Takeovers vs. institutions in corporate governance in Germany

  • The corporate governance Systems in the U.K. and in Germany differ markedly. German large firms have a two-board structure, they are subject to employee codetermination, their managements are not confronted with public hostile takeover bids, and banks play a major role in corporate governance, through equity stakes, through proxies given to them by small investors, and through bankers positions on the supervisory boards of these firms. One of the main issues of corporate governance in large firms, the Problem of shareholders passivity in monitoring management in Berle-Means type corporations, is thus addressed by an institutional Provision, the role of the banks, rather than by a market-oriented Solution as we find it in the U.K. with its market for corporate control through the threat of hostile takeovers. These two different approaches to corporate governance have been compared several times recently, and it was argued that a bank-based or institutional Solution has clear advantages and should be preferred. Cosh, Hughes and Singh, for example, argue at the conclusion of their discussion of takeovers and short-termism in the U.K. that the institutional shareholder [in the UK] should take a much more active and vigorous part in the internal governance of corporations. . . . In Order for such a proposal to be effective both in disciplining inefficient managements and promoting long-term investments, far reaching changes in the internal workings and behaviour of the financial institutions would be required. The financial institutions would need to pool their resources together, set up specialised departments for promoting investment and innovations - in other words behave like German banks. The following remarks seek to continue this discussion from the German perspective. The article will first attempt to evaluate the monitoring potential of our domestic bank or institution-oriented corporate governance System and then, in a further patt, compare it with that of a market-oriented Solution. lt will be argued that both Systems focus on different Problems and have specific advantages and drawbacks, and that there are still quite a few puzzles to be solved until all pros and cons of each of these monitoring devices tan be assessed. The perception that both Systems focus on different Problems suggests combining institutional monitoring with a market for corporate control rather than considering them to be contrasting and incompatible approaches. The article is organized as follows. Section II will describe the legal structure of the large corporation in Germany in more detail. Section Ill explains why a market for corporate control by the threat of public hostile takeover bids does not exist in Germany. Section IV then Shows how corporate governance in publicly held corporations with small investors is organized instead, and deals with the role of banks in corporate governance in these firms. Section V of the atticle then will try to compare the monitoring potential of a marketoriented and our bank or institution-oriented corporate governance System. Concluding remarks follow.

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Author:Theodor BaumsGND
Parent Title (English):Institut für Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht (Osnabrück): Arbeitspapiere ; [19]92,1
Parent Title (German):Institut für Bankrecht (Frankfurt, Main): Arbeitspapiere ; Nr. 1
Series (Serial Number):Arbeitspapiere / Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität, Institut für Bankrecht (1)
Publisher:Institut für Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht
Place of publication:Osnabrück
Document Type:Working Paper
Year of Completion:1992
Year of first Publication:1992
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2005/04/11
Page Number:50
Source:Arbeitspapiere // Universität Osnabrück, Institut für Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht ; 92,1. - Publ. in: Prentice, David D. [Hrsg.]: Contemporary issues in corporate governance. - Oxford {[u.a.] : Clarendon Press {[u.a.], 1993, S. 151 ff.
Institutes:Rechtswissenschaft / Rechtswissenschaft
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 330 Wirtschaft
3 Sozialwissenschaften / 34 Recht / 340 Recht
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht