If you weren't paying close attention, you probably missed the climax of the Volkswagen and Porsche union. After three years of trying to plan the perfect wedding – and by "perfect" we mean one in which VW didn't have to pay $1.9 billion in tax on the transaction – and two years in which Porsche inadvertently played Bridezilla, the consummation has resulted in matter-of-fact announcements and a jargon-filled press release from VW.
Porsche VW Merger
After five months of finessing the deal, Volkswagen and Porsche Holding SE have figured out how to sidestep the tax man: VW's €4.5 billion purchase of the remaining 50.1-percent stake in Porsche's sports car unit was going to mean a tax liability of €1.5 billion ($1.9B U.S.) due to the Baden-Württemberg Finance Ministry. Volkswagen was going to be on the hook for that, and the amount threatened to scuttle the deal.
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.
The Volkswagen takeover of Porsche may look like a slam-dunk, but a group of investment funds is hoping to change that. Bloomberg reports that the investment group has filed a lawsuit in Stuttgart, Germany, seeking $2.6 billion in damages. The group's issue traces back several years earlier to when Porsche attempted to take over the infinitely larger VW.
Porsche spent billions in an effort to purchase as many Volkswagen shares as possible from 2006 to 2008. But eventually the luxury sports car maker's debt became so overwhelming that it was Volkswagen that ended up in position to snap up it's fellow German automaker. On the surface, that's the end of the story, but Viking Global Investors claims that the tale is a lot more complicated. Business Week reports that the New York-based investment company is suing Porsche for misleading investors to "
Cue Ennio Morricone and the symphonic accompaniment to the endgame: VW has officially taken a 49.9% stake in Porsche. VW paid €3.9 billion ($5.75B U.S.) for its cut, "based on the enterprise value for Porsche AG calculated under a careful due diligence and valuation procedure." That's a few shades more than the €3.3 billion amount VW was saying it would pay a few months ago.
The assimilation of Porsche into the Volkswagen Group continued today as two top executives from Wolfsburg have taken up similar positions at the parent company of the sports car maker. Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn will become CEO of Porsche Automobil Holding SE on September 15. He will be joined on the Porsche SE board of management by Hans Dieter Pötsch, who will serve as chief financial officer. Porsche SE is the holding company owned by the Porsche and Piech families that contro
This executive cycle isn't uncommon, especially in Germany: CEO displays great leadership over time, then decides to do something daring, then gets caught in a series of unfortunate events, then gets a tarnished reputation, then departs the formerly high-flying company (see also: "Schrempp" and "Pischetsrieder"). Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is hoping to avoid that last phase, and his company has been fighting back rumors that his departure is imminent.
Volkswagen labor union chief Bernd Osterloh has called out Porsche's CEO for holding up a merger between the two German automakers: "Together, one could do a whole lot of more things if [Wendelin] Wiedeking would end his ego trip." Osterloh believes Wiedeking is standing in the way of a tie-up with VW, and his repeated thrusts and parries are only making things difficult for both companies.