VW's Piech makes a pitch for stake in rival BMW

THE CHAIRMAN of Volkswagen, the German carmaker, Ferdinand Piech has renewed his attempts to court arch-rival BMW with an offer to buy up to 25 per cent of the company.

The $5bn offer comes weeks after the two companies buried the hatchet over Rolls-Royce Motors and agreed to split the Rolls and Bentley brands.

Piech made the extraordinary offer in an interview at the Hanover truck show with the prestigious German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung.

BMW shares rose 77 marks, or 6.3p per cent, to 1,302 marks and VW shares rose by 1.5 marks, or 1.1 per cent on the news.

Significantly, Suddeutsche is the main newspaper in Munich, BMW's home town, leading some analysts to speculate that the remarks were deliberately aimed at sowing dissension within the Quandt family, the 46 per cent shareholder in the Bavarian company, whose consent would be needed for any merger deal.

The move appears to have been prompted by VW's concerns that it may be left behind following the giant DaimlerChrysler merger earlier this year. Piech has failed to strike a deal with either Volvo or Scania, the Swedish truckmakers.

BMW yesterday refused to comment on Piech's remarks insisting that the issue was a matter for its shareholders.

But the BMW management board chairman, Eberhard Von Kuenheim, said when the idea of a defensive share swap between the two companies was first mooted by Piech that he believed the conditions were not right.

Von Kuenheim is very close to Joanna Quandt, matriarch of the BMW clan. She is the widowed third wife of Herbert Quandt who bought 30 per cent of the company in 1960 at a time when it was virtually on its knees.

Piech has clearly not been put off. Analysts said he may have been encouraged by the rumblings that followed a DM3bn rights issue earlier this year which suggested that the younger generation of Quandts were not as committed to the company as Joanna.

The BMW management, say observers, is also getting more chary about being able to finance future model development on its own, particularly now it is finding turning Rover around a harder task than it originally assumed.

The Quandts were recently on the receiving end of a similar approach from the Agnelli family who control Fiat, the Italian carmaker. They are also increasingly nervous about the company's long-term future should the DaimlerChrysler deal spark a wholesale shakeout in the industry, particularly if followed by another downturn in car sales.

One analyst said: "BMW is making hay at the moment. But this is a company which thinks long-term, 10 to 25 years. Scale is important in this industry.

"If they were to put themselves up for sale, you would be trampled in the rush. But they may be wondering that if they hang about too long the other attractive partners may have all paired off."

The precise breakdown of the Quandt family shareholding is a closely guarded secret. But a German newspaper claimed several years ago that Joanna has 17.9 per cent, while Stefan, Herbert's son owns 18 per cent. Joanna's daughter Susanna Klatten owns13.2 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links