PAUL MCVEIGH

VW's Piech may be eyeing Ferrari stake

Paul McVeighPaul McVeigh is managing editor at Automotive News Europe
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Is Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech eyeing Ferrari as the next acquisition to add to VW group's collection of brands? Some in the German press think so.

Piech has already said openly that he would like VW to buy Fiat's Alfa Romeo marque -- but the "real object of his desire," is Ferrari, Manager Magazin says in its current issue.

VW already has plenty of sporty brands. It is merging Porsche into its portfolio and owns Lamborghini, the Italian super car maker. In 1998, VW bought the rights to the Bugatti marque, supposedly after Piech's son was thrilled at seeing a vintage miniature Bugatti in a toy shop.

With a cash pile of 19.6 billion euros ($27 billion), VW can easily afford Ferrari, Fiat's most profitable brand, which financial analysts value at between 2.3 billion and 3.5 billion billion euros.

In September, Marchionne denied an Italian newspaper report that Fiat may sell Ferrari to raise funds to increase its stake in Chrysler Group, but the Fiat-Chrysler CEO did not rule out selling part of the super car unit.

Fiat may sell shares in Ferrari in an initial public offering while retaining a 51 percent stake. That could open the door to Piech. Some industry watchers say the 73-year-old would be happy even with a minimum stake in Ferrari.

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