Volkswagen AG has announced it will be establishing a new manufacturing unit in Osnabrueck, located in VW's home state of Lower Saxony, Germany. Interestingly enough, VW will be purchasing the land, equipment, and machinery formerly owned by Karmann -- the coachbuilder and convertible roof specialists who manufactured the classic Beetle-based Karmann Ghia coupe (Karmann filed for bankruptcy protection in April, and has been struggling since).
Volkswagen's second-largest shareholder, the German state of Lower Saxony, has the final say on the proposed Porsche-Volkswagen merger, and according to a spokesperson for the state's prime minister, Christian Wulff, the new company birthed from the union should be open to outside investors.
With present economic conditions shrinking Porsche's available cash, the automaker may have to adjust or delay its plans to gain full control of Volkswagen. In January, Porsche raised its stake in Volkswagen to 50.76% gaining a majority stake. The Stuttgart-based automaker wants to purchase more of VW, but it stressed that economic conditions must support the move.
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 wants to purchase Volkswagen, this much we know. But before that happens, the huge labor union at VW needs to agree on terms with Porsche management. This, as you may imagine, is proving a bit more difficult than Porsche had hoped, prompting the automaker's senior labor leader Uwe Hueck to lash out at the heads at VW. Not surprisingly, his initial attack received a response from Bernd Osterloh, the head of VW's labor union. It seems that some major sticking points exist that the organize
Porsche is one step closer to its goal of purchasing Volkswagen. Back in April of last year, the German automaker passed the 30-percent mark, forcing it to make an outright offer for The Volkswagen Group in its entirety, which it did. Not too many VW shareholders sold their stake to Porsche, as the bid was for the bare minimum amount allowed by law. Still, the legal requirement had been met, allowing Porsche to continue gobbling up the automaker according to its own timetable. Earlier this year,
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.
In a move that may undermine Germany's protection of Lower Saxony and its close ties to Volkswagen, the European Commission plans to review the case of Volkswagen Law in the European Union's top court. As you may recall, Porsche has been trying to take majority control of rival Volkswagen. However, the so-called "Volkswagen Law" has protected VW from takeover by allowing the state of Lower Saxony (where thousands of VW jobs are at stake) to retain just enough stock in the company to prevent Pors
The Volkswagen Law is doing its best impression of Lazarus -- or perhaps a better analogy would be whack-a-mole. The European Court and minority VW shareholder Porsche keep trying to kill it, but it keeps popping up. Now the German government has agreed on an altered VW law -- but one that still gives the state of Lower Saxony, with it's 20.1-percent holding, blocking minority power.
The so-called "VW law" was struck down by the European Court last October. Previous to that, the state of Lower Saxony was able to veto any Volkswagen shareholder action it didn't like. When the law was struck down it looked like the Lower Saxony had no choice but to watch Porsche, which had been circling shark-like around Volkswagen for a bit, decide on the day it chose to take majority control of the much larger company.
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