Wait, what? Didn't Porsche just buy Volkswagen? Well yeah, for the most part. The parent company Porsche Automobil Holding SE holds majority interest in the Volkswagen group, and is planning on buying more. But in order to do so, the rumors suggest, the holding company would have to sell its auto manufacturing unit (Porsche AG) to Volkswagen, and then, we're supposed to understand, turn around a buy another quarter of VW's shares with the cash generated. (With us so far?) The put would undoubtedly drive Volkswagen's shares up, generating more cash for VW and more debt for a hungry Porsche.
Of course both German carmakers are dismissing the reports as "nonesense", just like they have about another rumor that suggests Porsche is planning on replacing its CEO Wendelin Wiedeking with Volkswagen chief-exec Martin Winterkorn. Those rumors were fueled by Wiedeking's conspicuous absense at the Panamera launch in Shanghai, where Winterkorn was in attendance, but similarly denied by both automakers as mere conjecture. Though the CEO swap rumor is slightly more believable, these latest turns of the rumor mill still make about as much sense as a convertible amphibious submarine...but then again, we've seen that, too.
[Sources: Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Automotive News Europe – subs. req'd]