Golden Share

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Golden Share

A share in a publicly-traded company that gives the shareholder power to veto changes to the charter. Golden shares were originated when the British government began privatizing previously nationalized companies in the 1980s and wished to retain a great deal of control over these companies. Other European countries later took similar measures, though many forms of golden share have since been ruled illegal in the European Union.
References in periodicals archive ?
The court upheld the European Commission's position: the holding of such golden shares gives the Portuguese state exceptional rights in GALP Energia's capital and is an infringement of the principle of free movement of capital.
France and Germanyare expected to adopt golden shares as a means to protect their interests.
The Italian Government have a golden share in Telecom Italia.
On Tuesday, the TSE unveiled the proposals, which included recommending punishing any corporate issuer of golden shares by forcibly delisting it.
According to the August 2002 issue of The Dealer's Journal, the UK government held golden shares in 26 companies, including Eurotunnel, National Air Traffic Services and the National Grid.
The golden shares held by the Portuguese state in Energias de Portugal (EDP) are an infringement of the free movement of capital because they might discourage investments by operators from other member states, ruled the European Court of Justice on 11 November in case C-543/08 Commission v Portugal.
The European Union has taken a critical view of golden shares and took the Dutch to court over its special voting rights in TNT and Dutch telecoms firm KPN in 2003.
The court said golden shares were a barrier to the free movement of capital and could be justified only in cases of national strategic interest, such as defence, and where the measure was proportionate to the objective pursued.
The golden shares held by the Portuguese state in Portugal Telecom constitute a restriction on the free movement of capital because they are liable to discourage investments by operators in other member states.
The proposed merger of Suez and GDF risks descending into a game of one-upmanship between the French and Belgian governments over the delicate issue of state-held golden shares.
Taking London to the Luxembourg-based court would be the latest stage in the commission's campaign against government golden shares in former state-owned companies.
Spain has complied with a Court of Justice ruling concerning certain provisions of the country's privatisation law regarding golden shares in formal state monopolies.