M & A Law Prof Blog

Editor: Brian JM Quinn
Boston College Law School

Monday, September 24, 2012

Constraints on private benefits of control

Profs. Ron Gilson and Alan Schwartz have a new paper, Constraints on Private Benefits of Control: Ex Ante Control Mechanisms Versus Ex Post Transaction Review.  It's a contribution to the rules vs. standards debate.  Gilson and Schwartz are a great writing pair.  This paper is another add to their now lengthy collaboration.

Abstract:  We consider how the state should regulate the consumption of pecuniary private benefits of control by controlling shareholders. These benefits have efficient aspects: they compensate the controlling shareholder for monitoring managers and for investing effort to create and implement projects. Controlling shareholders, however, have incentives to consume excessive benefits. We argue here that ex post judicial review of controlled transactions is superior to ex ante restrictions on the creation of controlled structures: the latter form of regulation eliminates the efficiencies as well as the abuses of the controlled company form. We also argue that controlling shareholders should be permitted to contract with minority investors over permissible private benefit consumption. Neither ex post regulation nor contract works well, however, when courts are inefficient and inexpert. Hence, our principal normative claim is that a European level corporate court should be created, whose jurisdiction parties can invoke in their charters or other contracts.



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