a higher voting premium is related to lower returns for voting shares than for non-voting shares over the next quarter (six months): a result supporting the idea that investors’ sentiment determines changes in the voting premium. Similarly, news against dual class firms increase the voting premium, but are systematically associated to lower returns for voting shares relative to non-voting shares over the next quarter (six months). Furthermore, we continue to find that news that can be considered negative for dual class firms increase the voting premium after controlling for differences in corporate governance, such as board turnover, family ownership or compensation. If instead we were to find that months with negative news coverage are followed by systematically lower returns for voting shares than for non-voting shares, it would appear that the news are related to too pessimistic expectations on the returns of non-voting shares. In this case, the higher voting premium that negative news coverage of dual class shares determine would appear to be unjustified by ex post returns. It could thus be interpreted as capturing changes in investor sentiment for share structures that deviate from the principle of one-share-one-voteThese findings indicate that changes in the voting premium are unlikely to be explained by changes in the relative magnitude of the benefits accruing to voting and non-voting shareholders.We also find no major differences in corporate governance or operating performance between the dual class firms and the control firms with single share structure.
We argue that the debate on dual class shares may have created negative sentiment against non-voting shares and led market participants to consider stocks without voting rights as inferior claims. Ultimately, a social norm in favor of oneshare- one-vote may have emerged and led companies to avoid the use of multiple share structures.