End in sight for Porsche-VW talks

FRANKFURT: The struggle over control of Porsche, the heavily leveraged maker of world-class sports cars including the 911, appears to be coming to an end, according to media reports.

The German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported on its Web site Saturday that Wolfsburg-based Volkswagen AG would initially get 49.9 percent of Porsche AG and later take the remaining shares. The magazine did not reveal its sources in its report.

A person familiar with the talks — which have fascinated corporate Germany for days — confirmed that the deal as described was likely. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because neither Porsche nor Volkswagen has released any details of their talks or the deal itself.

A spokesman for Porsche declined to comment and Volkswagen did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

According to Spiegel, Stuttgart-based Porsche Automobil Holding SE would receive approximately euro8 billion from Volkswagen, a critical amount given that the company is trying to alleviate the debt it ran up as it increased its stake in Volkswagen to more than 51 percent, making it the biggest shareholder in Europe's biggest automaker by sales.

Last month, Germany's state-owned KfW development bank rejected Porsche's application for euro1.75 billion in credit.

According to the report, the families that own Porsche — the Pieches and Porsches — would control 50 percent of the new VW-Porsche group, the state of Lower Saxony would have a share of 20 percent and the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar would take a stake of between 14.9 and 19.9 percent.

Porsche has been in talks with a Qatar investment fund that has offered to buy a stake in the sports car maker. The supervisory boards of both companies are scheduled to meet July 23.