptions are based on the Fund’s period ended June 30, 2017 and the assets attributable to the proposed issuances.

 

Assumed Return on Portfolio (Net of Expenses)

     (10 )%      (5 )%      0     5      10

Corresponding Return to Common Shareholder

     (18.25 )%      (10.44 )%      (2.63 )%      5.19      13.00

Common share total return is composed of two elements—the common share distributions paid by the Fund (the amount of which is largely determined by the taxable income of the Fund (including realized gains or losses) after paying interest on any debt and/or dividends on any preferred shares) and unrealized gains or losses on the value of the securities the Fund owns. As required by SEC rules, the table assumes that the Fund is more likely to suffer capital losses than to enjoy total return. For example, to assume a total return of 0% the Fund must assume that the income it receives on its investments is entirely offset by expenses and losses in the value of those investments.

Market Discount Risk. As described above in “–General Risks—Market Discount Risk,” common shares of closed-end funds often trade at a discount to their net asset values and the Fund’s common shares may trade at such a discount. This risk may be greater for investors expecting to sell their common shares of the Fund soon after completion of a public offering. The common shares of the Fund are designed primarily for long term investors and investors in the shares should not view the Fund as a vehicle for trading purposes.

Special Risk to Holders of Subscription Rights

There is a risk that changes in market conditions may result in the underlying common or preferred shares purchaseable upon exercise of the subscription rights being less attractive to investors at the conclusion of the subscription period. This may reduce or eliminate the value of the subscription rights. Investors who receive subscription rights may find that there is no market to sell rights they do not wish to exercise. If investors exercise only a portion of the rights, the number of common or preferred shares issued may be reduced, and the common or preferred shares may trade at less favorable prices than larger offerings for similar securities.

 

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HOW THE FUND MANAGES RISK

Investment Restrictions

The Fund has adopted certain fundamental investment policies designed to limit investment risk and maintain portfolio diversification. See “Investment Restrictions” in the SAI for a complete list of the fundamental policies of the Fund. Fundamental policies may not be changed without the vote of a majority, as defined in the 1940 Act, of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (voting together as a single class). In addition, pursuant to the Fund’s Series B Preferred Statement of Preferences, a majority, as defined in the 1940 Act, of the outstanding preferred shares of the Fund (voting separately as a single class) is also required to change a fundamental policy. The Fund may become subject to rating agency guidelines that are more limiting than its current investment restrictions in order to obtain and maintain a desired rating on its preferred shares, if any.

Neither the Fund’s investment objective nor, except as expressly stated above, any of its policies are fundamental, and each may be modified by the Board without shareholder approval.

Interest Rate Transactions

The use of interest rate swaps and caps is a highly specialized activity that involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio security transactions. In an interest rate swap, the Fund would agree to pay to the other party to the interest rate swap (which is known as the “counterparty”) periodically a fixed rate payment in exchange for the counterparty agreeing to pay to the Fund periodically a variable rate payment that is intended to approximate the Fund’s variable rate payment obligation on its borrowings (or the Fund’s potential variable payment obligations on fixed rate preferred shares that may have certain variable rate features). In an interest rate cap, the Fund would pay a premium to the counterparty to the interest rate cap and, to the extent that a specified variable rate index exceeds a predetermined fixed rate, would receive from the counterparty payments of the difference based on the notional amount of such cap. Interest rate swap and cap transactions introduce additional risk because the Fund would remain obligated to pay interest or preferred shares dividends when due even if the counterparty defaulted. Depending on the general state of short term interest rates and the returns on the Fund’s portfolio securities at that point in time, such a default could negatively affect the Fund’s ability to make interest payments or dividend payments on the preferred shares. In addition, at the time an interest rate swap or cap transaction reaches its scheduled termination date, there is a risk that the Fund will not be able to obtain a replacement transaction or that the terms of the replacement will not be as favorable as on the expiring transaction. If this occurs, it could have a negative impact on the Fund’s ability to make interest payments or dividend payments on the preferred shares. To the extent there is a decline in interest rates, the value of the interest rate swap or cap could decline, resulting in a decline in the asset coverage for the borrowings or preferred shares. A sudden and dramatic decline in interest rates may result in a significant decline in the asset coverage. If the Fund fails to maintain the required asset coverage on any outstanding borrowings or preferred shares or fails to comply with other covenants, the Fund may be required to prepay some or all of such borrowings or redeem some or all of such shares. Any such prepayment or redemption would likely result in the Fund seeking to terminate early all or a portion of any swap or cap transactions. Early termination of a swap could result in a termination payment by the Fund to the counterparty, while early termination of a cap could result in a termination payment to the Fund.

The Fund will usually enter into swaps or caps on a net basis; that is, the two payment streams will be netted out in a cash settlement on the payment date or dates specified in the instrument, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. The Fund intends to segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a value at least equal to the value of the Fund’s net payment obligations under any swap transaction, marked to market daily. The Fund will monitor any such swap with a view to ensuring that the Fund remains in compliance with all applicable regulatory investment policy and tax requirements.

 

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MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND

General

The Fund’s Board (who, with the Fund’s officers (the “Officers”), are described in the SAI) has overall responsibility for the management of the Fund. The Board decides upon matters of general policy and reviews the actions of the Investment Adviser, Gabelli Funds, LLC, One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422, and the Sub-Administrator (as defined below). Pursuant to an investment advisory agreement with the Fund (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”), the Investment Adviser, under the supervision of the Fund’s Board, provides a continuous investment program for the Fund’s portfolio; provides investment research and makes and executes recommendations for the purchase and sale of securities; and provides all facilities and personnel, including officers required for its administrative management, and pays the compensation of Trustees of the Fund who are officers or employees of the Investment Advisor or its affiliates.

The Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser is a New York limited liability company and registered investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, and serves as an investment adviser to registered investment companies with combined aggregate net assets approximating $23.8 billion as of September 30, 2017. The Investment Adviser is a wholly owned subsidiary of GAMCO Investors, Inc. (“GBL”), a New York corporation, whose Class A Common Stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol, “GBL.” Mr. Mario J. Gabelli may be deemed a “controlling person” of the Investment Adviser on the basis of his controlling interest in GBL. Mr. Gabelli owns a majority of the stock of GGCP, Inc. (“GGCP”), which holds a majority of the capital stock and voting power of GBL. The Investment Adviser has several affiliates that provide investment advisory services: GAMCO Asset Management, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GBL, acts as investment adviser for individuals, pension trusts, profit sharing trusts, endowments, and The GAMCO Mathers Fund, and as a sub-adviser to certain third party investment funds, which include registered investment companies, having assets under management of approximately of $19.2 billion as of September 30, 2017; Teton Advisors, Inc. and its wholly owned investment adviser, Keeley Teton Advisers, LLC, with assets under management of approximately $3.6 billion as of September 30, 2017, act as investment advisers to The TETON Westwood Funds, the KEELEY Funds, and separately managed accounts; Gabelli & Company Investment Advisers, Inc. (formerly, Gabelli Securities, Inc.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated Capital Group, Inc. (“Associated Capital”), acts as investment adviser for certain alternative investment products, consisting primarily of risk arbitrage and merchant banking limited partnerships and offshore companies, with assets under management of approximately $1.5 billion as of September 30, 2017; and Gabelli Fixed Income, LLC, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of GBL, acts as investment adviser for separate accounts having assets under management of approximately $26 million as of September 30, 2017. Teton Advisors, Inc. was spun off by GBL in March 2009 and is an affiliate of GBL by virtue of Mr. Gabelli’s ownership of GGCP the principal shareholder of Teton Advisors, Inc., as of September 30, 2017. Associated Capital was spun off from GBL on November 30, 2015, and is an affiliate of GBL by virtue of Mr. Gabelli’s ownership of GGCP, the principal shareholder of Associated Capital.

Fees of the Investment Adviser

Gabelli Funds, LLC serves as the Fund’s investment adviser at an annual base rate of 0.50% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets payable monthly in arrears. Managed assets consist of all of the assets of the Fund without deduction for borrowings, repurchase transactions and other leveraging techniques, the liquidation value of any outstanding preferred shares or other liabilities except for certain ordinary course expenses. In addition, the Investment Adviser will be entitled to receive an annual performance fee as of the end of each calendar year if the total return of the Fund on its common shares during the calendar year in question exceeds the total return of the T-Bill Index compounded quarterly on the same dates as the Fund’s quarterly ex-dividend dates (or at the end of the quarter if no dividend is paid) during the same period. If the Fund’s total return for the calendar year equals the total return of the T-Bill Index for the same period plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis

 

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points), the Investment Adviser will receive a performance fee of 0.75% of the Fund’s average weekly managed assets during the calendar year measurement period for the Fund’s fulcrum fee. This performance fee will be increased by 0.01 percentage point (one basis point) for each 0.04 percentage points (four basis points) by which the Fund’s total return during the period exceeds the T-Bill Index total return plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), up to a maximum performance fee of 1.50% if the excess performance over the T-Bill Index is 6.0 percentage points (600 basis points) or greater and will be decreased at the same rate for the amount by which the Fund’s total return during the period is less than the T-Bill Index total return plus 3.0 percentage points (300 basis points), until no performance fee is payable if the Fund’s total return is less than or equal to the T-Bill Index total return.

For purposes of calculating the Fund’s performance fee, the Fund’s total return will be calculated as the sum of the Fund’s change in net asset value per common share from January 1 (or the date of the Fund’s commencement of investment operations, in the case of the Fund’s first year of investment operations), through December 31 of each year plus the amount of distributions per common share in respect of such period (calculating the number of shares outstanding on a daily average weighted basis assuming reinvestment of such distributions at net asset value per share on the ex-dividend date and assuming solely for purposes of the Fund’s performance fee that all issuances and repurchases of shares are at net asset value). Increases and decreases in the investment management fee will be accrued as often as net asset value per common share is calculated and accordingly will affect the total return on which the rate of the fee is determined.

For purposes of calculating the Fund’s performance fee, the T-Bill Index’s total return will be calculated as the sum of the change in the discount price of the three month Treasury bill from the first business day after January 1 of each year (or the date of the Fund’s commencement of investment operations, in the case of the Fund’s first year of investment operations) to the last business day of each year plus the weekly yield to maturity interest payments thereon implied by the discount price thereof and compounded quarterly on the same dates as the Fund’s quarterly ex-dividend dates (or at the end of the quarter if no dividend is paid).

The following chart illustrates the variability of the Fund’s investment management fees in various circumstances.

Total Investment Advisory Fee Rate

(as a percentage of average weekly managed assets)

 

T-Bill Index

  The Fund’s Total Return  

Total Return

  0% or less     1%     2%     3%     4%     5%     6%     7%     8%     9%     10%     11%     12%  
0%     0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
1%     0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
2%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
3%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00       2.00  
4%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00       2.00  
5%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00       2.00  
6%     0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.50       0.75       1.00       1.25       1.50       1.75       2.00  

Because the investment advisory fees are based on a percentage of managed assets, which includes assets attributable to the Fund’s use of leverage, the Investment Adviser may have a conflict of interest in the input it provides to the Board regarding whether to use or increase the Fund’s use of leverage. The Board bases its decision, with input from the Investment Adviser, regarding whether and how much leverage to use for the Fund on its assessment of whether such use of leverage is in the best interests of the Fund, and the Board seeks to manage the Investment Adviser’s potential conflict of interest by retaining the final decision on these matters and by periodically reviewing the Fund’s performance and use of leverage. A discussion regarding the basis for the Fund’s Board approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement with the Investment Adviser is available in the Fund’s annual report for the year ended December 31, 2016.

 

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Payment of Expenses

The Investment Adviser is obligated to pay expenses associated with providing the services contemplated by the Investment Advisory Agreement, including compensation of and office space for its officers and employees connected with investment and economic research, trading and investment management and administration of the Fund (but excluding costs associated with the calculation of the net asset value and allocated costs of the chief compliance officer function and officers of the Fund who are employed by the Fund and are not employed by the Investment Adviser although such officers may receive incentive-based variable compensation from affiliates of the Investment Adviser), as well as the fees of all Trustees of the Fund who are officers or employees of the Investment Adviser or its affiliates.

In addition to the fees of the Investment Adviser, the Fund, and indirectly the holders of its common shares, is responsible for the payment of all its other expenses incurred in the operation of the Fund, which include, among other things, underwriting compensation and reimbursements in connection with sales of the Fund’s securities, expenses for legal and the independent registered public accounting firm’s services, stock exchange listing fees and expenses, costs of printing proxies, share certificates and shareholder reports, charges of the Fund’s custodian, any sub custodian and any custodian, charges of the transfer agent and distribution disbursing agent, expenses in connection with the Automatic Dividend Reinvestment Plan and the Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan, SEC fees, fees and expenses of Trustees who are not officers or employees of the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, accounting and printing costs, the Fund’s pro rata portion of membership fees in trade organizations, compensation and other expenses of officers and employees of the Fund (including, but not limited to, the Chief Compliance Officer, Vice Presidents, and Ombudsman) as approved by the Fund’s Trustees, fidelity bond coverage for the Fund’s officers and employees, Trustees’ and Officers’ errors and omissions insurance coverage, interest, brokerage costs, taxes, expenses of qualifying the Fund’s shares for sale in various states, expenses of personnel performing shareholder servicing functions, rating agency fees, organizational expenses, litigation and other extraordinary or non-recurring expenses and other expenses properly payable by the Fund.

Selection of Securities Brokers

The Investment Advisory Agreement contains provisions relating to the selection of securities brokers to effect the portfolio transactions of the Fund. Under those provisions, the Investment Adviser may (i) direct Fund portfolio brokerage to G.research, LLC, an affiliate of the Investment Adviser, or other broker-dealer affiliates of the Investment Adviser and (ii) pay commissions to brokers other than G.research, LLC that are higher than might be charged by another qualified broker to obtain brokerage and/or research services considered by the Investment Adviser to be useful or desirable for its investment management of the Fund and/or its other investment advisory accounts or those of any investment adviser affiliated with it. The SAI contains further information about the Investment Advisory Agreement, including a more complete description of the investment advisory and expense arrangements, exculpatory and brokerage provisions, and information on the brokerage practices of the Fund. The Fund expects that a substantial portion of its portfolio transactions may be executed through G.research, LLC so long as the Investment Adviser and the Board conclude that G.research, LLC is able to provide best execution at a favorable cost.

Portfolio Management

Mario J. Gabelli, CFA (the “Portfolio Manager”), is currently and has been responsible for the day to day management of the Fund since its inception. Mr. Gabelli serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GBL and Associated Capital, Chief Investment Officer — Value Portfolios for GBL, the Investment Adviser and GAMCO, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of GGCP, and a director or officer of other companies affiliated with GBL. Mr. Gabelli serves as portfolio manager for and is a director of several funds in the Gabelli fund family (“Gabelli/GAMCO Fund Complex” or “Fund Complex”). Because of the diverse nature of Mr. Gabelli’s responsibilities, he will devote less than all of his time to the day to day management of the Fund. Mr. Gabelli is a summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University and holds an MBA degree from Columbia Business School and Honorary Doctorates from Fordham University and Roger Williams University.

 

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The SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Manager’s compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Manager, and the Portfolio Manager’s ownership of securities of the Fund.

Sub-Administrator

The Investment Adviser has entered into a sub-administration agreement with BNY Mellon Investment Servicing (US) Inc. (the “Sub-Administrator”) pursuant to which the Sub-Administrator provides certain administrative services necessary for the Fund’s operations which do not include the investment and portfolio management services provided by the Investment Adviser. For these services and the related expenses borne by the Sub-Administrator, the Investment Adviser pays an annual fee based on the value of the aggregate average daily net assets of all funds under its administration managed by the Investment Adviser, GAMCO and Teton Advisors, Inc. as follows: 0.0275% - first $10 billion, 0.0125% - exceeding $10 billion but less than $15 billion, 0.01% - over $15 billion but less than $20 billion and 0.008% - over $20 billion. The Sub-Administrator has its principal office at 760 Moore Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS

Principal transactions are not entered into with affiliates of the Fund. However, G.research, LLC, an affiliate of the Investment Adviser, may execute portfolio transactions on stock exchanges and in the OTC markets on an agency basis and may be paid commissions. For a more detailed discussion of the Fund’s brokerage allocation practices, see “Portfolio Transactions” in the SAI.

DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS

The Fund currently intends to make quarterly cash distributions of all or a portion of its investment company taxable income (which includes ordinary income and realized net short term capital gains) to common shareholders. The Fund also intends to make annual distributions of its realized net long term capital gains, if any. The Fund, however, may make more than one capital gain distribution to avoid paying U.S. federal excise tax. See “Taxation”. A portion of each distribution may be a return of capital. Various factors will affect the level of the Fund’s income, such as its asset mix and use of merger arbitrage strategies. To permit the Fund to maintain more stable distributions, the Fund may from time to time distribute more or less than the entire amount of income earned in a particular period. The Fund’s distribution policy may be modified from time to time by the Board as it deems appropriate, including in light of market and economic conditions and the Fund’s current, expected and historical earnings and investment performance. Common shareholders are expected to be notified of any such modifications by press release or in the Fund’s periodic shareholder reports. Because the Fund’s current quarterly distributions are subject to modification by the Board at any time and the Fund’s income will fluctuate, there can be no assurance that the Fund will pay distributions at a particular rate or frequency.

The Fund’s annualized distributions may contain a return of capital and should not be considered as the dividend yield or total return of an investment in its common shares. Shareholders who receive the payment of a distribution consisting of a return of capital may be under the impression that they are receiving net profits when they are not. Shareholders should not assume that the source of a distribution from the Fund is net profit. A portion of the Fund’s common share distributions for the years ending December 31, 2008 through December 31, 2016 have included a return of capital. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, the Fund made distributions of $0.64 per common share, approximately $0.05 of which constituted a return of capital. To minimize the U.S. federal income tax that the Fund must pay at the corporate level, the Fund intends to distribute substantially all of its investment company taxable income and previously undistributed cumulative net capital gain. The composition of each distribution is estimated based on earnings as of the record date for the distribution. The actual composition of each distribution may change based on the Fund’s investment activity through the end of the calendar year.

 

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The Fund may retain for reinvestment, and pay the resulting U.S. federal income taxes on its net capital gain, if any, although, as previously mentioned, the Fund intends to distribute substantially all of its previously undistributed cumulative net capital gain each year. In the event that the Fund’s investment company taxable income and net capital gain exceeds the total of the Fund’s annual distributions on any shares issued by the Fund, the Fund intends to pay such excess once a year. If, for any calendar year, the total annual distributions on any shares issued by the Fund exceed investment company taxable income and cumulative net capital gain, the excess will generally be treated as a tax-free return of capital up to the amount of a shareholder’s tax basis in his or her shares. Any distributions to the holders of shares which constitute tax-free return of capital will reduce a shareholder’s tax basis in such shares, thereby increasing such shareholder’s potential gain or reducing his or her potential loss on the sale of the shares. Any such amounts distributed to a shareholder in excess of the basis in the shares will generally be taxable to the shareholder as capital gain. See “Taxation.”

During the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, the Fund made distributions of $0.64 per common share, approximately $0.05 of which constituted a return of capital. To the extent the Fund makes distributions consisting of returns of capital, such distributions will further decrease the Fund’s total assets and, therefore have the likely effect of increasing the Fund’s expense ratio as the Fund’s fixed expenses will become a larger percentage of the Fund’s average net assets. In addition, in order to make such distributions, the Fund may have to sell a portion of its investment portfolio at a time when independent investment judgment may not dictate such action. These effects could have a negative impact on the prices investors receive when they sell shares of the Fund.

The Fund, along with other closed-end registered investment companies advised by the Investment Adviser, is entitled to rely on an exemption from Section 19(b) of the 1940 Act and Rule 19b-1 thereunder permitting the Fund to make periodic distributions of long term capital gains provided that any distribution policy of the Fund with respect to its common shares calls for periodic (e.g., quarterly or semiannually, but in no event more frequently than monthly) distributions in an amount equal to a fixed percentage of the Fund’s average net asset value over a specified period of time or market price per common share at or about the time of distribution or payment of a fixed dollar amount. The exemption also permits the Fund to make such distributions with respect to its preferred shares, if any, in accordance with such shares’ terms. The Fund does not currently rely on this exemption, and its current policy is to make quarterly distributions to holders of its common shares. This policy is subject to change by the Board at any time without prior notice to shareholders.

AUTOMATIC DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT AND VOLUNTARY CASH PURCHASE PLANS

Enrollment in the Plan

It is the policy of the Fund to automatically reinvest dividends payable to common shareholders. As a “registered” shareholder you automatically become a participant in the Fund’s Automatic Dividend Reinvestment Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan authorizes the Fund to credit common shares to participants upon an income dividend or a capital gains distribution regardless of whether the shares are trading at a discount or a premium to net asset value. All distributions to shareholders whose shares are registered in their own names will be automatically reinvested pursuant to the Plan in additional shares of the Fund. Plan participants may send their share certificates to American Stock Transfer (“AST”) to be held in their dividend reinvestment account. Registered shareholders wishing to receive their distributions in cash must submit this request in writing to:

The GDL Fund

c/o American Stock Transfer

6201 15th Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11219

 

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Shareholders requesting this cash election must include the shareholder’s name and address as they appear on the Fund’s records. Shareholders with additional questions regarding the Plan or requesting a copy of the terms of the Plan, may contact AST at (888) 422-3262.

If your shares are held in the name of a broker, bank, or nominee, you should contact such institution. If such institution is not participating in the Plan, your account will be credited with a cash dividend. In order to participate in the Plan through such institution, it may be necessary for you to have your shares taken out of “street name” and re-registered in your own name. Once registered in your own name your distributions will be automatically reinvested. Certain brokers participate in the Plan. Shareholders holding shares in “street name” at participating institutions will have distributions automatically reinvested. Shareholders wishing a cash dividend at such institution must contact their broker to make this change.

The number of common shares distributed to participants in the Plan in lieu of cash dividends is determined in the following manner. Under the Plan, whenever the market price of the Fund’s common shares is equal to or exceeds net asset value at the time shares are valued for purposes of determining the number of shares equivalent to the cash dividends or capital gains distribution, participants are issued common shares valued at the greater of (i) the net asset value as most recently determined or (ii) 95% of the then current market price of the Fund’s common shares. The valuation date is the dividend or distribution payment date or, if that date is not a NYSE trading day, the next trading day. If the net asset value of the common shares at the time of valuation exceeds the market price of the common shares, participants will receive common shares from the Fund valued at market price. If the Fund should declare a dividend or capital gains distribution payable only in cash, AST will buy common shares in the open market, or on the NYSE, or elsewhere, for the participants’ accounts, except that AST will endeavor to terminate purchases in the open market and cause the Fund to issue shares at net asset value if, following the commencement of such purchases, the market value of the common shares exceeds the then current net asset value.

The automatic reinvestment of dividends and capital gains distributions will not relieve participants of any income tax which may be payable on such distributions. A participant in the Plan will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as having received, on a dividend payment date, a dividend or distribution in an amount equal to the cash the participant could have received instead of shares.

Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan

The Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan is yet another vehicle for our shareholders to increase their investment in the Fund. In order to participate in the Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan, shareholders must have their shares registered in their own name.

Participants in the Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan have the option of making additional cash payments to AST for investments in the Fund’s common shares at the then current market price. Shareholders may send an amount from $250 to $10,000. AST will use these funds to purchase shares in the open market on or about the 1st and 15th of each month. AST will charge each shareholder who participates a pro rata share of the brokerage commissions. Brokerage charges for such purchases are expected to be less than the usual brokerage charge for such transactions. It is suggested that any voluntary cash payments be sent to American Stock Transfer, 6201 15th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219 such that AST receives such payments approximately 10 days before the investment date. Funds not received at least five days before the investment date shall be held for investment until the next purchase date. A payment may be withdrawn without charge if notice is received by AST at least 48 hours before such payment is to be invested.

Shareholders wishing to liquidate shares held at AST must do so in writing or by telephone. Please submit your request to the above mentioned address or telephone number. Include in your request your name, address, and account number. The cost to liquidate shares is $1.00 per transaction as well as the brokerage commission incurred. Brokerage charges are expected to be less than the usual brokerage charge for such transactions.

 

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For more information regarding the Automatic Dividend Reinvestment Plan and Voluntary Cash Purchase Plan, brochures are available by calling (914) 921-5070 or by writing directly to the Fund.

The Fund reserves the right to amend or terminate the Plan as applied to any voluntary cash payments made and any dividend or distribution paid subsequent to written notice of the change sent to the members of the Plan at least 90 days before the record date for such dividend or distribution. The Plan also may be amended or terminated by AST on at least 90 days written notice to participants in the Plan.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SECURITIES

The following is a brief description of the terms of the common and preferred shares, notes, and subscription rights. This description does not purport to be complete and is qualified by reference to the Fund’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust and its By-Laws. For complete terms of the common and preferred shares, please refer to the actual terms of such series, which are set forth in the Governing Documents. For complete terms of the notes, please refer to the actual terms of such notes, which will be set forth in an Indenture relating to such notes (the “Indenture.”) For complete terms of the subscription rights, please refer to the actual terms of such subscription rights which will be set forth in the subscription rights agreement relating to such subscription rights (the “Subscription Rights Agreement”).

Common Shares

The Fund is an unincorporated statutory trust organized under the laws of Delaware pursuant to a Certificate of Trust dated as of October 17, 2006. The Fund is authorized to issue an unlimited number of common shares of beneficial interest, par value $0.001 per share. Each common share has one vote and, when issued and paid for in accordance with the terms of the applicable offering, will be fully paid and non-assessable. Though the Fund expects to pay distributions quarterly on the common shares, it is not obligated to do so. All common shares are equal as to distributions, assets and voting privileges and have no conversion, preemptive or other subscription rights. The Fund will send annual and semiannual reports, including financial statements, to all holders of its shares. In the event of liquidation, each of the Fund’s common shares is entitled to its proportion of the Fund’s assets after payment of debts and expenses and the amounts payable to holders of the Fund’s preferred shares ranking senior to the Fund’s common shares as described below.

Offerings of shares require approval by the Fund’s Board. Any additional offering of common shares will be subject to the requirements of the 1940 Act, which provides that common shares may not be issued at a price below the then current net asset value, exclusive of sales load, except in connection with an offering to existing holders of common shares or with the consent of a majority of the Fund’s common shareholders.

The Fund’s outstanding common shares have been listed and traded on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL” since January 29, 2007. The Fund’s common shares have historically traded at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value. Since the Fund commended trading on the NYSE, the Fund’s common shares have traded at a discount to net asset value as high as 29.33% and a premium as high as 9.80%. The average weekly trading volume of the common shares on the NYSE during the period from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 was 51,156 shares. The average weekly trading volume of the common shares on the NYSE during the period from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016 was 51,603 shares.

Unlike open-end funds, closed-end funds like the Fund do not continuously offer shares and do not provide daily redemptions. Rather, if a shareholder determines to buy additional common shares or sell shares already held, the shareholder may do so by trading through a broker on the NYSE or otherwise.

Shares of closed-end investment companies often trade on an exchange at prices lower than net asset value. Because the market value of the common shares may be influenced by such factors as dividend and distribution

 

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levels (which are in turn affected by expenses), dividend and distribution stability, net asset value, market liquidity, relative demand for and supply of such shares in the market, unrealized gains, general market and economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Fund, the Fund cannot assure you that common shares will trade at a price equal to or higher than net asset value in the future. The common shares are designed primarily for long term investors and you should not purchase the common shares if you intend to sell them soon after purchase.

The Fund’s common shareholders will vote as a single class to elect the Fund’s Board and on additional matters with respect to which the 1940 Act, the Fund’s Declaration of Trust, By-Laws or resolutions adopted by the Trustees provide for a vote of the Fund’s common shareholders. See “Anti-Takeover Provisions of the Fund’s Governing Documents.”

The Fund is a closed-end, diversified, management investment company and as such its shareholders do not, and will not, have the right to require the Fund to repurchase their shares. The Fund, however, may repurchase its common shares from time to time as and when it deems such a repurchase advisable, subject to maintaining required asset coverage for each series of outstanding preferred shares. The Board has authorized such repurchases to be made when the Fund’s common shares are trading at a discount from net asset value of 7.5% or more (or such other percentage as the Board of the Fund may determine from time to time). Through December 31, 2016, the Fund has repurchased 3,062,358 common shares under this authorization. Pursuant to the 1940 Act, the Fund may repurchase its common shares on a securities exchange (provided that the Fund has informed its shareholders within the preceding six months of its intention to repurchase such shares) or pursuant to tenders and may also repurchase shares privately if the Fund meets certain conditions regarding, among other things, distribution of net income for the preceding fiscal year, status of the seller, price paid, brokerage commissions, prior notice to shareholders of an intention to repurchase shares and purchasing in a manner and on a basis that does not discriminate unfairly against the other shareholders through their interest in the Fund.

When the Fund repurchases its common shares for a price below net asset value, the net asset value of the common shares that remain outstanding will be enhanced, but this does not necessarily mean that the market price of the outstanding common shares will be affected, either positively or negatively. The repurchase of common shares will reduce the total assets of the Fund available for investment and may increase the Fund’s expense ratio. In total through September 30, 2017, the Fund repurchased and retired 421,958 common shares in the open market at an average investment of $4,230,895 and at an average discount of approximately 15.34% from the Fund’s net asset value.

Book Entry. The common shares will initially be held in the name of Cede & Co. as nominee for the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”). The Fund will treat Cede & Co. as the holder of record of the common shares for all purposes. In accordance with the procedures of DTC, however, purchasers of common shares will be deemed the beneficial owners of shares purchased for purposes of distributions, voting and liquidation rights.

Preferred Shares

The Agreement and Declaration of Trust provides that the Board may authorize and issue senior securities with rights as determined by the Board, by action of the Board without the approval of the holders of the common shares. Holders of common shares have no preemptive right to purchase any senior securities that might be issued.

Currently, an unlimited number of the Fund’s shares have been classified by the Board as preferred shares, par value $0.001 per share. The terms of such preferred shares may be fixed by the Board and would materially limit and/or qualify the rights of the holders of the Fund’s common shares. As of December 31, 2016, the Fund had outstanding 2,624,025 shares of Series B Preferred, which are senior securities of the Fund.

 

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Distributions on the Series B Preferred, which are fixed rate preferred shares, accumulate at an annual rate of 3.00% of the liquidation preference of $50 per share, are cumulative from the date of original issuance thereof, and are payable quarterly on March 26, June 26, September 26 and December 26 of each year. The Series B Preferred are not rated by any rating agency. The Fund’s outstanding Series B Preferred are redeemable at the option of the Fund and have a mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2020. The Series B Preferred is listed and traded on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL Pr B.”

On May 15, 2017, preferred shareholders approved an amendment to the Series B Preferred Statement of Preferences, extending the mandatory redemption date for the Series B Preferred from March 26, 2018 to March 26, 2020, and adding March 26, 2018 as a Put Right Date, at the liquidation preference of $50.00 per share, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends.

As a result, the mandatory redemption date for the Series B Preferred is extended until March 26, 2020, the Series B Preferred remain redeemable at the option of the Fund and March 26, 2018 is added as a Put Right Date. The redemption price continues to be the liquidation preference of $50.00 per share, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends. All other terms of the Series B Preferred remain unchanged and the annual dividend rate of 3.00% on the Series B Preferred remains unchanged for all dividend periods through the new mandatory redemption date of March 26, 2020.

If the Fund issues additional preferred shares, it will pay dividends to the holders of the preferred shares at a fixed rate, as described in a Prospectus Supplement accompanying each preferred share offering.

Upon a liquidation, each holder of the preferred shares will be entitled to receive out of the assets of the Fund available for distribution to shareholders (after payment of claims of the Fund’s creditors but before any distributions with respect to the Fund’s common shares or any other shares of the Fund ranking junior to the preferred shares as to liquidation payments) an amount per share equal to such share’s liquidation preference plus any accumulated but unpaid distributions (whether or not earned or declared, excluding interest thereon) to the date of distribution, and such shareholders shall be entitled to no further participation in any distribution or payment in connection with such liquidation. Each series of the preferred shares will rank on a parity with any other series of preferred shares of the Fund as to the payment of distributions and the distribution of assets upon liquidation, and will be junior to the Fund’s obligations with respect to any outstanding senior securities representing debt. The preferred shares carry one vote per share on all matters on which such shares are entitled to vote. The preferred shares will, upon issuance, be fully paid and nonassessable and will have no preemptive, exchange or conversion rights. The Board may by resolution classify or reclassify any authorized but unissued capital shares of the Fund from time to time by setting or changing the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to distributions or terms or conditions of redemption. The Fund will not issue any class of shares senior to the preferred shares.

