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A controlling interest is an ownership interest in a corporation that has control of a large enough percentage of voting stock shares such that no one stock holder or coalition of stock holders can successfully oppose a motion by that interest. In theory this could mean that controlling interest would be 33.4% or 50% of the voting shares plus one. A majority interest is always a controlling interest.
In practice, though, controlling interest can be far less than that, as it is rare that 100% of company voting shareholders actively vote or that most opponents of the largest owner coalesce against the largest owner. While most small corporations do not have a 2/3 vote requirement, in the opposite, most large companies especially Delaware corporations, do have a 2/3 vote requirement.
A company that requires a 2/3 super-majority of shares to vote in favor of a motion can grant, in effect, veto power to a minority shareholder or block of shareholders that own more than 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 former 33.9% ownership of Mazda North American Operations is an example of a controlling interest with minority shareholding that was granted by Mazda.
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