Volkswagen bids for MAN

City A.M. Reporter
VOLKSWAGEN has kicked off a creeping bid for MAN, valuing it at $20bn (£12.3bn) and stepping up its drive towards a goal of merging the German truckmaker with Swedish rival Scania.

VW is keen to create Europe’s biggest truckmaker to compete more effectively with world leader Daimler and number two Volvo.

The German carmaker already owns a controlling stake in Scania and by increasing its holding in MAN above 30 per cent, from 29.9 per cent, it has triggered a mandatory offer.

If yesterday’s €95 (£83.1) per share offer is rejected by shareholders as too low, German rules allow it to gradually buy up MAN shares rather than shell out for all of its stock at once, a method recently used by Spanish construction group ACS in its takeover of German rival Hochtief.

“We now want to pave the way for a closer cooperation between MAN, Scania and Volkswagen and thereby lay the foundations for generating synergies for the benefit of all shareholders,” VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn said. VW’s offer was seen as low by analysts, valuing MAN at about €13.76bn.

At that level it is unlikely to spark great shareholder interest, giving VW time to gradually build up a controlling stake at market prices.