In the land of mergers and acquisitions, there are takeovers, there are hostile takeovers, and then there are I'm Gonna Git You Sucka No Matter What takeovers. Porsche's increasingly acrimonious battle to swallow VW is becoming that third option, and the brawl might threaten the short term plans of Porsche, VW and Audi. Porsche wants access to Audi engines and electronics, but VW, which owns more than 99-percent of Audi, won't allow it.
Porsche has de facto control of VW, with a 35.1-percent share. The so-called VW Law, which allows the government of Lower Saxony ultimate veto power even though it has only a 20-percent share, has been the broadsword that both VW and Germany have been using to keep Porsche at bay. The law has been struck down at least three times by the EU Commission and a German Court, only to have politicians figure out how to rewrite it without changing the substance of it.
VW's supverisory board recently declared it would need to approve any sharing between Porsche and Audi, and at the moment, Porsche can't overrule that decision. Ferdinand Piech, the head of VW, is in a battle with the Porsche family and Wendelin Wiedeking, the CEO of Porsche, over control, and neither is expected to budge. The risk is that since no one knows how this is all going to play out, a battle of egos and punitive reactions could interrupt development of and platform sharing between – and therefore the profits of – all three manufacturers' future products and technology.
[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]