As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 24, 2024
Registration No. 333 - __________


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
___________________________________________
FORM S-8
REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
____________________________________________
THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Ohio
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
31-1414921
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
14111 Scottslawn Road
Marysville, Ohio 43041
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
____________________________________________
THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY LONG-TERM INCENTIVE PLAN
(Full title of the plan)
____________________________________________
Dimiter Todorov, Esq.
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
14111 Scottslawn Road
Marysville, Ohio 43041
(937) 644-0011
Copy to:
Adam L. Miller, Esq.
Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
52 E Gay St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215
(614) 464-6400
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number,
including area code, of agent for service)
__________________________________
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
    Large accelerated filer    S            Accelerated filer            £
    Non-accelerated filer    £            Smaller reporting company    £
Emerging growth company    £

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act. £





TABLE OF CONTENTS





EXPLANATORY NOTE

On January 22, 2024, at the 2024 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (the “Registrant”), the Registrant's shareholders approved an amendment and restatement of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan, which is a fifth amendment and restatement of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Amended and Restated 2006 Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “Plan”). The Plan, as amended and restated effective January 22, 2024, increases the maximum number of Common Shares available for grant to participants under the Plan by 2,500,000 Common Shares, on top of the Common Shares which were previously authorized for issuance under the Plan and which had not been awarded and remained unissued as of January 22, 2024 (the “Carryover Shares”).

The Registrant is filing this Registration Statement in order to register under the Securities Act of 1933 the additional 2,500,000 Common Shares authorized for issuance under the Plan. The Carryover Shares were previously registered under the Registrant's Registration Statements on Form S-8 (Registration Nos. 333-215774, 333-262303 and 333-269360 filed on January 27, 2017, January 24, 2022 and January 23, 2023, respectively). Pursuant to General Instruction E to Form S-8, the contents of the earlier registration statements on Form S-8 (Registration Nos. 333-269360, 333-262303, 333-215774, 333-186187 and 333-131466) relating to the Plan are, as modified hereby, incorporated by reference.

Part I

INFORMATION REQUIRED IN THE SECTION 10(a) PROSPECTUS

The documents containing the information specified in Part I of Form S-8 will be sent or given to participants in The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan as specified by Rule 428(b)(1) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). In accordance with the instructions to Part I of Form S-8, such documents will not be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) either as part of this Registration Statement on Form S-8 (this “Registration Statement”) or as prospectuses or prospectus supplements pursuant to Rule 424 under the Securities Act. These documents and the documents incorporated by reference in this Registration Statement pursuant to Item 3 of Part II of this Registration Statement, taken together, constitute a prospectus that meets the requirements of Section 10(a) of the Securities Act.

Part II

INFORMATION REQUIRED IN THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT

Item 3.  Incorporation of Documents by Reference.

The Commission allows the Registrant to “incorporate by reference” in this Registration Statement the information in the documents that the Registrant files with the Commission, which means that important information can be disclosed to you by referring you to those documents. The information incorporated by reference is considered to be a part of this Registration Statement. The following documents, filed by the Registrant with the Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), shall be deemed to be incorporated by reference into this Registration Statement and to be a part hereof:

the Annual Report on Form 10-K of the Registrant for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2023, filed with the Commission on November 22, 2023 (File No. 1-11593); and

the description of the Registrant’s common shares, without par value, contained in the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form 8-A/A (Amendment No. 1) filed with the SEC on April 7, 2003, as amended in the Registrant’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the Commission on March 24, 2005, together with any subsequent registration statement or report filed for the purpose of updating such description.




All documents which may be filed by the Registrant with the Commission pursuant to Section 13(a), Section 13(c), Section 14 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act subsequent to the date of this Registration Statement and prior to the filing of a post-effective amendment which indicates that all securities offered under The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan pursuant to this Registration Statement have been sold or which deregisters all securities then remaining unsold, shall also be deemed to be incorporated by reference in this Registration Statement and to be made a part hereof from the date of filing of such documents. To the extent that any information contained in any Current Report on Form 8-K, or any exhibit thereto, was or is furnished to, rather than filed with, the Commission in accordance with the Commission’s rules, such information or exhibit is specifically not incorporated by reference into this Registration Statement.

Any statement contained in a document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated in this Registration Statement by reference, or contained in this Registration Statement, shall be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this Registration Statement to the extent that a statement contained in any subsequently filed document which also is or is deemed to be incorporated by reference in this Registration Statement modifies or supersedes such earlier statement. Any such statement so modified or superseded shall not be deemed, except as so modified or superseded, to constitute a part of this Registration Statement.

Item 4.  Description of Securities.

Not Applicable.

Item 5.  Interests of Named Experts and Counsel.

Certain legal matters with respect to the validity of the Common Shares registered hereby have been passed upon for the Registrant by Dimiter Todorov, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chief Compliance Officer of the Registrant. Mr. Todorov owns, and/or has options to acquire pursuant to the Registrant’s employee benefit plans, an aggregate of less than 1% of the outstanding Common Shares of the Registrant.

Item 6.  Indemnification of Directors and Officers.

Article Five of the Code of Regulations of the Registrant provides for indemnification of officers and directors of the Registrant. Article Five provides:

Section 5.01. Mandatory Indemnification. The corporation shall indemnify any officer or director of the corporation who was or is a party or is threatened to be made a party to any threatened, pending or completed action, suit or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative or investigative (including, without limitation, any action threatened or instituted by or in the right of the corporation), by reason of the fact that he is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager or agent of another corporation (domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit), limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, against expenses (including, without limitation, attorneys’ fees, filing fees, court reporters’ fees and transcript costs), judgments, fines and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection with such action, suit or proceeding if he acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, and with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, he had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. A person claiming indemnification under this Section 5.01 shall be presumed, in respect of any act or omission giving rise to such claim for indemnification, to have acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, and with respect to any criminal matter, to have had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful, and the termination of any action, suit or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement or conviction, or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, rebut such presumption.

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Section 5.02. Court-Approved Indemnification. Anything contained in the Regulations or elsewhere to the contrary notwithstanding:

(A)    the corporation shall not indemnify any officer or director of the corporation who was a party to any completed action or suit instituted by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor by reason of the fact that he is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager or agent of another corporation (domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit), limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, in respect of any claim, issue or matter asserted in such action or suit as to which he shall have been adjudged to be liable for acting with reckless disregard for the best interests of the corporation or misconduct (other than negligence) in the performance of his duty to the corporation unless and only to the extent that the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio or the court in which such action or suit was brought shall determine upon application that, despite such adjudication of liability, and in view of all the circumstances of the case, he is fairly and reasonably entitled to such indemnity as such Court of Common Pleas or such other court shall deem proper; and

(B)    the corporation shall promptly make any such unpaid indemnification as is determined by a court to be proper as contemplated by this Section 5.02.

Section 5.03. Indemnification for Expenses. Anything contained in the Regulations or elsewhere to the contrary notwithstanding, to the extent that an officer or director of the corporation has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in Section 5.01, or in defense of any claim, issue or matter therein, he shall be promptly indemnified by the corporation against expenses (including, without limitation, attorneys’ fees, filing fees, court reporters’ fees and transcript costs) actually and reasonably incurred by him in connection therewith.

Section 5.04. Determination Required. Any indemnification required under Section 5.01 and not precluded under Section 5.02 shall be made by the corporation only upon a determination that such indemnification of the officer or director is proper in the circumstances because he has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in Section 5.01. Such determination may be made only (A) by a majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors of the corporation who were not and are not parties to, or threatened with, any such action, suit or proceeding, or (B) if such a quorum is not obtainable or if a majority of a quorum of disinterested directors so directs, in a written opinion by independent legal counsel other than an attorney, or a firm having associated with it an attorney, who has been retained by or who has performed services for the corporation, or any person to be indemnified, within the past five years, or (C) by the shareholders, or (D) by the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio or (if the corporation is a party thereto) the court in which such action, suit or proceeding was brought, if any; any such determination may be made by a court under division (D) of this Section 5.04 at any time [including, without limitation, any time before, during or after the time when any such determination may be requested of, be under consideration by or have been denied or disregarded by the disinterested directors under division (A) or by independent legal counsel under division (B) or by the shareholders under division (C) of this Section 5.04]; and no failure for any reason to make any such determination, and no decision for any reason to deny any such determination, by the disinterested directors under division (A) or by independent legal counsel under division (B) or by shareholders under division (C) of this Section 5.04 shall be evidence in rebuttal of the presumption recited in Section 5.01. Any determination made by the disinterested directors under division (A) or by independent legal counsel under division (B) of this Section 5.04 to make indemnification in respect of any claim, issue or matter asserted in an action or suit threatened or brought by or in the right of the corporation shall be promptly communicated to the person who threatened or brought such action or suit, and within ten days after receipt of such notification such person shall have the right to petition the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio or the court in which such action or suit was brought, if any, to review the reasonableness of such determination.

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Section 5.05. Advances for Expenses. Expenses (including, without limitation, attorneys’ fees, filing fees, court reporters’ fees and transcript costs) incurred in defending any action, suit or proceeding referred to in Section 5.01 shall be paid by the corporation in advance of the final disposition of such action, suit or proceeding to or on behalf of the officer or director promptly as such expenses are incurred by him, but only if such officer or director shall first agree, in writing, to repay all amounts so paid in respect of any claim, issue or other matter asserted in such action, suit or proceeding in defense of which he shall not have been successful on the merits or otherwise:

(A)       if it shall ultimately be determined as provided in Section 5.04 that he is not entitled to be indemnified by the corporation as provided under Section 5.01; or

(B)        if, in respect of any claim, issue or other matter asserted by or in the right of the corporation in such action or suit, he shall have been adjudged to be liable for acting with reckless disregard for the best interests of the corporation or misconduct (other than negligence) in the performance of his duty to the corporation, unless and only to the extent that the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio or the court in which such action or suit was brought shall determine upon application that, despite such adjudication of liability, and in view of all the circumstances, he is fairly and reasonably entitled to all or part of such indemnification.

Section 5.06. Article FIVE Not Exclusive. The indemnification provided by this Article FIVE shall not be exclusive of, and shall be in addition to, any other rights to which any person seeking indemnification may be entitled under the Articles or the Regulations or any agreement, vote of shareholders or disinterested directors, or otherwise, both as to action in his official capacity and as to action in another capacity while holding such office, and shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be an officer or director of the corporation and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of such a person.

Section 5.07. Insurance. The corporation may purchase and maintain insurance or furnish similar protection, including but not limited to, trust funds, letters of credit, or self-insurance, on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager or agent of another corporation (domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit), limited liability company, partnership, joint venture, trust or other enterprise, against any liability asserted against him and incurred by him in any such capacity, or arising out of his status as such, whether or not the corporation would have the obligation or the power to indemnify him against such liability under the provisions of this Article FIVE. Insurance may be purchased from or maintained with a person in which the corporation has a financial interest.

