A procedural glitch, as opposed to Berlin-based intrigue, has postponed Porsche's plan to take over Volkswagen. The EU Commission requires a company to have a controlling interest in a company, or at least an agreement for such, before it will consider a company's application for regulatory approval. To straighten things out, Porsche has raised its stake in VW from 30.6 percent to 35.5 percent, which effectively grants it control of the much larger carmaker.

There's still that issue of the Volkswagen Law and Lower Saxony's refusal to give up the fight for its minority-majority stake. Lower Saxony, the state that is home to VW and 150,000 workers who don't want to lose their jobs, just bought another 500,000 shares in VW to maintain its position.

The EU Commission, however, has already said that Lower Saxony cannot use the VW Law to maintain control. That makes Porsche the fox outside the henhouse, waiting on the inevitable moment when EU officers will come and unlock the doors. Even better for the sports car maker, because Porsche hedged the purchase of its VW stake with cash-settled derivatives, it is assumed to have only spent a "a fraction" of the published price for controlling interest.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]