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The VW, Porsche marriage is back on track

July 16 2012 00:00  2107 views
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The on-again/off-again tie-up of Porsche and Volkswagen finally is set to be completed after a series of potentially costly snags that threatened to scuttle the deal.
The marriage – which follows an abortive David-and-Goliath effort by the smaller maker that triggered an assortment of lawsuits and a feud within the extended Porsche family – is “expected…to take effect as of August 1, 2012,” Volkswagen says.

Despite earlier fears that the tie-up could leave them vulnerable to billions of dollars in legal costs due to those lawsuits, the makers now contend the merger will generate a “clearly positive impact on consolidated profit(s).” “We will concentrate all our strength on the operative business and the solid, profitable growth of the company,” says Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, adding that the newly combined firm should achieve “long-term synergies of about €700 million per year.”

 “In the end, it’s all about the money,” said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. And once Porsche found a way to minimize the potential financial risks, Phillippi believes it was inevitable the deal would be completed.

The merger will come as a peaceful end to one of the most bitter battles the auto industry has seen in years. In a highly unlikely scenario, Porsche began accumulating shares of the bigger maker hoping to take over VW. But when it couldn’t complete the hostile acquisition Porsche found itself saddled with 10 billion Euros of debt. That led to the ouster of the maker’s once-celebrated CEO Wendelin Wiedeking.

It also threatened to lead to even more financial problems for Porsche as investors accused it of breaking various securities laws in its attempt to acquire Volkswagen. The two makers agreed to a merger in August 2009 but put that deal on hold as the lawsuits – and potential risks – facing Porsche began to mount. They’ve recently taken several critical steps to reduce their potential risks – while they also came up with a strategy to avoid as much as 1.5 billion Euros in taxes on the merger. The deal will be classified as a restructuring under Germany’s reorganization tax law.
Volkswagen already holds a 49.6% stake in its German rival. It will now assume Porsche’s remaining shares for a 4.46 billion ($5.9 billion) payment and issuance of a new common share to the Porsche holding company.

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