Corporate Groups: Corporate Law, Private Contracting and Equal Ownership

60 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2021

See all articles by Maria Isabel Sáez Lacave

Maria Isabel Sáez Lacave

Universidad autonoma de Madrid, Faculty of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

María Gutiérrez Urtiaga

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid-Departamento de Economía de la Empresa; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: April 14, 2021

Abstract

In this paper we provide a simple and general framework that explains the nature of groups, their corporate governance problems and their ownership structures as the result of the double nature of the controlling shareholder in the group as both shareholder and stakeholder of the subsidiary. We use this framework to conduct an economic and empirical analysis that explores the limitations of regulation and shareholders’ agreements to deal with this dual nature of the parent. Our analysis is able to explain the extreme ownership structures prevalent across groups as solution of last resort to unresolved corporate governance problems when regulation is inefficient and transaction costs limit the use of contracts to provide shared control. We go on to test these ideas conducting an empirical study that explains groups ownership structures and allows us to derive important policy implications. First, it exposes the structural limitations that corporate law encounters to contain the corporate governance problems of groups. Second, it calls for an acknowledgement of the crucial role of shareholders agreements in corporate governance. Shareholder agreements offer the best alternative to protect parent and subsidiary from mutual opportunism, while preserving the incentives to cooperate. Guarantying the enforceability of these contracts offers jurisdictions the most efficient way forward to reduce expropriation in corporate groups.

Keywords: Corporate Groups, Shareholders agreements, Minority protection, Minority expropriation, Contractual enforcement, Ownership structure

JEL Classification: K22, K15, G32

Suggested Citation

Sáez Lacave, Maria Isabel and Gutiérrez Urtiaga, María, Corporate Groups: Corporate Law, Private Contracting and Equal Ownership (April 14, 2021). European Corporate Governance Institute - Law Working Paper No. 581/2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3826510 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3826510

Maria Isabel Sáez Lacave (Contact Author)

Universidad autonoma de Madrid, Faculty of Law ( email )

C/ Kelsen 1
Madrid, 28049
Spain

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

María Gutiérrez Urtiaga

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid-Departamento de Economía de la Empresa ( email )

Calle Madrid 126
Getafe, 28903
Spain
+34-91 624 58 40 (Phone)
+34-91 624 96 07 (Fax)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
Rue Ducale 1 Hertogsstraat
1000 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
78
Abstract Views
155
rank
366,810
PlumX Metrics