In this paper, we explore an extensive panel data set covering more than 4,000 listed firms in 16 European countries to study the effects of shareholder protection on ownership structure and firm performance. We document a negative firm-level correlation between shareholder protection and ownership concentration. Differentiating between shareholder types, we find that this pattern is mainly driven by strategic investors. In contrast, we find a positive correlation between shareholder protection and block ownership of institutional investors, in particular when we restrict the analysis to independent institutional investors. Finally, we find that independent institutional investors are positively associated with firm valuation as measured by Tobin’s Q. The opposite applies for strategic investors. Overall, our results are consistent with the view that (i) high shareholder protection and (ii) limited ownership by strategic investors make small investors and investors interested in security returns more confident in their investments.
Advances in Financial Economics: Global Corporate Governance, 2017, p. 23-76