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Long Term Changes in Voting Power and Control Structure following the Unification of Dual Class Shares

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  • Lauterbach, Beni
  • Yafeh, Yishay
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    Abstract

    We follow the evolution of ownership structure in a sample of 80 Israeli companies that unified their dual-class shares in the 1990s, and compare it with a control sample of firms that maintained their dual share structure at least until 2000. Our main findings are as follows. First, controlling shareholders offset the dilution of voting rights they incurred upon unification by: 1) increasing their holdings prior to the unification (ex-ante preparation), and 2) by buying shares afterwards; by the end of the sample period their voting power was only marginally lower than in the control sample. This suggests that marginal voting rights are important to controlling shareholders even beyond the 50% threshold. Second, share unifications were not associated with much change in the identity of controlling shareholders. Third, the proportion of firms affiliated with pyramidal business groups in the sample of unifying firms was lower than in the population of listed firms as a whole and not different from that in the control sample, suggesting that pyramidal ownership structures did not replace dual class shares. Finally, unifying firms did not exhibit a substantial improvement in their performance and valuation in comparison with the control sample. We conclude that the regulatory attempt to enforce one share-one vote yielded, at best, a minor improvement in corporate governance.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7287.

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    Date of creation: Apr 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7287

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    Keywords: Corporate Governance; Dual class shares;

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    1. Amoako-Adu, Ben & Smith, Brian F., 2001. "Dual class firms: Capitalization, ownership structure and recapitalization back into single class," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1083-1111, June.
    2. Ronald W. Masulis & Cong Wang & Fei Xie, 2009. "Agency Problems at Dual-Class Companies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(4), pages 1697-1727, 08.
    3. Bergstrom, Clas & Rydqvist, Kristian, 1990. "Ownership of equity in dual-class firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(2-3), pages 255-269, August.
    4. Shmuel Hauser, 2004. "The Value of Voting Rights to Majority Shareholders: Evidence from Dual-Class Stock Unifications," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(4), pages 1167-1184.
    5. Lucian Bebchuk & Reinier Kraakman & George Triantis, 1999. "Stock Pyramids, Cross-Ownership, and the Dual Class Equity: The Creation and Agency Costs of Seperating Control from Cash Flow Rights," NBER Working Papers 6951, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-50, July.
    7. Burkart, Mike & Lee, Samuel, 2007. "One Share - One Vote: The Theory," SIFR Research Report Series 57, Institute for Financial Research.
    8. Cronqvist, Henrik & Nilsson, Mattias, 2003. "Agency Costs of Controlling Minority Shareholders," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(04), pages 695-719, December.
    9. Paul A. Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2004. "Incentives vs. Control: An Analysis of U.S. Dual-Class Companies," NBER Working Papers 10240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. King, Michael R. & Santor, Eric, 2008. "Family values: Ownership structure, performance and capital structure of Canadian firms," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 2423-2432, November.
    11. Ingolf Dittmann & Niels Ulbricht, 2008. "Timing and Wealth Effects of German Dual Class Stock Unifications," European Financial Management, European Financial Management Association, vol. 14(1), pages 163-196.
    12. Tarun Khanna & Yishay Yafeh, 2007. "Business Groups in Emerging Markets: Paragons or Parasites?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 331-372, June.
    13. Renée Adams & Daniel Ferreira, 2008. "One Share-One Vote: The Empirical Evidence," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 12(1), pages 51-91.
    14. Nenova, Tatiana, 2003. "The value of corporate voting rights and control: A cross-country analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 325-351, June.
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