Redemption, Purchase and Sale of Preferred Shares By the Fund. The terms of any preferred shares are expected to provide that (i) they are redeemable by the Fund at any time (either after the date of initial issuance, or after some period of time following initial issuance) in whole or in part at the original purchase price per share plus accumulated dividends per share, (ii) the Fund may tender for or purchase preferred shares and (iii) the Fund may subsequently resell any shares so tendered for or purchased. Any redemption or purchase of preferred shares by the Fund will reduce the leverage applicable to the common shares, while any resale of preferred shares by the Fund will increase that leverage.

Rating Agency Guidelines. The Series B Preferred is not rated by Moody’s and/or Fitch Ratings Inc. (“Fitch”) (or any other rating agency). Upon issuance, any new series of preferred shares may be rated by Moody’s or Fitch, in which case the following description of rating agency guidelines would become applicable.

The Fund expects that it would be required under any applicable rating agency guidelines to maintain assets having in the aggregate a discounted value at least equal to a Basic Maintenance Amount (as defined in the

 

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applicable Statement of Preferences and summarized below), for its outstanding preferred shares, including the Series B Preferred. To the extent any particular portfolio holding does not satisfy the applicable rating agency’s guidelines, all or a portion of such holding’s value will not be included in the calculation of discounted value (as defined by such rating agency). The Moody’s and Fitch guidelines would also impose certain diversification requirements and industry concentration limitations on the Fund’s overall portfolio, and apply specified discounts to securities held by the Fund (except certain money market securities).

The “Basic Maintenance Amount” is generally equal to (a) the sum of (i) the aggregate liquidation preference of any preferred shares then outstanding plus (to the extent not included in the liquidation preference of such preferred shares) an amount equal to the aggregate accumulated but unpaid distributions (whether or not earned or declared) in respect of such preferred shares, (ii) the Fund’s other liabilities (excluding dividends and other distributions payable on the Fund’s common shares), (iii) any other current liabilities of the Fund (including amounts due and payable by the Fund pursuant to reverse repurchase agreements and payables for assets purchased) less (b) the value of the Fund’s assets if such assets are either cash or evidences of indebtedness which mature prior to or on the date of redemption or repurchase of preferred shares or payment of another liability and are either U.S. government securities or evidences of indebtedness rated at least “Aaa,” “P-1”, “VMIG-1” or “MIG-1” by Moody’s or “AAA”, “SP-1+” or “A-1+” by S&P and are held by the Fund for distributions, the redemption or repurchase of preferred shares or the Fund’s liabilities.

If the Fund does not cure in a timely manner a failure to maintain a discounted value of its portfolio equal to the Basic Maintenance Amount in accordance with the requirements of any applicable rating agency or agencies then rating the preferred shares at the request of the Fund, the Fund may, and in certain circumstances would be required to, mandatorily redeem preferred shares.

The Fund may, but would not be required to, adopt any modifications to the rating agency guidelines that may be established by Moody’s and Fitch (or such other rating agency then rating the preferred shares at the request of the Fund) following the issuance of any such rated preferred shares. Failure to adopt any such modifications, however, may result in a change in the relevant rating agency’s ratings or a withdrawal of such ratings altogether. In addition, any rating agency providing a rating for the preferred shares at the request of the Fund may, at any time, change or withdraw any such rating. The Board, without further action by shareholders, would be expected to be able to amend, alter, add to or repeal any provision of a Statement of Preferences adopted pursuant to rating agency guidelines if the Board determines that such amendments or modifications are necessary to prevent a reduction in, or the withdrawal of, a rating of the preferred shares and are in the aggregate in the best interests of the holders of the preferred shares. Additionally, the Board, without further action by the shareholders, would be expected to be able to amend, alter, add to or repeal any provision of a Statement of Preferences adopted pursuant to rating agency guidelines if the Board determines that such amendments or modifications will not in the aggregate adversely affect the rights and preferences of the holders of any series of the preferred shares, provided that the Fund has received advice from each applicable rating agency that such amendment or modification is not expected to adversely affect such rating agency’s then-current rating of such series of the Fund’s preferred shares.

As described by Moody’s and Fitch, any ratings assigned to the preferred shares are assessments of the capacity and willingness of the Fund to pay the obligations of each series of the preferred shares. Any ratings on the preferred shares are not recommendations to purchase, hold or sell shares of any series, inasmuch as the ratings do not comment as to market price or suitability for a particular investor. The rating agency guidelines also do not address the likelihood that an owner of preferred shares will be able to sell such shares on an exchange, in an auction or otherwise. Any ratings would be based on current information furnished to Moody’s and Fitch by the Fund and the Investment Adviser and information obtained from other sources. Any ratings may be changed, suspended or withdrawn as a result of changes in, or the unavailability of, such information.

The rating agency guidelines would apply to the preferred shares, as the case may be, only so long as such rating agency is rating such shares at the request of the Fund. The Fund expects that it would pay fees to Moody’s and Fitch for rating any preferred shares.

 

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Asset Maintenance Requirements. In addition to the requirements summarized under “—Rating Agency Guidelines” above, the Fund must satisfy asset maintenance requirements under the 1940 Act with respect to its preferred shares. Under the 1940 Act, debt or additional preferred shares may be issued only if immediately after such issuance the value of the Fund’s total assets (less ordinary course liabilities) is at least 300% of the amount of any debt outstanding and at least 200% of the amount of any preferred shares and debt outstanding.

The Fund is and likely will be required under the Statement of Preferences of each series of preferred shares to determine whether it has, as of the last business day of each March, June, September and December of each year, an “asset coverage” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of at least 200% (or such higher or lower percentage as may be required at the time under the 1940 Act) with respect to all outstanding senior securities of the Fund that are debt or stock, including any outstanding preferred shares. If the Fund fails to maintain the asset coverage required under the 1940 Act on such dates and such failure is not cured by a specific time (generally within 60 calendar days or 49 calendar days), the Fund may, and in certain circumstances will be required to, mandatorily redeem preferred shares sufficient to satisfy such asset coverage. See “—Redemption Procedures” below.

Distributions. Holders of any fixed rate preferred shares are or will be entitled to receive, when, as and if declared by the Board, out of funds legally available therefor, cumulative cash distributions, at an annual rate set forth in the applicable Statement of Preferences or Prospectus Supplement, payable with such frequency as set forth in the applicable Statement of Preferences or Prospectus Supplement. Such distributions will accumulate from the date on which such shares are issued.

Restrictions on Dividends and Other Distributions for the Preferred Shares. So long as any preferred shares are outstanding, the Fund may not pay any dividend or distribution (other than a dividend or distribution paid in common shares or in options, warrants or rights to subscribe for or purchase common shares) in respect of the common shares or call for redemption, redeem, purchase or otherwise acquire for consideration any common shares (except by conversion into or exchange for shares of the Fund ranking junior to the preferred shares as to the payment of dividends or distributions and the distribution of assets upon liquidation), unless:

 

    the Fund has declared and paid (or provided to the relevant dividend paying agent) all cumulative distributions on the Fund’s outstanding preferred shares due on or prior to the date of such common share dividend or distribution;

 

    the Fund has redeemed the full number of preferred shares to be redeemed pursuant to any mandatory redemption provision in the Fund’s governing documents; and

 

    after making the distribution, the Fund meets applicable asset coverage requirements described under “— Asset Maintenance Requirements.”

No complete distribution due for a particular dividend period will be declared or made on any series of preferred shares for any dividend period, or part thereof, unless full cumulative distributions due through the most recent dividend payment dates therefor for all outstanding series of preferred shares of the Fund ranking on a parity with such series as to distributions have been or contemporaneously are declared and made. If full cumulative distributions due have not been made on all outstanding preferred shares of the Fund ranking on a parity with such series of preferred shares as to the payment of distributions, any distributions being paid on the preferred shares will be paid as nearly pro rata as possible in proportion to the respective amounts of distributions accumulated but unmade on each such series of preferred shares on the relevant dividend payment date. The Fund’s obligation to make distributions on the preferred shares will be subordinate to its obligations to pay interest and principal, when due, on any of the Fund’s senior securities representing debt.

 

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Mandatory Redemption Relating to Asset Coverage Requirements. The Fund may, at its option, consistent with its Governing Documents and the 1940 Act, and in certain circumstances will be required to, mandatorily redeem preferred shares in the event that:

 

    the Fund fails to maintain the asset coverage requirements specified under the 1940 Act on a quarterly valuation date(generally the last business day of March, June, September and December) and such failure is not cured on or before a specified period of time, following such failure (60 calendar days in the case of the Series B Preferred); or

 

    the Fund fails to maintain the asset coverage requirements as calculated in accordance with any applicable rating agency guidelines as of any monthly valuation date, and such failure is not cured on or before a specified period of time after such valuation date (typically 10 business days).

The redemption price for preferred shares subject to mandatory redemption will generally be the liquidation preference, as stated in the Statement of Preferences of each existing series of preferred shares or the Prospectus Supplement accompanying the issuance of any series of preferred shares, plus an amount equal to any accumulated but unpaid distributions (whether or not earned or declared) to the date fixed for redemption, plus any applicable redemption premium determined by the Board and included in the Statement of Preferences.

The number of preferred shares that will be redeemed in the case of a mandatory redemption will equal the minimum number of outstanding preferred shares, the redemption of which, if such redemption had occurred immediately prior to the opening of business on the applicable cure date, would have resulted in the relevant asset coverage requirement having been met or, if the required asset coverage cannot be so restored, all of the preferred shares. In the event that preferred shares are redeemed due to a failure to satisfy the 1940 Act asset coverage requirements, the Fund may, but is not required to, redeem a sufficient number of preferred shares so that the Fund’s assets exceed the asset coverage requirements under the 1940 Act after the redemption by 10% (that is, 220% asset coverage) or some other amount specified in the Statement of Preferences. In the event that preferred shares are redeemed due to a failure to satisfy applicable rating agency guidelines (if any), the Fund may, but is not required to, redeem a sufficient number of preferred shares so that the Fund’s discounted portfolio value (as determined in accordance with the applicable rating agency guidelines) after redemption exceeds the asset coverage requirements of each applicable rating agency by up to 10% (that is, 110% rating agency asset coverage) or some other amount specified in the Statement of Preferences.

If the Fund does not have funds legally available for the redemption of, or is otherwise unable to redeem, all the preferred shares to be redeemed on any redemption date, the Fund will redeem on such redemption date that number of shares for which it has legally available funds, or is otherwise able to redeem, from the holders whose shares are to be redeemed ratably on the basis of the redemption price of such shares, and the remainder of those shares to be redeemed will be redeemed on the earliest practicable date on which the Fund will have funds legally available for the redemption of, or is otherwise able to redeem, such shares upon written notice of redemption.

If fewer than all of the Fund’s outstanding preferred shares are to be redeemed, the Fund, at its discretion and subject to the limitations of its Governing Documents; the 1940 Act, and applicable law, will select the one or more series of preferred shares from which shares will be redeemed and the amount of preferred shares to be redeemed from each such series. If less than all preferred shares of a series are to be redeemed, such redemption will be made as among the holders of that series pro rata in accordance with the respective number of shares of such series held by each such holder on the record date for such redemption (or by such other equitable method as the Fund may determine). If fewer than all the preferred shares held by any holder are to be redeemed, the notice of redemption mailed to such holder will specify the number of shares to be redeemed from such holder, which may be expressed as a percentage of shares held on the applicable record date.

Optional Redemption. Fixed rate preferred shares are not subject to optional redemption by the Fund until the date, if any, specified in the applicable Prospectus or Prospectus Supplement, unless such redemption is necessary, in the judgment of the Fund, to maintain the Fund’s status as a RIC under the Code. Commencing on

 

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such date and thereafter, the Fund may at any time redeem such fixed rate preferred shares in whole or in part for cash at a redemption price per share equal to the liquidation preference per share plus accumulated and unpaid distributions (whether or not earned or declared) to the redemption date plus any premium specified in or pursuant to the Statement of Preferences. Such redemptions are subject to the notice requirements set forth under “— Redemption Procedures” below and the limitations of the Governing Documents, the 1940 Act and applicable law.

Redemption Procedures. If the Fund determines or is required to redeem preferred shares, it will mail a notice of redemption to holders of the shares to be redeemed. Each notice of redemption will state (i) the redemption date, (ii) the number or percentage of preferred shares to be redeemed (which may be expressed as a percentage of such shares outstanding), (iii) the CUSIP number(s) of such shares, (iv) the redemption price (specifying the amount of accumulated distributions to be included therein), (v) the place or places where such shares are to be redeemed, (vi) that dividends or distributions on the shares to be redeemed will cease to accumulate on such redemption date, (vii) the provision of the Statement of Preferences under which the redemption is being made and (viii) in the case of an optional redemption, any conditions precedent to such redemption. No defect in the notice of redemption or in the mailing thereof will affect the validity of the redemption proceedings, except as required by applicable law.

The redemption date with respect to fixed rate preferred shares will not be fewer than 30 days nor more than 60 days (subject to NYSE requirements) after the date of the applicable notice of redemption. Preferred shareholders may receive shorter notice in the event of a mandatory redemption.

The holders of preferred shares will not have the right to redeem any of their shares at their option except to the extent specified in the Statement of Preferences.

Liquidation Rights. In the event of any voluntary or involuntary liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Fund, the holders of preferred shares then outstanding will be entitled to receive a preferential liquidating distribution, which is expected to equal the original purchase price per preferred share plus accumulated and unpaid dividends, whether or not declared, before any distribution of assets is made to holders of common shares. After payment of the full amount of the liquidating distribution to which they are entitled, the holders of preferred shares will not be entitled to any further participation in any distribution of assets by the Fund.

Voting Rights. Except as otherwise stated in this Prospectus, specified in the Governing Documents or resolved by the Board or as otherwise required by applicable law, holders of preferred shares shall be entitled to one vote per share held on each matter submitted to a vote of the shareholders of the Fund and will vote together with holders of common shares and of any other preferred shares then outstanding as a single class.

In connection with the election of the Fund’s Trustees, holders of the outstanding preferred shares, voting together as a single class, will be entitled to elect two of the Fund’s Trustees, and the remaining Trustees will be elected by holders of common shares and holders of preferred shares, voting together as a single class. In addition, if (i) at any time dividends and distributions on outstanding preferred shares are unpaid in an amount equal to at least two full years’ dividends and distributions thereon and sufficient cash or specified securities have not been deposited with the applicable paying agent for the payment of such accumulated dividends and distributions or (ii) at any time holders of any other series of preferred shares are entitled to elect a majority of the Trustees of the Fund under the 1940 Act or the applicable Statement of Preferences creating such shares, then the number of Trustees constituting the Board automatically will be increased by the smallest number that, when added to the two Trustees elected exclusively by the holders of preferred shares as described above, would then constitute a simple majority of the Board as so increased by such smallest number. Such additional Trustees will be elected by the holders of the outstanding preferred shares, voting together as a single class, at a special meeting of shareholders which will be called as soon as practicable and will be held not less than ten nor more than twenty days after the mailing date of the meeting notice. If the Fund fails to send such meeting notice or to call such a special meeting, the meeting may be called by any preferred shareholder on like notice. The terms of

 

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office of the persons who are Trustees at the time of that election will continue. If the Fund thereafter pays, or declares and sets apart for payment in full, all dividends and distributions payable on all outstanding preferred shares for all past dividend periods or the holders of other series of preferred shares are no longer entitled to elect such additional Trustees, the additional voting rights of the holders of the preferred shares as described above will cease, and the terms of office of all of the additional Trustees elected by the holders of the preferred shares (but not of the Trustees with respect to whose election the holders of common shares were entitled to vote or the two Trustees the holders of preferred shares have the right to elect as a separate class in any event) will terminate automatically.

