News reports have it that Porsche Automobil Holding SE has rejected the ultimatum that was made by Volkswagen AG and the German state of Lower Saxony to finally made a decision and merge with VW. In a statement that was made by the Porsche Supervisory Board Chair Wolfgang Porsche and Deputy Chair Uwe Hueck, they said that they don’t want to get blackmailed and said that the pressure on them will not help in the discussions. It seems that the company wanted to proceed with the talks on its own terms without pressure coming from the outside. And the demand comes as intrusive and highly irritating for them, and the two added in the statement that the ‘ultimatum don’t belong in the 21st century’. In their statement, they said that the issuers of the ultimatum should calm down and pursue once again proposal in private and not pressured by deadlines.
German businessman and billionaire Adolf Merckle has committed suicide according to news reports. The German billionaire is ranked the 98th richest man in the world, and known in the industry as the one whose speculation in the volatile Volkswagen stock has pushed his business to the edge of ruin. In a family statement, the family said that the his distress on his firms that were caused by the financial crisis plus the uncertainties has broken the spirits of the businessman and ended his life. The police said that a note has been found, but this note was not made public. His involvement in Volkswagen was considered to be the main cause of his distress. It was his poorly timed bet on the Volkswagen shares caused much of his personal problems.
This is not the first time that a businessman took his own life simply because his business holdings are crumbling like house of cards. For sure there are a lot of cases out there, but what interests me was the other suicide which happened just before the year ends. Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet also killed himself and the reason- the money lost over a failed business venture. In Rene-Thierry’s case, he lost his money in a Ponzi-like scheme ran by Madoff. Based on many news reports, the businessman lost his family and his client’s money which is worth $1.4 billion. And this, according to news reports depressed the businessman and led him to take his own life. He was found dead at his desk in New York, wrists slashed and bottle of pills seen near him. According to his brother, Rene-Thierry invested all of his own funds, plus the money of his friends and family on the scheme run by Bernard Madoff who in turn was arrested December 11 last year. These events will tells so much about the financial crisis and tells even more about man’s affinity to money. Perhaps, they cannot be faulted for doing that since they may have thrown away the money of others but if it is only their money then will that be enough reason to end one’s life?
Porsche is set to gain a majority control of Volkswagen in September or October. It is expected that Porsche will hike its share from 31 percent to more than 50 percent. It was mentioned that an approval is still needed, coming from the European Commission and 15 other cartel offices. If the approval has been received, then Porsche AG will raise its stakes in VW to more than 50 percent. Right now, it was reported that Porsche and VW are discussing the possible areas of cooperation. One of the things that are being discussed is the idea of producing a small Porsche SUV using the platform of the new Audi Q5 and also the idea of jointly producing the next generation Audio TT and the Porsche Boxster.
But the news of a Porsche takeover wasn’t warmly welcomed. At a meeting in Hamburg the executives of Porsche and the a stake holder- the German state of Lower Saxony clashed over the plans. The German state which holds a 20.3 percent state at Volkswagen seeks a continuation of the so-called Volkswagen Law. A law that effectively protects the VW brand from takeover bids coming from outside Germany.