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Takeover defenses, also called antitakeover provisions, reflect decades of innovation in the interplay of offensive and defensive tactics in the market for corporate control. This paper summarizes research on how firms use takeover defenses and how defenses affect firm value and operations. Recent evidence shows that defenses convey both costs and benefits that vary across firms and over an individual firm’s life – helping to explain the mixed empirical results in many earlier studies. We also review evidence on the extent to which takeover defenses work to forestall takeovers, and the costs and benefits of adding or removing takeover defenses. We conclude by identifying unresolved issues about takeover defenses and questions for future research.

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