The Hostile Takeover and Its Discontents

ALMOST EVERY WEEK THESE LAST few years there has been a report of another “hostile takeover bid,” another stock-market maneuver to take over, merge, or split up an existing publicly held company against determined opposition by the company’s board of directors and management. No such wave of stock-market speculation has hit the United States since the “bears” and the “bulls” of the 1870s, when the Goulds and the Drews and the Vanderbilts battled each other for control of American railroads. The new wave of hostile takeovers has already profoundly altered the contours and landmarks of ...

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