Background Note | HBS Case Collection | August 2005

Dual Class Share Companies

by Samuel L. Hayes III, Lynn S. Paine and Christopher Bruner


Provides a brief historical overview of dual class share companies in the United States, focusing on the New York Stock Exchange's evolving position on dual class structures since the 1920s, the impact of hostile takeovers on their use since the 1980s, and recent perspectives on their utility and appropriateness. Concludes with a brief discussion of the role of dual class structures in recent debates over Europe's takeover laws.

Keywords: Acquisition; Debates; Capital Structure; Equity; Business History; Law; Organizational Structure; Business and Shareholder Relations; Perspective; Europe; United States;


Hayes, Samuel L., III, Lynn S. Paine, and Christopher Bruner. "Dual Class Share Companies." Harvard Business School Background Note 306-032, August 2005.