DEFINITION of 'In Play'

A slang phrase used to describe a firm who has become a potential takeover target or has put itself up for sale. Once a bid is made, a company is put "in play" and will often attract additional bidders.

BREAKING DOWN 'In Play'

When a firm becomes a potential takeover target, its share price will typically increase on the expectations of being bought out. For example, in the late 1980s, management at RJR Nabisco felt the share price was unjustifiably low, so it made a bid to take the company private. This bid put the company in play, soliciting numerous other bids, sending RJR Nabisco's share price through the roof.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. What was the most notable hostile takeover of all time?

    The drama of the RJR Nabisco takeover and wide coverage make it one of the most notable takeovers in history. Read Answer >>
  2. What are some prominent examples of hostile takeovers?

    Learn about some of the largest hostile takeovers in history, including the KKR acquisition of RJR Nabisco and the Vodafone ... Read Answer >>
  3. How can a company buy back shares to fend off a hostile takeover?

    Learn about why a business might use a stock buyback to thwart a hostile takeover attempt by reducing its total assets and ... Read Answer >>
  4. When is a takeover bid legally canceled?

    When a firm makes an official bid to take over a target company, a legal offer is created. The firm making the offer becomes ... Read Answer >>
  5. Under what circumstances might a company decide to do a hostile takeover?

    Learn about why companies use a hostile takeover to gain control of another company, and understand the different methods ... Read Answer >>
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