Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Portugal Telecom

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled against the largest telecommunications provider in Portugal in a much-watched case that involves the legal significance of "golden shares" within the EU framework.

Portugal Telecom was a legal monopoly in that country until 1994, when the government began privatizing the company and liberalizing the market. But through that period of liberalization, the government wanted to ensure that it would retain a veto right to certain corporate decisions, so it created the "golden shares," -- 500 shares with extended voting rights, effectively allowing it to block a takeover of the company by outsiders.

Here's a link to a discussion, by Jaron van Bekkum, who professes himself baffled.

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