Volkswagen mulls buying Porsche - Dow Jones Newswires

FRANKFURT Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:43pm GMT

Volkswagen and Porsche logos are seen on the site of a automobile retail company in Zug May 19, 2009. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer

Volkswagen and Porsche logos are seen on the site of a automobile retail company in Zug May 19, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) is considering how to acquire the remaining 50.1 percent of Porsche SE's (PSHG_p.DE) sports car business prior to November, when put-call options first foresee a deal, Dow Jones Newswires reported on Sunday.

A final decision has yet to be made as the evaluation of possible alternatives and related tax payments is continuing, it reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

According to disclosures from Volkswagen, Porsche SE has a put option to sell its 50.1 percent exercisable from November 15, while Volkswagen can exercise its call option between March and April of next year.

A spokesman for Volkswagen said on Sunday the company was closely examining other possible methods apart from the put-call options that would allow for an integration of Porsche within VW as soon as possible, but declined to comment on specifics.

The two companies have openly admitted their frustration about having to work at arm's length with each other even though they share the same CEO and CFO, a situation that seemingly satisfies only the law firms under contract.

Both sides emphasise the need for speed, with an outright takeover coming as early as this year.

"We want to cooperate with Porsche in such a way that as many synergies can be leveraged as soon as possible without needing to have a lawyer stand next to a Porsche employee every time he screws something into a Volkswagen or vice-versa," VW and Porsche SE Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn told reporters in Detroit earlier this month. [ID:nWEA7386]

"We are already working with Porsche now, on a joint electronic platform for example, but that is just business at arm's length. We want to work with them like we do with Audi, Seat and Skoda," he explained, adding "lawyers are becoming ever more important and we don't want that".

Porsche brand chief Matthias Mueller denied the takeover plans would be dependent on whether the two could avoid a hefty tax bill as a result of an outright purchase.

"The earlier possible time is 2012, but then the tax effect needs to be considered, so we need to examine when the right time is for the put-call option. (...) It's not as if we don't want to pay any taxes, though," Mueller told reporters at the Frankfurt auto show in September.

Volkswagen acquired 49.9 percent of Porsche sports cars for 3.9 billion euros (£3.23 billion) in December 2009 as part of a deal that prevented the likely insolvency of debt-laden parent Porsche SE.

(Reporting by Christiaan Hetzner; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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