In 1999, a group of shareholders launched a court action against DaimlerChrysler management. They shareholders felt that their shares in Daimler AG (before the DaimlerChrysler “merger of equals”) were undervalued because management used an unfair exchange ratio (1.005 shares of DCX to every share of old Daimler AG). In 2006, a Stuttgart court ruled in favor of the shareholders and ordered DaimlerChrysler to pay them €230m (about $321m in today’s exchange rates). As far as everyone was concerned, that was the end of that. But not to Daimler.
Daily Finance reports that Daimler went back to court. A higher one. The Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) in Stuttgart, to be precise. They appealed the lower court’s ruling. And this time, Daimler won. “If the agreement is result of a negotiation process which is backed by a large majority of shareholders, that’s the best warranty that the executive took adequate care of the economic interests of their respective investors,” said the court in a statement, “A court has only limited powers of review in these cases”. In other words, “You lot voted for it, you lot live with it.” As a result, the previous ruling of Daimler paying the shareholders represented in the suit, an extra €22.15 per share in question, was overturned. DaimlerChrysler, the gift that keeps on taking.
This is not necessarily the end of it. The DCX shareholders can go all the way to the Bundesgerichtshof, if they so choose.