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VW Succeeds with $9.3B Scania Buyout Offer

BERLIN (The Deal) -- German carmaker Volkswagen AG on Tuesday, May 13, said its 6.7 billion euros ($9.25 billion) offer for the outstanding minority stake of Swedish truck and bus company Scania has succeeded, allowing it to realize a dream of better competing against larger truckmaking rivals Daimler and Volvo.

After extending the deadline for investors to sell their shares, VW said the offer hauled in 723.7 million Scania shares, giving the Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker 90.5% of Scania.

VW had said it would only buy the shares if it could become at least a 90%-owner in Scania. It can then legally squeeze out recalcitrant shareholders and delist the company.

"We are pleased that the necessary number of Scania shareholders have accepted our attractive offer," said Volkswagen Chairman Martin Winterkorn at the company's annual general meeting Tuesday.

The maker of the Beetle, the Golf and Audi luxury cars can now finally realize a more than decade-old dream of supervisory board chair Ferdinand Piech. In the '90s, as VW chairman, he envisioned a company that made everything from economical city cars to hulking trucks. Piech is the patriarch of the Porsche family that founded both VW and its namesake sportscar manufacturer.

The company first bought a minority stake in Scania in 2001 with Piech at the helm. Five years later, it bought a minority stake in Munich truckmaker MAN SE as MAN itself considered buying Scania to outmaneuver Volkswagen. Volkswagen then gradually increased its MAN stake and gained three-fourths of the Munich-based truckmaker last year.

Political wrangling and problems at other Volkswagen divisions slowed the company's efforts to move quickly on Scania but this year it finally made a successful bid.

The company has said its MAN and Scania investments already allow it to save about 200 million euros a year on joint purchasing and development. However, a full integration should allow it to eke out as much as 650 million euros in additional savings.

VW late last month extended its Scania offer to May 16 after the offer, at 200 Swedish kronor ($30.46) per share, only boosted its controlling stake to 88.25%. Investors still have until that date to accept the approach and Volkswagen said it would settle the offer May 27.

Scania's independent directors had earlier said the offer was too low. A number of investors also criticized the price, which Volkswagen has said was a 30% premium to the pre-bid price.

Volkswagen's advisers on the Scania offer are Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Rothschild, as well as law firms Roschier Advokatbyra on Swedish law, and Clifford Chance LLP, on German and U.S. law.