What are Killer Bees?
Killer bees are people or companies that help other companies avoid takeovers. The term gets its name from a type of bee that aggressively attacks perceived threats.
How Do Killer Bees Work?
Let's assume that Company ABC wants to purchase Company XYZ. Company XYZ's board does not want to sell the company to Company ABC, but Company ABC is threatening a hostile takeover.
Company XYZ calls its investment bank, which acts as a killer bee and devises a few methods to ward off Company ABC. It comes up with the Pac-Man defense and the Jonestown defense, which you can read about in the InvestingAnswers.com dictionary. The killer bee helps Company XYZ amend its corporate charter and implement the anti-takeover defenses. Company ABC calls off its acquisition efforts.
Why Do Killer Bees Matter?
Killer bees can save the day for shareholders of targets. By devising ways to defend companies from takeovers, they can cost potential acquirers millions of dollars by implementing changes that force acquirers to pay more or dilute the acquirer's holdings.