How Much Value Can Blockholders Tunnel? Evidence from the Bulgarian Mass Privatization Auctions
63 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2001 Last revised: 21 Mar 2012
Date Written: April 28, 2002
This study examines the emergence of the Bulgarian stock market and the role of controlling blockholders. A new approach using mass privatization auction data measures the premium for control and demonstrates that, in the absence of legal constraints, majority owners extract more than 85% of firm value as private benefits of control. Institutional investors form portfolios of predominantly controlling positions or participate in majority coalitions. Ownership stakes cluster at 51%. After the privatized companies begin trading on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, majority-owned firms trade at 40-60% discounts. Overall, the results support the Fama and Jensen (1983) view that majority-owned firms cannot persist as publicly traded corporations if the expropriating activities of controlling blockholders are not legally restricted.
Keywords: private benefits of control, large shareholders, coalition formation
JEL Classification: G32, G34, D44, L33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation