War Chest

AAA

DEFINITION of 'War Chest'

A colloquial term for the reserves of cash set aside or built up by a company to take advantage of an unexpected opportunity. While a war chest is typically used for acquisitions of other companies or businesses, it can also be used as a buffer against adverse events during uncertain times. A war chest is often invested in liquid short-term investments, such as treasury bills and bank deposits, which can be accessed on demand.

BREAKING DOWN 'War Chest'

A war chest that has swelled up too much can sometimes be viewed as an inefficient way of deploying capital. While investors may be willing to give a company with a huge cash hoard the benefit of the doubt for some time, if the cash balance continues to grow well beyond the company's normal operating requirements, its investors may clamor for a share of it.


If the company is unable to deploy its war chest efficiently, it may consider distributing part of its cash holdings to its shareholders. Such return of capital to shareholders is usually achieved either through a special dividend distribution, an increase in the regular dividend, a share buyback or a combination of these measures.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Acquisition

    A corporate action in which a company buys most, if not all, ...
  2. Takeover

    A corporate action where an acquiring company makes a bid for ...
  3. White Knight

    A white knight is an individual or company that acquires a corporation ...
  4. War Babies

    A name given to securities in companies that are defense contractors. ...
  5. Hostile Takeover

    The acquisition of one company (called the target company) by ...
  6. Crown Jewels

    The most valuable unit(s) of a corporation, as defined by characteristics ...
Related Articles
  1. Bonds & Fixed Income

    War's Influence On Wall Street

    Blitzkrieg? Dawn raids? Sounds like the markets and the battlefield have a few things in common.
  2. 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.
  3. Options & Futures

    The Basics Of Mergers And Acquisitions

    Learn what corporate restructuring is, why companies do it and why it sometimes doesn't work.
  4. Stock Analysis

    Net Neutrality: Pros and Cons

    The fight over net neutrality has become an amazing spectacle. But at its core, it's yet another skirmish in cable television's war to remain relevant.
  5. Active Trading Fundamentals

    The Biggest Private Equity Firms in Los Angeles

    Learn why Los Angeles is a thriving market for private equity, and identify the five largest private equity firms operating in the city.
  6. Stock Analysis

    5 Reasons Thoratec Corp. Keeps Impressing Investors

    Learn about Thoratec Corporation and its position in its industry. Understand five key factors why the company has impressed investors.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    Top 5 Startups That Emerged in Boston

    Learn why Boston is a hot market for startups, and familiarize yourself with a few of the top startups that have emerged from the city.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    How to Prep Your Business for a Sale

    Once you have a clean, stand-alone business with solid finances, it's time to put a price on it. Here are the steps needed to prepare for a sale.
  9. Stock Analysis

    This Is Why Instagram Is Winning Over Flickr

    Learn about Instagram's and Flickr's business models. Understand why Instagram has been winning over Flickr and why that trend is likely to continue.
  10. Professionals

    Career Advice: Management Consulting Vs. Investment Banking

    Compare the career opportunities available in management consulting and investment banking. Learn about salaries, skills needed and work-life balance.
RELATED FAQS
  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. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  2. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  3. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  4. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
  5. Bear Market

    A market condition in which the prices of securities are falling, and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment ...
  6. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
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!