Interlocking Directorships and Cross-Shareholdings Among the Italian Blue Chips

35 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2011

See all articles by Carlo Drago

Carlo Drago

University of Rome "Niccolò Cusano"

Stefano Manestra

Bank of Italy

Paolo Santella

Single Resolution Board

Date Written: March 30, 2011


We contribute to the literature on cross shareholdings and board interlocks in Italy which finds possible evidence of enlarged collusion, that is, collusion established through board interlocks among companies that do not necessarily operate in the same business sector. We focus on the Italian Blue Chips (about 80% of the total market capitalization) in 1998 and in 2008, examining the entire network of cross-shareholdings of at least 2% of total voting rights which we compare to the entire network of interlocking directorates among the same Blue Chips. We find that in 1998 enlarged collusion only takes place among those Blue Chips that are also linked by cross-shareholdings (the Mediobanca Galaxy), which reinforces the hypothesis that in Italy this form of collusion is functional to shareholder expropriation. In addition, we find that in 2008 new shareholders appear on top of the Galaxy and the Galaxy extends its reach through board interlockers to the rest of the Blue Chips.

Keywords: corporate governance, interlocking directorships, antitrust, competition, social network analysis (SNA), exploratory data analysis (EDA), empirical corporate finance

JEL Classification: C0, L1, L4, G3, M2

Suggested Citation

Drago, Carlo and Manestra, Stefano and Santella, Paolo, Interlocking Directorships and Cross-Shareholdings Among the Italian Blue Chips (March 30, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Carlo Drago

University of Rome "Niccolò Cusano" ( email )

Via Don Carlo Gnocchi, 3
Rome, 00166

Stefano Manestra

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Paolo Santella (Contact Author)

Single Resolution Board

Rue de la Science 27
Bruxelles, 1000

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