Section 5.08. Certain Definitions. For purposes of this Article FIVE, and as examples and not by way of limitation:

(A)      A person claiming indemnification under this Article FIVE shall be deemed to have been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit or proceeding referred to in Section 5.01, or in defense of any claim, issue or other matter therein, if such action, suit or proceeding shall be terminated as to such person, with or without prejudice, without the entry of a judgment or order against him, without a conviction of him, without the imposition of a fine upon him and without his payment or agreement to pay any amount in settlement thereof (whether or not any such termination is based upon a judicial or other determination of the lack of merit of the claims made against him or otherwise results in a vindication of him); and

(B)     References to an “other enterprise” shall include employee benefit plans; references to a “fine” shall include any excise taxes assessed on a person with respect to an employee benefit plan; and references to “serving at the request of the corporation” shall include any service as a director, officer, employee or agent of the corporation which imposes duties on, or involves services by, such director, officer, employee or agent with respect to an employee benefit
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plan, its participants or beneficiaries; and a person who acted in good faith and in a manner he reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the participants and beneficiaries of an employee benefit plan shall be deemed to have acted in a manner “not opposed to the best interests of the corporation” within the meaning of that term as used in this Article FIVE.

Section 5.09. Venue. Any action, suit or proceeding to determine a claim for indemnification under this Article FIVE may be maintained by the person claiming such indemnification, or by the corporation, in the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio. The corporation and (by claiming such indemnification) each such person consent to the exercise of jurisdiction over its or his person by the Court of Common Pleas of Union County, Ohio in any such action, suit or proceeding.

Division (E) of Section 1701.13 of the Ohio Revised Code addresses indemnification by an Ohio corporation and provides as follows:

(E)(1)     A corporation may indemnify or agree to indemnify any person who was or is a party, or is threatened to be made a party, to any threatened, pending, or completed action, suit, or proceeding, whether civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative, other than an action by or in the right of the corporation, by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent of another corporation, domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit, a limited liability company, or a partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, against expenses, including attorney’s fees, judgments, fines, and amounts paid in settlement actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with such action, suit, or proceeding, if the person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, if the person had no reasonable cause to believe the person’s conduct was unlawful. The termination of any action, suit, or proceeding by judgment, order, settlement, or conviction, or upon a plea of nolo contendere or its equivalent, shall not, of itself, create a presumption that the person did not act in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, and, with respect to any criminal action or proceeding, the person had reasonable cause to believe that the person’s conduct was unlawful.

(2)     A corporation may indemnify or agree to indemnify any person who was or is a party, or is threatened to be made a party, to any threatened, pending, or completed action or suit by or in the right of the corporation to procure a judgment in its favor, by reason of the fact that the person is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent of another corporation, domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit, a limited liability company, or a partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, against expenses, including attorney’s fees, actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with the defense or settlement of such action or suit, if the person acted in good faith and in a manner the person reasonably believed to be in or not opposed to the best interests of the corporation, except that no indemnification shall be made in respect of any of the following:

(a)     Any claim, issue, or matter as to which such person is adjudged to be liable for negligence or misconduct in the performance of the person’s duty to the corporation unless, and only to the extent that, the court of common pleas or the court in which such action or suit was brought determines, upon application, that, despite the adjudication of liability, but in view of all the circumstances of the case, such person is fairly and reasonably entitled to indemnity for such expenses as the court of common pleas or such other court shall deem proper;

(b)     Any action or suit in which the only liability asserted against a director is pursuant to section 1701.95 of the Revised Code.

(3)     To the extent that a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent has been successful on the merits or otherwise in defense of any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in
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division (E) (1) or (2) of this section, or in defense of any claim, issue, or matter in the action, suit, or proceeding, the person shall be indemnified against expenses, including attorney’s fees, actually and reasonably incurred by the person in connection with the action, suit, or proceeding.

(4)     Any indemnification under division (E)(1) or (2) of this section, unless ordered by a court, shall be made by the corporation only as authorized in the specific case, upon a determination that indemnification of the director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent is proper in the circumstances because the person has met the applicable standard of conduct set forth in division (E)(1) or (2) of this section. Such determination shall be made as follows:

(a)     By a majority vote of a quorum consisting of directors of the indemnifying corporation who were not and are not parties to or threatened with the action, suit, or proceeding referred to in division (E)(1) or (2) of this section;

(b)     If the quorum described in division (E)(4)(a) of this section is not obtainable or if a majority vote of a quorum of disinterested directors so directs, in a written opinion by independent legal counsel other than an attorney, or a firm having associated with it an attorney, who has been retained by or who has performed services for the corporation or any person to be indemnified within the past five years;

(c)     By the shareholders;

(d)     By the court of common pleas or the court in which the action, suit, or proceeding referred to in division (E)(1) or (2) of this section was brought.

Any determination made by the disinterested directors under division (E)(4)(a) or by independent legal counsel under division (E)(4)(b) of this section shall be promptly communicated to the person who threatened or brought the action or suit by or in the right of the corporation under division (E)(2) of this section, and, within ten days after receipt of that notification, the person shall have the right to petition the court of common pleas or the court in which the action or suit was brought to review the reasonableness of that determination.

(5)    (a)     Unless at the time of a director’s act or omission that is the subject of an action, suit, or proceeding referred to in division (E)(1) or (2) of this section, the articles or the regulations of a corporation state, by specific reference to this division, that the provisions of this division do not apply to the corporation and unless the only liability asserted against a director in an action, suit, or proceeding referred to in division (E)(1) or (2) of this section is pursuant to section 1701.95 of the Revised Code, expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by a director in defending the action, suit, or proceeding shall be paid by the corporation as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the director in which the director agrees to do both of the following:

(i)     Repay that amount if it is proved by clear and convincing evidence in a court of competent jurisdiction that the director’s action or failure to act involved an act or omission undertaken with deliberate intent to cause injury to the corporation or undertaken with reckless disregard for the best interests of the corporation;

(ii)     Reasonably cooperate with the corporation concerning the action, suit, or proceeding.

(b)     Expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent in defending any action, suit, or proceeding referred to in division (E)(1) or (2) of this section, may be paid by the corporation as they are incurred, in advance of the final disposition of the action, suit, or proceeding, as authorized by the directors in
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the specific case, upon receipt of an undertaking by or on behalf of the director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent to repay that amount, if it ultimately is determined that the person is not entitled to be indemnified by the corporation.

(6)     The indemnification or advancement of expenses authorized by this section shall not be exclusive of, and shall be in addition to, any other rights granted to those seeking indemnification or advancement of expenses under the articles, the regulations, any agreement, a vote of shareholders or disinterested directors, or otherwise, both as to action in their official capacities and as to action in another capacity while holding their offices or positions, and shall continue as to a person who has ceased to be a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent and shall inure to the benefit of the heirs, executors, and administrators of that person. A right to indemnification or to advancement of expenses arising under a provision of the articles or the regulations shall not be eliminated or impaired by an amendment to that provision after the occurrence of the act or omission that becomes the subject of the civil, criminal, administrative, or investigative action, suit, or proceeding for which the indemnification or advancement of expenses is sought, unless the provision in effect at the time of that act or omission explicitly authorizes that elimination or impairment after the act or omission has occurred.

(7)     A corporation may purchase and maintain insurance or furnish similar protection, including, but not limited to, trust funds, letters of credit, or self-insurance, on behalf of or for any person who is or was a director, officer, employee, or agent of the corporation, or is or was serving at the request of the corporation as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent of another corporation, domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit, a limited liability company, or a partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, against any liability asserted against the person and incurred by the person in any such capacity, or arising out of the person’s status as such, whether or not the corporation would have the power to indemnify the person against that liability under this section. Insurance may be purchased from or maintained with a person in which the corporation has a financial interest.

(8)     The authority of a corporation to indemnify persons pursuant to division (E)(1) or (2) of this section does not limit the payment of expenses as they are incurred, indemnification, insurance, or other protection that may be provided pursuant to divisions (E)(5), (6), and (7) of this section. Divisions (E)(1) and (2) of this section do not create any obligation to repay or return payments made by the corporation pursuant to division (E)(5), (6), or (7).

(9)     As used in division (E) of this section, “corporation” includes all constituent entities in a consolidation or merger and the new or surviving corporation, so that any person who is or was a director, officer, employee, trustee, member, manager, or agent of such a constituent entity, or is or was serving at the request of such constituent entity as a director, trustee, officer, employee, member, manager, or agent of another corporation, domestic or foreign, nonprofit or for profit, a limited liability company, or a partnership, joint venture, trust, or other enterprise, shall stand in the same position under this section with respect to the new or surviving corporation as the person would if the person had served the new or surviving corporation in the same capacity.

Section 20.19 of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan provides for indemnification of individuals who are or who have been members of the Registrant’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), or a committee appointed or designated by the Board to administer the Plan (the “Committee”), or an officer of the Registrant to whom administrative duties or powers have been delegated in accordance with Article 3 of the Plan. Section 20.19 provides as follows:

Subject to the requirements of Ohio law, each individual who is or shall have been a member of the Board, or a Committee appointed by the Board, or an officer of the Company to whom authority was delegated in accordance with Article 3, shall be indemnified and held harmless by the Company against and from any loss, cost, liability, or expense that may be imposed upon or reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with or resulting from any claim, action, suit, or proceeding to which he or she may be a party or in which he or she may be involved by reason of any action taken or failure to act under this Plan and
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against and from any and all amounts paid by him or her in settlement thereof, with the Company’s approval, or paid by him or her in satisfaction of any judgment in any such action, suit, or proceeding against him or her, provided he or she shall give the Company an opportunity, at its own expense, to handle and defend the same before he or she undertake to handle and defend it on his/her own behalf, unless such loss, cost, liability, or expense is a result of his/her own willful misconduct or except as expressly provided by statute.

The foregoing right of indemnification shall not be exclusive of any other rights of indemnification to which such individuals may be entitled under the Company’s Articles of Incorporation or Code of Regulations, as a matter of law, or otherwise, or any power that the Company may have to indemnify them or hold them harmless.

The Registrant maintains insurance policies providing for indemnification of directors and officers and for reimbursement to the Registrant for monies which it may pay as indemnity to any director or officer, subject to the conditions and exclusions of the policies.

Item 7.  Exemption from Registration Claimed.

Not Applicable.

Item 8.  Exhibits.

A list of exhibits included as part of this Registration Statement is set forth on the Exhibit Index, which immediately precedes the exhibits and is incorporated by reference herein.

Item 9.  Undertakings.

(a)        The undersigned Registrant hereby undertakes:

(l)        To file, during any period in which offers or sales are being made, a post-effective amendment to this Registration Statement:

(i)       To include any prospectus required by Section 10(a)(3) of the Securities Act of 1933;

(ii)        To reflect in the prospectus any facts or events arising after the effective date of the Registration Statement (or the most recent post-effective amendment thereof) which, individually or in the aggregate, represent a fundamental change in the information set forth in the Registration Statement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any increase or decrease in volume of securities offered (if the total dollar value of securities offered would not exceed that which was registered) and any deviation from the low or high end of the estimated maximum offering range may be reflected in the form of prospectus filed with the Commission pursuant to Rule 424(b) if, in the aggregate, the changes in volume and price represent no more than a 20% change in the maximum aggregate offering price set forth in the “Calculation of Registration Fee” table in the effective Registration Statement;

(iii)        To include any material information with respect to the plan of distribution not previously disclosed in the Registration Statement or any material change to such information in the Registration Statement;

provided, however, that paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(1)(ii) do not apply if the information required to be included in a post-effective amendment by those paragraphs is contained in reports filed with or furnished to the Commission by the Registrant pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that are incorporated by reference in the Registration Statement.
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(2)    That, for the purpose of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each such post-effective amendment shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

(3)        To remove from registration by means of a post-effective amendment any of the securities being registered which remain unsold at the termination of the offering.

(b)    The undersigned Registrant hereby undertakes that, for purposes of determining any liability under the Securities Act of 1933, each filing of the Registrant’s annual report pursuant to Section 13(a) or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (and, where applicable, each filing of an employee benefit plan’s annual report pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) that is incorporated by reference in the Registration Statement shall be deemed to be a new registration statement relating to the securities offered therein, and the offering of such securities at that time shall be deemed to be the initial bona fide offering thereof.

(c)    Insofar as indemnification for liabilities arising under the Securities Act of 1933 may be permitted to directors, officers and controlling persons of the Registrant pursuant to the provisions described in Item 6 of this Part II, or otherwise, the Registrant has been advised that in the opinion of the Securities and Exchange Commission such indemnification is against public policy as expressed in the Act and is, therefore, unenforceable. In the event that a claim for indemnification against such liabilities (other than the payment by the Registrant of expenses incurred or paid by a director, officer or controlling person of the Registrant in the successful defense of any action, suit or proceeding) is asserted by such director, officer or controlling person in connection with the securities being registered, the Registrant will, unless in the opinion of its counsel the matter has been settled by controlling precedent, submit to a court of appropriate jurisdiction the question whether such indemnification by it is against public policy as expressed in the Act and will be governed by the final adjudication of such issue.

[Remainder of page intentionally left blank; signatures on following page.]
9



SIGNATURES

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, the Registrant certifies that it has reasonable grounds to believe that it meets all of the requirements for filing on Form S-8 and has duly caused this Registration Statement to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized, in the City of Marysville, State of Ohio, on the 24th day of January, 2024.


THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY

By: /s/ JAMES HAGEDORN    
James Hagedorn
Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer & President

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Each person whose signature appears below hereby constitutes and appoints James Hagedorn, Matthew E. Garth and Dimiter Todorov and each of them, as his or her true and lawful attorneys-in-fact and agents, each with full power of substitution and resubstitution, to do any and all acts and things in his or her name and on his or her behalf in the capacities indicated below, and to execute any and all instruments for him or her and in his or her name in the capacities indicated below, which said attorneys or agents, or any of them, may deem necessary or advisable to enable the registrant to comply with the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and any rules, regulations and requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission, in connection with the filing of this Registration Statement on Form S-8, including specifically but without limitation, power and authority to sign for him or her in his or her name in the capacities indicated below, any and all amendments (including post-effective amendments) to such Registration Statement, and to file the same, with all exhibits thereto and all documents in connection therewith with the Securities and Exchange Commission; and he or she does hereby ratify and confirm all that the said attorneys and agents, or their substitute or substitutes, or any of them, shall do or cause to be done by virtue hereof.

Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, this Registration Statement has been signed by the following persons in the capacities and on the dates indicated.

Signature
Title
Date
/s/ JAMES HAGEDORNChairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer & President
January 24, 2024
James Hagedorn(Principal Executive Officer)
/s/ MATTHEW E. GARTHExecutive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Administrative Officer
January 24, 2024
Matthew E. Garth(Principal Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer)
/s/ EDITH AVILESDirector
January 24, 2024
Edith Avilés
/s/ DAVID C. EVANS
Director
January 24, 2024
David C. Evans
10




/s/ ADAM HANFT
Director
January 24, 2024
Adam Hanft
/s/ STEPHEN L. JOHNSON
Director
January 24, 2024
Stephen L. Johnson
/s/ THOMAS N. KELLY JR.
Director
January 24, 2024
Thomas N. Kelly Jr.
/s/ MARK D. KINGDON
Director
January 24, 2024
Mark D. Kingdon
/s/ KATHERINE HAGEDORN LITTLEFIELD
Director
January 24, 2024
Katherine Hagedorn Littlefield
/s/ NANCY G. MISTRETTADirector
January 24, 2024
Nancy G. Mistretta
/s/ BRIAN E. SANDOVALDirector
January 24, 2024
Brian E. Sandoval
/s/ PETER E. SHUMLIN
Director
January 24, 2024
Peter E. Shumlin
/s/ JOHN R. VINESDirector
January 24, 2024
John R. Vines



11



INDEX TO EXHIBITS
Exhibit No.
Description

4.1
4.2
4.3
5.1
10.1
23.1
23.2
24.1
Powers of Attorney (included on signature pages of Registration Statement)
107

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Exhibit 107
Calculation of Filing Fee Tables
Form S-8
(Form Type)
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

Security TypeSecurity Class TitleFee Calculation or Carry Forward RuleAmount Registered (1)Proposed Maximum Offering Price Per Share (2)Maximum Aggregate Offering Price (2)Fee RateAmount of Registration Fee (2)
Fees to Be PaidEquityCommon Stock, $0.01 stated valueOther2,500,000 $56.920 $142,300,000.00 0.00014760$21,003.48 
Total Offering Amounts$142,300,000.00 $21,003.48 
Total Fees Previously Paid$
Total Fee Offsets$
Net Fee Due$21,003.48 

(1)
Pursuant to Rule 416(a) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), this Registration Statement shall also cover any additional shares of the Registrant’s common stock that become issuable under the Registrant’s Long Term Incentive Plan (the “Plan”) in respect of the securities identified in the above table by reason of any stock dividend, stock split, recapitalization, or other similar transaction effected without the Registrant’s receipt of consideration that increases the number of the outstanding shares of the Registrant’s common stock.
(2)Pursuant to Rules 457(c) and (h) under the Securities Act, the proposed maximum offering price per share and the proposed maximum aggregate offering price are estimated for the purpose of calculating the amount of the registration fee and are based on the average of the high and low sales price of the Registrant’s common stock as reported on the Nasdaq Capital Market on January 17, 2024.
    

smg20170127s8ex51image0a.gif
Exhibit 5.1

January 24, 2024
The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company
14111 Scottslawn Road
Marysville, Ohio 43041
Re:    The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Registration Statement on Form S-8
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am the General Counsel of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, an Ohio corporation (the “Company”), and have represented the Company in connection with the Registration Statement on Form S-8 of the Company (the “Registration Statement”) to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), on the date hereof, relating to the registration of 2,500,000 common shares, without par value (“Common Shares”), of the Company, issuable pursuant to The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “Plan”).

I have examined originals or copies, certified or otherwise identified to my satisfaction, of such documents, corporate records, certificates of public officials and other instruments as I have deemed necessary for the purposes of rendering this opinion. In my examination, I have assumed the genuineness of all signatures, the legal capacity and competency of all natural persons, the authenticity of all documents submitted to me as originals and the conformity to original documents of all documents submitted to me as copies.

Based upon the foregoing and subject to the assumptions, qualifications and limitations set forth herein, I am of the opinion that the shares of Common Stock described above, when issued and sold in accordance with the terms set forth in the Plan and against payment therefor, and when the Registration Statement has become effective under the Securities Act, will be validly issued, fully paid and non-assessable.

I express no opinion as to the laws of any jurisdiction other than any published constitutions, treaties, laws, rules or regulations or judicial or administrative decisions of the State of Ohio.

I hereby consent to the filing of this opinion as an exhibit to the Registration Statement and to the use of my name in the Prospectus and any supplement thereto forming a part of the Registration Statement under the caption “Legal Matters.” In giving this consent, I do not thereby admit that I am within the category of persons whose consent is required under Section 7 of the Securities Act and the rules and regulations of the Commission thereunder.
Sincerely,

/s/ DIMITER TODOROV
Dimiter Todorov
Executive Vice President, General Counsel,
Corporate Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer


Exhibit 10.1
THE SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO COMPANY
LONG-TERM INCENTIVE PLAN
(EFFECTIVE AS OF JANUARY 22, 2024)

Article 1.

Establishment, Purpose, and Duration

1.1    Establishment. This Plan, an incentive compensation plan, was established by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. This Plan was originally effective on January 26, 2006, was amended and restated effective as of October 30, 2007, January 20, 2010, January 17, 2013, January 27, 2017, January 24, 2022, January 23, 2023 and is hereby further amended and restated effective as of January 22, 2024 (the “Effective Date”), as set forth in this document. This Plan shall remain in effect as provided in Section 1.3 hereof.

This Plan permits the grant of Nonqualified Stock Options, Incentive Stock Options, Stock Appreciation Rights, Restricted Stock, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units and Other Stock-Based Awards. Awards granted under the Plan prior to the Effective Date shall continue to be governed by the applicable Award Agreements and the terms of the Plan without giving effect to the changes made pursuant to this amendment and restatement, and the Committee shall administer such Awards in accordance with the Plan without giving effect to changes made pursuant to this amendment and restatement.

1.2    Purpose of this Plan. The purpose of this Plan is to provide a means whereby Employees, Directors, and Third-Party Service Providers develop a sense of proprietorship and personal involvement in the development and financial success of the Company, and to encourage them to devote their best efforts to the business of the Company, thereby advancing the interests of the Company and its shareholders. A further purpose of this Plan is to provide a means through which the Company may attract able individuals to become Employees or serve as Directors or Third-Party Service Providers and to provide a means whereby those individuals upon whom the responsibilities of the successful administration and management of the Company are of importance, can acquire and maintain stock ownership, thereby strengthening their concern for the welfare of the Company.

1.3    Duration of this Plan. Unless sooner terminated as provided herein, this Plan shall terminate on January 23, 2032. After this Plan is terminated, no Awards may be granted but Awards previously granted shall remain outstanding in accordance with their applicable terms and conditions and this Plan’s terms and conditions.

Article 2.

Definitions

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

2.1    “Affiliate” shall mean any corporation or other entity (including, but not limited to, a partnership or a limited liability company), that is affiliated with the Company through stock or equity ownership or otherwise, and is designated as an Affiliate for purposes of this Plan by the Committee.

2.2    “Award” means, individually or collectively, a grant under this Plan of Nonqualified Stock Options, Incentive Stock Options, SARs, Restricted Stock, Restricted Stock Units, Performance Shares, Performance Units or Other Stock-Based Awards, in each case subject to the terms of this Plan.

2.3    “Award Agreement” means either (i) a written agreement entered into by the Company and a Participant setting forth the terms and provisions applicable to an Award granted under this Plan, or (ii) a written or electronic statement issued by the Company to a Participant describing the terms and provisions of such Award, including in each case any amendment or modification thereof. The Committee may provide for the use of electronic, internet or other non-paper Award Agreements, and the use of electronic, internet or other non-paper means for the acceptance thereof and actions thereunder by a Participant.

