DealZone

Deals wrap: VW revving up for shopping spree?

July 29, 2010

German automaker Volkswagen has revealed it has amassed a $20-billion war chest it intends to use to finance its ambitious Strategy 2018, VW finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch told Reuters.

Analysts expect the majority of VW’s cash reserve to be used to bid for the 70 percent of German truckmaker MAN it does not already own and to possibly buy the Porsche AG sports car business and Austria’s Porsche Holding. Even with those three purchases, VW would still have money left over.

Bernstein analyst Max Warburton told Reuters the $22.9 billion cash pile Poetsch claimed the company has accrued is “a ridiculous level of liquidity” unless VW aimed to top up its underfunded pensions or pursue M&A plans.

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Rental car rivals Avis and Hertz were also kicking the tires on their respective takeover bids for the Dollar Thrifty Rental Group, according to New York Times DealBook blog contributor Stephen Davidoff. The latest news had Avis Budget Group matching Hertz’s initial takeover offer with their own with Avis CEO Ronald L. Nelson submitting a letter to the Dollar Thrifty board requesting  “removing the matching rights, eliminating the break-up fees, and increasing the commitment to secure antitrust approvals” in any future Hertz bid.

Davidoff argues the motivation behind the unusual Avis request signifies “it fears being stuck in a never-ending bidding war in which Hertz is able to outbid the company by one penny every time, safe in the assumption that Hertz still can pocket the termination fee even if it loses.”

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A day after the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill that would legalize and regulate Internet gambling, a couple of overseas gaming companies announced a merger that will make them the single largest listed player in the space. The reverse takeover of Austria’s bwin by Britain’s PartyGaming would create a $3.3-billion online gaming Goliath and position the united entity to take full advantage of the deregulated U.S. market.

“With market-leading positions in poker, sports betting, casino and games — in particular bingo — the enlarged group will have a winning formula to exploit the growing online gaming market,” PartyGaming CEO Jim Ryan told Reuters.

Photo credit: A Volkswagen logo sign is seen next to the grill of a 2009 GTI automobile inside the lobby of the U.S. headquarters building of Volkswagen Group of America in Herndon, Virginia, September 18, 2008. REUTERS/Larry Downing

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