Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to standstill agreement: Targeted repurchase
An agreement between a target company and a potential hostile acquirer whereby the acquirer agrees not to buy any more of the target company in exchange for some compensation. The compensation may be monetary; that is, the company can simply buy off the acquirer. More commonly, it involves some other incentive such as a seat on the board of directors or an agreement for the company to repurchase its own stock, which would increase the value of the shares the acquirer already owns. A standstill agreement has an expiration date after which the acquirer can continue buying the company if it wishes, but the time in between gives the target company time to form a more effective antitakeover strategy.
A written agreement between two firms whereby the actions of one firm with respect to the other are limited until a specified date. For example, Firm A may sell Firm B a block of Firm A's stock with the stipulation that Firm B will acquire no additional shares in Firm A for five years.
Case Study In February 1996, the Chrysler Corporation reached a standstill agreement with dissident stockholder Kirk Kerkorian. Over several years, Kerkorian had accumulated nearly 13.6% of Chrysler's common stock in an unsuccessful takeover attempt. At the time of the agreement, the investor was threatening Chrysler management with a proxy fight. As part of the standstill agreement, Kerkorian said he would not accumulate additional Chrysler shares, not attempt a hostile takeover, and not launch a proxy fight for a period of five years. In turn, Chrysler management agreed to give a board seat to a Kerkorian ally. The firm also agreed to double the size of its planned 1996 share-repurchase program to $2 billion and to repurchase an additional $1 billion of Chrysler shares the following year. The standstill agreement rewarded Kerkorian with a boost in the value of his Chrysler shares, and at the same time it permitted Chrysler's management to eliminate a problem that was consuming substantial amounts of the firm's time and resources.