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Porsche-VW merger delayed

Ferdinand Piech

Family-controlled German carmakers, Porsche and Volkswagen, announced on 23 February that their planned merger may not happen this year due to pending legal issues.

The two carmakers had previously revealed plans to merge by the second half of this year, but unresolved legal issues relating to a failed takeover of VW by Porsche in 2008 are likely to delay the merger.

In a statement, Porsche said that the ongoing investigation by German regulators is taking longer than expected. “The outcome of the investigations is relevant for the valuation of damage claims raised against Porsche and based on alleged share price manipulation. This valuation must be made for purposes of the merger of Porsche into Volkswagen.”

However, Porsche also added that an eventual merger “can be achieved even after 2011” but did not provide any schedule.

In 2008 Stuttgart-based Porsche surprised the corporate world by saying that it held a 75% stake in rival Volkswagen. But its takeover attempt backfired and instead Porsche had to be rescued by VW.

This led to an investigation into Porsche’s acquisition tactics, with former chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking and former chief financial officer Holger Haerter being accused of share price manipulation.

Porsche and VW are owned by rival branches of the same family. Porsche is headed by Wolfgang Porsche and VW by Ferdinand Piech – both grandsons of Porsche’s founder. While Porsche and Piech jointly own Porsche with 53.7% and 46.3% stake respectively, Piech owns 32.3% of Volkswagen.

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