FRANKFURT (Reuters) -- German bank B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co Holding AG and Merrill Lynch have taken combined voting stakes of 35.75 percent in Continental AG , the German automotive supplier said on Wednesday.
Metzler has built a 19.5 percent voting stake, while Merrill Lynch International has 16.25 percent, becoming the largest shareholders after privately held bearings maker Schaeffler group.
Continental shares fell 1.9 percent to 26.72 euros by 0850 GMT, lagging a 0.2 percent dip in the German MDAX midcap index .
Schaeffler gained control of its larger rival this month when it collected the bulk of shares tendered after an 11.3 billion euro ($15.03 billion) takeover bid.
The acrimonious takeover wrapped up when Schaeffler disbursed to depository banks 75 euros per Continental share to raise its stake to 49.90 percent from a last reported 15.2 percent.
Continental shareholders had actually tendered far more shares, but under an agreement struck in August with Continental's management Schaeffler agreed to limit its stake to under 50 percent by transferring excess shares to financial institutions.
On Dec. 22, banks Metzler and Sal. Oppenheim bought stakes of 4 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, triggering disclosure thresholds mandated under German securities law. ($1=.7520 Euro)