Porsche, Piech families may take direct stake in possible Porsche IPO, report says

Automotive Industry

Source: Automotive News Europe, 2021-05-31

The Porsche and Piech families are prepared to take a direct stake in Volkswagen Group's Porsche brand if the sports-car unit is separately listed, two people familiar with the matter said.

Such a move would loosen the families' grip on VW Group in favor of direct ownership of the Porsche brand, which dates back to 1931 and was founded by Ferdinand Porsche.

Speculation about a listing of the unit earlier in 2021 included estimates of a standalone valuation of Porsche ranging from 45bn to €90bn ($55bn to $110bn), compared with 135bn for VW Group.

While saying that a possible initial public offering of Porsche is not high up on the agenda, VW continues to weigh scenarios for a listing, the people said, adding that the key obstacle remained VW's complex stakeholder set-up.

That set-up was carefully crafted in the wake of a failed takeover of VW by Porsche in 2009, which resulted in VW acquiring the Porsche brand while the Porsche and Piech families became VW's most influential investors.

On 31 May, the families' holding company, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, owns more than half of the voting rights as well as a 31.4% equity stake in VW Group.

No decision has been made by VW on whether to separately list Porsche and there is no guarantee that such a move will happen, the people said.

Porsche Automobil Holding and VW declined to comment.

Selling some voting rights in VW to co-shareholder Lower Saxony, which holds a 20% voting stake, would be one way for the families to gain direct ownership in the namesake brand while keeping activist investors out, Stifel analysts say.

"We believe this scenario would satisfy all parties," they wrote, adding that while the families would regain some control of Porsche, Lower Saxony would have a blocking minority and unions would be happy about the cash inflow.

Asked about a possible listing earlier in May 2021, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said the group's current cash flow was sufficient to fund an ambitious turnaround to become the world's largest maker of electric vehicles.

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