Let me start first by showing you an article published in Bloomberg two days ago:
German billionaire Stefan Quandt formed a Societas Europaea holding company and may transfer his stake in Bayerische Motoren Werke AG to the new concern, Financial Times Deutschland reported, citing a spokesman.
Aqton SE is designed to help acquire and administer shares in companies related to the auto industry, the newspaper said, citing the unidentified spokesman for Quandt.
Still, there are no plans to transfer any of Stefan Quandt’s 17.4 percent stake in BMW to Aqton this year, the newspaper said, citing the spokesman.
Quandt shifted almost 1.86 million shares in BMW to a holding company called Stefan Quandt GmbH & Co. KG fuer Automobilwerte on Oct. 8, according to statements issued by the carmaker a week late.
This is a proactive move by BMW (more so it’s shareholders – the Quandts) to ultimately protect itself from the recent Porsche acquisition of a controlling stake in Volkswagen. In my mind, it makes sense for BMW and Mercedes to group together their resources and brands in a more-or-less unpredictable economy when you’re staring down a new rival with the resources and sheer size of the VW/Porsche Group.
Consider that with the merger, that puts Porsche, VW, Bugatti, Bentley, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Lamborghini and a number of other smaller companies under one umbrella, sharing resources, R&D and as such reducing overall costs in all individual brands. This will permit the VW/Porsche group to compete in practically every market niche in the world with practically no other company rivaling them for both personal and commercial vehicles.
That is unless BMW and Mercedes-Benz stop their eternal pissing match and cooperate with each other. With a holdings group over both BMW and Daimler you incorporate BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Daimler, a stake in McLaren, MINI, Rolls Royce, Maybach, Smart, etc. into one group thus allowing the Quandt holdings company to match or almost meet a VW/Porsche challenge in individual vehicle niches.
Think of the possibility of the cost savings in just the Formula One program alone if BMW and McLaren-Mercedes were to cooperate and share technologies? It would reduce the $350 to $450 million spent in R&D and team management expenses incurred while allowing the companies to become more competitive against Ferrari or Renault. It would also allow better structuring between brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz or Rolls Royce and Maybach. Thus maybe you’d see less direct model-to-model competition or at least cost savings between line-ups.
My guess is the Quandts want, along with others highly vested in the German and world car industry, to find a way to keep from VW eating up the marketplace through volume and buying power. By forming an automotive holdings group they can insure strength in numbers and face competition head-on from one angle versus facing competition in multiple. If the Quandt’s automotive holdings group does buy into Daimler then Stefan Quandt has just become the new Ferdinand Piech of the car industry. Piech is the man responsible for bringing Volkswagen and Porsche back together after it was in split in a post-World War II era.
Stand by for more updates, Horatiu is working on getting more information.