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German cartel court takes on Porsche lawsuit: source

A logo is seen on a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S displayed ahead of the annual news conference at the Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart March 15,
A logo is seen on a Porsche 911 Carrera 4S displayed ahead of the annual news conference at the Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart March 15,

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German court has assigned an investor lawsuit seeking about 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in damages from Porsche SE to a court specializing on cartel matters, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The regional court in Braunschweig, Germany, will delegate the case, brought by U.S. investment funds, to a Hanover-based court specializing in cartel matters, the source said on Wednesday on condition of not being identified because the matter is confidential.

The court declined to comment.

The decision to assign the case to a specialist court may boost plaintiffs' hopes of getting a hearing from judges more familiar with the technicalities of financial markets, after the Braunschweig-based court last September dismissed two investor lawsuits.

Some German and U.S. investors say that throughout 2008 Porsche's holding company camouflaged its plans to acquire much-bigger Volkswagen and instead secretly piled up its holding in Europe's largest automaker.

In March 2008 Porsche SE dismissed as "speculation" talk that it intended to take over VW. Seven months later Porsche SE said it controlled 42.6 percent of VW's common shares and held options for another 31.5 percent of the stock it had not disclosed previously.

Porsche's statement caused VW shares to surge to 1,005 euros within days, briefly making the Wolfsburg-based carmaker the world's most valuable company, as short-sellers raced to buy back stock they had borrowed to bet that VW shares would drop. ($1 = 0.7467 euros)

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Noah Barkin and David Holmes)

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