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Porsche Moves on VW Shares Acquisition

AP
Wednesday, 28 Mar 2007 | 11:59 AM ET

German sportscar maker Porsche said Wednesday it had completed its acquisition of more shares in Volkswagen for a total stake of 30.94%, triggering a formal takeover offer to VW's shareholders.

Porsche had already said over the weekend that it would acquire another 3.6% stake in Volkswagen in a move aimed at shielding Europe's biggest automaker from hostile takeovers.

Though Porsche recognized that the additional shares would trigger a mandatory takeover offer under German law by bringing its total stake to greater than 30%, it said such a takeover was not its intent at this time.

Consequently, it offered only the legal minimum of 100.92 euros ($134.70) per Volkswagen share as it had previously announced -- well below the 112.80 euros ($150.55) that the shares bought, down 0.62%, in midday Frankfurt trading.

"We do not expect many Volkswagen shareholders to offer us their shares," Porsche spokesman Michael Baumann said when the initial offer was announced.

The move comes ahead of the likely repeal of a law that currently protects Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen from a hostile takeover.

With the German state of Lower Saxony's 20% stake in Volkswagen, the state and Porsche now together hold 51% of VW between them, which should help block any potential full takeover bid for the company.

Lower Saxony has already welcomed Porsche's move.

Last month, a legal adviser to the European Union's highest court announced that a German law intended to preserve the state's influence at Volkswagen violates EU regulations on the free movement of capital. The so-called VW law limits any shareholder's voting rights in the car manufacturer to 20%, regardless of the number of shares held.

Shares in Stuttgart-based Porsche were flat in Frankfurt trading at 1,207.63 euros ($1,611.82).

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