Does Company Ownership Matter?

Does Company Ownership Matter?

The Cournot Centre series

Edited by Jean-Philippe Touffut

Do modes of management depend on company ownership? Does macroeconomic performance rely on shareholder value? The contributions collected in this book explore these questions from economic, historical and legal perspectives. They examine company ownership through the study of national institutions, with particular focus on North America and Europe. The twelve economic and legal specialists of this volume seek to explain why firms organized along the shareholder model have not outperformed other forms of ownership. Answers lie in the historical and institutional background of each country.

Chapter 3: The Impact of Shareholder Structure on Large Listed Companies in France: Time Horizons and Control

Jean-Louis Beffa and Xavier Ragot

Subjects: business and management, corporate governance, economics and finance, corporate governance, industrial organisation


3. The impact of shareholding structure on large listed companies in France: time horizons and control Jean-Louis Beffa and Xavier Ragot INTRODUCTION The shareholding structure of big companies in France has undergone profound changes since the nationalizations of the early 1980s. These changes are the result of action both by the state and by national and international financial markets, which have themselves evolved. Recent developments have confirmed research, showing that shareholding structure can equally contribute to improving the management of companies as it can also restrict their medium-term economic development (Streeck, 2003). In this domain, state action can help to facilitate the emergence of strategies in keeping with the long-term interests of the company and its stakeholders. The aim of this chapter is to distinguish between the different strategies of shareholders, so as to use this differentiation to put into perspective the recent evolution in shareholding in large companies in France. This analysis then leads to the presentation of possible measures to favour the medium-term development of companies. A TYPOLOGY OF SHAREHOLDERS The objectives and strategies of shareholders vary considerably, depending, for example, on whether they are family owners with a majority shareholding or institutional investors. This is particularly evident during debates and votes in annual general meetings (AGMs). This section presents a simplified typology of shareholders, which will then be applied to the recent history of French capitalism in the next section. 77 78 Does company ownership matter? Corporate Control Shareholders can either seek a return without directly influencing...

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