hostile takeover

noun
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of hostile takeover

: an attempt to buy a company when the people who own the company do not want to sell it

Word by Word Definitions

hostile play
  1. : of or relating to an enemy

  2. : marked by malevolence : having or showing unfriendly feelings

  3. : openly opposed or resisting

takeover play
  1. : the action or an act of taking over

  1. : to assume control or possession of or responsibility for

  2. : to assume control or possession

  3. : to become dominant


Financial Definition of HOSTILE TAKEOVER

hostile takeover

What It Is

A hostile takeover is a type of corporate acquisition or merger which is carried out against the wishes of the board (and usually management) of the target company.

How It Works

In a hostile takeover, the target company's board of directors rejects the offer, but the bidder continues to pursue the acquisition.

A bidder may initiate a hostile takeover through a tender offer, which means that the bidder proposes to purchase the target company's stock at a fixed price above the current market price. Another method of hostile takeover is acquiring a majority interest in the stock of the company on the open market. If that is impossible or just too expensive, a bidder may initiate a proxy fight, which means that the bidder persuades enough shareholders to replace the management of the company with one which will approve the acquisition.

Why It Matters

Most acquisitions and mergers occur in the business world by mutual agreement -- both sides agree that all of the shareholder's interests are served best by the transaction. In those instances, both sides have a chance to evaluate the costs and benefits, assets and liabilities, and proceed with full knowledge of the risks and returns.

However, in a hostile takeover, because the management and board of the target company resist the acquisition, they usually do not share any information that is not already publicly available. As a result, the acquiring firm takes a risk and may unwittingly acquire debts or serious technical problems.

In addition, the loss of key managers and leadership within the company may cause a shakeup within the target company that may disrupt its operations and threaten its viability.


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up hostile takeover? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!