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Jan. 15, 2013

Mergers are business combination transactions involving the combination of two or more companies into a single entity. Most state laws require that mergers be approved by at least a majority of a company's shareholders if the merger will have a significant impact on either the acquiring or target company.  

If the company you've invested in is involved in a merger and is subject to the SEC disclosure rules, you will receive information about the merger in the form of either a proxy statement on Schedule 14A or an information statement on Schedule 14C.  

The proxy or information statement will describe the terms of the merger, including what you will receive if the merger proceeds. If you believe the amount you will receive is not fair, check the statement for information on appraisal or dissenter's rights under state law. You must follow the procedures precisely or your rights may be lost.

You can obtain a copy of a company's proxy or information statement by using the SEC's EDGAR database. To learn how to find these statements, read our tutorial on how to use EDGAR. If you know that a company has filed a proxy or information statement with the SEC, use the "Quick Forms Lookup" search and enter either "PREM14A," "DEFM14A," "PREM14C," or "DEFM14C." The form prefixes-"PREM" and "DEFM"-stand for preliminary and definitive statement.

The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

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