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DATE News (chronologically)
03/23/09
automotive
Abu Dhabi buys 9.1% of Mercedes
The Arab emirate of Abu Dhabi has agreed to invest $2.7 billion in Daimler AG, becoming the German automaker's largest shareholder, Daimler said Sunday.

The deal enables Daimler to raise capital in an extremely difficult economic environment and bring in a friendly shareholder.

The Stuttgart-based company said it would sell Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments PJSC 96.4 million newly issued Daimler shares priced at 20.27 euros, or $27.87, each.

After the transaction, which was approved Sunday by Daimler's supervisory board, Aabar will hold 9.1 percent of Daimler, followed by the second-largest shareholder, Kuwait, which owns 6.9 percent.

For many years, Germany's Deutsche Bank was Daimler's leading shareholder, but the bank sold down its Daimler stake in recent years as part of its own strategy to shed noncore assets.

As the owner of the prestigious Mercedes-Benz brand, Daimler occasionally attracts the attention of hedge funds trying to stir interest in a takeover bid. Daimler's main rival BMW is effectively takeover-proof because it is controlled by Germany's Quandt family.

Aabar's biggest shareholder is the International Petroleum Investment Co., which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

"We are delighted to welcome Aabar as a new major shareholder that is supportive of our corporate strategy," Dieter Zetsche, chief executive of Daimler, said in a statement. "We look forward to working together to pursue joint strategic initiatives."

The chairman of Aabar, Khadem Al Qubaisi, said he looked forward to a beneficial relationship with Daimler.

"Daimler is an iconic brand and a financially strong company with a reputation for excellence worldwide. We are delighted to have the opportunity to make this investment and are excited by the commercial potential of our partnership," he said. Detroit News

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