A "friendly takeover" is an acquisition which is approved by the management. Before a bidder makes an offer for another company, it usually first informs the company's Board of Directors. In an ideal world, if the board feels that accepting the offer serves the shareholders better than rejecting it, it recommends the offer be accepted by the shareholders.
In a private company, because the shareholders and the board are usually the same people or closely connected with one another, private acquisitions are usually friendly. If the shareholders agree to sell the company, then the board is usually of the same mind or sufficiently under the orders of the equity shareholders to cooperate with the bidder. This point is not relevant to the UK concept of takeovers, which always involve the acquisition of a public company.
A hostile takeover allows a bidder to take over a target company whose management is unwilling to agree to a merger or takeover. A takeover is considered "hostile" if the target company's board rejects the offer, and if the bidder continues to pursue it, or the bidder makes the offer directly after having announced its firm intention to make an offer. Development of the hostile tender is attributed to Louis Wolfson.
A hostile takeover can be conducted in several ways. A tender offer can be made where the acquiring company makes a public offer at a fixed price above the current market price. Tender offers in the United States are regulated by the Williams Act. An acquiring company can also engage in a proxy fight, whereby it tries to persuade enough shareholders, usually a simple majority, to replace the management with a new one which will approve the takeover. Another method involves quietly purchasing enough stock on the open market, known as a "creeping tender offer", to effect a change in management. In all of these ways, management resists the acquisition, but it is carried out anyway.
The main consequence of a bid being considered hostile is practical rather than legal. If the board of the target cooperates, the bidder can conduct extensive due diligence into the affairs of the target company, providing the bidder with a comprehensive analysis of the target company's finances. In contrast, a hostile bidder will only have more limited, publicly available information about the target company available, rendering the bidder vulnerable to hidden risks regarding the target company's finances. An additional problem is that takeovers often require loans provided by banks in order to service the offer, but banks are often less willing to back a hostile bidder because of the relative lack of target information which is available to them.
A "reverse takeover" is a type of takeover where a private company acquires a public company. This is usually done at the instigation of the larger, private company, the purpose being for the private company to effectively float itself while avoiding some of the expense and time involved in a conventional IPO. However, in the UK under AIM rules, a reverse take-over is an acquisition or acquisitions in a twelve-month period which for an AIM company would:exceed 100% in any of the class tests; or result in a fundamental change in its business, board or voting control; or
in the case of an investing company, depart substantially from the investing strategy stated in its admission document or, where no admission document was produced on admission, depart substantially from the investing strategy stated in its pre-admission announcement or, depart substantially from the investing strategy.
An individual or organization, sometimes known as corporate raider, can purchase a large fraction of the company's stock and, in doing so, get enough votes to replace the board of directors and the CEO. With a new agreeable management team, the stock is a much more attractive investment, which would likely result in a price rise and a profit for the corporate raider and the other shareholders.
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