The 1940 Act requires that in addition to any approval by shareholders that might otherwise be required, the approval of the holders of a majority of any outstanding preferred shares (as defined in the 1940 Act), voting separately as a class, would be required to (i) adopt any plan of reorganization that would adversely affect the preferred shares, and (ii) take any action requiring a vote of security holders under Section 13(a) of the 1940 Act, including, among other things, changes in the Fund’s subclassification as a closed-end investment company to an open-end company or changes in its fundamental investment restrictions. As a result of these voting rights, the Fund’s ability to take any such actions may be impeded to the extent that there are any preferred shares outstanding. Additionally, the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding preferred shares (as defined in the 1940 Act), voting as a separate class, will be required to amend, alter or repeal any of the provisions of the Statement of Preferences so as to in the aggregate adversely affect the rights and preferences set forth in the Statement of Preferences. The class vote of holders of preferred shares described above will in each case be in addition to any other vote required to authorize the action in question.

The foregoing voting provisions will not apply to any preferred shares if, at or prior to the time when the act with respect to which such vote otherwise would be required will be effected, such shares will have been redeemed or called for redemption and sufficient cash or cash equivalents provided to the applicable paying agent to effect such redemption. The holders of preferred shares will have no preemptive rights or rights to cumulative voting.

Limitation on Issuance of Preferred Shares. So long as the Fund has preferred shares outstanding, subject to receipt of approval from the rating agencies of each series of preferred shares outstanding, and subject to compliance with the Fund’s investment objective, policies and restrictions, the Fund may issue and sell shares of one or more other series of additional preferred shares provided that the Fund will, immediately after giving effect to the issuance of such additional preferred shares and to its receipt and application of the proceeds thereof (including, without limitation, to the redemption of preferred shares to be redeemed out of such proceeds), have an “asset coverage” for all senior securities of the Fund which are stock, as defined in the 1940 Act, of at least 200% of the sum of the liquidation preference of the preferred shares of the Fund then outstanding and all indebtedness of the Fund constituting senior securities and no such additional preferred shares will have any preference or priority over any other preferred shares of the Fund upon the distribution of the assets of the Fund or in respect of the payment of dividends or distributions.

The Fund will consider from time to time whether to offer additional preferred shares or securities representing indebtedness and may issue such additional securities if the Board concludes that such an offering would be consistent with the Fund’s Governing Documents and applicable law, and in the best interest of existing common shareholders.

Tenders and Repurchases. In addition to the redemption provisions described herein, the Fund may also tender for or purchase preferred shares (whether in private transactions or on the NYSE) and the Fund may subsequently resell any shares so tendered for or purchased, subject to the provisions of the Fund’s Governing Documents and the 1940 Act.

Book Entry. Preferred shares may be held in the name of Cede & Co. as nominee for DTC. The Fund will treat Cede & Co. as the holder of record of any preferred shares issued for all purposes in this circumstance. In

 

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accordance with the procedures of DTC, however, purchasers of preferred shares whose preferred shares are held in the name of Cede & Co. as nominee for the DTC will be deemed the beneficial owners of stock purchased for purposes of distributions, voting and liquidation rights.

Notes

General. Under applicable state law and our Agreement and Declaration of Trust, we may borrow money without prior approval of holders of common and preferred shares. We may issue debt securities, including notes, or other evidence of indebtedness and may secure any such notes or borrowings by mortgaging, pledging or otherwise subjecting as security our assets to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act or rating agency guidelines. Any borrowings, including without limitation any notes, will rank senior to the preferred shares and the common shares.

Under the 1940 Act, we may only issue one class of senior securities representing indebtedness, which in the aggregate must have asset coverage immediately after the time of issuance of at least 300%. So long as notes are outstanding, additional debt securities must rank on a parity with notes with respect to the payment of interest and upon the distribution of our assets.

A Prospectus Supplement relating to any notes will include specific terms relating to the offering. The terms to be stated in a Prospectus Supplement will include the following:

 

    the form and title of the security;

 

    the aggregate principal amount of the securities;

 

    the interest rate of the securities;

 

    whether the interest rate for the securities will be determined by auction or remarketing;

 

    the maturity dates on which the principal of the securities will be payable;

 

    the frequency with which auctions or remarketings, if any, will be held;

 

    any changes to or additional events of default or covenants;

 

    any minimum period prior to which the securities may not be called;

 

    any optional or mandatory call or redemption provisions;

 

    the credit rating of the notes;

 

    if applicable, a discussion of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the issuance of the notes; and

 

    any other terms of the securities.

Interest. The Prospectus Supplement will describe the interest payment provisions relating to notes. Interest on notes will be payable when due as described in the related Prospectus Supplement. If we do not pay interest when due, it will trigger an event of default and we will be restricted from declaring dividends and making other distributions with respect to our common shares and preferred shares.

Limitations. Under the requirements of the 1940 Act, immediately after issuing any notes the value of our total assets, less certain ordinary course liabilities, must equal or exceed 300% of the amount of the notes outstanding. Other types of borrowings also may result in our being subject to similar covenants in credit agreements.

Additionally, the 1940 Act requires that we prohibit the declaration of any dividend or distribution (other than a dividend or distribution paid in Fund common or preferred shares or in options, warrants or rights to

 

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subscribe for or purchase Fund common or preferred shares) in respect of Fund common or preferred shares, or call for redemption, redeem, purchase or otherwise acquire for consideration any such fund common or preferred shares, unless the Fund’s notes have asset coverage of at least 300% (200% in the case of a dividend or distribution on preferred shares) after deducting the amount of such dividend, distribution, or acquisition price, as the case may be. These 1940 Act requirements do not apply to any promissory note or other evidence of indebtedness issued in consideration of any loan, extension, or renewal thereof, made by a bank or other person and privately arranged, and not intended to be publicly distributed; however, any such borrowings may result in our being subject to similar covenants in credit agreements. Moreover, the Indenture related to the notes could contain provisions more restrictive than those required by the 1940 Act, and any such provisions would be described in the related Prospectus Supplement.

Events of Default and Acceleration of Maturity of Notes. Unless stated otherwise in the related Prospectus Supplement, any one of the following events will constitute an “event of default” for that series under the Indenture relating to the notes:

 

    default in the payment of any interest upon a series of notes when it becomes due and payable and the continuance of such default for 30 days;

 

    default in the payment of the principal of, or premium on, a series of notes at its stated maturity;

 

    default in the performance, or breach, of any covenant or warranty of ours in the Indenture, and continuance of such default or breach for a period of 90 days after written notice has been given to us by the trustee;

 

    certain voluntary or involuntary proceedings involving us and relating to bankruptcy, insolvency or other similar laws;

 

    if, on the last business day of each of twenty-four consecutive calendar months, the notes have a 1940 Act asset coverage of less than 100%; or

 

    any other “event of default” provided with respect to a series, including a default in the payment of any redemption price payable on the redemption date.

Upon the occurrence and continuance of an event of default, the holders of a majority in principal amount of a series of outstanding notes or the trustee will be able to declare the principal amount of that series of notes immediately due and payable upon written notice to us. A default that relates only to one series of notes does not affect any other series and the holders of such other series of notes will not be entitled to receive notice of such a default under the Indenture. Upon an event of default relating to bankruptcy, insolvency or other similar laws, acceleration of maturity will occur automatically with respect to all series. At any time after a declaration of acceleration with respect to a series of notes has been made, and before a judgment or decree for payment of the money due has been obtained, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding notes of that series, by written notice to us and the trustee, may rescind and annul the declaration of acceleration and its consequences if all events of default with respect to that series of notes, other than the non-payment of the principal of that series of notes which has become due solely by such declaration of acceleration, have been cured or waived and other conditions have been met.

Liquidation Rights. In the event of (a) any insolvency or bankruptcy case or proceeding, or any receivership, liquidation, reorganization or other similar case or proceeding in connection therewith, relative to us or to our creditors, as such, or to our assets, or (b) any liquidation, dissolution or other winding up of us, whether voluntary or involuntary and whether or not involving insolvency or bankruptcy, or (c) any assignment for the benefit of creditors or any other marshalling of assets and liabilities of ours, then (after any payments with respect to any secured creditor of ours outstanding at such time) and in any such event the holders of notes shall be entitled to receive payment in full of all amounts due or to become due on or in respect of all notes (including any interest accruing thereon after the commencement of any such case or proceeding), or provision shall be made for such payment in cash or cash equivalents or otherwise in a manner satisfactory to the holders of the

 

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notes, before the holders of any of our common or preferred shares are entitled to receive any payment on account of any redemption proceeds, liquidation preference or dividends from such shares. The holders of notes shall be entitled to receive, for application to the payment thereof, any payment or distribution of any kind or character, whether in cash, property or securities, including any such payment or distribution which may be payable or deliverable by reason of the payment of any other indebtedness of ours being subordinated to the payment of the notes, which may be payable or deliverable in respect of the notes in any such case, proceeding, dissolution, liquidation or other winding up event.

Unsecured creditors of ours may include, without limitation, service providers including our Investment Adviser, custodian, administrator, auction agent, broker-dealers and the trustee, pursuant to the terms of various contracts with us. Secured creditors of ours may include without limitation parties entering into any interest rate swap, floor or cap transactions, or other similar transactions with us that create liens, pledges, charges, security interests, security agreements or other encumbrances on our assets.

A consolidation, reorganization or merger of us with or into any other company, or a sale, lease or exchange of all or substantially all of our assets in consideration for the issuance of equity securities of another company shall not be deemed to be a liquidation, dissolution or winding up of us.

Voting Rights. The notes have no voting rights, except as mentioned below and to the extent required by law or as otherwise provided in the Indenture relating to the acceleration of maturity upon the occurrence and continuance of an event of default. In connection with the notes or certain other borrowings (if any), the 1940 Act does in certain circumstances grant to the note holders or lenders certain voting rights. The 1940 Act requires that provision is made either (i) that, if on the last business day of each of twelve consecutive calendar months such notes shall have an asset coverage of less than 100%, the holders of such notes voting as a class shall be entitled to elect at least a majority of the members of the Fund’s Trustees, such voting right to continue until such notes shall have an asset coverage of 110% or more on the last business day of each of three consecutive calendar months, or (ii) that, if on the last business day of each of twenty-four consecutive calendar months such notes shall have an asset coverage of less than 100%, an event of default shall be deemed to have occurred. It is expected that, unless otherwise stated in the related Prospectus Supplement, provision will be made that, if on the last business day of each of twenty-four consecutive calendar months such notes shall have an asset coverage of less than 100%, an event of default shall be deemed to have occurred. These 1940 Act requirements do not apply to any promissory note or other evidence of indebtedness issued in consideration of any loan, extension, or renewal thereof, made by a bank or other person and privately arranged, and not intended to be publicly distributed; however, any such borrowings may result in our being subject to similar covenants in credit agreements. As reflected above, the Indenture relating to the notes may also grant to the note holders voting rights relating to the acceleration of maturity upon the occurrence and continuance of an event of default, and any such rights would be described in the related Prospectus Supplement.

Market. Our notes are not likely to be listed on an exchange or automated quotation system. The details on how to buy and sell such notes, along with the other terms of the notes, will be described in a Prospectus Supplement. We cannot assure you that any market will exist for our notes or if a market does exist, whether it will provide holders with liquidity.

Book-Entry, Delivery and Form. Unless otherwise stated in the related Prospectus Supplement, the notes will be issued in book-entry form and will be represented by one or more notes in registered global form. The global notes will be deposited with the trustee as custodian for DTC and registered in the name of Cede & Co., as nominee of DTC. DTC will maintain the notes in designated denominations through its book-entry facilities.

Under the terms of the Indenture, we and the trustee may treat the persons in whose names any notes, including the global notes, are registered as the owners thereof for the purpose of receiving payments and for any and all other purposes whatsoever. Therefore, so long as DTC or its nominee is the registered owner of the global notes, DTC or such nominee will be considered the sole holder of outstanding notes under the Indenture. We or the trustee may give effect to any written certification, proxy or other authorization furnished by DTC or its nominee.

 

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A global note may not be transferred except as a whole by DTC, its successors or their respective nominees. Interests of beneficial owners in the global note may be transferred or exchanged for definitive securities in accordance with the rules and procedures of DTC. In addition, a global note may be exchangeable for notes in definitive form if:

 

    DTC notifies us that it is unwilling or unable to continue as a depository and we do not appoint a successor within 60 days;

 

    we, at our option, notify the trustee in writing that we elect to cause the issuance of notes in definitive form under the Indenture; or

 

    an event of default has occurred and is continuing.

In each instance, upon surrender by DTC or its nominee of the global note, notes in definitive form will be issued to each person that DTC or its nominee identifies as being the beneficial owner of the related notes.

Under the Indenture, the holder of any global note may grant proxies and otherwise authorize any person, including its participants and persons who may hold interests through DTC participants, to take any action which a holder is entitled to take under the Indenture.

Trustee, Transfer Agent, Registrar, Paying Agent and Redemption Agent. Information regarding the trustee under the Indenture, which may also act as transfer agent, registrar, paying agent and redemption agent with respect to our notes, will be set forth in the Prospectus Supplement.

Subscription Rights

General. We may issue subscription rights to holders of our (i) common shares to purchase common and/or preferred shares or (ii) preferred shares to purchase preferred shares (subject to applicable law). Subscription rights may be issued independently or together with any other offered security and may or may not be transferable by the person purchasing or receiving the subscription rights. In connection with a subscription rights offering to holders of our common and/or preferred shares, we would distribute certificates evidencing the subscription rights and a Prospectus Supplement to our common or preferred shareholders, as applicable, as of the record date that we set for determining the shareholders eligible to receive subscription rights in such subscription rights offering.

The applicable Prospectus Supplement would describe the following terms of subscription rights in respect of which this Prospectus is being delivered:

 

    the period of time the offering would remain open (which will be open a minimum number of days such that all record holders would be eligible to participate in the offering and will not be open longer than 120 days);

 

    the title of such subscription rights;

 

    the exercise price for such subscription rights (or method of calculation thereof);

 

    the number of such subscription rights issued in respect of each common share;

 

    the number of rights required to purchase a single preferred share;

 

    the extent to which such subscription rights are transferable and the market on which they may be traded if they are transferable;

 

    if applicable, a discussion of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the issuance or exercise of such subscription rights;

 

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    the date on which the right to exercise such subscription rights will commence, and the date on which such right will expire (subject to any extension);

 

    the extent to which such subscription rights include an over-subscription privilege with respect to unsubscribed securities and the terms of such over-subscription privilege;

 

    any termination right we may have in connection with such subscription rights offering; and

 

    any other terms of such subscription rights, including exercise, settlement and other procedures and limitations relating to the transfer and exercise of such subscription rights.

Exercise of Subscription Rights. Each subscription right would entitle the holder of the subscription right to purchase for cash such number of shares at such exercise price as in each case is set forth in, or be determinable as set forth in, the prospectus supplement relating to the subscription rights offered thereby, Subscription rights would be exercisable at any time up to the close of business on the expiration date for such subscription rights set forth in the prospectus supplement. After the close of business on the expiration date, all unexercised subscription rights would become void.

Subscription rights would be exercisable as set forth in the prospectus supplement relating to the subscription rights offered thereby. Upon expiration of the rights offering and the receipt of payment and the subscription rights certificate properly completed and duly executed at the corporate trust office of the subscription rights agent or any other office indicated in the prospectus supplement we would issue, as soon as practicable, the shares purchased as a result of such exercise. To the extent permissible under applicable law, we may determine to offer any unsubscribed offered securities directly to persons other than shareholders, to or through agents, underwriters or dealers or through a combination of such methods, as set forth in the applicable prospectus supplement.

Subscription Rights to Purchase Common and Preferred Shares. The Fund may issue subscription rights which would entitle holders to purchase both common and preferred shares in a ratio to be set forth in the applicable Prospectus Supplement. In accordance with the 1940 Act, at least three rights would be required to subscribe for one common share. It is expected that rights to purchase both common and preferred shares would require holders to purchase an equal number of common and preferred shares, and would not permit holders to purchase an unequal number of common or preferred shares, or purchase only common shares or only preferred shares. For example, such an offering might be structured such that three rights would entitle an investor to purchase one common share and one preferred share, and such investor would not be able to choose to purchase only a common share or only a preferred share upon the exercise of his, her or its rights.

The common shares and preferred shares issued pursuant to the exercise of any such rights, however, would at all times be separately tradeable securities. Such common and preferred shares would not be issued as a “unit” or “combination” and would not be listed or traded as a “unit” or “combination” on a securities exchange, such as the NYSE, at any time. The applicable Prospectus Supplement will set forth additional details regarding an offering of subscription rights to purchase common and preferred shares.

Outstanding Securities

The following information regarding the Fund’s authorized shares is as of November 15, 2017.

