Change in Control Law and Legal Definition

A change in control often occurs in a corporate context. The precise definition varies by jurisdiction and entity. Typically, it refers to a transfer of ownership in which a new person or entity obtains a fifty percent or greater ownership interest. In employment law, senior executive contracts often contain a change in control clause, which provide that in the event of a change of control of a company, the executive receives enhanced protection against being terminated.

The following is an example of one company's definition of a change in control:

"Change in Control" means the occurrence of any one or more of the following:

(i) Any Person becomes an Acquiring Person, except as the result of (A) any acquisition of Voting Securities of the Company by the Company or (B) any acquisition of Voting Securities of the Company directly from the Company (as authorized by the Board).

(ii) Individuals who constitute the Incumbent Board cease for any reason to constitute at least a majority of the Board; and for this purpose, any individual who becomes a member of the Board after the date of this Agreement whose election, or nomination for election by holders of the Company's Voting Securities, was approved by the vote of at least a majority of the individuals then constituting the Incumbent Board shall be considered a member of the Incumbent Board (except that any such individual whose initial election as director occurs as the result of an actual or threatened election contest, within the meaning of Rule 14a-11 under the Exchange Act, or other actual or threatened solicitation of proxies or consents by or on behalf of a Person other than the Board shall not be so considered).

(iii) The consummation of a reorganization, merger, share exchange, consolidation, or sale or disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the Company unless, in any case, the Persons who or which Beneficially Own the Voting Securities of the Company immediately before that transaction Beneficially Own, directly or indirectly, immediately after the transaction, at least 75% of the Voting Securities of the Company or any other corporation or other entity resulting from or surviving the transaction (including a corporation or other entity which, as the result of the transaction, owns all or substantially all of Voting Securities of the Company or all or substantially all of the Company's assets, either directly or indirectly through one or more subsidiaries) in substantially the same proportion as their respective ownership of the Voting Securities of the Company immediately before that transaction.

(iv) The Company's shareholders approve a complete liquidation or dissolution of the Company.