What Is a Takeover? Definition, How They’re Funded, and Example

In a reverse takeover, a private company takes over a public company in a quick way to become public themselves. In this scenario, a private company purchases most if not all shares of a public company, and then converts the target companies shares into their own shares, making them a public entity. An example of a successful hostile takeover is that of pharmaceutical company Sanofi’s (SNY) acquisition of Genzyme. Genzyme produced drugs for the treatment of rare genetic disorders and Sanofi saw the company as a means to expand into a niche industry and broaden its product offering.

  • Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts.
  • There are quite a few tactics or techniques which can be used to deter a hostile takeover.
  • In today’s dynamic economic environment, companies are often faced with decisions concerning these actions—after all, the job of management is to maximize shareholder value.
  • A well-known example of a reverse takeover in the United Kingdom was Darwen Group’s 2008 takeover of Optare plc.
  • Controlling interest requires a company to account for the owned company as a subsidiary in its financial reporting, and this requires consolidated financial statements.

A conversion of shares into cash is counted as a disposal that triggers a payment of capital gains tax, whereas if the shares are converted into other securities, such as loan notes, the tax is rolled over. As a shareholder of a target company, the impact will be more noticeable. In many cases, your shares in the target why is bp stock so low company will be replaced with shares in the acquiring company. But in other cases, you may simply receive cash for the fair market value of your shares. Hostile takeovers are less common and occur when an acquiring company takes control of the target company without the consent of the target company’s leadership.

Understanding Takeovers

Facing significant resistance from the company and shareholders, he aborted his efforts in September of that year. A “Saturday night special” was a sudden attempt by one company to take over another by making a public tender offer. The name comes from the fact that these maneuvers used to be done over the weekends.

The next time you read a news release that says that your company is using a poison pill to ward off a Saturday night special, you’ll now know what it means. More importantly, you’ll know that you may have the opportunity to purchase more shares at a cheap price. As mentioned, both mergers and takeovers can be funded through the purchase and exchange of stock. In other situations, cash can be used, or a mix of both cash and equity.

It regulates when and what information companies must and cannot release publicly in relation to the bid, sets timetables for certain aspects of the bid, and sets minimum bid levels following a previous purchase of shares. In all successful hostile takeovers, the management tries to resist the acquisition, but eventually fails. In the United States, bidders must include comprehensive details of a tender offer in their filing what is dowmarkets and how to use it to the SEC. It must also provide the target company with details regarding its tender offer. Sometimes there may also be a hostile takeover situation if the bidder announces its firm intention to make an offer, and then immediately makes the offer directly – thus, not giving the board time to get organized. Keep in mind, if a company owns more than 50% of the shares of a company, it is considered controlling interest.

Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. A takeover might disrupt supply chains, creating an unfavorable environment for suppliers, who may increase costs for the newly merged companies. In the event of a takeover, there are things which can be done to prevent a takeover from moving forward.

In 2012, activist investor Carl Icahn acquired 10% of netflix, which quickly adopted a poison pill clause, which targeted investors who held a 10% position or higher position in the company. This move was successful, and Icahn shrunk his position in Netflix to under 4%. This can often be done without the approval of the board as the shareholders can sell their shares directly for a healthy premium, effectively giving control of the company to the acquirer.

  • Genzyme produced drugs for the treatment of rare genetic disorders and Sanofi saw the company as a means to expand into a niche industry and broaden its product offering.
  • And in the case of hostile takeovers, the acquiring company bypasses the target company’s management and goes directly to the shareholders with a tender offer to purchase their outstanding shares.
  • Shares with less voting power also commonly pay a higher dividend, which can make them more attractive investments.
  • Takeover-target companies can also use leveraged recapitalization to make themselves less attractive to the bidding firm.
  • The bidder goes ahead to pursue the acquisition without first engaging the board of directors (management).

