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Spending Less Time with the Family: The Decline of Family Ownership in the UK

39 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2004  

Julian R. Franks

London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Colin Mayer

University of Oxford - Said Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); University of Oxford - Said Business School

Stefano Rossi

Bocconi University; Krannert School of Management; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 2004

Abstract

Family ownership was rapidly diluted in the twentieth century in Britain. The main cause was equity issued in the process of making acquisitions. 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.

Suggested Citation

Franks, Julian R. and Mayer, Colin and Rossi, Stefano, Spending Less Time with the Family: The Decline of Family Ownership in the UK (July 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10628. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=565827

Julian R. Franks (Contact Author)

London Business School ( email )

Institute of Finance and Accounting
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London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
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+44 20 7724 3317 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Belgium

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

Colin Mayer

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain
+44 1865 288112 (Phone)
+44 1865 288805 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

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

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain
+44 1865 288112 (Phone)
+44 1865 288805 (Fax)

Stefano Rossi

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milano, MI 20136
Italy

Krannert School of Management ( email )

West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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