Pac-Man

DEFINITION of 'Pac-Man'

A high-risk hostile takeover defense in which the target firm tries to take over the company that has made the hostile bid by purchasing large amounts of the would-be acquirer's stock. The Pac-Man defense is supposed to scare off the would-be acquirer, which doesn't want to be taken over itself. The target may sell off its own assets or borrow heavily in order to acquire enough of the acquirer's stock to prevent the takeover.

BREAKING DOWN 'Pac-Man'

The Pac-Man defense does not always work, but it was first successfully used in 1982 by Martin Marietta to prevent a takeover by Bendix Corp. In 1988, American Brands used it successfully against E-II, and TotalFina used it in 1999 to prevent a takeover by Elf Aquitaine. Some analysts speculated that Cadbury would try to use the Pac-Man defense against Kraft in 2009.


The Pac-Man defense may be used alone or in conjunction with other takeover defenses, such as the white knight.

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RELATED FAQS
  1. How do companies use the Pac-Man defense?

    To employ the Pac-Man defense, a company will scare off another company that had tried to acquire it by purchasing large ... Read Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between a hostile takeover and a friendly takeover?

    Learn about the difference between a hostile takeover and a friendly takeover, and understand how proxy fights and tender ... 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. What's the difference between a merger and a hostile takeover?

    Understand the difference between a merger and a hostile takeover, including the different ways one company can acquire another, ... Read Answer >>
  5. What happens to the shares of a company that has been the object of a hostile takeover?

    Learn about the effect on the share price of companies that are targets of hostile takeovers, which are tactics used by famed ... Read Answer >>
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    Utility stocks are known as defensive stocks for investors due to the fact that consumer demand will remain high even when ... Read Answer >>
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