Merger control and minority shareholdings : Time for a change ?

This set of Trends articles focus on the debate revived by the Aer Lingus / Ryanair case about treatment of minority interests in merger control. The main issue is to know if merger control should apply to the participations took by companies in shareholdings of their competitors without that such shareholdings to provide control in these companies. Would it be necessary to go beyond the notion of control as economic analysis hints that minority shareholding can be harmful ? These articles discuss the Aer Lingus / Ryanair case, explores the economic stakes at issue and consider French, English, German and Dutch regimes.

Merger control and minority shareholdings : Time for a change ? Some economics of minority shareholdings David Spector Economist, Paris School of Economics 1. Minority shareholdings are ubiquitous in modern corporate life. They can take many different forms. A firm may own a minority stake in a competitor. Slightly more complex are cross-shareholdings, i. e., situations in which Firm A owns a fraction of Firm B, which earns a fraction of Firm A (an example is the Renault-Nissan alliance, whereby Renault owns 44.3 % of Nissan, which owns 15 % of Renault). A different possibility is an investor (be it a single individual or an investment fund) owning minority stakes in several competing companies. 2. We present hereafter the main findings of economic theory and empirical research

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David Spector, Jacques-Philippe Gunther, David Bosco, Peter Kalbfleisch, Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke, Peter Freeman, Andreas Bardong, Merger control and minority shareholdings : Time for a change ?, septembre 2011, Concurrences N° 3-2011, Art. N° 37935, pp. 14-41

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