Both Volkswagen and Fiat SpA’s biggest shareholder rushed to dismiss any takeover negotiation, after a report surfaced from Germany’s Manager Magazin.
Both Fiat SpA and its largest investor – the Exor SpA Agnelli family investment trust – said there are no talks between them and Europe’s biggest automaker. The published article claimed that Volkswagen approached the Italian carmaker to discuss a possible partial or total takeover.
“We’re concentrating now on reaping efficiencies within the group,” commented a VW official.
“Fiat states that they have not held discussions with Volkswagen regarding a potential merger,” added the Turin-based manufacturer in a statement.
Independently, a spokesperson for Agnelli’s company, which currently owns 30% of Fiat, confirmed there were no ongoing negotiations.
“Volkswagen has an urge to become the No. 1 global automaker, and an acquisition of that size would bring them to their target immediately,” said Juergen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. “But real interest in Fiat as a whole is rather unrealistic and would entail many problems.”
The Manager Magazin reported on its website that VW’s Chairman Ferdinand Piech had talked to associates and members of the Agnelli family, mulling a takeover bid. The latter would then refocus on Fiat’s supercar unit Ferrari and withdraw from the rest of the automotive business, while the Chrysler unit would aid VW in securing a bigger sales base in North America.