Reverse Takeover

Reverse Takeover Meaning

Reverse takeover also called reverse IPO, is a strategy to list the private company on an exchange by acquiring an already listed public company and therefore, as a result, avoids the costly and lengthy process of getting listed on a stock exchange through an initial public offer (IPO). These transactions can take place with other motives as well just from a strategic point of view by the acquirer to expand inorganically or to improve business functions as well if they see a value in a public companyPublic CompanyPublicly Traded Companies, also called Publicly Listed Companies, are the Companies which list their shares on the public stock exchange allowing the trading of shares to the common public. It means that anybody can sell or buy these companies’ shares from the open more.

Different Forms of the Reverse Takeover (RTO)

Reverse Takeover Examples

#1 – New York Stock Exchange

In 2006, the New York Stock Exchange acquired Archipelago Holdings and created the ‘NYSE Arca Exchange’ in order to go public. Later on, it renamed itself to NYSE and started trading publicly.

#2 – Berkshire Hathaway – Warren Buffet

The company owned by one of the wealthiest men in the world ‘Warren Buffet,’ Berkshire Hathaway, also used this route to go public. Though Berkshire was engaged in the textile business, it merged with the private insurance company owned by Warren Buffet.

#3 – Ted Turner – Rice Broadcasting

Ted Turner inherited a small billboard company from his father which was not doing well financially. In 1970, with the limited cash availability, he acquired another US-based listed company called Rice Broadcasting, which later became part of media giant The Time Warner group.

#4 – Burger King

In 2012, Burger King Worldwide Holdings Inc., a hospitality services chain that serves burgers in its restaurants, executed a reverse takeoverTakeoverA takeover is a transaction where the bidder company acquires the target company with or without the management's mutual agreement. Typically, a larger company expresses an interest to acquire a smaller company. Takeovers are frequent events in the current competitive business world disguised as friendly more transaction in which a publicly listed shell corporation called ‘Justice Holdings’, which was co-founded by the famous hedge-fund veteran Bill Ackman, acquired the Burger King.


#1 – Swift Process

The usual way of getting listed through Initial Public OfferingInitial Public OfferingInitial Public Offering (IPO) is when the shares of the private companies are listed for the first time in the stock exchange for public trading and investment. This allows a private company to raise the capital for different more takes months to years due to various regulatory requirements, while getting listed through reverse takeover can be done within weeks only. It helps the company’s management in saving time as well as efforts.

#2 – Minimal Risk

Many times depending upon the microeconomicMicroeconomicMicroeconomics is a study in economics that involves everyday life, including what we see and experience. It studies individual behavioural patterns, households and corporates and their policies. It deals with supply and demand behaviours in different markets, consumer behaviour, spending patterns, wage-price behaviour, corporate more, macroeconomicMacroeconomicMacroeconomics aims at studying aspects and phenomena important to the national economy and world economy at large like GDP, inflation, fiscal policies, monetary policies, unemployment more, or political situation, as well as the recent performance of the company, management may decide to go back on its decision of going public because getting listed at that point of time may not fetch a good response from investors and it can deteriorate the valuation of the company.

#3 – Reduced Dependability on the Markets

Before going public, there are several other tasks that the company needs to undertake in order to create a positive sentiment in the market for its IPO, which includes roadshows, meetings, and conferences. These tasks require significant efforts from the management as well as the costs because the company hires investment banks as advisors for these tasks.

But in case of a reverse takeover, the dependence on the market gets reduced significantly because the company does not need to care about the response it will get from investors from the first listing. Reverse takeover simply converts the private company into a public company, and market conditions do not impact its valuation to that extent.

#4 – Less Expensive

As described in the last part, the company saves the fees that are to be paid to investment banksInvestment BanksInvestment banking is a specialized banking stream that facilitates the business entities, government and other organizations in generating capital through debts and equity, reorganization, mergers and acquisition, more. The costs involved with regulatory filings and prospectus preparation also get exempted.

#5 – Benefits of Getting Listed

Once the company is public, it becomes easier for the shareholders to exit from their investment as they can sell their shares in the market. Access to the capital becomes easier as well since the company can go for secondary listing whenever it needs more capital.


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#1 – Asymmetrical Information

In M&As, the process of due diligence of the financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all more often gets overlooked or does not involve that much scrutiny because the companies focus on their business needs only at that point in time. At times, the management of the companies manipulates their financial statements too to get good value for their company.

#2 – Possibilities of Fraud

At times shell companies can misuse this opportunity. They don’t have any operations whatsoever or are troubled companies. They provide a safe route to private companies in going public through acquiring them.

#3 – Burden of Regulations

There are a lot of compliance issues when a company goes public. Taking care of these compliances require significant efforts, and thus management gets busier in sorting out administrative issues first, which hinders the growth of the company


  • IPOs are more profitable: It is often said that IPOs are overpriced, which increases the valuation of the company. This is not the case with reverse takeovers.
  • The positive sentiment created by the efforts of the investment bank acting as an advisor for the concerned company helps the company in getting good support in the market, which does not happen with reverse takeovers.


This has been a guide to what is a Reverse Takeover and its Meaning. Here we discuss forms of reverse takeovers (RTO) along with examples, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about M&A from the following articles –

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