Pyramids, cross-ownership, rings and other complex features are frequent in the European and Japanese industrial world. The dissection of these structures requires a proper measurement of indirect shareholdings. While some authors use the (generally overestimated) data coming from legal ownership declarations, Ellerman (1991) and Flath (1992), Baldone et al. (1997) use the input-output matrix technology applied to raw ownership data. This paper goes a step further by adding control considerations based on the majority voting rule. The analysis moves from integrated ownership towards integrated control (including chain effects), then defines a control ratio for ultimate shareholders of any firm. The methodology is illustrated on Albert Frère's pyramidal empire. By offering a way to evaluate control leverages, this paper provides a useful tool for empirical research in corporate governance.
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