Porsche Says Buying 75% of Volkswagen to Take Time (Update2)
By Andreas Cremer
Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Porsche SE, the maker of the 911 sports car, said reaching a target 75 percent stake in Volkswagen AG this year will take time as it sticks to a pledge to keep enough stock on the market for other investors to trade.
Porsche owned 50.8 percent of Volkswagen common shares as of yesterday after being offered additional stock “at short notice,” though further stake purchases aren’t necessarily imminent, Frank Gaube, a spokesman at the Stuttgart, Germany- based luxury-vehicle manufacturer, said today by phone, declining to elaborate.
“You know how tight the market is for VW shares,” Gaube said. “One can only proceed step by step,” though “we’re fully on schedule” for achieving the 75 percent goal sometime in 2009.
Porsche said Oct. 26 that it owned 42.6 percent of Volkswagen and had secured options for another 31.5 percent. Short-sellers, trying cover bets the stock would drop, sought to buy a dwindling number of freely traded shares, briefly giving Volkswagen the biggest market value of any company worldwide on Oct. 28. To restore Volkswagen stock’s liquidity, Porsche said Oct. 29 that it may settle as much as 5 percent of the contracts.
Volkswagen rose 30.26 euros, or 12 percent, to 285 euros in Frankfurt trading, the biggest jump since Nov. 26. The company is valued at 88.7 billion euros ($119 billion). Porsche gained 67 cents, or 1.2 percent, to 54.55 euros.
Announcing Its Aims
German news media reported in March that Porsche was interested in owning 75 percent of Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest carmaker. Executives said in subsequent months that a stake of that size was possible, though Porsche only specified the goal in its Oct. 26 statement.
Porsche Chief Executive Officer Wendelin Wiedeking said Nov. 26 that he couldn’t predict how long accumulating a 75 percent holding will take. Asked whether the carmaker’s position remains valid following the announcement yesterday of the increased Volkswagen stake, Gaube said, “Yes, of course.”
Volkswagen is valued in Porsche’s books at 117 euros a share and the sports-car manufacturer could “live with” a price of 200 euros, Porsche Chief Financial Officer Holger Haerter said Nov. 26.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andreas Cremer in Frankfurt at [email protected]. Last Updated: January 6, 2009 12:01 EST