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

2.6    “Cause” means, unless otherwise specified in an Award Agreement or in an applicable employment agreement between the Company and a Participant, with respect to any Participant, that the Participant has:

(a)    willfully and materially breached the terms of any employment agreement between the Participant and the Company;

(b)    engaged in willful misconduct that has materially injured the business of the Company or any Subsidiary or Affiliate;

(c)    willfully committed a material act of fraud or material breach of the Participant’s duty of loyalty to the Company or any Subsidiary or Affiliate;

(d)    willfully and continually failed to attempt in good faith to perform the Participant’s duties hereunder (other than any such failure resulting from the Participant’s incapacity due to physical or mental illness), after written notice has been delivered to the Participant by the Company, which notice specifically identifies the manner in which the Participant has not attempted in good faith to perform his duties; or

(e)    been convicted, or plead guilty or nolo contendere for the commission of an act or acts constituting a felony under the laws of the United States or any state thereof.

For purposes of subsections (a) - (d), no act, or failure to act, on the Participant’s part shall be deemed “willful” unless, the Company reasonably determines, in good faith, that it was done, or omitted to be done, by the Participant not in good faith and without reasonable belief that his act, or failure to act, was in the best interest of the Company or any Subsidiary or Affiliate.

2.7    “Change in Control” means the occurrence of any of the following:

(a)    The members of the Board on the Effective Date (“Incumbent Directors”) cease for any reason other than death to constitute at least a majority of the members of the Board, provided that any director whose election, or nomination for election by the Company’s shareholders, was approved by a vote of at least a majority of the then Incumbent Directors also will be treated as an Incumbent Director; or

(b)    Any “person,” including a “group” (as such terms are used in Sections 13(d) and 14(d)(2) of the Exchange Act, but excluding the Company, any of its Subsidiaries, any employee benefit plan of the Company or any of its Subsidiaries or Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. or any party related to Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. as determined by the Committee) becomes the Beneficial Owner, directly or indirectly, of securities of the Company representing more than thirty percent (30%) of the combined voting power of the Company’s then outstanding securities; or

(c)    Consummation of (i) the merger or other business combination of the Company with or into another entity in which the shareholders of the Company immediately before the effective date of such merger or other business combination own less than fifty percent (50%) of the voting power in such entity; or (ii) the sale or other disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Company; or

(d)    The adoption by the shareholders of the Company of a plan relating to the liquidation or dissolution of the Company; or

(e)    For any reason, Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. or any party related to Hagedorn Partnership, L.P. as determined by the Committee becomes the Beneficial Owner, directly or indirectly, of securities of the Company representing more than forty-nine percent (49%) of the combined voting power of the Company’s then outstanding securities.

The Committee may provide for a more restrictive definition of Change in Control in an Award Agreement if necessary or appropriate to comply with Code Section 409A or as the Committee deems appropriate.

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Notwithstanding the foregoing, an Award that is subject to Code Section 409A will not be paid or settled upon a Change in Control unless the Change in Control also constitutes a “change in control event” under Code Section 409A and Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-3(i)(5).

2.8    “Change in Control Price” means the price per Share paid in conjunction with any transaction resulting in a Change in Control (as determined in good faith by the Committee if any part of the offered price is payable other than in cash) or, in the case of a Change in Control occurring solely by reason of events not related to a transfer of Shares, the highest Fair Market Value of a Share on any of the thirty (30) consecutive trading days ending on the last trading day before the Change in Control occurs.

2.9    “Code” means the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended from time to time. For purposes of this Plan, references to sections of the Code shall be deemed to include references to any applicable regulations thereunder and any successor or similar provision, as well as any applicable interpretative guidance issued related thereto.

2.10    “Committee” means the Compensation and Organization Committee of the Board or a subcommittee thereof, or any other committee designated by the Board to administer this Plan. The members of the Committee shall be appointed from time to time by and shall serve at the discretion of the Board. If the Committee does not exist or cannot function for any reason, the Board may take any action under the Plan that would otherwise be the responsibility of the Committee.

2.11    “Company” means The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, an Ohio corporation, and any successor thereto as provided in Article 19 herein.

2.12    “Director” means any individual who is a member of the Board of Directors of the Company.

2.13    “Dividend Equivalent” has the meaning set forth in Article 13.

2.14    “Effective Date” has the meaning set forth in Section 1.1.

2.15    “Employee” means any individual who performs services for and is designated as an employee of the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries on the payroll records thereof. An Employee shall not include any individual during any period he or she is classified or treated by the Company, Affiliate, and/or Subsidiary as an independent contractor, a consultant, or any employee of an employment, consulting, or temporary agency or any other entity other than the Company, Affiliate, and/or Subsidiary, without regard to whether such individual is subsequently determined to have been, or is subsequently retroactively reclassified as a common-law employee of the Company, Affiliate, and/or Subsidiary during such period.

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

2.17    “Fair Market Value” or “FMV” means a price that is based on the opening, closing, actual, high, low, or average selling prices of a Share reported on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) or other established stock exchange (or exchanges) on the applicable date, the preceding trading day, the next succeeding trading day, or an average of trading days, as determined by the Committee in its discretion. Unless the Committee determines otherwise, Fair Market Value shall be deemed to be equal to the closing price of a Share on the relevant date if it is a trading day or, if such date is not a trading day, on the next trading day. In the event Shares are not publicly traded at the time a determination of their value is required to be made hereunder (a) with respect to NQSOs, SARs and Awards that are subject to Code Section 409A, “Fair Market Value” shall mean the value as determined by the Committee through the reasonable application of a reasonable valuation method, taking into account all information material to the value of the Company, within the meaning of Code Section 409A and (b) with respect to all other Awards, the determination of “Fair Market Value” shall be made by the Committee in such manner as it deems appropriate. Such definition(s) of FMV shall be specified in each Award Agreement and may differ depending on whether FMV is in reference to the grant, exercise, vesting, settlement, or payout of an Award.

2.18    “Full-Value Award” means an Award other than in the form of an ISO, NQSO, or SAR, and which is settled by the issuance of Shares.

2.19    “Full-Value Factor” has the meaning set forth in Section 4.1(b).

2.20    “Grant Date” means the date an Award is granted to a Participant pursuant to the Plan.

3


2.21    “Grant Price” means the price established at the time of grant of a SAR pursuant to Article 7, used to determine whether there is any payment due upon exercise of the SAR.

2.22    “Incentive Stock Option” or “ISO” means an Option to purchase Shares granted under Article 6 that is designated as an Incentive Stock Option and that is intended to meet the requirements of Code Section 422, or any successor provision.

2.23    “Insider” shall mean an individual who is, on the relevant date, an officer or Director of the Company, or a more than ten percent (10%) Beneficial Owner of any class of the Company’s equity securities that is registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act, as determined by the Board or Committee in accordance with Section 16 of the Exchange Act.

2.24    “Non-employee Director” means a Director who is not an Employee on the Grant Date.

2.25    “Non-employee Director Award” means any NQSO, SAR, or Full-Value Award granted to a Participant who is a Non-employee Director pursuant to such applicable terms, conditions, and limitations as the Board or Committee may establish in accordance with this Plan.

2.26    “Nonqualified Stock Option” or “NQSO” means an Option that is not intended to meet the requirements of Code Section 422, or that otherwise does not meet such requirements.

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

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

2.29    “Other Stock-Based Award” means an equity-based or equity-related Award not otherwise described by the terms of this Plan, granted pursuant to Article 10.

2.30    “Participant” means any eligible individual as set forth in Article 5 to whom an Award is granted.

2.31    “Performance Goals” shall be established by the Committee, based on one or more of the following criteria or derivations of such criteria or such other criteria as determined by the Committee, including but not limited to the following: net earnings or net income (before or after taxes); earnings per share (basic or diluted); net sales or revenue growth; net operating profit; return measures (including, but not limited to, return on assets, capital, invested capital, investor return, equity, sales, revenue or dividend yield); cash flow (including, but not limited to, operating cash flow, free cash flow, cash flow return on equity, and cash flow return on investment); earnings before or after taxes, interest, depreciation, and/or amortization; gross or operating margins; productivity ratios; share price (including, but not limited to, growth measures and total shareholder return); expense targets; margins; operating efficiency; market share; customer satisfaction; working capital targets; economic value added or EVA(R) (net operating profit after tax minus the sum of capital multiplied by the cost of capital); developing new products and lines of revenue; reducing operating expenses; developing new markets; meeting completion schedules; developing and managing relationships with regulatory and other governmental agencies; managing cash; managing claims against the Company, including litigation; identifying and completing strategic acquisitions or joint ventures; and debt leverage and/or any other bank covenant ratio. Any Performance Goal(s) may be used to measure the performance of the Company, Subsidiary, and/or Affiliate as a whole or any business unit or joint venture of the Company, Subsidiary, and/or Affiliate or any combination thereof, as the Committee may deem appropriate, or any of the above Performance Goals as compared to the performance of a group of comparator companies, or published or special index that the Committee, in its sole discretion, deems appropriate. The Committee may provide in any such Award that any evaluation of performance may include or exclude any of the following events that occurs during a Performance Period: (a) asset write-downs, (b) litigation or claim judgments or settlements, (c) the effect of changes in tax laws, accounting principles, or other laws or provisions affecting reported results, (d) any reorganization and restructuring programs, (e) unusual and infrequently occurring items as described in applicable Accounting Principles Board opinions and in management’s discussion and analysis of financial conditions and results of operations appearing in the Company’s annual report to shareholders for the applicable year, (f) acquisitions or divestitures, (g) foreign exchange gains and losses, and (h) other appropriate events. The Committee has the authority to provide for accelerated vesting of any Award based on the achievement of Performance Goals.

2.32    “Performance Period” means the period of time during which the Performance Goals must be met in order to determine the degree of payout and/or vesting with respect to an Award.

4


2.33    “Performance Share” means an Award under Article 9 herein and subject to the terms of this Plan, denominated in Shares, the value of which at the time it is payable is determined as a function of the extent to which corresponding performance criteria or Performance Goal(s), as applicable, have been achieved.

2.34    “Performance Unit” means an Award under Article 9 herein and subject to the terms of this Plan, denominated in units, the value of which at the time it is payable is determined as a function of the extent to which corresponding performance criteria or Performance Goals, as applicable, have been achieved.

2.35    “Period of Restriction” means the period when Restricted Stock or Restricted Stock Units are subject to a substantial risk of forfeiture (based on the passage of time, the achievement of Performance Goals, or the occurrence of other events as determined by the Committee, in its discretion), as provided in Article 8.

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

2.37    “Plan” means The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan, as amended and restated from time to time.

2.38    “Plan Year” means the Company’s fiscal year.

2.39    “Restricted Stock” means an Award granted to a Participant pursuant to Article 8.

2.40    “Restricted Stock Unit” means an Award granted to a Participant pursuant to Article 8, except no Shares are actually awarded to the Participant on the Grant Date.

2.41    “Share” means a common share of the Company, without par value per share.

2.42    “Stock Appreciation Right” or “SAR” means an Award granted to a Participant pursuant to Article 7.

