An acquihire, also known as a talent acquisition, is the purchase of one company by another for the sole purpose of retaining the business's employees. The purchaser typically has no interest in the products, services or assets made available to them through the acquisition and are likely to discontinue products and dispose of assets.
Acquihiring is most common when particular professions and skill sets are in high demand, especially within the technology sector. A carefully selected acquihire may have a staff that matches the purchasers requirements or has special qualifications or status that will give the purchaser a competitive advantage.
Startups are often the targets because the talent has entrepreneurial experience and a high level of engagement. Acquisition can be attractive to the startup, as well, when the business doesn't take off in the way that was anticipated.