Controlling Interest

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Controlling Interest

What is the dictionary definition of Controlling Interest?

Dictionary Definition

Controlling interest in a corporation means to have control of a large enough block of voting stock shares in a company such that no one stockholder or coalition of stockholders can successfully oppose a motion. In theory, this normally means that controlling interest would be 50% of the voting shares plus one.

In practice, though, controlling interest can be far less than that, as it is rare that 100% of a company’s voting shareholders actively vote.

In addition, a company that requires a 2/3 super-majority of shares to vote in favour of a motion, can grant, in effect, veto power to a minority shareholder or block of shareholders that own essentially 1/3 of the shares. Thus in some cases, a single entity can essentially maintain control, with only 33.4% of the outstanding shares. Ford Motor Company’s ownership of 33.4% of Mazda is an example of a controlling interest with minority shareholding.

Full Definition of Controlling Interest

Controlling interest is simply an ownership status where a corporation or an individual owns fifty per cent or more of a company’s voting shares. One of the ways in which controlling interest may be achieved is by paying a control premium, which in effect grants enough ownership to set policies, direct operations, and makes a multitude of other controlling interest decisions for a business. Controlling interest is also often attained by way of initiating mergers, such as acquisitions and buyouts. Undervalued companies are often sought out for the purpose of consuming enough shares to secure controlling interest. Controlling interest may also be gained by a much smaller interest in a company, owned individually or by a group in combination. This type of standing may result in a controlling interest if all other company shares are widely dispersed and not actively voted.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Controlling Interest. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 21, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Controlling Interest. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 21, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Controlling Interest. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Controlling Interest are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 18th April, 2020 | 3 Views.