2.43    “Subsidiary” means any corporation or other entity, whether domestic or foreign, in which the Company has or obtains, directly or indirectly, a proprietary interest of more than fifty percent (50%) by reason of stock ownership or otherwise.

2.44    “Termination” or “Terminate” means: (a) if a Participant is an Employee, cessation of the employee-employer relationship between a Participant and the Company and all Affiliates and Subsidiaries for any reason; (b) if a Participant is a Non-employee Director, termination of the Non-employee Director’s service on the Board for any reason; and (c) if a Participant is a Third-Party Service Provider, termination of the Third-Party Service Provider’s service relationship with the Company and all Affiliates and Subsidiaries for any reason. Notwithstanding the foregoing, with respect to any Award subject to Code Section 409A, any such cessation or termination also must constitute a “separation from service” as defined under Treasury Regulation Section 1.409A-1(h). Effective for Awards granted on or after January 20, 2010, an Award Agreement may specify a different definition of “Termination” or “Terminate,” that will apply to such Award Agreement; provided that no such different definition shall cause the term of the Award to which it relates to extend beyond the maximum possible term for such Award contemplated under the applicable provisions of this Plan and any applicable law, regulation or stock exchange rule.

2.45    “Third-Party Service Provider” means any consultant, agent, advisor, or independent contractor who renders services to the Company, a Subsidiary, or an Affiliate that (a) are not in connection with the offer or sale of the Company’s securities in a capital raising transaction, and (b) do not directly or indirectly promote or maintain a market for the Company’s securities.

Article 3.

Administration

3.1    General. The Committee shall be responsible for administering this Plan, subject to this Article 3 and the other provisions of this Plan. The Committee shall be comprised, unless otherwise determined by the Board, solely of not less than two members who shall be (i) “non-employee directors” within the meaning of Rule 16b-3(b)(3) (or any successor rule) promulgated under the Exchange Act, and (ii) “independent directors,” as determined in accordance with the independence standards established by the stock exchange on which the Shares are at the time primarily traded. The Committee may employ
5


attorneys, consultants, accountants, agents, and other individuals, any of whom may be an Employee, and the Committee, the Company, and its officers and Directors shall be entitled to rely upon the advice, opinions, or valuations of any such individuals. All actions taken and all interpretations and determinations made by the Committee shall be final and binding upon the Participants, the Company, and all other interested individuals. By accepting an Award under this Plan, each Participant agrees to all Committee determinations as described above.

3.2    Authority of the Committee. The Committee shall have full and exclusive discretionary power to interpret the terms and the intent of this Plan and any Award Agreement or other agreement or document ancillary to or in connection with this Plan, to determine eligibility for Awards and to adopt such rules, regulations, forms, instruments, and guidelines for administering this Plan as the Committee may deem necessary or proper. Such authority shall include, but not be limited to, selecting Award recipients, establishing all Award terms and conditions, including the terms and conditions set forth in Award Agreements and whether the terms of any exercise, vesting or restriction periods will be based upon the achievement of specific Performance Goals, granting Awards as an alternative to or as the form of payment for grants or rights earned or due under compensation plans or arrangements of the Company, construing any provision of the Plan or any Award Agreement, and, subject to Article 17, adopting modifications and amendments to this Plan or any Award Agreement, including without limitation, any that are necessary to comply with the laws of the countries and other jurisdictions in which the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries operate.

3.3    Delegation. The Committee may delegate to one or more of its members or to one or more officers of the Company, and/or its Subsidiaries and Affiliates or to one or more agents or advisors such administrative duties or powers as it may deem advisable, and the Committee or any individuals to whom it has delegated duties or powers as aforesaid may employ one or more individuals to render advice with respect to any responsibility the Committee or such individuals may have under this Plan. The Committee may, by resolution, authorize one or more officers of the Company to do one or both of the following on the same basis as can the Committee: (a) designate Employees to be recipients of Awards; (b) determine the size of any such Awards; provided, however, (i) the Committee shall not delegate such responsibilities to any such officer for Awards granted to an Employee who is considered an Insider; (ii) the resolution providing such authorization sets forth the total number of Awards such officer(s) may grant; and (iii) the officer(s) shall report periodically to the Committee regarding the nature and scope of the Awards granted pursuant to the authority delegated. Notwithstanding the foregoing, awards to Non-employee Directors shall be administered and interpreted by the Board.

Article 4.

Shares Subject to this Plan and Maximum Awards

4.1    Number of Shares Available for Awards.

(a)    Subject to adjustment as provided in Section 4.3 herein, the maximum number of Shares that may be issued under the Plan with respect to Awards granted on or after the Effective Date (the “Share Authorization”) is the sum of: (i) two million five hundred thousand (2,500,000) Shares, plus (ii) the number of Shares that remained available for Awards under the Plan as of November 27, 2023 (1,820,961), plus (iii) the number of Shares subject to outstanding Awards under the Plan as of November 27, 2023 that terminate, expire, or are cancelled, forfeited, exchanged, or surrendered without having been exercised, vested, or paid under the Plan (not exceeding 3,576,618 Shares). The Shares available for issuance under this Plan may be authorized and unissued Shares or treasury Shares.

(b)    Subject to the provisions of Section 4.2, in determining the number of Shares that remain available for issuance to Participants pursuant to Awards granted under this Plan on or after January 17, 2013, the Share Authorization shall be reduced by one Share for each Share covered by an Option or Stock Appreciation Right granted on or after January 17, 2013, and the Share Authorization shall be reduced by two Shares (the “Full Value Factor”) per each Share subject to an Award, other than an Option or Stock Appreciation Right, granted on or after January 17, 2013. If a Stock Appreciation Right is settled by the issuance of Shares, the Share Authorization shall be reduced by the number of Shares covered by the Stock Appreciation Right rather than the number of Shares issued in settlement of the Stock Appreciation Right.

(c)    Subject to adjustment as provided in Section 4.3, the maximum number of Shares of the Share Authorization that may be issued pursuant to the exercise of ISOs granted on or after the Effective Date, shall be four million three hundred twenty thousand nine hundred and sixty-one (4,320,961) Shares.
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(d)    The maximum Grant Date value of Shares subject to Awards granted to a Non-employee Director during any Plan Year, in the Participant’s capacity as a Non-employee Director, shall not exceed $500,000 in total value. For purposes of this limit, the value of such Awards shall be calculated based on the Grant Date fair value of such Awards for financial reporting purposes.

4.2    Reallocation of Shares. To the extent that Awards terminate by expiration, forfeiture, cancellation, or otherwise without the issuance of such Shares, are settled in cash in lieu of Shares, or are exchanged with the Committee’s permission, prior to the issuance of Shares, for Awards not involving Shares, then the Shares subject to such Award shall be available again for grant under Section 4.1(a) of this Plan; provided, however, that the number of Shares that shall again be available shall be based on the Full Value Factor if the previous Award was not an Option or Stock Appreciation Right. If any Shares are withheld by the Company or are tendered (either actually or by attestation) by a Participant to satisfy any tax withholding obligation with respect to an Award (other than an Option or Stock Appreciation Right), then the Shares so tendered or withheld shall again be available for issuance under the Plan and correspondingly increase the total number of Shares available for issuance under Section 4.1(a) of the Plan based on the Full Value Factor. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section 4.2, the following Shares will not again become available for issuance under the Plan: (i) any Shares which would have been issued upon any exercise of an Option but for the fact that the exercise price was paid by a “net exercise” or any Shares tendered (either actually or by attestation) by a Participant in payment of the exercise price of an Option; (ii) any Shares withheld by the Company or Shares tendered (either actually or by attestation) by a Participant to satisfy any tax withholding obligation with respect to an Option or a Stock Appreciation Right (but not other Awards); (iii) Shares covered by a Stock Appreciation Right that are not issued in connection with the stock settlement upon its exercise; or (iv) Shares that are repurchased by the Company using Option exercise proceeds.

4.3    Adjustments in Authorized Shares. In the event of any corporate event or transaction (including, but not limited to, a change in the Shares of the Company or the capitalization of the Company) such as a merger, consolidation, reorganization, recapitalization, separation, partial or complete liquidation, stock dividend, stock split, reverse stock split, split up, spin-off, or other distribution of stock or property of the Company, combination of Shares, exchange of Shares, dividend in kind, or other like change in capital structure, number of outstanding Shares or distribution (other than normal cash dividends) to shareholders of the Company, or any similar corporate event or transaction, the Committee, in its sole discretion, in order to prevent dilution or enlargement of Participants’ rights under this Plan, shall substitute or adjust, as applicable, the number and kind of Shares that may be issued under this Plan or under particular forms of Awards, the Full Value Factor set forth in Section 4.1, the number and kind of Shares subject to outstanding Awards, the Option Price or Grant Price applicable to outstanding Awards, and other value determinations applicable to outstanding Awards.

The Committee, in its sole discretion, may also make appropriate adjustments in the terms of any Awards under this Plan to reflect such changes or distributions and to modify any other terms of outstanding Awards, including modifications of Performance Goals and changes in the length of applicable Performance Periods. The determination of the Committee as to the foregoing adjustments, if any, shall be conclusive and binding on Participants under this Plan.

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section 4.3, an adjustment to an Option or SAR shall be made only to the extent such adjustment complies with the requirements of Code Section 409A.

Subject to the provisions of Article 17 and notwithstanding anything else herein to the contrary, without affecting the number of Shares reserved or available hereunder, the Committee may authorize the issuance or assumption of benefits under this Plan in connection with any merger, consolidation, acquisition of property or stock, or reorganization upon such terms and conditions as it may deem appropriate (including, but not limited to, a conversion of equity awards into Awards under this Plan in a manner consistent with paragraph 53 of FASB Interpretation No. 44), subject to compliance with the rules under Code Sections 409A, 422 and 424, as and where applicable.

Article 5.

Eligibility and Participation

5.1    Eligibility. Individuals eligible to participate in this Plan include all Employees, Directors, and Third-Party Service Providers.

5.2    Actual Participation. Subject to the provisions of this Plan, the Committee may, from time to time, select from all eligible individuals, those individuals to whom Awards shall be granted and shall determine, in its sole discretion, the nature of, any and all terms permissible by law, and the amount of, each Award.

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Article 6.

Stock Options

6.1    Grant of Options. Subject to the terms and provisions of this Plan, Options may be granted to Participants in such number, and upon such terms, and at any time and from time to time as shall be determined by the Committee, in its sole discretion; provided that ISOs may be granted only to eligible Employees of the Company or of any parent or subsidiary corporation (as permitted under Code Sections 422 and 424).

6.2    Award Agreement. Each Option grant shall be evidenced by an Award Agreement that shall specify the Option Price, the maximum duration of the Option, the number of Shares to which the Option pertains, the conditions upon which the Option shall become vested and exercisable, including, without limitation, whether Options will vest based upon the achievement of specific Performance Goals, and such other provisions as the Committee shall determine which are not inconsistent with the terms of this Plan. The Award Agreement also shall specify whether the Option is intended to be an ISO or a NQSO.

