March 5, 2021

DealBook: VW and Porsche Shares Slip as Deal Hopes Are Dashed

Shares of Volkswagen and Porsche slipped on Friday, as the automakers’ merger plans faced difficulties.

Volkswagen stock fell nearly 3 percent, while Porsche was off more than 11 percent.

On Thursday, the automakers announced that their merger could not be completed by the end of the year, given the extent of the legal proceedings against Porsche. The uncertainty of those actions, Volkswagen said, made it difficult to appropriately value the deal.

“From Volkswagen’s perspective, the continuing legal hurdles mean that it is currently impossible to quantify the economic risks of a merger,” the company said in a statement.

Porsche is facing a raft of lawsuits over alleged market manipulation, centered on the carmaker’s effort to take over over Volkswagen.

Three years ago, Porsche announced that it had acquired more than 74 percent of Volkswagen, its German rival, and the unexpected news sent the stock soaring. The rise in Volkswagen’s price pummeled hedge funds and others betting against the stock.

Now, institutional investors are suing Porsche for market manipulation and fraud. Another suit was recently filed in Germany with similar allegations, according to Reuters on Friday. German authorities are also investigating Porsche’s actions.

Despite the problems, Volkswagen said it was still committed to an “integrated automotive group with Porsche,” and the board would meet in the coming weeks to discuss the potential next steps.

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