More than a decade after the billionaire Porsche clan waved goodbye to their crown jewel, the family is set to claw back more direct influence over the sports-car maker as parent Volkswagen Group pushes ahead with one of Europe’s biggest initial public offerings.
The share sale, targeted to value Porsche at as much as 85 billion euros ($84 billion) -- roughly the same as its parent -- could deliver about 10.6 billion euros in proceeds to VW.
The Porsche family, still led by some of the personalities who lost control of the iconic automaker back in 2009 following a takeover attempt of VW that went wrong, will emerge with a blocking minority.
It’s a comeback of sorts for the Porsche heirs left badly bruised following the sports-car maker’s audacious bid to swallow its much bigger rival.
The two companies share a common history, both in terms of engineering heritage and the founding families.
Wolfgang Porsche, who remains the doyen of the family, is the cousin of the late Ferdinand Piech, a longtime VW executive who built the automaker into the multi-brand behemoth it is today.
The Porsche and Piech family’s stake in their namesake holding company is worth about $10.5 billion, and they have received at least $2.9 billion within the past decade through dividends, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Back in 2005, Porsche set out to quietly acquire shares in VW, a company at the time 15 times its size, with a plan to eventually gain complete control. But as the financial crisis devastated markets worldwide, Porsche Holding in 2009 was forced to abandon the bid, and VW turned around and swallowed Porsche.
The prolonged battle culminated in a staff meeting in the pouring rain in July 2009, where Porsche management and family owners conceded defeat.
In a teary-eyed speech, Wolfgang Porsche nevertheless remained steadfast, vowing that “the Porsche legend lives and will never perish.”
What followed was a complex deal whereby Porsche then gradually integrated into VW’s sprawling stable of brands alongside Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley. The family emerged as anchor shareholder in the parent company.