6.3    Option Price. The Option Price for each grant of an Option under this Plan shall be determined by the Committee in its sole discretion and shall be specified in the Award Agreement; provided, however, the Option Price must be at least equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the FMV of the Shares as determined on the Grant Date; provided, further, however, that the Option Price must be at least equal to one hundred and ten percent (110%) of the FMV of a Share on the Grant Date with respect to any ISO issued to a Participant who, on the Grant Date, owns (as defined in Code Section 424(d)) stock possessing more than ten percent (10%) of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock of the Company or of its subsidiary corporation (as defined in Code Section 424(f)) (a “10% Shareholder”).

6.4    Term of Options. Each Option granted to a Participant shall expire at such time as the Committee shall determine at the time of grant; provided, however, no Option shall be exercisable later than the day before the tenth (10th) anniversary of the Grant Date; provided, further, however, that no ISO granted to a 10% Shareholder shall be exercisable later than the day before the fifth (5th) anniversary of its Grant Date.

6.5    Exercise of Options. Options granted under this Article 6 shall be exercisable at such times and be subject to such restrictions and conditions as the Committee shall in each instance approve, which terms and restrictions need not be the same for each grant or for each Participant. Notwithstanding anything in this Plan to the contrary, to the extent that the aggregate FMV of the Shares (determined as of the Grant Date of the applicable ISO) with respect to which ISOs are exercisable for the first time by a Participant during any calendar year (under all plans of the Company and its subsidiary corporations (as defined in Code Section 424(f)) exceeds $100,000, such Options shall be treated as Nonqualified Stock Options.

6.6    Payment. Options granted under this Article 6 shall be exercised by the delivery of a notice of exercise to the Company or an agent designated by the Company in a form specified or accepted by the Committee, or by complying with any alternative procedures which may be authorized by the Committee, setting forth the number of Shares with respect to which the Option is to be exercised, accompanied by full payment for the Shares.

A condition of the issuance of the Shares as to which an Option shall be exercised shall be the payment of the Option Price. The Option Price of any Option shall be payable to the Company in full either: (a) in cash or its equivalent; (b) by tendering (either by actual delivery or attestation) previously acquired Shares having an aggregate Fair Market Value at the time of exercise equal to the Option Price (provided that except as otherwise determined by the Committee, the Shares that are tendered must have been held by the Participant for at least six (6) months (or such other period, if any, as the Committee may permit) prior to their tender to satisfy the Option Price if acquired under this Plan or any other compensation plan maintained by the Company or have been purchased on the open market); (c) by a cashless (broker-assisted) exercise; (d) by a combination of (a), (b) and/or (c); or (e) any other method approved or accepted by the Committee in its sole discretion, including by the withholding of Shares subject to the exercisable Option, which have a Fair Market Value on the date of exercise equal to the Option Price, if permitted by the Committee.

Subject to any governing rules or regulations, as soon as practicable after receipt of written notification of exercise and full payment (including satisfaction of any applicable tax withholding), the Company shall deliver to the Participant evidence of book entry Shares, or upon the Participant’s request, Share certificates in an appropriate amount based upon the number of Shares purchased under the Option(s).

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

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

6.8    Termination of Employment or Service. Each Participant’s Award Agreement shall set forth the extent to which the Participant shall have the right to exercise the Option following the Participant’s Termination. Such provisions shall be determined in the sole discretion of the Committee, shall be included in the Award Agreement entered into with each Participant, need not be uniform among all Options issued pursuant to this Article 6, and may reflect distinctions based on the reasons for Termination.

6.9    Notification of Disqualifying Disposition. If any Participant shall make any disposition of Shares issued pursuant to the exercise of an ISO under the circumstances described in Code Section 421(b) (relating to certain disqualifying dispositions), such Participant shall notify the Company of such disposition within ten (10) calendar days thereof.

Article 7.

Stock Appreciation Rights

7.1    Grant of SARs. Subject to the terms and conditions of this Plan, SARs may be granted to Participants at any time and from time to time as shall be determined by the Committee.

Subject to the terms and conditions of this Plan, the Committee shall have complete discretion in determining the number of SARs granted to each Participant and, consistent with the provisions of this Plan, in determining the terms and conditions pertaining to such SARs, including, without limitation, whether SARs will vest based upon the achievement of specific Performance Goals.

The Grant Price for each grant of a SAR shall be determined by the Committee and shall be specified in the Award Agreement; provided, however, the Grant Price on the Grant Date must be at least equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the FMV of the Shares as determined on the Grant Date.

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

7.3    Term of SAR. The term of a SAR granted under this Plan shall be determined by the Committee, in its sole discretion, and no SAR shall be exercisable later than the tenth (10th) anniversary date of its Grant Date.

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

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

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

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

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


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7.6    Termination of Employment or Service. Each Award Agreement shall set forth the extent to which the Participant shall have the right to exercise the SAR following the Participant’s Termination. Such provisions shall be determined in the sole discretion of the Committee, shall be included in the Award Agreement entered into with Participants, need not be uniform among all SARs issued pursuant to this Plan, and may reflect distinctions based on the reasons for Termination.

7.7    Other Restrictions. The Committee shall impose such other conditions and/or restrictions on any Shares received upon exercise of a SAR granted pursuant to this Plan as it may deem advisable or desirable. These restrictions may include, but shall not be limited to, a requirement that the Participant hold the Shares received upon exercise of a SAR for a specified period of time.

Article 8.

Restricted Stock and Restricted Stock Units

8.1    Grant of Restricted Stock or Restricted Stock Units. Subject to the terms and provisions of this Plan or an Award Agreement, the Committee, at any time and from time to time, may grant Shares of Restricted Stock and/or Restricted Stock Units to Participants in such amounts as the Committee shall determine. Restricted Stock Units shall be similar to Restricted Stock except that no Shares are actually awarded to the Participant on the Grant Date.

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

8.3    Other Restrictions. The Committee shall impose such other conditions and/or restrictions on any Shares of Restricted Stock or Restricted Stock Units granted pursuant to this Plan as it may deem advisable, including, without limitation, a requirement that Participants pay a stipulated purchase price for each Share of Restricted Stock or each Restricted Stock Unit, whether Shares of Restricted Stock and/or Restricted Stock Units will vest based upon the achievement of specific Performance Goals, time-based restrictions on vesting following the attainment of the Performance Goals, time-based restrictions, and/or restrictions under applicable laws or under the requirements of any stock exchange or market upon which such Shares are listed or traded, or holding requirements or sale restrictions placed on the Shares by the Company upon vesting of such Restricted Stock or Restricted Stock Units.

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

Except as otherwise provided in this Article 8, Shares of Restricted Stock covered by each Restricted Stock Award shall become freely transferable by the Participant after all conditions and restrictions applicable to such Shares have been satisfied or lapse (including satisfaction of any applicable tax withholding obligations), and Restricted Stock Units shall be paid in cash, Shares, or a combination of cash and Shares as the Committee, in its sole discretion shall determine.

8.4    Certificate Legend. In addition to any legends placed on certificates pursuant to Section 8.3, each certificate representing Shares of Restricted Stock granted pursuant to this Plan may bear a legend such as the following or as otherwise determined by the Committee in its sole discretion:

The sale or transfer of the common shares of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company represented by this certificate, whether voluntary, involuntary, or by operation of law, is subject to certain restrictions on transfer as set forth in The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Long-Term Incentive Plan, and in the associated Award Agreement. A copy of this Plan and such Award Agreement will be provided by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, without charge, within five (5) days after receipt of a written request therefor.

8.5    Voting Rights. Unless otherwise determined by the Committee and set forth in a Participant’s Award Agreement, to the extent permitted or required by law, as determined by the Committee, Participants holding Shares of Restricted Stock granted hereunder may be granted the right to exercise full voting rights with respect to those Shares during the Period of Restriction. A Participant shall have no voting rights with respect to any Restricted Stock Units granted hereunder.

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8.6    Termination of Employment or Service. Each Award Agreement shall set forth the extent to which the Participant shall have the right to retain Restricted Stock and/or Restricted Stock Units following the Participant’s Termination. Such provisions shall be determined in the sole discretion of the Committee, shall be included in the Award Agreement entered into with each Participant, need not be uniform among all Shares of Restricted Stock or Restricted Stock Units issued pursuant to this Plan, and may reflect distinctions based on the reasons for Termination.

8.7    Section 83(b) Election. The Committee may provide in an Award Agreement that the Award of Restricted Stock is conditioned upon the Participant making or refraining from making an election with respect to the Award under Code Section 83(b). If a Participant makes an election pursuant to Code Section 83(b) concerning a Restricted Stock Award, the Participant shall be required to file promptly a copy of such election with the Company.

Article 9.

Performance Units/Performance Shares

9.1    Grant of Performance Units/Performance Shares. Subject to the terms and provisions of this Plan, the Committee, at any time and from time to time, may grant Performance Units and/or Performance Shares to Participants in such amounts and upon such terms as the Committee shall determine.

9.2    Value of Performance Units/Performance Shares. Each Performance Unit shall have an initial value that is established by the Committee at the Grant Date. Each Performance Share shall have an initial value equal to the Fair Market Value of a Share on the Grant Date. The Committee shall set Performance Goals in its discretion which, depending on the extent to which they are met, will determine the value and/or number of Performance Units/Performance Shares that will be paid out to the Participant.

9.3    Earning of Performance Units/Performance Shares. Subject to the terms of this Plan, after the applicable Performance Period has ended (unless otherwise specified in the Award Agreement), the holder of Performance Units/Performance Shares shall be entitled to receive payout on the value and number of Performance Units/Performance Shares earned by the Participant over the Performance Period, to be determined as a function of the extent to which the corresponding Performance Goals have been achieved.

9.4    Form and Timing of Payment of Performance Units/Performance Shares. Payment of earned Performance Units/Performance Shares shall be as determined by the Committee and as evidenced in the Award Agreement. Subject to the terms of this Plan, the Committee, in its sole discretion, may pay earned Performance Units/Performance Shares in the form of cash or in Shares (or in a combination thereof) equal to the value of the earned Performance Units/Performance Shares at the close of the applicable Performance Period, or as soon as practicable after the end of the Performance Period (unless otherwise specified in the Award Agreement). Any Shares may be granted subject to any restrictions deemed appropriate by the Committee. The determination of the Committee with respect to the form of payout of such Awards shall be set forth in the Award Agreement pertaining to the grant of the Award.

9.5    Termination of Employment or Service. Each Award Agreement shall set forth the extent to which the Participant shall have the right to retain Performance Units and/or Performance Shares following the Participant’s Termination. Such provisions shall be determined in the sole discretion of the Committee, shall be included in the Award Agreement entered into with each Participant, need not be uniform among all Awards of Performance Units or Performance Shares issued pursuant to this Plan, and may reflect distinctions based on the reasons for Termination.

9.6    Performance Units and Performance Shares shall be transferred or paid to the Participant as determined by the Committee in the applicable Award Agreement, consistent with the requirements of Code Section 409A.

Article 10.

