What Motivates Block Share Ownership?

Asjeet Lamba    Asjeet S. Lamba, Geofrey P. Stapledon
07 Jun 2016
Categories: ESG, Corporate Finance

Country or region: Australia

Diffuse share ownership is not as pronounced in the U.S. as many would assume. This has led to a body of research examining large shareholders, or blockholders. Issues addressed include whether firms with a blockholder perform better or worse than widely-held firms; whether firms with a blockholder pay their executives differently to widely-held firms; and whether the presence of a blockholder increases or decreases the incidence takeovers. Another issue, which this paper explores, is what motivates block share ownership. Bebchuk (1999a, 1999b) develops a model which predicts that a firm is more likely to have a controlling blockholder if the anticipated private benefits of control at that firm are comparatively large. This paper examines the factors associated with ownership structure among publicly traded Australian firms. Our results indicate that private benefits of control are a significant factor in explaining the differences in ownership structure among Australian firms. As importantly, we also find that the relationship between the existence of a blockholder and private benefits of control is endogenous. That is, the presence of a controlling blockholder strongly influences the prevalence of these private benefits of control.

Reference URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1917951

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