Official: Porsche now owns more than 50% of VW

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Though it's backwards to the way Porsche would have had it, the merger will happen

Though it's backwards to the way Porsche would have had it, the merger will happen

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Yet another chapter of the Porsche-VW takeover saga has unfolded today as Porsche has finally pushed its holding in VW over 50%. Porsche has held an interest of 74.1% in combined stock and options in VW since late last year, but was waiting on more favorable economic conditions to further increase its stake. With the new acquisition of shares, Porsche's direct ownership in VW now totals 50.76%.

Porsche acquired its majority by purchasing another $8.49 billion worth of VW stock. Even though the expenditure is large, it's about 25% of what it would have been late last year when a confluence of market conditions drove VW's share prices above $1,250 and temporarily made the company the most valuable in the world.

The majority grab means the company is now statutorily required to make a takeover offer to Swedish truck maker Scania, reports Reuters. It will almost certainly be a perfunctory offer that is not pursued, but it must nevertheless be made. VW owns about 69% of Scania's voting shares.

In late August of last year, Porsche announced that it had 74.1% control of the Volkswagen Group via a 42.6% direct equity stake and options giving that gave it the additional 31.5%. Referring to the increased share acquisition, Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking said last year that "in light of the current economic environment, it therefore becomes increasingly unrealistic to achieve this goal within 2008." During the same conference, Wiedeking also reaffirmed his intention to eventually take Porsche's stake in VW to 75% in 2009.

Volkswagen is the world’s third biggest carmaker behind Toyota and General Motors and produces more than five million vehicles annually, but it is now presided over by a family-controlled company that makes a little over 100,000 expensive sports cars each year.

This difference in size between the two carmakers has lead to internal squabbles over who will control day-to-day operations. VW recently called on Porsche to stay out of its daily operations, with its chairman Ferdinand Piëch breaking ranks with his Porsche-family cousins to side with VW’s management board. Recent developments have seen a stabilization of sorts, however, with agreements on union and board representation soothing relations.
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