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Porsche Files Takeover Offer for VW with German Regulator

Porsche said Thursday it had filed its formal takeover offer for Volkswagen with German regulators, a required step after it lifted its stake in the maker of the iconic Beetle.

"We have submitted the documents," Porsche spokesman Frank Scholtys told The Associated Press.

Porsche, which makes the luxurious and sporty 911, Cayenne and others, was required to file the paperwork after it increased its stake in Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen to 31%. German law requires any shareholder that surpasses 29.9% to make a formal takeover offer for the company.

But Stuttgart-Porsche has maintained steadfastly that it has no intent of taking Volkswagen over. The regulator, BaFin, has 10 days to examine Porsche's offer and then Volkswagen can issue a statement about it.

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.

Consequently, it offered only the legal minimum of 100.92 euros ($137.26) per Volkswagen share as it had previously announced -- well below the 115.88 euros ($157.61) per share price on Thursday in Frankfurt trading. German law requires only that the takeover offer be made whether it is successful or not.

Porsche made the move ahead of the likely repeal of a law that currently protects Volkswagen from a hostile takeover.

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

In February, 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 down nearly 1.5% at 1,167.55 euros ($1,587.98) in trading.