What Is a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement?


A stalking horse asset purchase agreement is a type of acquisition strategy used in business transactions. It involves an agreement between the buyer and seller, where the buyer makes an initial bid for certain assets or property with the understanding that other potential buyers will make competing bids. The seller uses this first offer as a starting point for negotiations, allowing them to establish a fair price for their assets while also maximizing value for shareholders. This type of agreement can be beneficial for both parties, providing protection against low-ball offers and ensuring competitive bidding without wasting time on lengthy negotiations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement

When it comes to purchasing assets of a failing business, there are different strategies that can be employed. One effective strategy is using a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement (APA). In this agreement, the buyer enters into a contractual arrangement with the seller before other potential buyers have had an opportunity to bid on the assets.


One significant advantage of using this type of agreement is that it potentially helps avoid any issues arising from bankruptcy liquidation. When a company goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and its assets are sold in auction format, bidders might not know all that is included as part of each asset bundle being put up for sale. This can lead to various uncertainties such as unknown liabilities, legal risks or contingent claims after the deal has been completed.

Stalking horse APA allows prospective buyers access to information about those same assets ahead of time which could increase their confidence in placing bids during later auctions or transactions should they arise. By observing how much interest there was for these specific deals prior going out publicly at auction or otherwise marketed events where many more people may participate; seeing what terms were agreed upon between parties involved while still having competition present- potential investors obtain enough basis knowledge enabling them make better bids – hence improve their chances winning future deals without guesswork nor surprise downfalls.

Another benefit is reducing transaction costs associated with preparing multiple offers since only one offer needs preparation when utilizing stalking horse APA arrangements – saving both sides valuable resources such as time and money typically expended doing due diligence work which takes place before submitting purchase proposals under traditional M&A negotiation methods involving bidding wars among competing firms vying over limited target companies’ sets of features/assets/services etc… As fewer interested parties means less expense incurred by organizing marketing campaigns for promoting sales side’s property rights & perks along with conducting proper researches/evaluations needed beforehand .

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Despite its benefits, however, there are some disadvantages associated with using Stalking Horse APAs. One significant downside is that the initial buyer’s offer may lead to lesser future offers. Since a stalking horse APA agreement usually sets a floor price for the assets, it discourages other potential buyers from making higher offers since they know they will have to bid above that set value which might not be worthwhile. This could mean fewer bids or lower competition in subsequent rounds of asset sales.

Another disadvantage is that this type of arrangement involves disclosing sensitive information about the seller’s assets and financial situation to just one prospective buyer which can create an asymmetry of information advantage on either party involved; hence leading into possible exploitation by revealing details (e.g., confidentially secured data) being shared between parties at different strategic stages during negotiations – such as due diligence phase where most vulnerability exists but also throughout closing phases where final agreements are inked prior actual transfers ownership taking place- thereby increasing risk exposure levels potentially leading towards unwanted consequences after deals completed .


In conclusion, Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreements can be useful in securing assets before others get an opportunity, thus avoiding issues arising from bankruptcy liquidation procedures while saving valuable resources like time and money spent doing due diligence work required when preparing multiple offers under traditional negotiation methods involving several bidders vying over limited features/assets/services within target companies’ portfolios. However, there are some downsides with this type of agreement too including less competition during subsequent auctions/transactions if initial bidder wins deal along with increased risks associated asymmetry/information gap created by sharing info only single interested party instead exposing same level transparency all competing firms equally accessing these valuable insights would bring more balance fairness process overall.

Key Components to Include in a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement

What Is a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement?

If you’re in the business world, you may have heard of something called a stalking horse asset purchase agreement. This type of agreement is becoming more popular among companies looking to acquire assets from another company. But what exactly is it? And why should you care about it? Let’s take a closer look.

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At its core, a stalking horse asset purchase agreement is an arrangement between two parties: the buyer and the seller. The buyer agrees to make an initial bid for certain assets that the seller has put up for sale. This bid serves as both a starting point for negotiations and protection against other potential buyers who might swoop in with their own offers.

The term “stalking horse” comes from hunting practices where hunters use horses or decoys to approach prey without being noticed until they are ready to strike. In this case, the first bidder acts as a decoy, allowing other bidders to reveal themselves while also signaling their own interest in acquiring specific assets.

Key Components to Include in a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement

Now that we know what a stalking horse asset purchase agreement is let’s dive into some key components that should be included when drafting one:

1) Assets being sold – It’s important for both parties involved to clearly identify which assets will be transferred under this agreement.

2) Sale price – One of the most significant aspects of any acquisition deal worth discussing upfront and with clarity – how much money will change hands as part of this transaction?

3) Contingencies – Like any legal document related to commercial transactions; especially ones involving sizable sums, there often arise unforeseen circumstances that could negatively affect either party’s ability/interests regarding said transfer(s). Be sure your agreements address these possibilities by including language on contingencies such as termination clauses if necessary conditions are not met within specified timeframes e.g., due diligence requirements (inability meet those obligations), non-compliance with regulatory measures, material adverse effects on the seller’s business.

4) Exclusivity – The agreement usually includes a provision stating that the buyer has exclusive rights to negotiate and finalize an acquisition deal for a specific period. This is meant to prevent other potential buyers from coming in and disrupting negotiations while also signaling to all parties involved that this particular transaction will take priority over others until it concludes or otherwise terminated by mutual consent before its term expiration date.

5) Breakup fee – Should either party wish to withdraw from discussions under certain circumstances (such as breach of contract), there may be financial penalties tied into such instances; known as breakup fees which provide compensation should aggrieved needs arise due any transgressions’ conduct during negotiation stages.

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When drafting your stalking horse asset purchase agreement, make sure you work closely with legal professionals who understand the intricacies of these types of deals. They can help ensure that both parties are protected throughout the process and mitigate risks associated with acquiring assets.

Final Thoughts

Overall, if you’re considering growing your company through acquisitions or divestitures, then understanding what is included in a stalking horse asset purchase agreement is vital. It not only protects both parties involved but also provides clarity regarding expectations upfront so everyone knows precisely where they stand when negotiating terms related specifically towards their interests going forward!


Q: What is a stalking horse asset purchase agreement?
A: It is an agreement in which a bidder makes an initial bid on assets of the target company in order to establish a minimum value for those assets.

Q: How does a stalking horse asset purchase agreement work?
A: The buyer, known as the “stalking horse,” enters into an agreement with the seller or debtor prior to any auction or sale process. This allows them to negotiate terms and conditions beforehand and gives other potential buyers a benchmark for their own bids. If no higher offers are received during the auction, then the stalking horse’s offer becomes binding and they acquire the designated assets at that agreed-upon price.


A stalking horse asset purchase agreement is an initial bid made by a potential buyer in a bankruptcy sale process. The purpose of this type of agreement is to set the minimum price for the bankrupt company’s assets and to attract other bidders to participate in the auction. In conclusion, a stalking horse asset purchase agreement plays an important role in facilitating the sale process of distressed companies by establishing bidding procedures that ensure transparency and fairness while maximizing value for all parties involved.

What Is a Stalking Horse Asset Purchase Agreement?