DP2898 Ownership and Control of German Corporations

Author(s): Julian R Franks, Colin Mayer
Publication Date: July 2001
Keyword(s): bank control, board turnover, control, ownership, pyramiding, takeovers
JEL(s): G32, G34
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2898

In a study of the ownership of German corporations, we find a strong relation between board turnover and corporate performance, little association between concentrations of ownership with managerial disciplining and only limited evidence that pyramid structures can be used for control purposes. The static relation of ownership to control in Germany is therefore similar to the UK and US. There are, however, marked differences in dynamic relations involving transfers of ownership. There is an active market in share blocks giving rise to changes in control, but the gains are limited and accrue solely to the holders of large blocks, not to minority investors. We provide evidence of low overall benefits from control changes and the exploitation of private benefits of control.