 

Title of Class

   Amount
Authorized
   Amount Held
by Fund or
for its Account
   Amount
Outstanding
Exclusive of
Amount Held
by Fund

Common Shares

   Unlimited    —      17,762,601

Series B Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares

   2,880,363    —      2,624,025

Other Series of Preferred Shares

   Unlimited       0

 

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ANTI-TAKEOVER PROVISIONS OF THE FUND’S GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

The Fund presently has provisions in its Governing Documents which could have the effect of limiting, in each case:

 

    the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Fund;

 

    the Fund’s freedom to engage in certain transactions; or

 

    the ability of the Fund’s trustees or shareholders to amend the Governing Documents or effectuate changes in the Fund’s management.

These provisions of the Governing Documents of the Fund may be regarded as “anti-takeover” provisions. The Board of the Fund is divided into three classes, each having a term of no more than three years (except, to ensure that the term of a class of the Fund’s Trustees expires each year, one class of the Fund’s Trustees will serve an initial one-year term and three-year terms thereafter and another class of its Trustees will serve an initial two-year term and three-year terms thereafter). Each year the term of one class of Trustees will expire. Accordingly, only those Trustees in one class may be changed in any one year, and it would require a minimum of two years to change a majority of the Board. Such system of electing Trustees may have the effect of maintaining the continuity of management and, thus, make it more difficult for the shareholders of the Fund to change the majority of Trustees. See “Management of the Fund—Trustees and Officers” in the SAI. A Trustee of a Fund may be removed with cause by a majority of the remaining Trustees and, without cause, by two-thirds of the remaining Trustees or by two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast for the election of such Trustee. Under the Fund’s By-Laws, advance notice to the Fund of any shareholder proposal is required, potential nominees to the Board must satisfy a series of requirements relating to, among other things, potential conflicts of interest or relationships and fitness to be a Trustee of a closed-end fund in order to be nominated or elected as a Trustee and any shareholder proposing the nomination or election of a person as a Trustee must supply significant amounts of information designed to enable verification of whether such person satisfies such qualifications. Additionally, the Agreement and Declaration of Trust requires any shareholder action by written consent to be unanimous. Special voting requirements of 75% of the outstanding voting shares (in addition to any required class votes) apply to mergers into or a sale of all or substantially all of the Fund’s assets, liquidation, conversion of the Fund into an open-end fund or interval fund and amendments to several provisions of the Declaration of Trust, including the foregoing provisions. In addition, 80% of the holders of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund voting as a class is generally required in order to authorize any of the following transactions:

 

    merger or consolidation of the Fund with or into any other entity;

 

    issuance of any securities of the Fund to any person or entity for cash, other than pursuant to the dividend and reinvestment plan or any offering if such person or entity acquires no greater percentage of the securities offered than the percentage beneficially owned by such person or entity immediately prior to such offering or, in the case of a class or series not then beneficially owned by such person or entity, the percentage of common shares beneficially owned by such person or entity immediately prior to such offering;

 

    sale, lease or exchange of all or any substantial part of the assets of the Fund to any entity or person (except assets having an aggregate fair market value of less than $5,000,000);

 

    sale, lease or exchange to the Fund, in exchange for securities of the Fund, of any assets of any entity or person (except assets having an aggregate fair market value of less than $5,000,000); or

 

    the purchase of the Fund’s common shares by the Fund from any person or entity other than pursuant to a tender offer equally available to other shareholders in which such person or entity tenders no greater percentage of common shares than are tendered by all other shareholders;

if such person or entity is directly, or indirectly through affiliates, the beneficial owner of more than 5% of the outstanding shares of the Fund. However, such vote would not be required when, under certain conditions, the Board approves the transaction. In addition, shareholders have no authority to adopt, amend or repeal By-Laws.

 

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The Trustees have authority to adopt, amend and repeal By-Laws consistent with the Declaration of Trust (including to require approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares for the election of Trustees). Reference is made to the Governing Documents of the Fund, on file with the SEC, for the full text of these provisions.

The provisions of the Governing Documents described above could have the effect of depriving the owners of shares in the Fund of opportunities to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices, by discouraging a third party from seeking to obtain control of the Fund in a tender offer or similar transaction. The overall effect of these provisions is to render more difficult the accomplishment of a merger or the assumption of control by a principal shareholder. For the full text of these provisions see “Additional Information.”

The Governing Documents are on file with the SEC. For access to the full text of these provisions, see “Additional Information.”

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

The Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company (commonly referred to as a closed-end fund). Closed-end funds differ from open-end funds (which are generally referred to as mutual funds) in that closed-end funds generally list their common shares for trading on a stock exchange and do not redeem their common shares at the request of the shareholder. This means that if you wish to sell your common shares of a closed-end fund you must trade them on the market like any other stock at the prevailing market price at that time. In an open-end fund, if the shareholder wishes to sell shares of the fund, the open-end fund will redeem or buy back the shares at net asset value. Also, open-end funds generally offer new shares on a continuous basis to new investors, and closed-end funds generally do not. The continuous inflows and outflows of assets in an open-end fund can make it difficult to manage the fund’s investments. By comparison, closed-end funds are generally able to stay more fully invested in securities that are consistent with their investment objective, to have greater flexibility to make certain types of investments and to use certain investment strategies such as financial leverage and investments in illiquid securities.

Common shares of closed-end funds often trade at a discount to their net asset value. Because of this possibility and the recognition that any such discount may not be in the interest of shareholders, the Board might consider from time to time engaging in open-market repurchases, tender offers for shares or other programs intended to reduce a discount. We cannot guarantee or assure, however, that the Board will decide to engage in any of these actions. Nor is there any guarantee or assurance that such actions, if undertaken, would result in the common shares trading at a price equal or close to net asset value per share. We cannot assure you that the Fund’s common shares will not trade at a discount.

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

The Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company and as such its shareholders do not, and will not, have the right to require the Fund to repurchase their shares. The Fund, however, may repurchase its common shares from time to time as and when it deems such a repurchase advisable. The Board has authorized, but does not require, such repurchases to be made when the Fund’s common shares are trading at a discount from net asset value of 7.5% or more (or such other percentage as the Board of the Fund may determine from time to time). This authorization is a standing authorization that may be executed in the discretion of the Fund’s officers. The Fund’s officers are authorized to use the Fund’s general corporate funds to repurchase common shares. While the Fund may incur debt to finance common share repurchases, such debt financing would require further approval of the Board, and the Fund does not currently intend to incur debt to finance common share repurchases. The Fund has repurchased its common shares under this authorization. See “Description of the Securities—Common Shares.” Although the Board has authorized such repurchases, the Fund is not required to

 

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repurchase its common shares. The Board has not established a limit on the number of shares that could be purchased during such period. Pursuant to the 1940 Act, the Fund may repurchase its common shares on a securities exchange (provided that the Fund has informed its shareholders within the preceding six months of its intention to repurchase such shares) or pursuant to tenders and may also repurchase shares privately if the Fund meets certain conditions regarding, among other things, distribution of net income for the preceding fiscal year, status of the seller, price paid, brokerage commissions, prior notice to shareholders of an intention to purchase shares and purchasing in a manner and on a basis that does not discriminate unfairly against the other shareholders through their interest in the Fund. The Fund has not and will not, unless otherwise set forth in a Prospectus Supplement and accomplished in accordance with applicable law and positions of the SEC’s staff, repurchase common shares (i) immediately after the completion of an offering of common shares (i.e., within sixty days of an overallotment option period) or (ii) at a price that is tied to the initial offering price. See “Plan of Distribution.” When the Fund repurchases its common shares for a price below net asset value, the net asset value of the common shares that remain outstanding shares will be enhanced, but this does not necessarily mean that the market price of the outstanding common shares will be affected, either positively or negatively. The repurchase of common shares will reduce the total assets of the Fund available for investment and may increase the Fund’s expense ratio.

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

The Fund may in the future, and at its discretion, choose to make offerings of subscription rights to holders of our (i) common shares to purchase common and/or preferred shares and/or (ii) preferred shares to purchase preferred shares (subject to applicable law). A future rights offering may be transferable or non-transferable. Any such future rights offering will be made in accordance with the 1940 Act. Under the laws of Delaware, the Board is authorized to approve rights offerings without obtaining shareholder approval. The staff of the SEC has interpreted the 1940 Act as not requiring shareholder approval of a transferable rights offering to purchase common stock at a price below the then current net asset value so long as certain conditions are met, including: (i) a good faith determination by a fund’s Board that such offering would result in a net benefit to existing shareholders; (ii) the offering fully protects shareholders’ preemptive rights and does not discriminate among shareholders (except for the possible effect of not offering fractional rights); (iii) management uses its best efforts to ensure an adequate trading market in the rights for use by shareholders who do not exercise such rights; and (iv) the ratio of a transferable rights offering does not exceed one new share for each three rights held.

TAXATION

The following discussion is a brief summary of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations affecting the Fund and its common and preferred shareholders. A more complete discussion of the tax rules applicable to the Fund and its shareholders can be found in the SAI that is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. This summary does not discuss the consequences of an investment in the Fund’s notes or subscription rights to acquire shares of the Fund’s stock. The tax consequences of such an investment will be discussed in a relevant prospectus supplement.

This discussion assumes you are a taxable U.S. person (as defined for U.S. federal income tax purposes) and that you hold your shares as capital assets (generally, for investment). This discussion is based upon current provisions of the Code, Treasury regulations, judicial authorities, published positions of the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and other applicable authorities, all of which are subject to change or differing interpretations, possibly with retroactive effect. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to those set forth below. No attempt is made to present a detailed explanation of all U.S. federal income tax concerns affecting the Fund and its shareholders (including shareholders subject to special tax rules and shareholders owning large positions in the Fund), nor does this discussion address any state, local or foreign tax concerns.

 

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The discussion set forth herein does not constitute tax advice. Investors are urged to consult their own tax advisers to determine the tax consequences to them of investing in the Fund.

Taxation of the Fund

The Fund has elected to be treated and has qualified as, and intends to continue to qualify annually as, a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. Accordingly, the Fund must, among other things,

(i) derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from (a) dividends, interest (including tax-exempt interest), payments with respect to certain securities loans, and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to gain from options, futures and forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies and (b) net income derived from interests in certain publicly traded partnerships that are treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes and that derive less than 90% of their gross income from the items described in (a) above (each a “Qualified Publicly Traded Partnership”); and

(ii) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of each taxable year (a) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s total assets is represented by cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, the securities of other RICs and other securities, with such other securities limited, in respect of any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer and (b) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets is invested in the securities (other than U.S. government securities and the securities of other RICs) of (I) any one issuer, (II) any two or more issuers that the Fund controls and that are determined to be engaged in the same business or similar or related trades or businesses or (III) any one or more Qualified Publicly Traded Partnerships.

As a RIC, the Fund generally is not subject to U.S. federal income tax on income and gains that it distributes each taxable year to shareholders, provided that it distributes at least 90% of the sum of the Fund’s (i) investment company taxable income (which includes, among other items, dividends, interest, the excess of any net short term capital gain over net long term capital loss, and other taxable income other than any net capital gain, which is the excess of net long term capital gain over net short term capital loss, reduced by deductible expenses) determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and (ii) net tax-exempt interest income (the excess of its gross tax-exempt interest income over certain disallowed deductions), if any. The Fund intends to distribute at least annually substantially all of such income. The Fund will be subject to income tax at regular corporate rates on any investment company taxable income and net capital gain that it does not distribute to its shareholders.

The Fund may either distribute or retain for reinvestment all or part of its net capital gain (which consists of the excess of its net long term capital gain over its net short term capital loss). If any such gain is retained, the Fund will be subject to a corporate income tax on such retained amount. In that event, the Fund may report the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a notice to its shareholders, each of whom, if subject to U.S. federal income tax on long term capital gains, (i) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes as long term capital gain its share of such undistributed amounts, (ii) will be entitled to credit its proportionate share of the tax paid by the Fund against its U.S. federal income tax liability and to claim refunds to the extent that the credit exceeds such liability and (iii) will increase its basis in its shares by the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s income less the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii).

Amounts not distributed on a timely basis in accordance with a calendar year distribution requirement are subject to a nondeductible 4% federal excise tax at the Fund level. To avoid the tax, the Fund must distribute during each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of (i) 98% of its ordinary income (not taking into account any capital gains or losses) for the calendar year, and (ii) 98.2% of its capital gains in excess of its capital losses (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for a one-year period generally ending on October 31 of the

 

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calendar year (unless an election is made to use the Fund’s fiscal year). In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the federal excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect any under-distribution or over-distribution, as the case may be, from previous years. For purposes of the excise tax, the Fund will be deemed to have distributed any income on which it paid U.S. federal income tax. Although the Fund intends to distribute any income and capital gains in the manner necessary to minimize imposition of the 4% federal excise tax, there can be no assurance that sufficient amounts of the Fund’s ordinary income and capital gains will be distributed to avoid entirely the imposition of the tax. In that event, the Fund will be liable for the tax only on the amount by which it does not meet the foregoing distribution requirement.

Certain of the Fund’s investment practices are subject to special and complex U.S. federal income tax provisions that may, among other things, (i) disallow, suspend or otherwise limit the allowance of certain losses or deductions, (ii) convert lower taxed long term capital gains or qualified dividend income into higher taxed short term capital gains or ordinary income, (iii) convert an ordinary loss or a deduction into a capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited), (iv) cause the Fund to recognize income or gain without a corresponding receipt of cash, (v) adversely affect the time as to when a purchase or sale of stock or securities is deemed to occur, (vi) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions and (vii) produce income that will not qualify as good income for purposes of the 90% annual gross income requirement described above. These U.S. federal income tax provisions could therefore affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to shareholders.

If for any taxable year the Fund were to fail to qualify as a RIC, all of its taxable income (including its net capital gain) would be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders.

Taxation of Shareholders

The Fund expects to take the position that under present law any preferred shares that it issues will constitute equity rather than debt of the Fund for U.S. federal income tax purposes. It is possible, however, that the IRS could take a contrary position asserting, for example, that such preferred shares constitute debt of the Fund. The Fund believes this position, if asserted, would be unlikely to prevail. If that position were upheld, distributions on the Fund’s preferred shares would be considered interest, taxable as ordinary income regardless of the taxable income of the Fund. The following discussion assumes that any preferred shares issued by the Fund will be treated as equity.

Distributions paid to you by the Fund from its investment company taxable income (referred to hereinafter as “ordinary income dividends”) are generally taxable to you as ordinary income to the extent of the Fund’s current or accumulated earnings and profits. Provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met, such distributions (if properly reported by the Fund) may qualify (i) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders to the extent that the Fund’s income consists of dividend income from U.S. corporations, and (ii) in the case of individual shareholders, as qualified dividend income eligible to be taxed at long term capital gains rates to the extent that the Fund receives qualified dividend income. Qualified dividend income is, in general, dividend income from taxable domestic corporations and certain qualified foreign corporations. There can be no assurance as to what portion of the Fund’s distributions will be eligible for the dividends received deduction or for the reduced rates applicable to qualified dividend income.

Distributions made to you from net capital gain (“capital gain dividends”), including capital gain dividends credited to you but retained by the Fund, are taxable to you as long term capital gains if they have been properly reported by the Fund, regardless of the length of time you have owned your Fund shares. Long term capital gain of individuals is generally subject to reduced U.S. federal income tax rates.

Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will be treated as a tax-free return of capital to the extent of your adjusted tax basis of your shares and thereafter will be treated as capital gains. The amount of any Fund distribution that is treated as a tax-free return of capital will reduce your

 

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adjusted tax basis in your shares, thereby increasing your potential gain or reducing your potential loss on any subsequent sale or other disposition of your shares. In determining the extent to which a distribution will be treated as being made from the Fund’s earnings and profits, earnings and profits will be allocated on a pro rata basis first to distributions with respect to the Fund’s preferred shares, and then to the Fund’s common shares.

The IRS currently requires a RIC that has two or more classes of shares outstanding to designate to each such class proportionate amounts of each type of its income (e.g., ordinary income, capital gain dividends, qualified dividend income) for each tax year based upon the percentage of total dividends distributed to each class for such year.

Generally, after the close of its calendar year, the Fund will provide you with a written notice reporting the amount of any qualified dividend income or capital gain dividends and other distributions.

