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Business Groups in the WestOrigins, Evolution, and Resilience$
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Asli M. Colpan and Takashi Hikino

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717973

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198717973.001.0001

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An Engine of Modern Economic Development

(p.193) Chapter 8 Germany
Business Groups in the West

Harm G. Schröter

Oxford University Press

Up to now little attention has been paid to business groups as a form of enterprise in Germany. It is consequently surprising that during the twentieth century perhaps a quarter of the largest 100 firms qualified as diversified unrelated business groups. These were to be found mainly in three sectors: 1) up to the First World War, large universal banks acted as centers of business groups; only Deutsche Bank went on until the millennium; 2) during the interwar period state-owned enterprises were merged into several large business groups which spun off their parts during the 1990s; 3) many family-owned business groups stayed resilient with their choice of organization. Pyramids were rare within the 100 largest firms.

Keywords:   business groups, conglomerates, big business, Germany, banks, state ownership, family firm

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