Suicide Pill

DEFINITION of 'Suicide Pill'

A defensive strategy by which a target company engages in an activity that might actually ruin the company rather than prevent the hostile takeover. Suicide pills are extreme actions that differ from situation to situation, some of which result in disolving the company; however, the underlying intent is to avoid the hostile takeover of the firm by any means necessary.

Also known as the "Jonestown Defense."

BREAKING DOWN 'Suicide Pill'

The suicide pill defense can be viewed as an extreme version of the poison pill. Such a defense is most often implemented in situations where a competitor attempts a hostile takeover of a firm, and the target's management or current ownership, viewing the takeover as a forgone conclusion, would prefer the company cease to exist than see the firm taken over by the competitor. Taking on excessive amounts of debt would be one form of a suicide pill.