Difference between Hostile and Friendly Takeovers

Difference between Hostile and Friendly Takeovers

In the corporate world, takeovers are common occurrences that can significantly impact the involved companies and their stakeholders. Two primary types of takeovers are hostile takeovers and friendly takeovers. While both types involve the acquisition of one company by another, they differ in their approach, nature, and level of cooperation between the acquiring and target companies. Let’s explore the key differences between hostile and friendly takeovers:

1. Definition and Characteristics

Hostile Takeover:

A hostile takeover happens when an acquiring company attempts to gain control of a target company without the cooperation or consent of the target’s management and board of directors.

The target company’s leadership strongly resists the takeover attempt, and the acquiring company typically engages in aggressive tactics to gain control.

Friendly Takeover:

A friendly takeover, also known as a negotiated acquisition, occurs when an acquiring company and the target company’s management and board of directors collaborate to reach a mutually agreed-upon acquisition deal.

In a friendly takeover, both the acquiring and target companies work together to ensure a smooth and amicable acquisition process.

2. Approach and Resistance

Hostile Takeover:

Approach: The acquiring company often directly approaches the target company’s shareholders to purchase a significant number of shares or engage in other tactics to gain voting power.

Resistance: The target company’s management and board of directors resist the takeover attempt, viewing it as a threat to their autonomy and control.

Friendly Takeover:

Approach: The acquiring company engages in open and cooperative discussions with the target company’s management to negotiate terms and conditions for the acquisition.

Resistance: In a friendly takeover, the target company’s management is generally receptive to the acquisition, aiming to secure the best terms for their shareholders.

3. Strategies Employed

Hostile Takeover:

Strategies: In a hostile takeover, the acquiring company may use tactics such as proxy fights, tender offers, and legal challenges to force the target company into the acquisition.

Example: A hostile takeover might involve the acquirer publicly criticizing the target company’s management to sway shareholder opinions in favor of the takeover.

Friendly Takeover:

Strategies: Friendly takeovers involve negotiation, due diligence, and communication between both parties to reach an agreed-upon acquisition deal.

Example: A friendly takeover might entail the acquiring company conducting thorough due diligence to assess the target company’s financials and operations before finalizing the deal.

4. Impact on Companies and Stakeholders

Hostile Takeover:

Impact: Hostile takeovers can create uncertainty and disruption within the target company, leading to potential job losses and damage to its reputation.

Potential Benefits: Despite initial disruptions, hostile takeovers can sometimes lead to operational improvements and increased shareholder value.

Friendly Takeover:

Impact: Friendly takeovers generally result in a smoother transition and integration of the target company into the acquiring company’s operations.

Potential Benefits: Friendly takeovers often lead to synergies between the companies, increased market share, and improved overall financial performance.


In summary, the primary difference between hostile and friendly takeovers lies in the approach and level of cooperation between the acquiring and target companies. Hostile takeovers involve aggressive tactics and resistance from the target company’s management, while friendly takeovers are characterized by mutual agreement and collaboration. Each type of takeover comes with its own set of challenges and benefits, influencing the long-term outcomes for both companies involved.

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