Family Ownership and Pyramids in the Spanish Market


  • This article was supported by Project SEJ2005-08805 of Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, Project V069 of Madrid Regional Government and University Rey Juan Carlos and Catedra Iberdrola for Research in Business Management and Organization. The authors thank the participants at the 15th Family Business Network Conference, IFERA Research Forum, the editor, and two anonymous referees for their help with previous versions of this article.

María Sacristán-Navarro is associate professor of business administration at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid, Spain. She can be reached at

Silvia Gómez-Ansón is associate professor of finance at the University of Oviedo, Spain. She can be contacted at


This aim of this article is to describe, in the Spanish setting, family ownership and to explore how families hold their shares (the use of indirect ownership, pyramids, and cross-shareholdings). It also seeks to describe to what extent cash-flow rights differ from control rights and the degree of the firm's professionalization according to every type of owner category, but especially for families.