A corporate raider is an investor who intends to generate a return by acquiring the shares of existing shareholders in order to take control of a public company and enhance its value. They target undervalued companies that (they believe) can be redirected to enhance their valuations. For example, they may want to sell off underperforming subsidiaries, close offices, centralize functions, reduce headcount, or replace managers who are not doing a good job of running the business. Or, they may have an interest in merging the firm with another business in order to generate a higher valuation for the combined business.
An entity that engages in these activities is only considered a corporate raider if its initial advances to the target’s board of directors are rejected; at this point, the prospective buyer is considered to be engaging in a hostile acquisition.
Many raiders are bought off by targeted businesses, which agree to buy back their shares for an inflated price.