Spending Less Time with the Family: The Decline of Family Ownership in the UK
Julian R. Franks
London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)
University of Oxford - Said Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); University of Oxford - Said Business School
Krannert School of Management; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
ECGI - Finance Working Paper No. 35/2004
Family ownership was rapidly diluted in the twentieth century in Britain. Issuance of equity in the process of acquisitions was the main cause. In the first half of the century, it occurred in the absence of minority investor protection and relied on directors of target firms protecting the interests of shareholders. Families were able to retain control by occupying a disproportionate number of seats on the boards of firms. However, in the absence of large stakes, the rise of hostile takeovers and institutional shareholders made it increasingly difficult for families to maintain control without challenge. Potential targets attempted to protect themselves through dual class shares and strategic share blocks but these were dismantled in response to opposition by institutional shareholders and the London Stock Exchange. The result was a regulated market in corporate control and a capital market that looked very different from its European counterparts. Thus, while acquisitions facilitated the growth of family controlled firms in the first half of the century, they also diluted their ownership and ultimately their control in the second half.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: Family ownership, control, takeovers
JEL Classification: G32
Date posted: January 26, 2004
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