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Poison Pill

In: Business and Management

Submitted By tracy0iverson
Words 1428
Pages 6
Poison pill strategies are defensive tactics that allow companies to thwart hostile takeover bids from other companies. Many companies may find themselves unprepared when facing such bids. By adopting a poison pill strategy, a company can be somewhat reassured that acquiring companies will approach its board of directors, not the shareholders. Poison pill strategies are also known as shareholders' protection rights plans.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, several large corporations began acquiring other companies to diversify their operations. Diversification allowed them to offset their losses in a failing industry with profits from other unrelated, successful industries. Such phenomena caused concerns about the potential of conglomerates to concentrate excessive economic power in the hands of a few corporations. This led to the passage of the Williams Act in 1968, which required the acquiring company to fully disclose the terms of an impending acquisition and to allow a period for competing offers for the target company to be made. By the late 1970s, the pace of acquisition nearly came to a halt. In 1982, however, the U.S. Supreme Court passed a landmark ruling in the case of Edgar v. MITE Corp. that invalidated the basis for anti-takeover laws in thirty-seven states. Furthermore, under the Reagan administration, the U.S. Department of Justice followed a lax policy towards enforcing anti-takeover laws. No longer able to shelter themselves against unfriendly takeover bids, many companies opted to devise anti-takeover strategies. At that time there was a significant increase in poison pill adoptions. However, in light of recent corporate scandals and an overall perception of poor corporate ethics poison pills began to show a decline between 2002 to 2004.
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