Hedge funds seeking to recoup billions of euros they say they lost amid the former sports-car maker’s aborted bid to buy Volkswagen AG are suing in a new legal claim Porsche SE.
Elliott International LP and Perry Partners LP started a legal action against Porsche for 1.81 billion euros ($2.4 billion) over claims it manipulated Volkswagen shares by denying interest in a deal before it made a bid. After other investors lost two similar claims at a German tribunal last year, the funds added antitrust claims against Porsche to their suit, forcing a move to a court that specializes in cartel suits.
“It’s a litigation tactic sometimes used to get rid of a particular court,” Albrecht Bach, an antitrust lawyer at Oppenlaender Rechtsanwaelte in Stuttgart who isn’t involved in the dispute, said in an interview. “It can be part of a lawyer’s tactic to add arguments that shift jurisdiction to another court at which you might expect better results.”
The investor suits argue that Porsche lied when it denied through much of 2008 that it wanted to buy Volkswagen, only to shift direction on Oct. 26 that year when it disclosed that it controlled 74.1% of Volkswagen, partly through options, and was seeking a takeover. The shares surged while short sellers ran to close their positions. Volkswagen now owns the Porsche auto-making business. The defendant in the case is a holding company whose only asset is VW shares.