Except in the case of a redemption or repurchase (the consequences of which are described in the SAI under “Taxation — Taxation of Shareholders”), the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund will generally result in capital gain or loss to you, and will be long term capital gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year at the time of sale. Any loss upon the sale or exchange of Fund shares held for six months or less will be treated as long term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends received (including amounts credited as undistributed capital gain dividends) by you with respect to such Fund shares. A loss realized on a sale or exchange of shares of the Fund will be disallowed if other substantially identical shares are acquired (whether through the automatic reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the date of the sale or exchange of the shares. In such case, the basis of the shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.

Dividends and other taxable distributions are taxable to you even if they are reinvested in additional shares of the Fund. Dividends and other distributions paid by the Fund are generally treated as received by a shareholder at the time the dividend or distribution is made. If, however, the Fund pays you a dividend or makes a distribution in January that was declared in the previous October, November or December to shareholders of record on a specified date in one of such months, then such dividend or distribution will be treated for tax purposes as being paid by the Fund and received by you on December 31 of the year in which the dividend or distribution was declared.

The Fund is required in certain circumstances to withhold, for U.S. backup withholding tax purposes, a portion of the taxable dividends or distributions and certain other payments paid to non-corporate holders of the Fund’s shares who do not furnish the Fund (or its agent) with their correct taxpayer identification number (in the case of individuals, generally, their social security number) and certain certifications, or who are otherwise subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld from payments made to you may be refunded or credited against your U.S. federal income tax liability, if any, provided that the required information is furnished to the IRS.

Shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisers regarding specific questions as to U.S. federal, foreign, state, local income or other taxes.

CUSTODIAN, TRANSFER AGENT AND DIVIDEND DISBURSING AGENT

Bank of New York Mellon, located at 135 Santilli Highway, Everett, Massachusetts 02149, serves as the custodian of the Fund’s assets pursuant to a custody agreement. Under the custody agreement, the Custodian holds the Fund’s assets in compliance with the 1940 Act. For its services, the Custodian receives a monthly fee paid by the Fund based upon, among other things, the average value of the total assets of the Fund, plus certain charges for securities transactions and out of pocket expenses.

 

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American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, located at 59 Maiden Lane, New York, New York 10038, serves as the Fund’s dividend disbursing agent, as agent under the Fund’s Plan and as transfer agent and registrar for the Series B Preferred and the common shares of the Fund.

American Stock Transfer & Trust Company also would be expected to serve as the Fund’s transfer agent, registrar, dividend disbursing agent and redemption agent with respect to any additional series of preferred shares issue in the future.

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

We may sell securities through underwriters or dealers, directly to one or more purchasers, through agents, to or through underwriters or dealers, or through a combination of any such methods of sale. The applicable Prospectus Supplement will identify any underwriter or agent involved in the offer and sale of our securities, any sales loads, discounts, commissions, fees or other compensation paid to any underwriter, dealer or agent, the offering price, net proceeds and use of proceeds and the terms of any sale.

The distribution of our securities may be effected from time to time in one or more transactions at a fixed price or prices, which may be changed, at prevailing market prices at the time of sale, at prices related to such prevailing market prices, or at negotiated prices, provided, however, that the offering price per share in the case of common shares, must equal or exceed the net asset value per share, exclusive of any underwriting commissions or discounts, of our common shares.

We may sell our securities directly to, and solicit offers from, institutional investors or others who may be deemed to be underwriters as defined in the Securities Act for any resales of the securities. In this case, no underwriters or agents would be involved. We may use electronic media, including the Internet, to sell offered securities directly.

In connection with the sale of our securities, underwriters or agents may receive compensation from us in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions. Underwriters may sell our securities to or through dealers, and such dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters and/or commissions from the purchasers for whom they may act as agents. Underwriters, dealers and agents that participate in the distribution of our securities may be deemed to be underwriters under the Securities Act, and any discounts and commissions they receive from us and any profit realized by them on the resale of our securities may be deemed to be underwriting discounts and commissions under the Securities Act. Any such underwriter or agent will be identified and any such compensation received from us will be described in the applicable Prospectus Supplement. The maximum commission or discount to be received by any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) member or independent broker-dealer will not exceed eight percent. We will not pay any compensation to any underwriter or agent in the form of warrants, options, consulting or structuring fees or similar arrangements.

If a Prospectus Supplement so indicates, we may grant the underwriters an option to purchase additional securities at the public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions, within 45 days from the date of the Prospectus Supplement, to cover any overallotments.

To facilitate an offering of securities in an underwritten transaction and in accordance with industry practice, the underwriters may engage in transactions that stabilize, maintain, or otherwise affect the market price of the securities. Those transactions may include overallotment, entering stabilizing bids, effecting syndicate covering transactions, and reclaiming selling concessions allowed to an underwriter or a dealer.

 

    An overallotment in connection with an offering creates a short position in the securities for the underwriter’s own account.

 

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    An underwriter may place a stabilizing bid to purchase the shares for the purpose of pegging, fixing, or maintaining the price of the securities.

 

    Underwriters may engage in syndicate covering transactions to cover overallotments or to stabilize the price of the securities subject to the offering by bidding for, and purchasing, the securities or any other securities in the open market in order to reduce a short position created in connection with the offering.

 

    The managing underwriter may impose a penalty bid on a syndicate member to reclaim a selling concession in connection with an offering when the securities originally sold by the syndicate member are purchased in syndicate covering transactions or otherwise.

Any of these activities may stabilize or maintain the market price of the securities above independent market levels. The underwriters are not required to engage in these activities, and may end any of these activities at any time.

Any underwriters to whom the offered securities are sold for offering and sale may make a market in the offered securities, but the underwriters will not be obligated to do so and may discontinue any market-making at any time without notice. The offered securities may or may not be listed on a securities exchange. We cannot assure you that there will be a liquid trading market for the offered securities.

Any fixed rate preferred shares sold pursuant to a Prospectus Supplement will likely be listed on the NYSE.

Under agreements into which we may enter, underwriters, dealers and agents who participate in the distribution of our securities may be entitled to indemnification by us against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act. Underwriters, dealers and agents may engage in transactions with us, or perform services for us, in the ordinary course of business.

If so indicated in the applicable Prospectus Supplement, we will ourselves, or will authorize underwriters or other persons acting as our agents to solicit offers by certain institutions to purchase our securities from us pursuant to contracts providing for payment and delivery on a future date. Institutions with which such contacts may be made include commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, pension funds, investment companies, educational and charitable institutions and others, but in all cases such institutions must be approved by us. The obligation of any purchaser under any such contract will be subject to the condition that the purchase of the securities shall not at the time of delivery be prohibited under the laws of the jurisdiction to which such purchaser is subject. The underwriters and such other agents will not have any responsibility in respect of the validity or performance of such contracts. Such contracts will be subject only to those conditions set forth in the Prospectus Supplement, and the Prospectus Supplement will set forth the commission payable for solicitation of such contracts.

To the extent permitted under the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, the underwriters may from time to time act as brokers or dealers and receive fees in connection with the execution of our portfolio transactions after the underwriters have ceased to be underwriters and, subject to certain restrictions, each may act as a broker while it is an underwriter.

A Prospectus and accompanying Prospectus Supplement in electronic form may be made available on the websites maintained by underwriters. The underwriters may agree to allocate a number of securities for sale to their online brokerage account holders. Such allocations of securities for Internet distributions will be made on the same basis as other allocations. In addition, securities may be sold by the underwriters to securities dealers who resell securities to online brokerage account holders.

In order to comply with the securities laws of certain states, if applicable, our securities offered hereby will be sold in such jurisdictions only through registered or licensed brokers or dealers.

 

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LEGAL MATTERS

Certain legal matters will be passed on by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, 4 Times Square, New York, New York 10036, in connection with the offering of the Fund’s securities.

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

Ernst & Young LLP (“Ernst & Young”) serves as the independent registered public accounting firm of the Fund and audits the financial statements of the Fund. Ernst & Young is located at One Commerce Square, 2005 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Fund is subject to the informational requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and the 1940 Act and in accordance therewith files, or will file, reports and other information with the SEC. Reports, proxy statements and other information filed by the Fund with the SEC pursuant to the informational requirements of the Exchange Act and the 1940 Act can be inspected and copied at the public reference facilities maintained by the SEC, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. The SEC maintains a web site at http://www.sec.gov containing reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding registrants, including the Fund, that file electronically with the SEC.

The Fund’s common shares are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL” and the Series B Preferred are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL Pr B.” Reports, proxy statements and other information concerning the Fund and filed with the SEC by the Fund will be available for inspection at the NYSE, 20 Broad Street, New York, New York 10005, as the case may be.

This Prospectus constitutes part of a Registration Statement filed by the Fund with the SEC under the Securities Act and the 1940 Act. This Prospectus omits certain of the information contained in the Registration Statement, and reference is hereby made to the Registration Statement and related exhibits for further information with respect to the Fund and the shares offered hereby. Any statements contained herein concerning the provisions of any document are not necessarily complete, and, in each instance, reference is made to the copy of such document filed as an exhibit to the Registration Statement or otherwise filed with the SEC. Each such statement is qualified in its entirety by such reference. The complete Registration Statement may be obtained from the SEC upon payment of the fee prescribed by its rules and regulations or free of charge through the SEC’s web site (http://www.sec.gov).

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE FUND

The Fund is committed to maintaining the privacy of its shareholders and to safeguarding their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information the Fund collects, how the Fund protects that information and why, in certain cases, the Fund may share information with select other parties.

Generally, the Fund does not receive any non-public personal information relating to its shareholders, although certain non-public personal information of its shareholders may become available to the Fund. The Fund does not disclose any non-public personal information about its shareholders or former shareholders to anyone, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service shareholder accounts (for example, to a transfer agent or third party administrator).

 

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The Fund restricts access to non-public personal information about its shareholders to employees of the Fund, the Investment Adviser, and its affiliates with a legitimate business need for the information. The Fund maintains physical, electronic and procedural safeguards designed to protect the non-public personal information of its shareholders.

SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain statements in this Prospectus constitute forward-looking statements, which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements of the Fund to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, those listed under “Risk Factors and Special Considerations” and elsewhere in this Prospectus. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, no assurance can be given as to the future results, levels of activity or achievements, and neither the Fund nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of such statements.

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

An SAI dated as of December 15, 2017, has been filed with the SEC and is incorporated by reference in this Prospectus. An SAI may be obtained without charge by writing to the Fund at its address at One Corporate Center, Rye, New York 10580-1422 or by calling the Fund toll-free at (800) GABELLI (422-3554). The Table of Contents of the SAI is as follows:

 

     Page  

The Fund

     1  

Investment Policies

     1  

Investment Restrictions

     9  

Management of the Fund

     9  

Portfolio Transactions

     28  

Portfolio Turnover

     29  

Taxation

     29  

Net Asset Value

     36  

Beneficial Owners

     37  

General Information

     38  

Financial Statements

     40  

 

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Appendix A

CORPORATE BOND RATINGS

MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC.

 

Aaa    Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.
Aa    Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.
A    Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.
Baa    Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.
Ba    Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.
B    Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.
Caa    Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.
Ca    Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.
C    Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

STANDARD & POOR’S RATINGS SERVICES

 

AAA    An obligation rated ‘AAA’ has the highest rating assigned by Standard & Poor’s. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.
AA    An obligation rated ‘AA’ differs from the highest-rated obligations only to a small degree. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is very strong.
A    An obligation rated ‘A’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.
BBB    An obligation rated ‘BBB’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.
BB; B; CCC; CC; and C    Obligations rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, ‘CC’, and ‘C’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘C’ the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.
BB    An obligation rated ‘BB’ is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

 

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B    An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.
CCC    An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.
CC    An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.
C    An obligation rated ‘C’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment, and the obligation is expected to have lower relative seniority or lower ultimate recovery compared to obligations that are rated higher.
D    An obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless Standard & Poor’s believes that such payments will be made within five business days in the absence of a stated grace period or within the earlier of the stated grace period or 30 calendar days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation’s rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.
NR    This indicates that no rating has been requested, or that there is insufficient information on which to base a rating, or that Standard & Poor’s does not rate a particular obligation as a matter of policy.

 

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$200,000,000

The GDL Fund

Common Shares

Preferred Shares

Notes

Subscription Rights to Purchase Common Shares

Subscription Rights to Purchase Preferred Shares

Subscription Rights to Purchase Common and Preferred Shares

 

 

PROSPECTUS

 

 

December 15, 2017

 

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

LOGO

THE GDL FUND

2,624,025 Rights for 2,624,025 Series C Preferred Shares

Subscription Rights to Purchase Series C Cumulative Puttable and Callable Preferred Shares

 

 

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 

 

February 14, 2018

 

 

 


Table of Contents

THE GDL FUND

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The GDL Fund, or the “Fund,” is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”). The Fund’s investment objective is to achieve absolute returns in various market conditions without excessive risk of capital. Absolute returns are defined as positive total returns, regardless of the direction of securities markets. To achieve its investment objective, the Fund, under normal market conditions, will invest primarily in securities of companies (both domestic and foreign) involved in publicly announced mergers, takeovers, tender offers and leveraged buyouts (i.e., merger arbitrage transitions) and, to a lesser extent, in corporate reorganizations involving stubs, spin-offs and liquidations. Gabelli Funds, LLC serves as “Investment Adviser” to the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not appropriate for all investors. We cannot assure you that the Fund will achieve its objective.

This Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”) does not constitute a prospectus, but should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s prospectus dated December 15, 2017, and as it may be supplemented (the “Prospectus”). This SAI does not include all information that a prospective investor should consider before investing in the Fund’s securities, and investors should obtain and read the Fund’s prospectus prior to purchasing such securities. This SAI incorporates by reference the entire Prospectus. You may request a free copy of this prospectus by calling (800) GABELLI (422-3554) or by writing to the Fund. A copy of the Fund’s Registration Statement, including the prospectus and any supplement, may be obtained from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) upon payment of the fee prescribed, or inspected at the SEC’s office or via its web site (http://www.sec.gov) at no charge. Capitalized terms used but not defined in this SAI have the meaning ascribed to them in the Prospectus.

This Statement of Additional Information is dated December 15, 2017.


Table of Contents

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

The Fund

     1  

Investment Policies

     1  

Investment Restrictions

     9  

Management of the Fund

     9  

Portfolio Transactions

     28  

Portfolio Turnover

     29  

Taxation

     29  

Net Asset Value

     36  

Beneficial Owners

     37  

General Information

     38  

Financial Statements

     40  


Table of Contents

THE FUND

The GDL Fund currently operates as a diversified closed-end management investment company organized as a Delaware statutory trust on October 17, 2006, and registered under the 1940 Act. Investment operations commenced on January 31, 2007. The Fund’s common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) under the symbol “GDL” and the Fund’s Series B Preferred shares are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “GDL Pr B.”

INVESTMENT POLICIES

Additional Investment Policies

Options. The Fund may purchase or write call or put options on securities or indices.

In the case of call options, the exercise prices are referred to as “in-the-money,” “at-the-money,” and “out-of-the-money,” respectively. The Fund may write (a) in-the-money call options when Gabelli Funds, LLC (the “Investment Adviser”) expects that the price of the underlying security will remain stable or decline during the option period, (b) at-the-money call options when the Investment Adviser expects that the price of the underlying security will remain stable, decline, or advance moderately during the option period, and (c) out-of-the-money call options when the Investment Adviser expects that the premiums received from writing the call option will be greater than the appreciation in the price of the underlying security above the exercise price. By writing a call option, the Fund limits its opportunity to profit from any increase in the market value of the underlying security above the exercise price of the option. Out-of-the-money, at-the-money, and in-the-money put options (the reverse of call options as to the relation of exercise price to market price) may be utilized in the same market environments that such call options are used in equivalent transactions.

Options on Securities Indices. The Fund may purchase and sell securities index options. One effect of such transactions may be to hedge all or part of the Fund’s securities holdings against a general decline in the securities market or a segment of the securities market. Options on securities indices are similar to options on stocks except that, rather than the right to take or make delivery of stock at a specified price, an option on a securities index gives the holder the right to receive, upon exercise of the option, an amount of cash if the closing level of the securities index upon which the option is based is greater than, in the case of a call option, or less than, in the case of a put option, the exercise price of the option.

