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.


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.

  1. Acquisition

    A corporate action in which a company buys most, if not all, ...
  2. Management Buyout - MBO

    A transaction where a company’s management team purchases the ...
  3. Takeover

    A corporate action where an acquiring company makes a bid for ...
  4. Shareholder

    Any person, company or other institution that owns at least one ...
  5. Play

    A slang term that describes the positive aspects of an investment ...
  6. Buyout

    The purchase of a company's shares in which the acquiring party ...
Related Articles
  1. Fundamental Analysis

    Mergers And Acquisitions: Understanding Takeovers

    In the dramatic world of M&As, battleground terms meld with bizarre metaphors to form the language of the game.
  2. Active Trading Fundamentals

    Trade Takeover Stocks With Merger Arbitrage

    This high-risk strategy attempts to profit from price discrepancies that arise during acquisitions.
  3. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Trademarks Of A Takeover Target

    These tips can lead you to little companies with big prospects.
  4. Options & Futures

    The Basics Of Mergers And Acquisitions

    Learn what corporate restructuring is, why companies do it and why it sometimes doesn't work.
  5. Professionals

    Hard and Soft Due Diligence: What's the Difference?

    Learn about the differences between "hard" and "soft" due diligence in a mergers and acquisitions deal (M&A) and why soft diligence is increasingly important.
  6. Stock Analysis

    How UPS Plans to Benefit from Its Coyote Acquisition

    Understand the business models of UPS and Coyote Logistics. Learn about the top four ways in which UPS will benefit from the acquisition of Coyote Logistics.
  7. Stock Analysis

    This Is What Carl Icahn's Portfolio Looks Like

    Read about some of the holdings in Carl Icahn's portfolio. Learn about his activist campaigns against companies that he believes are performing poorly.
  8. Investing News

    Office Depot and Staples Merger: What You Need to Know

    A major office-supply company merger is now in the works between Office Depot and Staples. First attempted 18 years ago, will this time be the charm?
  9. Forex Fundamentals

    How Foreign Exchange Affects Mergers and Acquisitions Deals

    Learn how foreign exchange rates can impact the flows of international merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions, and understand how deals can impact exchange rates.
  10. Stock Analysis

    4 Trends Driving M&A in the Healthcare Industry in 2015

    Learn why there has been a lot of mergers and acquisition activity among health insurers and drug companies in the health care industry in 2015.
  1. How long does it take to execute an M&A deal?

    Even the simplest merger and acquisition (M&A) deals are challenging. It takes a lot for two previously independent enterprises ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What happens to the shares of stock purchased in a tender offer?

    The shares of stock purchased in a tender offer become the property of the purchaser. From that point forward, the purchaser, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are some common accretive transactions?

    The term "accretive" is most often used in reference to mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It refers to a transaction that ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are companies with high Book Value Of Equity Per Share (BVPS) takeover targets?

    Companies with high book value of equity per share (BVPS) can be good takeover targets if those companies are public and ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some ways to make a distribution channel more efficient?

    While there are many ways to make a distribution channel more efficient, the three high-level ways to increase the efficiency ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. If a company offers a buyback of its shares, how do I decide whether to accept the ...

    Tender offers for share buybacks are often made at a premium to the current market price; it may be in an investor’s best ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  2. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  3. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  4. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  5. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  6. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!