When the dotcom bubble burst, the merged company was a fraction of its original value. The process of one firm acquiring another comes in various forms, each with unique characteristics and implications. In a sense, any government tax policy of allowing for deduction
of interest expenses but not of dividends, has essentially provided a substantial subsidy to takeovers. It can punish more-conservative or prudent management that does not allow their companies to leverage themselves
into a high-risk position. High leverage will lead to high profits if circumstances go well but can lead
to catastrophic failure if they do not.

Other strategies to protect against hostile takeovers

A well-known example of a reverse takeover in the United Kingdom was Darwen Group’s 2008 takeover of Optare plc. This was also an example of a back-flip takeover (see below) as Darwen was rebranded to the more well-known Optare name. A takeover occurs when one company acquires ownership and control of another company. This occurs when the acquiring company becomes a subsidiary of the company it purchases. In fact, it is an effective way for the private company to ‘float’ itself.

This tactic also leaves behind no negotiating party that could make a deal with an acquirer. In a flip-in poison pill scenario, a company may offer shares at a discount to shareholders, buying shares at a significantly lower price than the current market value, or the ability to buy multiple shares for the price of one. If a creeping takeover bid fails, an acquirer is often stuck with a large position in a company that it must liquidate.

Hostile Takeover

Put simply; the hostile bidder tries to get more acquisition-friendly people on the board. The bidder tells the target’s board of directors about its intention and makes an offer.The board then advises its shareholders to accept the offer. A creeping takeover occurs when one company slowly increases its share ownership in another. Once the share ownership gets to 50% or more, the acquiring company is required to account for the target’s business through consolidated financial statement reporting. The 50% level can thus be a significant threshold, particularly since some companies may not want the responsibilities of controlling ownership.


A “hostile takeover” is an unfriendly takeover attempt by a company or raider that is strongly resisted by the management and the board of directors of the target firm. These types of takeovers are usually bad news, affecting employee morale at the targeted firm, which can quickly turn to animosity against the acquiring firm. Grumblings like, “Did you hear they are axing a few dozen people in our finance department…” can be heard by the water cooler. While there are examples of hostile takeovers working, they are generally tougher to pull off than a friendly merger. When the target is a publicly-traded company, the acquiring company can buy shares of the business in the secondary market. In a friendly merger or acquisition, the acquirer makes an offer for all of the target’s outstanding shares.

Everything You Need To Master M&A Modeling

Hostile bidders issue a tender offer, giving shareholders the opportunity to sell their stock to the acquirer at a substantial premium within a set timeframe. In business, a takeover is the purchase of one company (the target) by another (the acquirer or bidder). In the UK, the term refers to the acquisition of a public company whose shares are listed on a stock exchange, in contrast to the acquisition of a private company. A reverse takeover refers to a situation where a private company assumes control of a public company. A reverse takeover simply happens to enable a public company to go public without necessarily taking a risk of going through an initial public offering, a process that is costly and tedious. This means that the private company (the acquirer) changes to a public company by assuming control over an already listed company.

Phrases Containing takeover

This too has been restricted by the Williams Act in the U.S., whereby acquisitions of 5% or more of equity must be disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission. No matter which side of the takeover you’re on—a shareholder of the acquiring company or the target company—you may experience some effects in your investment portfolio. If the bidder can divide board and or shareholder opinion, it has a better chance of succeeding.

The process of being listed requires large amounts of paperwork and is a tedious and costly process. One critical factor here in terms of shareholder sentiment is the recent performance of the company with regard to its earnings reports and stock price, as underperformance tends to work affiliate pro in the favor of the hostile bidder. A corporate takeover occurs when a majority stake in a target company is acquired by a strategic or financial buyer. Takeovers initially seen as friendly may turn hostile when a target company’s board and shareholders reject the buyout terms.

They can be voluntary, meaning they are the result of a mutual decision between the two companies. In other cases, they may be unwelcome, in which case the acquirer goes after the target without its knowledge or some times without its full agreement. Generally speaking, most shareholders that actively participate and vote tend to trust the guidance of management, although there are exceptions.

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