Case Study

Sulzer takeover battle

8 pages
December 2011
Reference: IMD-1-0319

Sometime during the evening of the 20th of April 2007 a significant number of Sulzer shares had changed hands “off-bourse” – allowing an investment group called Renova to get an effective 32% stake in the Swiss engineering firm within minutes without having disclosed any prior holdings. This revelation caused a public outcry about the way the Swiss icon has been outmanoeuvred. The more details about what the press called the “Sulzer scandal” became public, the more it became clear to what extend Sulzer’s principal bank, the Züricher Kantonal Bank (ZKB) and some other banks were engaged in the corporate raid. As a result a number of bankers involved, including the CEO of the ZKB, had to step down from their positions. Ultimately the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority launched the largest ever inquiry at the time. It was concluded after almost three years with the clear verdict that disclosure rights has been disregarded and that the ZKB had seriously infringed its duties towards its client. The Sulzer case became the catalyst for changing the Swiss Stock Exchange Act to adapt to the realities of the fast-changing and increasingly creative stock markets.

Learning Objective

Understand the realities of Stock Markets; recognize the need for vigilance over shareholdings; awareness of the potential use of unconventional financial instruments; consideration of potential ethical issues around hostile acquisitions.

Corporate Raid, Takeover
Published Sources
© 2011
Available Languages
Case clearing houses
IMD case studies are distributed through case clearing houses. In order to browse the collection and purchase copies please visit the links below.

The Case Centre

Cranfield University

Wharley End Beds MK43 0JR, UK
Tel +44 (0)1234 750903
Email [email protected]

Harvard Business School Publishing

60 Harvard Way, Boston MA 02163, USA
Tel (800) 545-7685 Tel (617)-783-7600
Fax (617) 783-7666
Email [email protected]

Asia Pacific Case Center

NUCB Business School

1-3-1 Nishiki Naka
Nagoya Aichi, Japan 460-0003
Tel +81 52 20 38 111
Email [email protected]


Research Information & Knowledge Hub for additional information on IMD publications

Discover our latest research
IMD's faculty and research teams publish articles, case studies, books and reports on a wide range of topics