A standstill agreement is a common document in the world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It is essentially a contract between the acquiring company and the target company that outlines certain limitations and restrictions during the M&A process.
The purpose of a standstill agreement is to prevent the target company from taking actions that could potentially negatively impact the acquisition. For example, the target company might be prohibited from seeking out other potential buyers or entering into significant new contracts during the acquisition process.
In addition, standstill agreements can include provisions that prevent the acquiring company from taking certain actions, such as launching a hostile takeover bid or purchasing additional shares of the target company without prior approval.
Standstill agreements can also include provisions related to confidentiality and disclosure. The target company may be required to provide certain information to the acquiring company, but only under certain conditions (e.g. if the acquiring company agrees not to use the information for any purpose other than the acquisition).
Generally, standstill agreements are designed to create a more stable and orderly M&A process. By limiting the actions that both parties can take, there is less risk of unexpected events disrupting the acquisition.
However, standstill agreements can also be controversial. Critics argue that they can limit competition and prevent other potential buyers from making offers, which could potentially harm shareholders. Additionally, standstill agreements can be seen as an example of the acquirer exerting too much control over the target company.
Ultimately, standstill agreements are a valuable tool in the M&A process, but they should be used with caution. Both parties should carefully consider the terms and make sure they are comfortable with the limitations and restrictions outlined in the contract. Additionally, all parties involved should seek the advice of experienced legal professionals to ensure that the standstill agreement is drafted appropriately and meets all relevant legal requirements.