Striving for Privacy : A comparative case study on the strategic implications post public-to-private for family and non-family firms in Sweden

University essay from Högskolan i Jönköping/Internationella Handelshögskolan; Högskolan i Jönköping/Internationella Handelshögskolan

Abstract: Public-to-private (PTP) refers to the strategic action of consciously leaving the stock market. The delisting decision may be made when the benefits of being listed no longer outweigh the costs. The private environment offers multiple benefits firms may be expected to seek post-PTP such as reduced regulations, less quarterly performance pressures and fewer demands on the financial reporting. Such benefits correlate with expected changes made in firms post-PTP. Due to a limited amount of research available upon the topic of PTP, a research gap upon the deliberate changes made post-PTP exists. Family firms differ from non-family firms when making strategic decisions. Therefore, it is expected that the strategic changes made in family firms differ from those in non-family firms. Furthermore, the Continental European context exhibits special characteristics such as high levels of concentrated ownership, characteristics that may be vital for the changes made post-PTP.  The thesis explores deliberate changes made in firms post-PTP, and how these changes might have impacted the delisting decision. This phenomenon is explored within both family and non-family firms in a Swedish context, as a representation of the Continental European market. The research is conducted through a multiple case study. Based on a number of criteria, three case firms are selected as representations of the relevant ownership types within the study. The data collection takes place through eight in-depth interviews with key informants from the selected cases. The results of the data collection are presented through descriptive narratives, supported by secondary data. The data is analysed through within-case and cross-case analysis. The presented data is then further analysed using the literature presented in the frame of reference. Throughout the thesis, a number of changes made post-PTP are presented and discussed, finding great heterogeneity of results among the studied case firms. We find that a strategic delisting decision is mainly connected to firm ownership and financing methods for growth and development. Our findings suggest firms delisting for strategic reasons do not make in-depth changes in the firm post-PTP. Furthermore, we find that there is some connection between the perceived benefits of the private environment and the delisting decision.

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