Porsche Automobil Holding SE won a key legal victory in its effort to end years of litigation stemming from a failed attempt to take full control of Volkswagen AG in 2008.
Germany’s highest civil court dismissed an appeal by 19 hedge funds including Viking Global Equities LP, Glenhill Capital LP and David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Inc., Porsche Holding said Friday in a statement. The investors were seeking around 1.2 billion euros (US$1.25 billion) in damages from alleged market manipulation triggered by short-selling transactions, swaps and options related to VW voting stock.
Porsche Holding has faced a barrage of lawsuits seeking more than 5 billion euros in damages since disclosing in October 2008 that it controlled 74.1% of Volkswagen, partly through options, and was seeking to acquire 75% as part of a takeover. The announcement caused VW to soar as short sellers raced to cover bets that the stock would fall. While the Stuttgart, Germany-based company’s effort ultimately failed, it still owns a majority of Volkswagen’s voting shares.
“This is the next important step for our company,” Manfred Doess, Porsche Holding’s legal chief, said in the statement. “The still pending cases will confirm our legal position.”
The Regional Court of Stuttgart had dismissed the action in 2014. The plaintiffs appealed but the Higher Regional Court of Stuttgart dismissed their challenge in March last year. The Federal Court of Justice now also rejected their bid to overturn these rulings. Porsche Holding said the decision by Germany’s highest civil court, which is final and can’t be appealed, is the seventh consecutive ruling that backs its legal opinion.
By Christoph Rauwald and Karin Matussek