Porsche / Volkswagen deal not done?
Porsche buying Volkswagen looked like a done deal, right? Porsche started to buy more VW stock after the European Union’s court system amended Volkswagen Law, which at one time prevented outside companies from controlling VW because of restricted voting rights. Porsche has even set up a holding company used to merge the two companies stocks. But now it seems like there may be a few bumps in the road.
At the root of the merger problem is the German state of Lower Saxony. Volkswagen’s home of Wolfsburg is located in the state, and it owns 20 percent of the company. Lower Saxony received part of the company during the privatization after WWII, and this ownership was created in association with Volkswagen Law, so that foreign companies could not control Germany’s largest automaker. Although the Porsche takeover is not foreign ownership, Lower Saxony does not want it.
Now that Volkswagen Law is out of the court system, the European Union’s legislative body is having concerns over the abolishing the rule. But even if Volkswagen Law is changed in favor of Porsche, Lower Saxony can still block the takeover by increasing its minority share. "The question is whether the blocking minority is 20 percent or 25 percent, in which case we would have to buy an additional five percent," Lower Saxony premier Christian Wulff said. "We would rather use the money for other things but we would do it if necessary."
If this wasn’t enough, as Porsche has been going through with the merger plans, the two companies are fighting with the power structure of the new merged company. So there are still plenty of hurdles before the company the Ferdinand Porsche helped create and the one that carries his name become one.