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In the case of a friendly transaction, the companies cooperate in negotiations; in the case of a hostile deal, the board and/or management of the target is unwilling to be bought or the target's board has no prior knowledge of the offer.
Hostile acquisitions can, and often do, ultimately become "friendly", as the acquiror secures endorsement of the transaction from the board of the acquiree company.
The combined evidence suggests that the shareholders of acquired firms realize significant positive "abnormal returns" while shareholders of the acquiring company are most likely to experience a negative wealth effect.
The overall net effect of M&A transactions appears to be positive: almost all studies report positive returns for the investors in the combined buyer and target firms.
Some public companies rely on acquisitions as an important value creation strategy.