Family Feud: Ferdinand Piech Looking to Offload Stake in VW's Ownership

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
family feud ferdinand piech looking to offload stake in vws ownership

One of the preeminent figures within the European automotive industry is looking to get out of the family business. The former paterfamilias of Volkswagen AG, Ferdinand Piech, is looking to dump his stake of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and sever his remaining ties to VW. Piech’s shares would remain within the Porsche-Piech family — allowing them to keep control of Volkswagen Group — but Ferdinand would be out of the game as a majority stakeholder.

Piech has been at odds with his relatives after suggesting that Wolfgang Porsche and several other VW supervisory board members had been aware of Volkswagen’s emissions cheating much earlier than they claimed. Sources close to the family, whose members are apparently outraged, have stated that the Porsche-Piech gang sought to replace him at the table of Porsche Holdings ever since.

Currently, Porsche SE owns 52 percent of Volkswagen’s voting stock and Piech controls 15 percent within the holdings company. According to an official statement on Friday, the family is in negotiations to acquire 14.7 percent of that — valued at roughly $1.1 billion. However, the family has the right of first refusal and isn’t obligated to take any specific action. “At present, it is still unforeseeable whether the aforesaid changes in the shareholder structure of Porsche Automobil Holding SE will in fact occur,” the statement said.

The sale would remove Ferdinand from any business decisions from Volkswagen after having spent decades building it into the world’s largest automaker. He had previously stepped down as VW’s chairman in 2015 after confrontations with now defamed ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn. Wolfgang Porsche supported Winterkorn after Piech questioned his authority and the family began pressuring him to step down as chairman.

In an interview at this year’s Geneva International Motor Show Wolfgang admitted that he had no contact with his cousin since being accused of being complicit in the emissions scandal — adding that Piech “destroyed his own lifetime achievement” by turning on the company and his family.

[Image: Volkswagen AG] [Source: Bloomberg]

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  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Mar 19, 2017

    I wonder if he is trying to get out before the company's criminal fine goes from 4 billion to 35 billion dollars and its stock takes a hit. Then he could buy the stock back from the hedge funds and souverän Arab investment funds and end up with more than 15%.

    • RobertRyan RobertRyan on Mar 19, 2017

      @Robert.Walter No cheating fine has been capped. He is not happy with the management,that let this happen.

  • Kenwood Kenwood on Mar 20, 2017

    I'll bet that he builds another company just to compete with VW so that he can dance in its ashes when it's a smoldering pile.

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