The Fund’s successful use of options on indices depends upon its ability to predict the direction of the market and is subject to various additional risks. The correlation between movements in the index and the price of the securities being hedged against is imperfect and the risk from imperfect correlation increases as the composition of the Fund diverges from the composition of the relevant index. Accordingly, a decrease in the value of the securities being hedged against may not be wholly offset by a gain on the exercise or sale of a securities index put option held by the Fund.

Options on Foreign Currencies. Instead of purchasing or selling currency futures (as described below), the Fund may attempt to accomplish similar objectives by purchasing put or call options on currencies or by writing put options or call options on currencies either on exchanges or in over-the-counter (“OTC”) markets. A put option gives the Fund the right to sell a currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option gives the Fund the right to purchase a currency at the exercise price until the option expires. Both types of options serve to insure against adverse currency price movements in the underlying portfolio assets designated in a given currency. The Fund’s use of options on currencies will be subject to the same limitations as its use of options on securities, described above and in the Prospectus. Currency options may be subject to position limits which may limit the ability of the Fund to fully hedge its positions by purchasing the options.

 

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As in the case of interest rate futures contracts and options thereon, described below, the Fund may hedge against the risk of a decrease or increase in the U.S. dollar value of a foreign currency denominated debt security which the Fund owns or intends to acquire by purchasing or selling options contracts, futures contracts or options thereon with respect to a foreign currency other than the foreign currency in which such debt security is denominated, where the values of such different currencies (vis-à-vis the U.S. dollar) historically have a high degree of positive correlation.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures. The Fund may purchase and sell financial futures contracts and options thereon which are traded on a commodities exchange or board of trade for certain hedging and risk management purposes. A financial futures contract is an agreement to purchase or sell an agreed amount of securities or currencies at a set price for delivery in the future. These futures contracts and related options may be on debt securities, financial indices, securities indices, U.S. government securities and foreign currencies.

A “sale” of a futures contract (or a “short” futures position) means the assumption of a contractual obligation to deliver the securities underlying the contract at a specified price at a specified future time. A “purchase” of a futures contract (or a “long” futures position) means the assumption of a contractual obligation to acquire the securities underlying the contract at a specified price at a specified future time. Certain futures contracts, including stock and bond index futures, are settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the sale and delivery of the securities underlying the futures contracts.

No consideration will be paid or received by the Fund upon the purchase or sale of a futures contract. Initially, the Fund will be required to deposit with the broker an amount of cash or cash equivalents equal to approximately 1% to 10% of the contract amount (this amount is subject to change by the exchange or board of trade on which the contract is traded and brokers or members of such board of trade may charge a higher amount). This amount is known as the “initial margin” and is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the contract. Subsequent payments, known as “variation margin,” to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the index or security underlying the futures contract fluctuates. At any time prior to the expiration of the futures contract, the Fund may elect to close the position by taking an opposite position, which will operate to terminate its existing position in the contract.

An option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in a futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. Upon exercise of an option, the delivery of the futures position by the writer of the option to the holder of the option will be accompanied by delivery of the accumulated balance in the writer’s futures margin account attributable to that contract, which represents the amount by which the market price of the futures contract exceeds, in the case of a call option, or is less than, in the case of a put option, the exercise price of the option on the futures contract. The potential loss related to the purchase of an option on a futures contract is limited to the premium paid for the option (plus transaction costs). Because the value of the option purchased is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract; however, the value of the option does change daily and that change would be reflected in the net assets of the Fund.

Futures and options on futures entail certain risks, including but not limited to the following: no assurance that futures contracts or options on futures can be offset at favorable prices, possible reduction of the yield of the Fund due to the use of hedging, possible reduction in value of both the securities hedged and the hedging instrument, possible lack of liquidity due to daily limits on price fluctuations, imperfect correlation between the contracts and the securities being hedged, losses from investing in futures transactions that are potentially unlimited and the segregation requirements described below.

 

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In the event the Fund sells a put option or enters into long futures contracts, under current interpretations of the 1940 Act, an amount of cash, U.S. government securities or other liquid assets equal to the market value of the contract must be deposited and maintained in a segregated account with the Fund’s custodian to collateralize the positions, in order for the Fund to avoid being treated as having issued a senior security in the amount of its obligations. For short positions in futures contracts and sales of call options, the Fund may establish a segregated account (not with a futures commission merchant or broker) with cash, U.S. government securities or other liquid assets that, when added to amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant or a broker as margin, equal the market value of the instruments or currency underlying the futures contracts or call options, respectively (but are no less than the stock price of the call option or the market price at which the short positions were established).

Interest Rate Futures Contracts and Options Thereon. The Fund may purchase or sell interest rate futures contracts to take advantage of or to protect the Fund against fluctuations in interest rates affecting the value of debt securities which the Fund holds or intends to acquire. For example, if interest rates are expected to increase, the Fund might sell futures contracts on debt securities, the values of which historically have a high degree of positive correlation to the values of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Such a sale would have an effect similar to selling an equivalent value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. If interest rates increase, the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities will decline, but the value of the futures contracts to the Fund will increase at approximately an equivalent rate thereby keeping the net asset value of the Fund from declining as much as it otherwise would have. The Fund could accomplish similar results by selling debt securities with longer maturities and investing in debt securities with shorter maturities when interest rates are expected to increase. However, since the futures market may be more liquid than the cash market, the use of futures contracts as a risk management technique allows the Fund to maintain a defensive position without having to sell its portfolio securities.

Similarly, the Fund may purchase interest rate futures contracts when it is expected that interest rates may decline. The purchase of futures contracts for this purpose constitutes a hedge against increases in the price of debt securities (caused by declining interest rates) which the Fund intends to acquire. Since fluctuations in the value of appropriately selected futures contracts should approximate that of the debt securities that will be purchased, the Fund can take advantage of the anticipated rise in the cost of the debt securities without actually buying them. Subsequently, the Fund can make its intended purchase of the debt securities in the cash market and liquidate its futures position.

The purchase of a call option on a futures contract is similar in some respects to the purchase of a call option on an individual security. Depending on the pricing of the option compared to either the price of the futures contract upon which it is based or the price of the underlying debt securities, it may or may not be less risky than ownership of the futures contract or underlying debt securities. As with the purchase of futures contracts, when the Fund is not fully invested it may purchase a call option on a futures contract to hedge against a market advance due to declining interest rates.

The purchase of a put option on a futures contract is similar to the purchase of protective put options on portfolio securities. The Fund will purchase a put option on a futures contract to hedge the Fund’s portfolio against the risk of rising interest rates and a consequent reduction in the value of portfolio securities.

The writing of a call option on a futures contract constitutes a partial hedge against declining prices of the securities which are deliverable upon exercise of the futures contract. If the futures price at expiration of the option is below the exercise price, the Fund will retain the full amount of the option premium which provides a partial hedge against any decline that may have occurred in the Fund’s

 

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portfolio holdings. The writing of a put option on a futures contract constitutes a partial hedge against increasing prices of the securities that are deliverable upon exercise of the futures contract. If the futures price at expiration of the option is higher than the exercise price, the Fund will retain the full amount of the option premium, which provides a partial hedge against any increase in the price of debt securities that the Fund intends to purchase. If a put or call option the Fund has written is exercised, the Fund will incur a loss which will be reduced by the amount of the premium it received. Depending on the degree of correlation between changes in the value of its portfolio securities and changes in the value of its futures positions, the Fund’s losses from options on futures it has written may to some extent be reduced or increased by changes in the value of its portfolio securities.

Currency Futures and Options Thereon. Generally, foreign currency futures contracts and options thereon are similar to the interest rate futures contracts and options thereon discussed previously. By entering into currency futures and options thereon, the Fund will seek to establish the rate at which it will be entitled to exchange U.S. dollars for another currency at a future time. By selling currency futures, the Fund will seek to establish the number of dollars it will receive at delivery for a certain amount of a foreign currency. In this way, whenever the Fund anticipates a decline in the value of a foreign currency against the U.S. dollar, the Fund can attempt to “lock in” the U.S. dollar value of some or all of the securities held in its portfolio that are denominated in that currency. By purchasing currency futures, the Fund can establish the number of dollars it will be required to pay for a specified amount of a foreign currency in a future month. Thus, if the Fund intends to buy securities in the future and expects the U.S. dollar to decline against the relevant foreign currency during the period before the purchase is effected, the Fund can attempt to “lock in” the price in U.S. dollars of the securities it intends to acquire.

The purchase of options on currency futures will allow the Fund, for the price of the premium and related transaction costs it must pay for the option, to decide whether or not to buy (in the case of a call option) or to sell (in the case of a put option) a futures contract at a specified price at any time during the period before the option expires. If the Investment Adviser, in purchasing an option, has been correct in its judgment concerning the direction in which the price of a foreign currency would move against the U.S. dollar, the Fund may exercise the option and thereby take a futures position to hedge against the risk it had correctly anticipated or close out the option position at a gain that will offset, to some extent, currency exchange losses otherwise suffered by the Fund. If exchange rates move in a way the Fund did not anticipate, however, the Fund will have incurred the expense of the option without obtaining the expected benefit; any such movement in exchange rates may also thereby reduce rather than enhance the Fund’s profits on its underlying securities transactions.

Securities Index Futures Contracts and Options Thereon. Purchases or sales of securities index futures contracts are used for hedging purposes to attempt to protect the Fund’s current or intended investments from broad fluctuations in stock or bond prices. For example, the Fund may sell securities index futures contracts in anticipation of or during a market decline to attempt to offset the decrease in market value of the Fund’s securities portfolio that might otherwise result. If such decline occurs, the loss in value of portfolio securities may be offset, in whole or part, by gains on the futures position. When the Fund is not fully invested in the securities market and anticipates a significant market advance, it may purchase securities index futures contracts in order to gain rapid market exposure that may, in part or entirely, offset increases in the cost of securities that the Fund intends to purchase. As such purchases are made, the corresponding positions in securities index futures contracts will be closed out. The Fund may write put and call options on securities index futures contracts for hedging purposes.

Traditional Preferred Securities. Traditional preferred securities generally pay fixed or adjustable rate dividends to investors and generally have a “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company’s assets. This means that a company must pay dividends on preferred stock before paying any dividends on its common stock. In order to be payable,

 

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distributions on such preferred securities must be declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Income payments on typical preferred securities currently outstanding are cumulative, causing dividends and distributions to accumulate even if not declared by the board of directors or otherwise made payable. In such a case all accumulated dividends must be paid before any dividend on the common stock can be paid. However, some traditional preferred stocks are non-cumulative, in which case dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. A portion of the portfolio may include investments in non-cumulative preferred securities, whereby the issuer does not have an obligation to make up any arrearages to its shareholders. Should an issuer of a non-cumulative preferred stock held by the Fund determine not to pay dividends on such stock, the amount of dividends the Fund pays may be adversely affected. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on the preferred securities in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable.

Preferred shareholders usually have no right to vote for corporate directors or on other matters. Shares of preferred stock have a liquidation value that generally equals the original purchase price at the date of issuance. The market value of preferred securities may be affected by favorable and unfavorable changes impacting companies in which the Fund invests and by actual and anticipated changes in tax laws, such as changes in corporate income tax rates or the “Dividends Received Deduction.” Because the claim on an issuer’s earnings represented by preferred securities may become onerous when interest rates fall below the rate payable on such securities, the issuer may redeem the securities. Thus, in declining interest rate environments in particular, the Fund’s holdings, if any, of higher rate-paying fixed rate preferred securities may be reduced and the Fund may be unable to acquire securities of comparable credit quality paying comparable rates with the redemption proceeds.

Trust Preferred Securities. The Fund may invest in trust preferred securities. Trust preferred securities are typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest bearing notes with preferred securities characteristics, or by an affiliated business trust of a corporation, generally in the form of beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The trust preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Trust preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer and benefit from a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, trust preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for five years or more without triggering an event of default. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the trust preferred securities have not been made), these trust preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Trust preferred securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure and because their quality and value are heavily dependent on the profitability of the issuer rather than on any legal claims to specific assets or cash flows.

Trust preferred securities include but are not limited to trust originated preferred securities (“TOPRS®”); monthly income preferred securities (“MIPS®”); quarterly income bond securities (“QUIBS®” ); quarterly income debt securities (“QUIDS®”); quarterly income preferred securities (“QUIPSSM”); corporate trust securities (“CORTS®”); public income notes (“PINES®”); and other trust preferred securities.

Trust preferred securities are typically issued with a final maturity date, although some are perpetual in nature. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of

 

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principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without default. No redemption can typically take place unless all cumulative payment obligations have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to whether all payments have been paid.

Many trust preferred securities are issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time the trust or special purpose entity sells such preferred securities to investors, it purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities), which enables the operating company to deduct for tax purposes the interest paid on the debt held by the trust or special purpose entity. The trust or special purpose entity is generally required to be treated as transparent for Federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the trust preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments on the trust preferred securities are treated as interest rather than dividends for Federal income tax purposes. The trust or special purpose entity in turn would be a holder of the operating company’s debt and would have priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common shareholders, but would typically be subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred share has a rating that is slightly below that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.

Convertible Securities. A convertible security entitles the holder to exchange such security for a fixed number of shares of common stock or other equity security, usually of the same company, at fixed prices within a specified period of time and to receive the fixed income of a bond or the dividend preference of a preferred stock until the holder elects to exercise the conversion privilege. The fixed income or dividend component of a convertible security is referred to as the security’s “investment value.”

A convertible security’s position in a company’s capital structure depends upon its particular provisions. In the case of subordinated convertible debentures, the holder’s claims on assets and earnings are subordinated to the claims of others and are senior to the claims of common stockholders.

To the degree that the price of a convertible security rises above its investment value because of a rise in price of the underlying common stock, the value of such security is influenced more by price fluctuations of the underlying common stock and less by its investment value. The price of a convertible security that is supported principally by its conversion value will rise along with any increase in the price of the common stock, and such price generally will decline along with any decline in the price of the common stock except that the security will receive additional support as its price approaches investment value. A convertible security purchased or held at a time when its price is influenced by its conversion value will produce a lower yield than nonconvertible senior securities with comparable investment values. Convertible securities may be purchased by the Fund at varying price levels above their investment values and/or their conversion values in keeping with the Fund’s investment objective.

Many convertible securities in which the Fund will invest have call provisions entitling the issuer to redeem the security at a specified time and at a specified price. This is one of the features of a convertible security which affects valuation. Calls may vary from absolute calls to provisional calls. Convertible securities with superior call protection usually trade at a higher premium. If long term interest rates decline, the interest rates of new convertible securities will also decline. Therefore, in a falling interest rate environment, companies may be expected to call convertible securities with high coupons and the Fund would have to invest the proceeds from such called issues in securities with lower coupons. Thus, convertible securities with superior call protection will permit the Fund to maintain a higher yield than with issues without call protection.

Dilution Risk for Convertible Securities. In the absence of adequate anti-dilution provisions in a convertible security, dilution in the value of the Fund’s holding may occur in the event the underlying stock is subdivided, additional equity securities are issued for below market value, a stock dividend is declared, or the issuer enters into another type of corporate transaction that has a similar effect.

Contingent Convertible Securities. One type of convertible security in which the Fund may invest is contingent convertible securities, sometimes referred to as “CoCos.” CoCos are a form of hybrid debt security issued by banking institutions that are intended to either automatically convert into equity or have their principal written down upon the occurrence of certain “trigger events,” which may include a decline in the issuer’s capital below a specified threshold level, increase in the issuer’s risk weighted assets, the share price of the issuer falling to a particular level for a certain period of time and certain regulatory events. CoCos’ unique equity conversion or principal write-down features are tailored to the issuing banking institution and its regulatory requirements.

CoCos are a newer form of instrument and the regulatory environment for these instruments continues to evolve. Because the market for such securities is evolving, it is uncertain how the larger market for CoCos would react to a trigger event, coupon cancellation, write-down of par value or coupon suspension (as described below) applicable to a single issuer. Following conversion of a CoCo, because the common stock of the issuer may not pay a dividend, investors in such securities could experience reduced yields or no yields at all.

Loss Absorption Risk. CoCos have fully discretionary coupons. This means coupons can potentially be cancelled at the banking institution’s discretion or at the request of the relevant regulatory authority in order to help the bank absorb losses. The liquidation value of a CoCo may be adjusted downward to below the original par value or written off entirely under certain circumstances. The write-down of the security’s par value may occur automatically and would not entitle holders to institute bankruptcy proceedings against the issuer. In addition, an automatic write-down could result in a reduced income rate if the dividend or interest payment associated with the security is based on the security’s par value. Coupon payments may also be subject to approval by the issuer’s regulator and may be suspended in the event there are insufficient distributable reserves. Due to uncertainty surrounding coupon payments, CoCos may be volatile and their price may decline rapidly in the event that coupon payments are suspended.

