For a sample of almost 1000 German companies through the years 1987-1994 this study shows that there is a significant market for large share blocks. The vast majo-rity of block transfers leads to changes in ultimate ownership, and – in contrast to hostile takeovers – the frequency of ownership change is high compared with other countries. Changes in ownership are preceded by poor performance, while they are hindered by com-plex ownership structures. Control transfers are followed by increased management and supervisory board turnover, asset divestitures, and employee layoffs. Industry-adjusted performance of poorly performing firms improves, however, performance does not exceed the industry benchmark.