Autos

Dreaming of a Porsche? Why Volkswagen Is Taking the Legendary Carmaker Public

In a year that has been one of the worst for stocks in some time, the beleaguered capital markets may be getting a big gift from the world’s largest automaker. Volkswagen is reported to be ready to bring Porsche, the venerable sports-car company, public in the fourth quarter of this year with one of Germany’s biggest initial public offerings ever. It is estimated to set the value of the company at a stunning 60 billion to 80 billion euros, or about 60 billion to 80 billion in U.S. dollars.

Bloomberg reported earlier in the summer that, according to those not wanting to be identified, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley were chosen as the senior joint book runners. Barclays, Banco Santander, Societe Generale and UniCredit will work on the massive deal as regular book runners.

Bloomberg News also reported that Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Securities, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have been selected as joint global coordinators. For those hoping to get a crack at some of the shares of what should be a red-hot deal (as the aforementioned capital markets have been all but been closed this year with just a trickle of IPOs), it probably makes some sense to start talking to their broker or financial advisor now, as it has been reported the listing is scheduled to be placed in the fourth quarter.

Also, other news reports have indicated that in addition to the legacy sports car IPO this year, Volkswagen will have another IPO, possibly next year, for the company’s in-house battery division. Chief Technology Officer Thomas Schmall, noted back in June that this does not involve individual plants but the entire cell business.

Probably the only fly in the ointment for both deals being priced this year or next would be the overall stability and strength of the domestic and foreign equity markets. With both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq moving in and out of bear market status, that could shake up demand if the market got caught in a freefall.

While some question why the world’s largest automaker (it swapped spots with Toyota this year) would be spinning off such a valuable asset, Volkswagen’s electric vehicle push and its entry into the raw material business could provide a reason to monetize some of its top assets.

By 2030, Volkswagen was reported to have plans to build six new giga-factories for cell production with partners in Europe alone, at a cost that is expected to be in the double-digit billions, which requires a ton of capital.

Then Reuters reported this in July:

Volkswagen and its partners will invest over 20 billion euros in a battery cell business, creating 20,000 jobs and targeting annual sales above 20 billion euros by 2030 as it seeks to beat U.S. rival Tesla which leads in the growing market.

VW’s PowerCo unit will manage its battery production and research from mining to recycling, and projects including energy storage systems, the carmaker said at a groundbreaking ceremony for its first European battery cell factory in Salzgitter, in Germany’s Lower Saxony region.

Clearly in the push to take on Elon Musk and Tesla, which recently opened its Gigafactory in Berlin, Volkswagen is using valuable assets to raise the kind of capital that will be required for the company to fund its electric vehicle and battery push over the rest of the decade and beyond. Lucky investors that can get some shares in the Porsche deal may be the source of a large part of that needed capital.


Lastly, for dubious investors, remember Fiat Chrysler took Ferrari public back in 2015 with the shares being priced at $52. The shares currently trade under the symbol RACE and were trading Thursday at $192. Over the past year, they have traded as high as $278.78. So clearly there should be demand, based on the Ferrari success, and the Porsche IPO should do very well too, especially if you can drive away with some shares.

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