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Arab Investors to Dominate Daimler

Abu Dhabi government investment fund to become maker’s largest shareholder

by on Mar.23, 2009

Zetsche: It was either pry open an ATM or sell a stake to Abu Dhabi.

Zetsche: It was either pry open an ATM or sell a stake to Abu Dhabi.

An investment fund controlled by the government of Abu Dhabi is now the biggest shareholder in Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler AG.

Aabar Investment PJSC is spending $2.72 billion for a 9.1 percent stake in the German company.  Unlike many Mideast sovereign wealth funds, some shares in Aabar are publicly traded.  But in a series of recent steps, the government has been steadily increasing its stake in the investment firm.

“We are delighted to welcome Aabar as a new major shareholder that is supportive of our corporate strategy,” Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche said in the statement. “We look forward to working together to pursue joint strategic initiatives.”

“Daimler is an iconic brand and a financially strong company with a reputation for excellence worldwide,” said Aabar Chairman Khadem al-Qubaisi, in a statement. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to make this investment and are excited by the commercial potential of our partnership.”

The Daimler investment appears to be Aabar’s biggest foreign move to date.  Last December, it bought the Swiss-based wealth management unit of the struggling American International Group, or AIG, for $273 million – a deal in which it also agreed to assume about $90 million in debt.