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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Groups of companies are common. The empirical data are heterogeneous. Agency problems arise between the controlling shareholder and the minority shareholders and between the shareholders and the creditors. Three regulatory models exist: regulation by general corporate and/or civil law (prototype: the UK); regulation by special group law (prototype: Germany); and regulation by areas of the law such as banking, competition, and tax. The main strategy is mandatory disclosure and group accounting. Related party transactions (including conflict of interest and tunneling) are dealt with by disclosure and consent requirements. In addition, appropriate standards for directors and controlling shareholders (corporate governance) have been developed. They become stricter, if insolvency is approaching. The concept of the shadow director extends liability to the controlling shareholder. Other mechanisms for creditor protection are indemnification, veil-piercing, subordination and substantive consolidation. A fair amount of international convergence exists as to shareholder protection, but not as to creditor protection.

Keywords: Groups of Companies, Corporate Governance, Convergence, Principal Agent Conflicts between Minority Shareholders and Controlling Shareholders, Creditor Protection, Related Party Transactions, Conflict of Interest, Tunneling, Mandatory Disclosure, Veil-Piercing

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