German carmaker Porsche wants a majority share in Volkswagen. During an extraordinary meeting on Monday, the company’s supervisory board gave the green light for the acquisition of shares. The company’s chairman, Wendelin Wiedeking, has been given authority to start the steps necessary to get regulatory and antitrust approval for the share purchase. “Our aim is to create one of the strongest and most innovative automobile alliances in the world, which is able to measure up to the increased international competition,” Wiedeking said.
In the past two and a half years, Porsche has gradually built up a 31-percent voting stake in VW Group, a process helped by the European Union’s finding that Germany’s so-called “Volkswagen Law,” which prevented more than 20 percent of the company of being acquired, thereby protecting the interests of the German state of Lower Saxony, which also owned 20 percent, was inconsistent with EU rules.
There are, of course, strong historical ties. Dr Ferdinand Porsche, perhaps influenced by a design by Josef Ganz, is credited with the creation of Volkswagen’s Beetle; the Porsche family still pulls the strings in Stuttgart. Wiedeking has brought billions of euros into Porsche’s coffers, mostly by broadening the product line and annoying the hell out of Porsche purists.
Depending on whether you’re counting revenues or employees, VW Group is between 15 and 20 times the size of Porsche, so this is a case of Jonah getting a big fish dinner. I have to wonder if maybe, somewhere down the line, Ford might be swallowed up by Mazda.