The planned merger of Porsche with the bigger German automaker Volkswagen AG is likely to be delayed – and may be called off entirely – as the result of an intensifying investigation of actions taken by current and former Porsche executives.
German prosecutors are looking into possible market manipulation, breach of trust and credit fraud stemming from the abortive effort by Porsche to take over its bigger rival. Among those under the microscope are former Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking, the executive who triggered the attempted acquisition before being forced out when his company had to concede defeat.
As part of a settlement, the debt-laden Porsche agreed to allow itself to instead be taken over by Volkswagen. But that plan, Porsche officials today acknowledged, is now in jeopardy.
For their part, prosecutors in Stuttgart, home to Porsche, said three executives are facing accusations they provided “false or incomplete information” to banks involved in the planned takeover’s financing.