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Ownership and Control of German Corporations

Julian Franks, Colin Mayer


In a study of the ownership of German corporations, we find a strong relation between board turnover and corporate performance, little association of 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. However, there are marked differences in the dynamic relation 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 to control changes and the exploitation of private benefits of control.

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