Other Stock-Based Awards

10.1    Other Stock-Based Awards. The Committee may grant other types of equity-based or equity-related Awards not otherwise described by the terms of this Plan (including the grant or offer for sale of unrestricted Shares) in such amounts and subject to such terms and conditions, as the Committee shall determine. Such Awards may involve the transfer of actual Shares to Participants, or payment in cash or otherwise of amounts based on the value of Shares and may include, without limitation, Awards designed to comply with or take advantage of the applicable local laws of jurisdictions other than the United States.
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10.2    Value of Other Stock-Based Awards. Each Other Stock-Based Award shall be expressed in terms of Shares or units based on Shares, as determined by the Committee. The Committee may establish Performance Goals in its discretion applicable to Other Stock-Based Awards. If the Committee exercises its discretion to establish Performance Goals, the number and/or value of Other Stock-Based Awards that will be paid out to the Participant will depend on the extent to which the Performance Goals are met.

10.3    Payment of Other Stock-Based Awards. Payment, if any, with respect to an Other Stock-Based Award shall be made in accordance with the terms of the Award, in cash or Shares as the Committee determines and as specified in the Award Agreement.

10.4    Termination of Employment or Service. The Committee shall determine the extent to which the Participant shall have the right to receive Other Stock-Based Awards following the Participant’s Termination. Such provisions shall be determined in the sole discretion of the Committee, shall be included in an agreement entered into with each Participant, need not be uniform among all Awards of Other Stock-Based Awards issued pursuant to the Plan, and may reflect distinctions based on the reasons for Termination.

Article 11.

Transferability of Awards

11.1    Transferability. Except as provided in Section 11.2 below, during a Participant’s lifetime, his or her Awards shall be exercisable only by the Participant or the Participant’s legal representative. Awards shall not be transferable other than by will or the laws of descent and distribution; no Awards shall be subject, in whole or in part, to attachment, execution, or levy of any kind; and any purported transfer in violation hereof shall be null and void. The Committee may establish such procedures as it deems appropriate for a Participant to designate a beneficiary to whom any amounts payable or Shares issuable in the event of, or following, the Participant’s death, may be provided.

11.2    Committee Action. The Committee may, in its discretion, determine that notwithstanding Section 11.1, any or all Awards (other than ISOs) shall be transferable to and exercisable by such transferees, and subject to such terms and conditions, as the Committee may deem appropriate; provided, however, no Award may be transferred for value (as defined in the General Instructions to Form S-8).

Article 12.

Non-employee Director Awards

The Board shall determine all Awards to Non-employee Directors. The terms and conditions of any grant to any such Non-employee Director shall be set forth in an Award Agreement.

Article 13.

Dividends or Dividend Equivalents

Any Participant selected by the Committee may be granted dividends or Dividend Equivalents based on the dividends declared on Shares that are subject to any Award (other than Options or SARs), to be credited as of dividend payment dates, during the period between the Grant Date and the date the Award becomes payable or as otherwise provided in an Award Agreement, as determined by the Committee; provided, however, that dividends or Dividend Equivalents on Shares shall be payable only when and to the extent that the underlying Awards vest and become payable. Such dividends and Dividend Equivalents shall be converted to cash or additional Shares by such formula and at such time and subject to such limitations as may be determined by the Committee.

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Article 14.

Beneficiary Designation

Each Participant under this Plan may, from time to time, name any beneficiary or beneficiaries (who may be named contingently or successively) to whom any benefit under this Plan is to be paid in case of his death before he receives any or all of such benefit. Each such designation shall revoke all prior designations by the same Participant, shall be in a form prescribed by the Committee, and will be effective only when filed by the Participant in writing with the Company during the Participant’s lifetime. In the absence of any such beneficiary designation, benefits remaining unpaid or rights remaining unexercised at the Participant’s death shall be paid to or exercised by the Participant’s spouse, executor, administrator, or legal representative in that order.

Article 15.

Rights of Participants

15.1    Employment or Service. Nothing in this Plan or an Award Agreement shall interfere with or limit in any way the right of the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries, to Terminate any Participant at any time or for any reason not prohibited by law, nor confer upon any Participant any right to continue his employment or service as a Director or Third-Party Service Provider for any specified period of time.

Neither an Award nor any benefits arising under this Plan shall constitute an employment contract with the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries and, accordingly, subject to Articles 3 and 17, this Plan and the benefits hereunder may be terminated at any time in the sole and exclusive discretion of the Committee without giving rise to any liability on the part of the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries.

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

15.3    Rights as a Shareholder. Except as otherwise provided herein, a Participant shall have none of the rights of a shareholder with respect to Shares covered by any Award until the Participant becomes the record holder of such Shares.

Article 16.

Change in Control

16.1    Accelerated Vesting and Settlement. Subject to Section 16.2, on the date of any Change in Control:

(a)    Each Option and SAR (other than Options and SARs of Non-employee Directors) outstanding on the date of a Change in Control (whether or not exercisable) will be cancelled in exchange (i) for cash equal to the excess of the Change in Control Price over the Option Price or Grant Price, as applicable, associated with the cancelled Option or SAR or, (ii) at the Committee’s discretion, for whole Shares with a Fair Market Value equal to the excess of the Change in Control Price over the Option Price or Grant Price, as applicable, associated with the cancelled Option or SAR and the Fair Market Value of any fractional Share will be distributed in cash. However, the Committee, in its sole discretion, may offer the holders of the Options or SARs to be cancelled a reasonable opportunity (not longer than 15 days beginning on the date of the Change in Control) to exercise all their outstanding Options and SARs (whether or not otherwise then exercisable);

(b)    Except as otherwise provided in an Award Agreement, all performance goals associated with Awards for which Performance Goals have been established will be deemed to have been met on the date of the Change in Control, all Performance Periods accelerated to the date of the Change in Control and all outstanding Awards for which Performance Goals have been established (including those subject to the acceleration described in this subsection) will be distributed in a single lump sum cash payment within thirty (30) days following such Change in Control; and

(c)    All other then-outstanding Awards whose exercisability or vesting depends merely on the satisfaction of a service obligation by a Participant to the Company, Subsidiary, or Affiliate (“Service Award”) shall vest in full and be free of restrictions related to the vesting of such Awards. All Service Awards whose vesting is so accelerated will be distributed, if not already held by a Participant and to the extent applicable, (i) in a single lump-sum
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cash payment within thirty (30) days following such Change in Control based on the Change in Control Price or, (ii) at the Committee’s discretion, in the form of whole Shares based on the Change in Control Price.

16.2    Alternative Awards. Section 16.1 will not apply to the extent that the Committee reasonably concludes in good faith before the Change in Control occurs that Awards will be honored or assumed, or new rights will be substituted (collectively, “Alternative Awards”), by the Employee’s employer (or the parent or a subsidiary of that employer), or (if the Company is the surviving company) that the Awards in effect immediately prior to the Change in Control shall continue without change following the Change in Control (“Continued Award”), provided that any Alternative Award or Continued Award must, as applicable:

(a)    Be based on stock that is (or, within 60 days of the Change in Control, will be) traded on an established securities market;

(b)    Provide the Employee with the rights and entitlements substantially equivalent to or better than the rights, terms and conditions of each Award for which it is substituted, including an identical or better exercise or vesting schedule and identical or, in the case of an Award that is not subject to Code Section 409A, better timing and methods of payment;

(c)    Have substantially equivalent economic value to the Award (determined at the time of the Change in Control) for which it is substituted; and

(d)    Provide that, if the Employee is involuntarily Terminated without Cause or the Employee constructively Terminates within twenty-four (24) months following the Change in Control, any conditions on the Employee’s rights under, or any restrictions on transfer or exercisability applicable to, each Alternative Award or Continued Award will be waived or lapse. For purposes of this section, a constructive Termination means a Termination by an Employee following a material reduction in the Employee’s compensation or job responsibilities (when compared to the Employee’s compensation and job responsibilities on the date of the Change in Control) or the relocation of the Employee’s principal place of employment to a location at least fifty (50) miles from his or her principal place of employment on the date of the Change in Control (or other location to which the Employee has been reassigned with his or her written consent), in each case without the Employee’s written consent.

Notwithstanding anything herein to the contrary, no Alternative Award shall be made with respect to an Option or SAR if it would cause the Option or SAR to fail to comply with the requirements of Code Section 409A.

16.3    Non-employee Directors’ Awards. Upon a Change in Control, each outstanding:

(a)    Option or SAR held by a Non-employee Director will be cancelled unless (i) the Shares continues to be traded on an established securities market after the Change in Control or (ii) the Non-employee Director continues to be a Board member after the Change in Control. In the situations just described, the Options or SARs held by a Non-employee Director will be unaffected by a Change in Control. Any Options and SARs held by a Non-employee Director to be cancelled under the next preceding sentence will be exchanged (iii) for cash equal to the excess of the Change in Control Price over the Option Price or Grant Price, as applicable, associated with the cancelled Option or SAR held by a Non-employee Director or, (iv) at the Board’s discretion, for whole Shares with a Fair Market Value equal to the excess of the Change in Control Price over the Option Price or Grant Price, as applicable, associated with the cancelled Option or SAR held by a Non-employee Director and the Fair Market Value of any fractional Share will be distributed in cash. However, the Board, in its sole discretion, may offer Non-employee Directors holding Options or SARs to be cancelled a reasonable opportunity (not longer than 15 days beginning on the date of the Change in Control) to exercise all their outstanding Options and SARs (whether or not otherwise then exercisable).

(b)    Restricted Stock or Restricted Stock Unit held by a Non-employee Director will be settled within thirty (30) days following such Change in Control for a lump sum cash payment equal to the Change in Control Price.

(c)    All other types of Awards held by a Non-employee Director will be settled within thirty (30) days following such Change in Control for a lump sum cash payment equal to the Change in Control Price less any amount the Non-employee Director would be required to pay in order for the Award to be exercised or settled, other than any such amount related to taxes.

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Article 17.

Amendment, Modification, Suspension, and Termination

17.1    Amendment, Modification, Suspension, and Termination. Subject to Section 17.3, the Committee may, at any time and from time to time, alter, amend, modify, suspend, or terminate this Plan and any Award Agreement in whole or in part; provided, however, that except in connection with a corporate transaction involving the Company (including, without limitation, any stock dividend, stock split, extraordinary cash dividend, recapitalization, reorganization, merger, consolidation, split-up, spin-off, combination, or exchange of Shares), the Company shall not, without the prior approval of the Company’s shareholders, (i) amend the terms of outstanding Options or SARs to reduce the exercise price of such outstanding Options or SARs, (ii) cancel outstanding Options or SARs in exchange for Options or SARs with an exercise price that is less than the exercise price of the original Options or SARs, or (iii) cancel outstanding Options or SARs with an exercise price above the current stock price in exchange for cash or other securities. No material amendment of this Plan shall be made without shareholder approval if shareholder approval is required by law, regulation, or stock exchange rule.

