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Private benefits and minority shareholder expropriation: Empirical evidence from IPOs of German family-owned firms

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  • Ehrhardt, Olaf
  • Nowak, Eric

Abstract

Our study examines the existence and the nature of private benefits of control in Germany. We do this by analyzing initial public offerings of founding-family owned firms and tracking their fate up to ten years following the IPO. Our sample includes a uniquely rich data set of 105 IPOs of family-owned firms floated from 1970 to 1991 on German stock exchanges. We find that, first, even ten years after the IPO, family owners, in the cross section, continue to exercise considerable control. Second, we show that there exist substantial private benefits of control in these firms and - to our understanding for the first time - we empirically measure what the nature of these private benefits really is. We also show that the separation of cash flow rights and voting rights via the issuance of dual-class shares is used to create controlling shareholder structures in order to preserve these private benefits. Third, we find a puzzling and significant underperformance of dual-class share IPOs, which can be explained by ex ante unanticipated expropriation of minority shareholders due to poor investor protection in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Ehrhardt, Olaf & Nowak, Eric, 2001. "Private benefits and minority shareholder expropriation: Empirical evidence from IPOs of German family-owned firms," CFS Working Paper Series 2001/10, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200110
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. T. Biebuyck & Ariane Chapelle & Ariane Szafarz, 2002. "Les leviers de contrôle des actionnaires majoritaires," Working Papers CEB 03-001.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. González, Maximiliano & Guzmán, Alexander & Pombo, Carlos & Trujillo, María-Andrea, 2012. "Family firms and financial performance: The cost of growing," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 626-649.
    3. Cifter Atilla & Ozun Alper, 2008. "Estimating the Effects of Interest Rates on Share Prices in Turkey Using a Multi-Scale Causality Test," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 68-79, April.
    4. Lucy Lim, 2016. "Dual-class versus single-class firms: information asymmetry," Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 763-791, May.
    5. Daske, Stefan & Ehrhardt, Olaf, 2002. "Kursunterschiede und Renditen deutscher Stamm- und Vorzugsaktien," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,5, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    6. Xingqiang Du, 2014. "Does Religion Mitigate Tunneling? Evidence from Chinese Buddhism," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 299-327, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Private benefits; Initial Public Offerings; Dual-class shares; Control transfers; Ownership structures; Investor protection;

    JEL classification:

    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets

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