white knight

noun
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of white knight

1 :one that comes to the rescue of another; especially :a corporation invited to buy out a second corporation in order to prevent an undesired takeover by a third
2 :one that champions a cause

Examples of white knight in a Sentence

  1. a deserving cause in need of a charismatic white knight who will galvanize public support

First Known Use of white knight

1628


Financial Definition of WHITE KNIGHT

white knight

What It Is

A white knight is a company that acquires another company that is trying to avoid acquisition by a third party.

How It Works

For example, let's assume that Company XYZ wants to acquire Company ABC. Company ABC feels that Company XYZ is a hostile bidder and will ruin the company. As a result, Company ABC's directors go on the offensive and tell the shareholders that a sale to Company XYZ would not be a good thing.

Company 123, which has worked with Company ABC for years and has a good relationship with its board, sees an opportunity to "save" Company ABC from the tense situation and make a lucrative acquisition at the same time. Company ABC welcomes Company 123's bid and merges with it to avoid acquisition by Company XYZ. Company 123 is a white knight.

Why It Matters

White knights make acquisitions on friendly terms. White knights are white because they are associated with goodness and virtue.


WHITE KNIGHT Defined for English Language Learners

white knight

noun

Definition of white knight for English Language Learners

  • : someone or something that rescues or saves another person or thing from a bad situation; especially : a company that buys a second company in order to prevent it from being taken over by a third company


Law Dictionary

white knight

noun

legal Definition of white knight

:a party (as a corporation) invited to take over a corporation and thereby prevent its acquisition by another — compare raider


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