17.2    Adjustment of Awards Upon the Occurrence of Certain Unusual and Infrequently Occurring Events. The Committee may make adjustments in the terms and conditions of, and the criteria included in, Awards in recognition of unusual or infrequently occurring events (including, without limitation, the events described in Section 4.3 hereof) affecting the Company or the financial statements of the Company or of changes in applicable laws, regulations, or accounting principles, whenever the Committee determines that such adjustments are appropriate in order to prevent unintended dilution or enlargement of the benefits or potential benefits intended to be made available under this Plan. The determination of the Committee as to the foregoing adjustments, if any, shall be conclusive and binding on Participants under this Plan. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section 17.2, an adjustment to an Option or SAR shall be made only to the extent such adjustment complies with the requirements of Code Section 409A.

17.3    Awards Previously Granted. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Plan to the contrary (other than Section 17.4), no termination, amendment, suspension, or modification of this Plan or an Award Agreement shall adversely affect in any material way any Award previously granted under this Plan, without the written consent of the Participant holding such Award.

17.4    Amendment to Conform to Law. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Plan to the contrary, the Board may amend the Plan or an Award Agreement, to take effect retroactively or otherwise, as deemed necessary or advisable for the purpose of conforming the Plan or an Award Agreement to any present or future law relating to plans of this or similar nature (including, but not limited to, Code Section 409A), and to the administrative regulations and rulings promulgated thereunder. By accepting an Award under this Plan, each Participant agrees to any amendment made pursuant to this Section 17.4 to any Award granted under the Plan without further consideration or action.

Article 18.

Tax Withholding

The Company has the right to withhold from any payment of cash or Shares to a Participant or other person under the Plan an amount sufficient to cover any required withholding taxes, including the Participant’s social security and Medicare taxes (FICA) and federal, state, local income tax or such other applicable taxes (“Taxes”) with respect to an Award. The Company may require the payment of any Taxes before issuing any Shares pursuant to an Award. The Committee may, if it deems appropriate in the case of a Participant, withhold such Taxes through a reduction of the number of Shares issued to such Participant, or allow the Participant to elect to cover all or any part of such withholding for Taxes, through a reduction of the number of Shares issued to the Participant or a subsequent return to the Company of Shares held by the Participant, in each case valued in the same manner as used in computing the withholding taxes under the applicable laws.

Article 19.

Successors

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

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Article 20.

General Provisions

20.1    Forfeiture Events.

(a)    The Committee may specify in an Award Agreement that the Participant’s rights, payments, and benefits with respect to an Award shall be subject to reduction, cancellation, forfeiture, or recoupment upon the occurrence of certain specified events, in addition to any otherwise applicable vesting or performance conditions of an Award. Such events may include, but shall not be limited to, Termination for Cause, termination of the Participant’s provision of services to the Company, Affiliate, and/or Subsidiary, violation of material Company, Affiliate, and/or Subsidiary policies, breach of noncompetition, confidentiality, or other restrictive covenants that may apply to the Participant, or other conduct by the Participant that is detrimental to the business or reputation of the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries.

(b)    If the Company is required to prepare an accounting restatement due to the material noncompliance of the Company, as a result of misconduct, with any financial reporting requirement under the securities laws, if the Participant knowingly or grossly negligently engaged in the misconduct, or knowingly or grossly negligently failed to prevent the misconduct, or if the Participant is one of the individuals subject to automatic forfeiture under Section 304 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Participant shall reimburse the Company the amount of any payment in settlement of an Award earned or accrued during the twelve (12)-month period following the first public issuance or filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (whichever first occurs) of the financial document embodying such financial reporting requirement.

20.2    Legend. The certificates for Shares may include any legend which the Committee deems appropriate to reflect any restrictions on transfer of such Shares.

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

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

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

20.6    Delivery of Title. The Company shall have no obligation to issue or deliver evidence of title for Shares issued under this Plan prior to:

(a)    Obtaining any approvals from governmental agencies that the Company determines are necessary; and

(b)    Completion of any registration or other qualification of the Shares under any applicable national or foreign law or ruling of any governmental body that the Company determines to be necessary.

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

20.8    Investment Representations. The Committee may require any individual receiving Shares pursuant to an Award under this Plan to represent and warrant in writing that the individual is acquiring the Shares for investment and without any present intention to sell or distribute such Shares.

20.9    Employees Based Outside of the United States. Notwithstanding any provision of this Plan to the contrary, in order to comply with the laws in other countries in which the Company, its Affiliates, and/or its Subsidiaries operate or have
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Employees, Directors, or Third-Party Service Providers, the Committee, in its sole discretion, shall have the power and authority to:

(a)    Determine which Affiliates and Subsidiaries shall be covered by this Plan;

(b)    Determine which Employees, Directors, and/or Third-Party Service Providers outside the United States are eligible to participate in this Plan;

(c)    Modify the terms and conditions of any Award granted to Employees and/or Third-Party Service Providers outside the United States to comply with applicable foreign laws;

(d)    Establish subplans and modify exercise procedures and other terms and procedures, to the extent such actions may be necessary or advisable. Any subplans and modifications to Plan terms and procedures established under this Section 20.9 by the Committee shall be attached to this Plan document as appendices; and

(e)    Take any action, before or after an Award is made, that it deems advisable to obtain approval or comply with any necessary local government regulatory exemptions or approvals.

Notwithstanding the above, the Committee may not take any actions hereunder, and no Awards shall be granted, that would violate applicable law.

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

20.11    Unfunded Plan. Participants shall have no right, title, or interest whatsoever in or to any investments that the Company, and/or its Subsidiaries, and/or its Affiliates may make to aid it in meeting its obligations under this Plan. Nothing contained in this Plan, and no action taken pursuant to its provisions, shall create or be construed to create a trust of any kind, or a fiduciary relationship between the Company and any Participant, beneficiary, legal representative, or any other individual. To the extent that any individual acquires a right to receive payments from the Company, its Subsidiaries, and/or its Affiliates under this Plan, such right shall be no greater than the right of an unsecured general creditor of the Company, a Subsidiary, or an Affiliate, as the case may be. All payments to be made hereunder shall be paid from the general funds of the Company, a Subsidiary, or an Affiliate, as the case may be and no special or separate fund shall be established and no segregation of assets shall be made to assure payment of such amounts except as expressly set forth in this Plan.

20.12    No Fractional Shares. No fractional Shares shall be issued or delivered pursuant to this Plan or any Award. The Committee shall determine whether cash, Awards, or other property shall be issued or paid in lieu of fractional Shares or whether such fractional Shares or any rights thereto shall be forfeited or otherwise eliminated.

20.13    Retirement and Welfare Plans. Neither Awards made under this Plan nor Shares or cash paid pursuant to such Awards may be included as “compensation” for purposes of computing the benefits payable to any Participant under the Company’s or any Subsidiary’s or Affiliate’s retirement plans (both qualified and non-qualified) or welfare benefit plans unless such other plan expressly provides that such compensation shall be taken into account in computing a Participant’s benefit.

20.14    Deferred Compensation. This Plan is intended to comply with the requirements of Code Section 409A, to the extent applicable. All Awards shall be construed and administered such that the Award either (i) qualifies for an exemption from the requirements of Code Section 409A or (ii) satisfies the requirements of Code Section 409A. If an Award is subject to Code Section 409A, unless the Agreement specifically provides otherwise: (i) distributions shall only be made in a manner and upon an event permitted under Code Section 409A, (ii) payments to be made upon a termination of employment shall only be made upon a “separation from service” under Code Section 409A, (iii) payments to be made upon a Change in Control shall only be made upon a “change of control event” under Code Section 409A, (iv) each payment shall be treated as a separate payment for purposes of Code Section 409A, and (v) in no event shall a Participant, directly or indirectly, designate the calendar year in which a distribution is made except in accordance with Code Section 409A. Any Award granted under this
Plan that is subject to Code Section 409A and that is to be distributed to a “specified employee” (as defined below) upon Termination shall be administered so that any distribution with respect to such Award shall be postponed for six months following the date of the Participant’s Termination, if required by Code Section 409A. If a distribution is delayed pursuant to Code Section 409A, the distribution shall be paid within 30 days after the end of the six-month period. If the Participant dies during such six-month period, any postponed amounts shall be paid within 90 days of the Participant’s death. The determination of “specified employees,” including the number and identity of persons considered “specified employees” and
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the identification date, shall be made by the Committee or its delegate each year in accordance with Code Section 416(i) and the “specified employee” requirements of Code Section 409A. In no event shall the Company have any responsibility or liability if any Award does not meet the applicable requirements of Code Section 409A. Although the Company intends to administer the Plan to prevent taxation under Code Section 409A, the Company does not represent or warrant that the Plan or any Award complies with any provision of federal, state, local or other tax law.

20.15    Company Policies. All Awards granted under the Plan shall be subject to any applicable Company clawback or recoupment policies, share trading policies and other policies that may be implemented by the Company from time to time.

20.16    Nonexclusivity of this Plan. The adoption of this Plan shall not be construed as creating any limitations on the power of the Board or Committee to adopt such other compensation arrangements as it may deem desirable for any Participant.

20.17    No Constraint on Corporate Action. Nothing in this Plan shall be construed to: (i) limit, impair, or otherwise affect the Company’s or a Subsidiary’s or an Affiliate’s right or power to make adjustments, reclassifications, reorganizations, or changes of its capital or business structure, or to merge or consolidate, or dissolve, liquidate, sell, or transfer all or any part of its business or assets; or, (ii) limit the right or power of the Company or a Subsidiary or an Affiliate to take any action which such entity deems to be necessary or appropriate.

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

20.19    Indemnification. Subject to requirements of Ohio law, each individual who is or shall have been a member of the Board, or a Committee appointed by the Board, or an officer of the Company to whom authority was delegated in accordance with Article 3, shall be indemnified and held harmless by the Company against and from any loss, cost, liability, or expense that may be imposed upon or reasonably incurred by him or her in connection with or resulting from any claim, action, suit, or proceeding to which he or she may be a party or in which he or she may be involved by reason of any action taken or failure to act under this Plan and against and from any and all amounts paid by him or her in settlement thereof, with the Company’s approval, or paid by him or her in satisfaction of any judgment in any such action, suit, or proceeding against him or her, provided he or she shall give the Company an opportunity, at its own expense, to handle and defend the same before he or she undertakes to handle and defend it on his/her own behalf, unless such loss, cost, liability, or expense is a result of his/her own willful misconduct or except as expressly provided by statute.

The foregoing right of indemnification shall not be exclusive of any other rights of indemnification to which such individuals may be entitled under the Company’s Articles of Incorporation or Code of Regulations, as a matter of law, or otherwise, or any power that the Company may have to indemnify them or hold them harmless.

20.20    Controlling Language. Unless otherwise specified herein, in the event of a conflict between the terms of the Plan and the terms of an Award Agreement, the terms of the Plan shall control.

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smg20170127s8ex23image1a.jpg        
Exhibit 23.1






CONSENT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

We consent to the incorporation by reference in this Registration Statement on Form S-8 of our reports dated November 22, 2023, relating to the financial statements and financial statement schedules of The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company and subsidiaries (the “Company”), and the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting, appearing in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of the Company for the year ended September 30, 2023.

/s/ Deloitte & Touche LLP

Columbus, Ohio
January 24, 2024


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