Siemens Employees See Stock As Protection From Takeover

Employee shareholders at Siemens, the German power and electronics giant, are hoping to ward off the threat of a foreign hostile bid that could swallow their company up. They fear Siemens could meet the same fate as Mannessmann AG, recently absorbed by British mobile phone operator Vodaphone Airtouch. A Siemens spokesman said: "The Vodafone-Mannesmann deal is highlighting hostile takeovers in Germany. We do not see our company at risk. But nothing can be excluded." About 90% of Siemens shares are held by unidentified investors. The Siemens family holds 6.8%, and employees between 8% and 10%. The employee shareholders say they aim to increase their stake to 25% at a cost of US$8.8 billion. This would provide a stronger core of shareholder resistance to rumors of a foreign grab, which have tripled Siemens' price over the past year.

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