Following a period of increasingly contentious and unproductive takeover wrangling, two of Germany's most prominent -- and prominently intertwined -- automakers have agreed to a de-facto merger that will create a new umbrella structure to oversee operations of their 10 individual brands. A statement from Porsche Automobil Holding SE indicated that the assets of Volkswagen AG and Porsche AG will be combined into "an integrated car manufacturing group" with overall control of Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Man Seat, Scania, Skoda and VW (all of which are currently part of the VW Group) and Porsche. The statement also stressed that "the independence of all brands, and explicitly also of Porsche, shall be ensured."
Prior to this agreement, Porsche had been attempting to raise its direct stake in VW from the current 51 percent to 75 percent. Interestingly, Porsche Automobil Holding SE is controlled by members of the Porsche and Piech families, not the least of whom is Ferdinand Piech, chairman of VW's supervisory board and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. The automakers hope to see this new structure in place within a month. While details have yet to be finalized, it's likely that the 20 percent stake in VW held by the German state of Lower Saxony -- and its critical veto-power voting right -- will remain intact under the new structure.