COME, VODAFONE! Schroder and others want to make themselves popular, and are causing insecurity at home and embarrassment abroad. German car firms take over Rover, Rolls-Royce, and so on. But as soon as a British firm is interested in a German company we hear national pathos. It is especially hypocritical when those who preach the advantages of rationalisation and mergers suddenly talk like chairmen of a factory workers' committee because this time their job is on the line. Much damage has been done abroad: the British are talking of xenophobia and the US wonders whether the Germans have really understood what globalisation means.
SINCE SCHRoDER intervened as Mannesmann's guardian, the take-over battle has become highly political. It is about what politicians can do in the age of globalisation. It is about German-British relations and the correct model of the social market economy. Schroder and other German politicians have done the German economy poor service with their intervention on behalf of Mannesmann. The fact that Blair intervened on behalf of Vodafone does not improve the situation. Now it is not just about the economy, but national interests and vanities.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
NOW GERMAN politicians of all sides are involved. They are taking a position which, faced with the fact that both companies in question are EU firms and that 60 per cent of Mannesmann is in the hands of foreign shareholders anyway, seems grotesque and strange. They talk of globalisation, but when it comes, they don't want it. That seems to be the German nature. This way there will be no progress with urgent reforms in this country.
WERE VODAFONE to triumph, it would still face several hurdles, including lawsuits from disgruntled shareholders, a probe by the European Commission, and winning over the workforce. Yet this bid, having been fairer than many before, could help usher in new standards of corporate conduct. And that would be good for Germany - whatever its politicians say.Reuse content