Li Shufu, Geely’s chairman and majority owner, continues to sample different flavors from the automotive industry buffet, spending $9.2 billion for a 9.7% stake in Daimler AG.
The purchase, which was revealed in a regulatory filing, makes Shufu Daimler’s largest single shareholder ahead of the Kuwait Investment Authority, which holds 6.8%. Nearly 71% of Daimler shares are held by institutional holders, like Shufu.
“We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler’s innovative prowess, strategy and future potential,” a Daimler spokesperson told Reuters. “Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking.”
The purchase was not the first attempt by Geely, which already owns Volvo and a controlling stake in Lotus, to buy into the German company. The company is currently developing a brand of electric vehicles and hybrids for the Chinese market through Lynk & Co. using Volvo components and technology.
(GAC plans to be first to sell a Chinese-branded vehicle in the U.S. Click Here for the story.)
The vehicles will feature dramatically different exteriors and will be offered as part of a car-sharing arrangement to be announced.
According to Bild am Sonntag, Geely made an offer of $4.5 billion for a 5% stake in Daimler but was rebuffed because the company wanted a discount rate on the stock. Daimler allegedly told Shufu and Geely they could buy the shares in the open market.
(Click Here for more about the new Volvo V60 wagon.)
The German newspaper suggested the acquisition was designed to form an alliance against Apple, Google and Amazon on autonomous and connected vehicles. Reuters said Daimler is motivated to have a fleet of autonomous taxis on road before Waymo and believes Geely can accelerate the company’s self-driving vehicle development.
They’re going to have to hurry as Waymo received approval to run a fleet of “robo-cabs” in a Phoenix, Arizona suburb without backup drivers.
(To see more about other makers in China looking to sell in the U.S., Click Here.)
Geely, which has long attempted to bring a Chinese-branded vehicle to the U.S., is best-known for reviving the Volvo brand. The Swedish-Chinese brand has enjoyed a renaissance since Geely acquired the brand several years ago.