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21 Brook. J. Int'l L. 85 (1995-1996)
The Golden Share of Privatized Companies

handle is hein.journals/bjil21 and id is 93 raw text is: THE GOLDEN SHARE OF PRIVATIZED
Alice Pezard
Over the last ten years, various European, Asian and
South American countries have conducted privatization pro-
grams. This general trend furthers the global application of
privatization techniques, not least because of the weight of
foreign investors.
Having learned from the British experience in the 1980s,
France adopted certain British and American concepts, includ-
ing the golden share. Used during the privatization of British
Aerospace and British Telecom, this special share, reserved for
the government, provides a legal instrument for fighting off
takeovers of strategically important privatized companies.
The golden share was introduced in French law by Act 86-
912 of August 6, 1986, Section 10, on the privatization condi-
tions for the sixty-five national enterprises listed in Act 86-793
of July 2, 1986, authorizing the government to take various
economic and social measures. Section 7 of Act 99-923 of July
19, 1993, preserves and refines this legal instrument, original-
ly adopted for a five-year term.
The recent refinements have turned this copy of the Brit-
ish golden share into a real French golden share.
Transfer of ownership from the public to the private sector
is a delicate operation. The government does not merely sell
property or know-how. During privatization transactions, it is
charged with protecting national interests and preserving na-
tional independence.
A. Protecting National Interests
Section 10 of the Act of August 6, 1986 (modified), stipu-
lates that an ordinary share must be converted into a golden

* Magistrat, Direction du Trisor, Minist&re de L'Economie, France

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