MAY 7, 2002
Deutsche Bank looks to sell Mercedes shares
THE German banking giant Deutsche Bank gets a new chief executive shortly and Josef Ackermann is expected to embark on a program to raise the company's share price, which has been suffering of late. The firm seems to think that the best way to achieve this is to rid itself of its major holdings in German industrial companies, the most important of which is a 12.1% shareholding in DaimlerChrysler, which makes it the largest shareholder.
The bank is however going to be careful as it does not want the sale of the shares to put DaimlerChrysler into a position in which it could become victim of a hostile takeover. In the past there have been suggestions that Ford, General Motors and Honda might all bid for the company although times have changed since then and it is not likely that there is enough money around for such takeovers today. Ford is struggling and GM has to be prepared for a possible takeover of Fiat's car-building operations.
If Deutsche Bank does sell out, the biggest DaimlerChrysler shareholder (depending on who buys the Deutsche Bank shares) would be the Kuwait Investment Office with around 8% of the equity.
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