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Home > Corporate Actions Toolbox > Events > Takeover





Definition 1

One company buying another


Definition 2

The process of seizing control over a target company by buying shares (with voting rights) or by offering existing shareholders to exchange their shares (for shares of the bidding company). In most jurisdictions, 51% of the shares and the voting rights would be sufficient to assume control.


Definition 3

The act of taking or assuming power



Types of Takeovers


Friendly Takeovers

If an offer by an acquiring company is being endorsed by the management of the target company it is called a friendly takeover. This means that the board of directors of the target company agree to the merger or acquisition by the other company and they publicly advise their shareholders to agree with the terms of the offer (the offer price) made by the bidding company.


Hostile Takeovers

A takeover that is not supported by the Board of Directors of the Company. It is the opposite of a friendly takeover.


Reverse Takeovers

The act of a private company buying a publicly listed company.



Takeover Rules



In the UK Takeovers are being supervised and regulated by the PANEL ON TAKEOVERS AND MERGERS. A Code of Conduct (the Code) has been developed since 1968 to reflect the collective opinion of those professionally involved in the field of takeovers as to appropriate business standards and as to how fairness to shareholders and an orderly framework for takeovers can be achieved. Their legislative basis is the Companies Act 2006 which confirms the rules in the code.


About the code:

The Code is based upon a number of General Principles, which are essentially statements of standards of commercial behaviour.

In addition to the General Principles, the Code contains a series of rules.


Two of the most important rules:


  • When a person or group acquires interests in shares carrying 30% or more of the voting rights of a company, they must make a cash offer to all other shareholders at the highest price paid in the 12 months before the offer was announced
  • Favourable deals for selected shareholders are banned.
  • There are several other rules. The Code can be downloaded on the website of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers.

The panel itself consists of up to 35 members that are being nominated by major financial institutions and businesses.


Process of a Takever


1 Bidding company to form strategy of expansion by mergers and acquistions (usually being advised by management consultants, accountants and industry experts).

2 Bidding company to secure funding for any potential future takeovers. Funding can be secured in several ways. Most common are: issuing a rights issue, issuing bonds or borrowing it from a bank. Another way to pay is by calling an exchange offer, whereby instead of money, shareholders are being offered shares of the bidding company as consideration for their shares in the target company.

3 Bidding company to inform the board of the target company about its intentions

4 Board of the target company to value the terms of the offer and to make a recommendation to its own shareholders either to accept or reject the offer. The valuation often has to be carried out by independent experts.

5 Bidding Company to appoint a paying Agent

6 Paying agent to publish and distribute the prospectus

7 All other parties in the market to distribute the information to their clients who hold securities of the target company

8 Beneficial owners to evaluate the offer and send elections back on whether they accept or reject the offer. In most countries, employees of both the offeror and the offeree must be informed about an offer.

9 Paying agent to collate all responses from shareholders

10 Offer being declared unconditional

11 Paying agent to calculate the result and to announce the results

12 Often a second offer period is called, to give the shareholders who initially rejected the bid a chance to reconsider their options, now that the offer has been declared successful

13 Paying agent to receive all the shares in their account and to pay the cash proceeds to all the shareholders who accepted accordingly.

14 Shareholders to deal with tax consequences

15 Bidding company to integrate acquired company in their business (often meaning that the target company will be delisted)


Example of a Takeover


The takeover of Cadbury by Kraft foods can be found in more detail here:



The Cadbury board has advised its shareholders to accept a new offer of 840 pence a share - valuing the company at £11.5bn ($18.9bn).


This was a friendly takeover as can be seen from the following;

"We believe the offer represents good value for Cadbury shareholders... and will now work with the Kraft Foods' management to ensure the continued success and growth of the business," said Cadbury's chairman Roger Carr.



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