It's been a whole three weeks since we checked in with Volkswagen's takeoever of Porsche, and the most recent news wasn't so good: investors filed a $2.6 billion suit against Porsche over the Stuttgart maker's attempt to gobble up VW. Those same investors also filed an arbitration application against Volkswagen. That hasn't stopped a VW executive from saying that its ownership of Porsche could finally be concluded this year, according to a report in Der Spiegel.
VW had earlier predicted the deal would be done last year, then released a statement in September saying that that too many hurdles and unknowns remained concerning investigations and economic ramfications for the deal to get done in 2011. The hurdles centered around previous lawsuits, including one brought by American investors in 2010, and the fact that VW couldn't evaluate Porsche appropriately until they were settled.
However, the latest upbeat report on overcoming the obstructions to getting a deal done this year don't mention those lawsuits. Instead, the resolved issues are a one-billion-euro tax payment that VW can avoid by creating a holding company by 2014 to control the Porsche stake, and VW's agreeing to contractually assure Porsche retains control over its models and where it spends its money. According to that unnamed executive, this opens the door for VW to sponge up the final 50.1 percent of Porsche it doesn't own, for a price of €3.9 billion – about $5.1B USD – but we have no idea how or why the lawsuits aren't mentioned as a factor.
In the meantime, Reuters reports that VW and Porsche are working "at arm's length" even though they have the same CEO and CFO and are busy developing cars together, a fact which is testing CEO Martin Winterkorn's patience. Earlier this month, Winterkorn was quoted as saying he wants to bring the companies closer "without needing to have a lawyer stand next to a Porsche employee every time he screws something into a Volkswagen or vice-versa."