Daimler Mans The Barricades
Fears of takeover, foreign or otherwise, figure large in the minds of many European auto execs. These fears ostensibly caused the Porsche-VW s
hotgun marriage collegial partnership. Schaeffler's "sneak-up" takeover of Continental is fuelling a whole new round of paranoia. Daimler's market value has declined by 45 percent on the year; the weakness has placed the Stuttgart firm in the middle of the takeover mania. Reports emerged saying "a foreign hedge fund is buying a large number of shares in (Daimler)," followed swiftly by more rumors that Swedish hedge fund Cevian Capital was taking a position in the firm. Daimler now says that it has "no indication" that it is under assault. But that confidence is undermined by reports from Automotive News [sub] that Daimler has enlisted Deutsche Bank to watch its back. Deutsche Bank is reportedly helping Daimler find an "anchor investor" who could play white knight should a takeover materialize. Hedge funds, like most predatory creatures, tend to not give a lot of warning in advance of a takeover, so its hard to blame Daimler for freaking out over this one. Especially considering that the prime suspect, Cevian Capital, "does not see itself as a hedge fund but as an investor that pushes for changes in companies." Yikes!