bear hug(redirected from Bearhugs)
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An offer by a company to buy another company for a price per share far above the share price's fair market value. A company offers a bear hug when it believes the target company's management may decline the offer. Because the management has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of shareholders, the bear hug is essentially an offer the management cannot refuse, at least not without exposing itself to a lawsuit. It is a form of a hostile takeover and may be used as a form of risk arbitrage.
A buyout offer so favorable to stockholders of a company targeted for acquisition that there is little likelihood they will refuse the offer. Not only does a bear hug offer a price significantly above the market price of the target company's stock, but it is likely to offer cash payments as well. See also takeover.
Case Study Following rejection by the General Motors board of an EchoStar Communications takeover proposal for GM-controlled Hughes Electronics, owner of DirectTV, EchoStar soon made another surprise bid to acquire Hughes. At the time of the bid Hughes's equity was trading on the New York Stock Exchange as a tracking stock. The second bid, announced with a public letter addressed to the GM board, was a bear hug offer made directly to Hughes's stockholders. Believing that General Motors directors were likely to recommend a sale of Hughes to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., EchoStar felt it could only be successful by offering a higher price to Hughes's shareholders. The higher price would appeal to Hughes's shareholders and make it more difficult for GM directors to recommend a sale at a lower price to another company. GM directors rejected the earlier EchoStar offer in part because they felt the combination of DirectTV and EchoStar would be unacceptable on an antitrust basis. Rupert Murdoch later pulled out of the bidding for Hughes.