Porsche gets control over VW

In the latest turn in the long struggle for dominance of Volkswagen AG, sports car manufacturer Porsche SE said Tuesday that it had raised its stake to 35.1 percent of the voting rights and now had "de facto" control over Europe's largest carmaker. But its declaration does not signal an end to the bitter, three-year fight, financial analysts said.

Porsche faces resistance on many fronts, chiefly from Volkswagen's second-largest shareholder, the German state of Lower Saxony. Its premier, Christian Wulff, threatened last week to raise the state's holding from just over 20 percent to 25 percent — a level that would assure Lower Saxony representatives veto power on the supervisory board.

Volkswagen, the world's third-largest automaker according to mid-year global rankings, is based in Wolfsburg, in Lower Saxony. VW unions also oppose a takeover by the small, family-controlled Porsche firm based in Stuttgart.

Porsche said in a statement Tuesday that it had added 14.4 million VW shares, or 4.9 percent, and now holds 35.1 percent of the voting rights. In a related, technical matter, Porsche also offered to buy the tiny minority of shares in premium automaker Audi that VW does not own, but said it intended to resell that stock eventually to VW.

"Our goal continues to be to increase our stake in Volkswagen to more than 50 percent," Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking said in the statement. "Today's step is a further milestone along this road."

Porsche has deep ties to Volkswagen — the original Beetle was designed by Ferdinand Porsche. His grandson, Ferdinand Piëch, is chairman of VW's supervisory board and was CEO.

But analysts say members of the founding family seem to be fighting among themselves, too. Detroit News

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