Long-Term Ownership and Value Creation in Enterprise Foundations

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Steen Thomsen


Copenhagen Business School


DKK 1,000,000




Strategic Grants


The project examines how enterprise foundations contribute to business and society through long-term ownership. Enterprise foundations (Erhvervsfonde) are foundations, which own companies. This ownership structure is unique because it combines nonprofit charity in the foundations with for profit business enterprise and thus poses many interesting questions concerning corporate governance. Examples are prominent international companies like Carlsberg, Robert Bosch, the Wallenberg companies or the Indian Tata Group. The project will study enterprise foundations around the world and examine how they are governed and how they contribute to business and society.


The project will be useful for enterprise foundation governance and for our understanding of corporate governance in general. It will inform the public’s understanding of the role, which enterprise foundations play as long-term owners of business companies and as charitable sponsors of science, art and social projects.


The project will create an international database of foundation-owned companies, which will be matched with comparable companies with other ownership structures like family business or investor ownership. Using statistical analysis and case studies this will enable the researchers to examine the how foundation-owned companies perform financially and how they create value for society through employment, growth, corporate social responsibility and philanthropy. The comparative corporate governance of enterprise foundations and foundation-owned will be studied by including information about board structure, minority ownership, compensation practices and other governance indicators.

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