Subordinated Instruments. CoCos will, in the majority of circumstances, be issued in the form of subordinated debt instruments in order to provide the appropriate regulatory capital treatment prior to a conversion. Accordingly, in the event of liquidation, dissolution or winding-up of an issuer prior to a conversion having occurred, the rights and claims of the holders of the CoCos, such as the Fund, against the issuer in respect of or arising under the terms of the CoCos shall generally rank junior to the claims of all holders of unsubordinated obligations of the issuer. In addition, if the CoCos are converted into the issuer’s underlying equity securities following a conversion event (i.e., a “trigger”), each holder will be subordinated due to their conversion from being the holder of a debt instrument to being the holder of an equity instrument. Such conversion may be automatic.

Unpredictable Market Value Fluctuate. The value of CoCos is unpredictable and will be influenced by many factors including, without limitation: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer and/or fluctuations in such issuer’s applicable capital ratios; (ii) supply and demand for the CoCos; (iii) general market conditions and available liquidity; and (iv) economic, financial and political events that affect the issuer, its particular market or the financial markets in general.

Warrants and Rights. The Fund may invest in warrants and rights (including those acquired in units or attached to other securities) which entitle the holder to buy equity securities at a specific price for or at the end of a specific period of time. The Fund will do so only if the underlying equity securities are deemed appropriate by the Investment Adviser for inclusion in the Fund’s portfolio.

 

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Investing in rights and warrants can provide a greater potential for profit or loss than an equivalent investment in the underlying security, and thus can be a riskier investment. The value of a right or warrant may decline because of a decline in the value of the underlying security, the passage of time, changes in interest rates or in the dividend or other policies of the Fund whose equity underlies the warrant, a change in the perception as to the future price of the underlying security, or any combination thereof. Rights and warrants generally pay no dividends and confer no voting or other rights other than the right to purchase the underlying security.

Investing in Japan. There are special risks associated with investments in Japan. If the Fund invests in Japan, the value of the Fund’s shares may vary widely in response to political and economic factors affecting companies in Japan. Political, social or economic disruptions in Japan or in other countries in the region may adversely affect the values of Japanese securities and thus the Fund’s holdings. Additionally, since securities in Japan are denominated and quoted in yen, the value of the Fund’s Japanese securities as measured in U.S. dollars may be affected by fluctuations in the value of the Japanese yen relative to the U.S. dollar. Japanese securities are also subject to the more general risks associated with foreign securities.

Investing in Latin America. The economies of Latin American countries have in the past experienced considerable difficulties, including high inflation rates and high interest rates. The emergence of the Latin American economies and securities markets will require continued economic and fiscal discipline that has been lacking at times in the past, as well as stable political and social conditions. International economic conditions, particularly those in the United States, as well as world prices for oil and other commodities may also influence the development of the Latin American economies.

Some Latin American currencies have experienced steady devaluations relative to the U.S. dollar and certain Latin American countries have had to make major adjustments in their currencies from time to time. In addition, governments of many Latin American countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. Governmental actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions in Latin American countries, which could affect the companies in which the Fund invests and, therefore, the value of the Fund’s shares. As noted, in the past, many Latin American countries have experienced substantial, and in some periods extremely high, rates of inflation for many years. For companies that keep accounting records in the local currency, inflation accounting rules in some Latin American countries require, for both tax and accounting purposes, that certain assets and liabilities be restated on the company’s balance sheet in order to express items in terms of currency of constant purchasing power. Inflation accounting may indirectly generate losses or profits for certain Latin American companies. Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and could, in the future, have very negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain Latin American countries.

Substantial limitations may exist in certain countries with respect to the Fund’s ability to repatriate investment income, capital or the proceeds of sales of securities. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investments.

Certain Latin American countries have entered into regional trade agreements that are designed to, among other things, reduce barriers between countries, increase competition among companies and reduce government subsidies in certain industries. No assurances can be given that these changes will be successful in the long term, or that these changes will result in the economic stability intended. There is a possibility that these trade arrangements will not be fully implemented, or will be partially or completely unwound. It is also possible that a significant participant could choose to abandon a trade agreement, which could diminish its credibility and influence. Any of these occurrences could have adverse effects on the markets of both participating and non-participating countries, including sharp appreciation or depreciation of participants’ national currencies and a significant increase in exchange rate volatility, a resurgence in economic protectionism, an undermining of confidence in the Latin American markets, an undermining of Latin American economic stability, the collapse or slowdown of the drive towards Latin American economic unity, and/or reversion of the attempts to lower government debt and inflation rates that were introduced in anticipation of such trade agreements. Such developments could have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments in Latin America generally or in specific countries participating in such trade agreements.

Other Latin American market risks include foreign exchange controls, difficulties in pricing securities, defaults on sovereign debt, difficulties in enforcing favorable legal judgments in local courts and political and social instability. Legal remedies available to investors in certain Latin American countries may be less extensive than those available to investors in the United States or other foreign countries.

Investing in Asia-Pacific Countries. In addition to the risks of investing in foreign securities and the risks of investing in emerging markets, the developing market Asia-Pacific countries are subject to certain additional or specific risks. In many of these markets, there is a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Many of these markets also may be affected by developments with respect to more established markets in the region such as in Japan and Hong Kong. Brokers in developing market Asia-Pacific countries typically are fewer in number and less well capitalized than brokers in the United States.

Many of the developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be subject to a greater degree of economic, political and social instability than is the case in the United States and Western European countries. Such instability may result from, among other things: (i) authoritarian governments or military involvement in political and economic decision-making, including changes in government through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; and (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection. In addition, the governments of many of such countries, such as Indonesia, have a substantial role in regulating and supervising the economy.

Another risk common to most such countries is that the economy is heavily export oriented and, accordingly, is dependent upon international trade. The existence of overburdened infrastructure and obsolete financial systems also presents risks in certain countries, as do environmental problems. Certain economies also depend to a significant degree upon exports of primary commodities and, therefore, are vulnerable to changes in commodity prices that, in turn, may be affected by a variety of factors.

The rights of investors in developing market Asia-Pacific companies may be more limited than those of shareholders of U.S. corporations. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain and/or enforce a judgment in a developing market Asia-Pacific country.

Some developing Asia-Pacific countries prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on investments in their capital markets, particularly their equity markets, by foreign entities. For example, certain countries may require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular company.

Loans of Portfolio Securities. Consistent with applicable regulatory requirements and the Fund’s investment restrictions, the Fund may lend its portfolio securities to securities broker-dealers or financial institutions, provided that such loans are callable at any time by the Fund (subject to notice provisions described below), and are at all times collateralized by cash or cash equivalents, which are maintained at all times in an amount equal to at least 100% of the market value, determined daily, of the loaned securities. The advantage of such loans is that the Fund continues to receive the income on the loaned securities while at the same time earning interest on the cash amounts deposited as collateral, which will be invested in short term highly liquid obligations. The Fund will not lend its portfolio securities if such loans are not permitted by the laws or regulations of any state in which its shares are qualified for sale. The Fund’s loans of portfolio securities will be collateralized in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements, which means that “cash equivalents” accepted as collateral will be limited to securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or its agencies or instrumentalities or irrevocable letters of credit issued by a bank (other than the Fund’s bank lending agent, if any, or a borrower of the Fund’s portfolio securities or any affiliate of such bank or borrower) which qualifies as a custodian bank for an investment company under the 1940 Act, and no loan will cause the value of all loaned securities to exceed 20% of the value of the Fund’s total assets. The Fund’s ability to lend portfolio securities may be limited by rating agency guidelines (if any).

A loan may generally be terminated by the borrower on one business day’s notice, or by the Fund at any time thereby requiring the borrower to redeliver the borrowed securities within the normal and customary settlement time for securities transactions. If the borrower fails to deliver the loaned securities within the normal and customary settlement time for securities transactions, the Fund could use the collateral to replace the securities while holding the borrower liable for any excess of replacement cost over the value of the collateral pledged by the borrower. As with any extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery and in some cases even loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower of the securities violate the terms of the loan or fail financially. However, these loans of portfolio securities will only be made to firms deemed by the Investment Adviser to be creditworthy and when the income which can be earned from such loans justifies the attendant risks. The Board will oversee the creditworthiness of the contracting parties on an ongoing basis. Upon termination of the loan, the borrower is required to return the securities to the Fund. Any gain or loss in the market price during the loan period would inure to the Fund.

The risks associated with loans of portfolio securities are substantially similar to those associated with repurchase agreements. Thus, if the counter party to the loan petitions for bankruptcy or becomes subject to the United States Bankruptcy Code, the law regarding the rights of the Fund is unsettled. As a result, under extreme circumstances, there may be a restriction on the Fund’s ability to sell the collateral and the Fund would suffer a loss. Moreover, because the Fund will reinvest any cash collateral it receives, as described above, the Fund is subject to the risk that the value of the investments it makes will decline and result in losses to the Fund. These losses, in extreme circumstances such as the 2007-2009 financial crisis, could be substantial and have a significant adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders.

When voting or consent rights which accompany loaned securities pass to the borrower, the Fund will follow the policy of calling the loaned securities, to be delivered within one day after notice, to permit the exercise of such rights if the matters involved would have a material effect on the Fund’s investment in such loaned securities. The Fund will pay reasonable finder’s, administrative and custodial fees in connection with a loan of its securities, and may also pay fees to one or more securities lending agents and/or pay other fees or rebates to borrowers.

When Issued, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments. The Fund may enter into forward commitments for the purchase or sale of securities, including on a “when issued” or “delayed delivery” basis, in excess of customary settlement periods for the type of security involved. In some cases, a forward commitment may be conditioned upon the occurrence of a subsequent event, such as approval and consummation of a merger, corporate reorganization or debt restructuring (i.e., a when, as and if issued security). When such transactions are negotiated, the price is fixed at the time of the commitment,

 

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with payment and delivery taking place in the future, generally a month or more after the date of the commitment. While it will only enter into a forward commitment with the intention of actually acquiring the security, the Fund may sell the security before the settlement date if it is deemed advisable by the Investment Adviser.

Securities purchased under a forward commitment are subject to market fluctuation, and no interest (or dividends) accrues to the Fund prior to the settlement date. The Fund will segregate with its custodian cash or other liquid assets in an aggregate amount at least equal to the amount of its outstanding forward commitments.

Additional Risks Relating to Derivative Investments

Special Risk Considerations Relating to Futures and Options Thereon. The Fund’s ability to establish and close out positions in futures contracts and options thereon will be subject to the development and maintenance of liquid markets. Although the Fund generally will purchase or sell only those futures contracts and options thereon for which there appears to be a liquid market, there is no assurance that a liquid market on an exchange will exist for any particular futures contract or option thereon at any particular time. In the event no liquid market exists for a particular futures contract or option thereon in which the Fund maintains a position, it will not be possible to effect a closing transaction in that contract or to do so at a satisfactory price and the Fund would have to either make or take delivery under the futures contract or, in the case of a written option, wait to sell the underlying securities until the option expires or is exercised or, in the case of a purchased option, exercise the option. In the case of a futures contract or an option thereon which the Fund has written and which the Fund is unable to close, the Fund would be required to maintain margin deposits on the futures contract or option thereon and to make variation margin payments until the contract is closed.

Successful use of futures contracts and options thereon and forward contracts by the Fund is subject to the ability of the Investment Adviser to predict correctly movements in the direction of interest and foreign currency rates. If the Investment Adviser’s expectations are not met, the Fund will be in a worse position than if a hedging strategy had not been pursued. For example, if the Fund has hedged against the possibility of an increase in interest rates that would adversely affect the price of securities in its portfolio and the price of such securities increases instead, the Fund will lose part or all of the benefit of the increased value of its securities because it will have offsetting losses in its futures positions. In addition, in such situations, if the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it may have to sell securities to meet the requirements. These sales may be, but will not necessarily be, at increased prices which reflect the rising market. The Fund may have to sell securities at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so.

Additional Risks of Foreign Options, Futures Contracts, Options on Futures Contracts and Forward Contracts. Options, futures contracts and options thereon and forward contracts on securities and currencies may be traded on foreign exchanges. Such transactions may not be regulated as effectively as similar transactions in the United States, may not involve a clearing mechanism and related guarantees, and are subject to the risk of governmental actions affecting trading in, or the prices of, foreign securities. The value of such positions also could be adversely affected by (i) other complex foreign political, legal and economic factors, (ii) lesser availability than in the United States of data on which to make trading decisions, (iii) delays in the Fund’s ability to act upon economic events occurring in the foreign markets during non-business hours in the United States, (iv) the imposition of different exercise and settlement terms and procedures and margin requirements than in the United States and (v) less trading volume.

Exchanges on which options, futures and options on futures are traded may impose limits on the positions that the Fund may take in certain circumstances.

 

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Risks of Currency Transactions. Currency transactions are also subject to risks different from those of other portfolio transactions. Because currency control is of great importance to the issuing governments and influences economic planning and policy, purchases and sales of currency and related instruments can be adversely affected by government exchange controls, limitations or restrictions on repatriation of currency, and manipulation, or exchange restrictions imposed by governments. These forms of governmental action can result in losses to the Fund if it is unable to deliver or receive currency or monies in settlement of obligations and could also cause hedges it has entered into to be rendered useless, resulting in full currency exposure as well as incurring transaction costs.

INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

The Fund operates under the following restrictions that constitute fundamental policies under the 1940 Act and that, except as otherwise noted, cannot be changed without the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund voting together as a single class (which for this purpose and under the 1940 Act means the lesser of (i) 67% of the shares represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares). In addition, pursuant to the Statements of Preferences, the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding preferred shares of the Fund voting as a separate class (which for this purpose and under the 1940 Act means the lesser of (i) 67% of the preferred shares, as a single class, represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the Fund’s outstanding preferred shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding preferred shares), is also required to change a fundamental policy. Except as otherwise noted, all percentage limitations set forth below apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment and any subsequent change in any applicable percentage resulting from market fluctuations does not require any action. The Fund may not:

 

  (1) invest more than 25% of its total assets, taken at market value at the time of each investment, in the securities of issuers in any particular industry. This restriction does not apply to investments in U.S. government securities;

 

  (2) purchase commodities or commodity contracts if such purchase would result in regulation of the Fund as a commodity pool operator;

 

  (3) purchase or sell real estate, provided the Fund may invest in securities and other instruments secured by real estate or interests therein or issued by companies that invest in real estate or interests therein;

 

  (4) make loans of money or other property, except that (i) the Fund may acquire debt obligations of any type (including through extensions of credit), enter into repurchase agreements and lend portfolio assets and (ii) the Fund may, with respect to up to 20% of the Fund’s total assets, lend money or other property to other investment companies advised by the Investment Adviser pursuant to a common lending program to the extent permitted by applicable law;

 

  (5) borrow money, except to the extent permitted by applicable law;

 

  (6) issue senior securities, except to the extent permitted by applicable law; or

 

  (7) underwrite securities of other issuers, except insofar as the Fund may be deemed an underwriter under applicable law in selling portfolio securities; provided, however, this restriction shall not apply to securities of any investment company organized by the Fund that are to be distributed pro rata as a dividend to its shareholders.

MANAGEMENT OF THE FUND

Trustees and Officers

Overall responsibility for management and supervision of the Fund rests with the Board. The Board approves all significant agreements between the Fund and the companies that furnish the Fund with services, including agreements with the Investment Adviser, the Fund’s custodian, and the Fund’s transfer agent. The day to day operations of the Fund are delegated to the Investment Adviser.

 

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The names and business addresses of the Trustees and principal officers of the Fund are set forth in the following table, together with their positions and their principal occupations during the past five years and, in the case of the Trustees, their positions with certain other organizations and companies.

 

Name, Position(s), Address(1)

And Age

  

Term of Office And

Length Of Time

Served(2)

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past Five Years

  

Other Directorships

Held By Trustee During

Past Five Years

  

Number Of

Portfolios In Fund

Complex(3) Overseen

By Trustee

INTERESTED TRUSTEES(4):