AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Earlier this year, news broke that Volkswagen had plans to to do a full takeover of Porsche, which VW owned 49.9-percent of. But now the former CFO of Porsche, Holger Haerter, is one of three people being charged with fraud in Germany over Porsche’s intent to supposedly acquire VW.
According to investors, Porsche had denied throughout much of 2008 that it intended to purchase rival German automaker, Volkswagen. But in October, Porsche said that it controlled most of VW’s common stock, causing its shares to surge as short-sellers rushed to cover their positions. Porsche, of course, has denied the allegations.
The three are being charged with fraud over statements made when Porsche refinanced a $13.2-billion loan, understanding Porsche’s liquidity needs by over $1.8-billion if all purchase options Porsche held on Volkswagen had been exercised. In addition, it is reported that the managers withheld information about options tied to VW shares that Porsche had sold.
The portion of the probe that involves Wendelin Wiedeking and Holger Haerter manipulating the price of VW shares is still ongoing, and may not be resolved until the middle of this year. Last year, Stuttgart prosecutors stated that their probe against Wiedking and Harter had “solidified” suspicions that Porsche didn’t properly inform the market of their intentions to acquire VW between 2007-2009.
Porsche has been sued in the U.S. and Germany by short sellers of VW stock and other investors, claiming that Porsche secretly gathered up VW shares and ultimately caused the shareholders’ losses. There is a total of four suits pending out in Germany and the plaintiffs are seeking over $2.6-billion.
[Source: Automotive News]
Former CEO allegedly being investigated for insider trading
Earlier today German federal prosecutors raided Porsche’s offices in Stuttgart in search of documents that would reveal illegal business practices. The raid stems from Porsche’s failed takeover attempt of Volkswagen, with the prosecutors office alleging, “a breach of public disclosure requirements and market manipulation.”
In a statement released by Porsche the German sports car maker said that documents were sized but that it denies the accusations and has agreed to cooperate fully with the prosecutors office.
German newspaper Die Welt has reported that both former CEO Wendelin Wiedeking (pictured above) and former CFO Holger Haerter are being investigated for insider trading.
Both men were recently ousted from Porsche by the company’s board after the failed attempt to take over Volkswagen was settled with a merger of sorts. In the process, however, Porsche accumulated a 51% share of Volkswagen stock.
VW Head Martin Winterkorn appointed Porsche CEO
Volkswagen continues to call it an “integration”, but the company’s business relationship with Porsche is undeniably a takeover. Today VW agreed to buy a 42 percent stake in the sports car maker, paying $4.7 billion for the huge chunk of Porsche.
Not satisfied it’s a takeover? Well, how about the fact that Volkswagen’s Chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn was appointed CEO of Porsche.
Winterkorn, sounding more like a conqueror than a merging partner said that, “Porsche is a real enrichment for our company’s portfolio.”
By adding Porsche to its “portfolio” VW will be made up of 10 automakers including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Skoda, Seat and Lamborghini.
Porsche’s last CEO Wendelin Wiedeking was recently ousted by the other executives at Porsche after his failed attempt to buy the significantly-larger VW company. Wiedeking opposed the sale to Volkswagen and was removed in order to clear the way for today’s deal.
[Source: Automotive News]
VW gets approval to acquire Porsche
Several months ago Porsche was poised to buy Volkswagen. Today Volkswagen received the approval it needed to do just the opposite.
A “supervisory board” meeting, comprised of board members from both Volkswagen and Porsche, as well as the Porsche and Piëch families and the German State of Lower Saxony, today gave unanimous consent to a “integrated automotive group” that will by all accounts see Germany’s largest automaker take control of its most storied sports car manufacturer.
The move comes just a day after Porsche ousted its CEO Wendelin Wiedeking.
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche said that, “Porsche will preserve the myth and identity of the Porsche brand in the integrated group,” and added that the deal with Volkswagen will allow for further growth.
Chairman of the board Dr. Ferdinand K. Piëch echoed that statement saying that, “Together, Volkswagen and Porsche have all it takes to occupy a leading position in the international automotive industry.”
The details of the deal will be arrange over the next few months as Porsche joins a growing Volkswagen Group of companies which includes Bentley, Audi, Lamborghini, Seat and Bugatti.
Official release after the jump:
Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is leaving his position at the helm of Germany’s most renowned sports car maker and he isn’t leaving voluntarily. Wiedeking was sacked by the Porsche’s executive board late yesterday so that the company could move forward with a “merger” with Germany’s largest automaker, Volkswagen. The now former CEO opposed the deal and so has been removed, along with the company’s chief financial officer Holger Haerter.
The reality is that the merger is anything but and that with Wiedeking gone Volkswagen will now look to add Porsche as one of its many brands (10 in total) that include such names as Bentley and Lamborghini.
Wiedeking has run Porsche for the past 16 years and can be credited for saving it with the introduction of the Cayenne SUV. In fact, he took it from the brink of bankruptcy to being the world’s most profitable automaker. For that he will be well rewarded with a $71 million severance.
Unfortunately Wiedeking’s ambition became his own downfall as he attempted a takeover of Volkswagen, a company 16 times Porsche’s size. The move might have worked too, were it not for the crumbling worldwide economy, which slowed the company’s cash flow and made the enormous amount of debt wracked up in the attempted VW takeover too much to bear.
Volkswagen has reportedly offered to buy Porsche outright but wants it to fix its finances first. That plan may already be in the works as Porsche has also announced it will raise $7 billion in equity from Qatar Holding LLC.
Volkswagen’s board of management will reportedly meet today to decide on further action.
Porsche’s executive position has fallen to production boss Michael Macht.