Abstract: The bargaining power hypothesis has been voiced more frequently over the past few years as other shareholder-focused arguments in favor of takeover defenses, such as protection against "structural coercion" and protection against "substantive coercion," have been rendered less important through federal and state intervention or challenged by recent empirical evidence. Yet despite its venerable heritage and recent revitalization, the bargaining power hypothesis has generally been asserted by defense proponents and conceded by defense opponents, never subjected to a careful theoretical analysis or a comprehensive empirical test. This Essay attempts to fill this gap. I use negotiation-analytic tools to construct a model of bargaining in the "shadow" of takeover defenses. This model identifies the conditions that must exist in order for the bargaining power hypothesis to hold in a particular negotiated acquisition. I demonstrate that the bargaining power hypothesis only applies unambiguously to negotiations in which there is a bilateral monopoly between buyer and seller, no incremental costs to making a hostile bid, symmetric information, and loyal sell-side agents. These conditions suggest that the bargaining power hypothesis is only true in a subset of all deals, contrary to the claim of some defense proponents that the hypothesis applies to all negotiated acquisitions.