Volkswagen has raised its stake in the truck maker Man to more than 30 per cent, triggering a mandatory takeover offer for the whole company under German law.
The German car maker has long wanted to create Europe's biggest truck maker by combining Scania, which it has a controlling stake in, with Man, in order to compete with world leader Daimler and No 2 Volvo, but it has been hampered by anti-trust issues and resistance from Scania.
But it is only offering €95 a share – less than the closing price on Friday – valuing Man at about €14bn. Its low offer is seen as unlikely to spark great investor interest, mirroring a method recently used by Spanish construction group ACS in its takeover of German rival Hochtief.
If few investors accept the offer, German takeover rules will allow VW to gradually buy shares in the market and get regulatory approval allowing closer co-operation between Man and Scania.