Porsche and Volkswagen
In a time when many odd economic events are taking place, this saga nonetheless deserves comment:
Volkswagen’s shares more than doubled on Monday after Porsche moved to cement its control of Europe’s biggest carmaker and hedge funds, rushing to cover short positions, were forced to buy stock from a shrinking pool of shares in free float.
VW shares rose 147 per cent after Porsche unexpectedly disclosed that through the use of derivatives it had increased its stake in VW from 35 to 74.1 per cent, sparking outcry among investors, analysts and corporate governance experts.
This seesaw has been going on for some time and German regulators haven’t done much about it, despite complaints from hedge funds. Today the share price rose by a factor of nearly five (!). So for a brief while Volkswagen became the world’s largest company in terms of capitalization. Who needs Exxon and WalMart?
I thank Ben, a loyal MR reader, for the pointer to this episode.