Portfolio Management and Appropriation of Private Benefits of Control


  • Elli Kraizberg Bar Ilan University Ramat Gan 52900, Israel




In many countries around the globe, portfolio managers utilize well accepted models, assuming that a partial stake of ownership is proportionally valued. This assumption is incorrect  in markets in which traded firms or publicly held firms are controlled by major owners who would take any possible measure to protect and maintain a 'lock' on control, so they can secure a sellable asset to another control seeker. In this case, estimation of key parameters such as, volatility, expected returns and diversification effect, may be grossly distorted.

We would argue that a major trigger for the value of the benefits of control is the ability of control owners to transfer assets from their own portfolio to a controlled publicly traded firm. While it is obvious that these transfers will take place, if and only if, it is beneficial to the control owners, the impact on the minor shareholders may not necessarily be negative and may vary depending on several parameters. Thus, the benefits of control are not entirely "private", i.e. appropriation and diversion of the resources of publicly traded firms for the benefit of the control owners.     

This paper aims to model the effect of the benefits of control on the value of a minority held public firms. It focuses on two related issues that are discussed in the literature on the benefits of control: what drives the value of the benefits of control, given the   empirical evidence that control seekers are willing to pay a significant premium for control, and secondly, can these benefits be rationally modeled? To better understand these issues, it then models a specific drive on the part of control seekers who, in addition to their stake in a publicly traded firm, own a private portfolio. It could be argued that they may 'transfer' inferior investments to the public firms that they control exploiting less than perfect transparency. However, while they own this valuable option of 'transferring' inferior investments into the public firm, these actions may still be beneficial to the minority shareholders.

We establish a model and derive a simulation procedure that are applied to several cases in which transfers  are made in exchange for cash or equity, instances of full disclosure or partial transparency, the likelihood that the control owners' actions will be contested in court, level of risk, and other parameters. Then we will compare the results to empirical finding.  The final model will be greatly simplified so that the end formula can be easily used by practitioners. 


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