Greenmail is the practice of buying enough shares in a company to threaten a hostile takeover so that the target company will instead repurchase its shares at a premium. Regarding mergers and acquisitions, the greenmail payment is made as a defensive measure to stop the takeover bid. The target company is forced to repurchase the stock at a substantial premium to thwart the takeover, which results in a lucrative profit to the greenmailer.
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