Efficiency in Private Control Sales – The Case for Mandatory Bids

43 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2010 Last revised: 28 Feb 2012

See all articles by Edmund Schuster

Edmund Schuster

London School of Economics - Law School

Date Written: May 18, 2010


There are two main regulatory approaches in relation to private sale-of-control transactions. The ‘market rule’ confers maximum freedom on a company’s incumbent controller by enabling sale shares (hence control over the company) to any acquirer offering an acceptable price. This concept applies to most private sale-of-control transactions in the US. On the other hand, the ‘mandatory bid rule’ requires a potential acquirer to offer a buy-out to all remaining shareholders once he obtains control over a company. The mandatory bid rule has its origins in the UK and now applies throughout the EU and in many other jurisdictions. Under a mandatory bid, the price offered to the remaining shareholders by the acquirer must be at least equal to the consideration received by the incumbent controller. This effectively prevents transactions with potential acquirers who are unable to offer a price acceptable to the incumbent controller to all shareholders of the company. While this warrants that no value-destroying control transfers can take place, some value-increasing takeovers are also prevented by the rule, potentially reducing the overall level of (beneficial) takeover activity. This ‘chilling effect’ of the mandatory bid rule, it is often argued, is too high a price to pay for the few advantages offered in exchange. This paper seeks to analyse the determinants for a re-estimation of the efficiency costs entailed by the mandatory bid and market rules and argues that the efficiency advantages of the mandatory bid rule go far beyond simply deterring inefficient takeovers. The paper also emphasizes that private benefits of control – especially in the form of synergies – exist irrespective of the level of investor protection offered by a particular legal environment.

Keywords: Private Benefits of Control, Mandatory Bid Rule, Market Rule, Control Premium, Sharing Rule, Private Sales of Control, Corporate Ownership Structure, Market for Corporate Control

JEL Classification: K22, G34, G38

Suggested Citation

Schuster, Edmund-Philipp, Efficiency in Private Control Sales – The Case for Mandatory Bids (May 18, 2010). LSE Legal Studies Working Paper No. 8/2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1610259 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1610259

Edmund-Philipp Schuster (Contact Author)

London School of Economics - Law School ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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