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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 9, 2020

Breach of the Mandatory Bid Rule: Minority Shareholders’ Protection in the Public vs. Private Enforcement Debate

  • Peter Agstner and Davide Marchesini Mascheroni

The mandatory takeover bid has been broadly investigated in the literature. The economics of such control acquisition and the pros and cons of the mandatory bid rule are nowadays well-established. Uncertainty still reigns with respect to the fundamental question whether private law remedies are available to minority shareholders in the case of a breach of the duty to make a takeover bid. Statutory law across Member States is essentially silent on this matter, and at a supranational level the CJEU’s case law does not offer valid precedents. European policymakers rely on public enforcement mechanisms, while an action for damages against the bidder is not made available or only reluctantly accepted by the courts. Italy is an outlier, allowing today – after the consolidation of the principles expressed in the leading case Fondiaria-SAI – the recourse to private enforcement remedies. This article shows that, for the purpose of good functioning and competitiveness of capital markets, private enforcement plays an important role against violations of the mandatory bid rules. Thus, public enforcement, which often proved to be ineffective or bypassed especially in cases of acting in concert, should be complemented by the recognition of civil liability of the bidder for breach of the duty to launch a takeover bid. Furthermore, the legal regime of such liability is outlined, thereby investigating the (contractual or tortious) nature of the bidder’s liability and the operativeness of such a regime (e. g., amount of damages, application of compensatio lucro cum damno rule).


This article has been conceived, discussed and elaborated together by the authors; for the purpose of academic evaluation, Parts A, C, D and E were written by Peter Agstner, while Part B was written by Davide Marchesini Mascheroni. For precious comments and suggestions we would like to thank Eckart Bueren, Paolo Giudici, Stefan Korch, Stefano Lombardo, Chiara Mosca, Federico M. Mucciarelli, Alain Pietrancosta, Carlo Rusconi and Rüdiger Veil, as well as two anonymous referees. The usual disclaimers apply.

Published Online: 2020-12-09
Published in Print: 2020-12-01

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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