Following 61 years, Ferdinand Porsche’s little sports car empire is rumored to be “merging” with VW. As Daimler did with Chrysler, the merger will place VW with a firm hold over Porsche, which will remain headquartered in Stuttgart. But wait, didn’t Porsche try to acquire VW? Under the direction of former chief Wendelin Wideking, holding company Porsche SE acquired 51 percent of VW. So who is holding the wheel here?
Delving a bit deeper, it is quite similar to the Ford family’s stock in Ford Motor, in that VW’s second largest shareholder, the state of Lower Saxony, owns 20 percent. This prevents Porsche from gaining control even with the majority of shares. Next in line is a Qatar emirate-controlled investment fund, which owns 17 percent of VW.
Porsche ran up a $12.8 billion dollar debt during its four-year bid to gain control of VW, and when much of that debt came due, VW was able to turn the tables and take over Porsche. This marks a victory for VW chairman Ferdinand Piech, who happens to be the grandson of founder Ferdinand Porsche and cousin to Porsche chairman Wolfgang Porsche.
Well, the high-speed world of exotic cars and billionaires never loses its captivation and appeal, but we certainly wouldn’t want to be present at a Porsche family function.
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