Abstract

Acquisitions of United States corporations have become increasingly complex takeover contests, where bidders and target corporations are forced into offensive and defensive litigation strategies to protect their respective interests. Targets often assert that the bidders have violated federal or state securities laws, federal antitrust laws, federal margin regulations, federal and state regulatory systems, and federal anti-racketeering laws. These lawsuits are primarily based on the principal federal regulation of takeovers in section 14(a) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 and the Williams Act. Target litigation is customary, but entails certain disadvantages; a lawsuit rarely stops an offer, is expensive, and often generates counter litigation by the bidder. This paper analyzes the use of such litigation by target company managements. This paper asks questions such as why target managers sue, whether or not the lawsuits are effective, and who benefits from these suits.