The equal value of shares in company law
This thesis is about the value of shares. The focus is on analysing the norms of company law governing shares, shareholders' rights, and share value. A central point is that according to company law the value of shares is merely a matter of fact and opinion. In brief, shareholders decide about their shares thus, share value is more a question of markets than of law. On the other hand, law has a role in setting the value for shares. The law determines which opinion should prevail if there is disagreement about valuation furthermore, company law sets restrictions on shareholders' power. The equality of shares is one of the general principles of company law. Overall, when shares in a company have similar rights, these shares rank equally. This study emphasizes equality its aim is to clarify what the equality of shares means in company law. My conclusion is that English company law supports the equality of shares although that cannot be an absolute principle of law. Several commentators regard Short v Treasury Commissioners as a ruling stating that majority shares are more valuable than minority shares. This study explains case law differently. I consider that fair share value is generally determined on a pro rata basis, which view is expressed, for example, in O'Neill v Phillips. In sum, I propose that the governing idea is the equal value of shares. Yet, as share value is mainly beyond the scope of company law, this equality prevails only when the value is determined by the power of law.