Se você ainda não é fã da Porsche, vai ficar agora...
Porsche, Volkswagen - and hedge funds
Published: October 21 2008 09:32 Last updated: October 21 2008 10:08
Fast cars and fast money make a terrible combination. Mix in a banking crisis, an attempted takeover of Volkswagen and several billion euros of share options and you also get German takeover rules in urgent need of change. Although Porsche is not the only company to use cash-settled call options to buy a German rival by stealth – tyre maker Schaeffler recently did the same – it has done so with more spectacular effect than anyone else.
The mechanics surrounding Porsche’s attempts to buy VW are obscure, because its option positions need not be disclosed. But the wheeling-dealing began like this. To increase its 35 per cent stake, Porsche said last month it had bought options over VW’s remaining freefloat. The banks that sold these options meanwhile hedged their exposure by buying VW shares. Hedge funds, drawn by VW’s pumped-up valuation – 24 times forecast earnings, 8 times the sector average – then shorted VW as fast they could.
So far so normal. The rest is speculation. As hedge funds sold short their VW shares, that stock had to be bought by others; perhaps by Porsche, given its E10bn credit line. This buying more than countered the short-selling pressure, boosting VW’s share price. Facing growing losses from their positions, plus redemption calls from panicked investors, the hedge funds had to cover their shorts and buy back the VW shares they had just sold – again, perhaps from Porsche. As the hedge funds’ losses mounted, so did the short covering, and VW’s share price was squeezed to such heights that it briefly became the 10th biggest company in the world, worth more than all other US and European carmakers combined. Absurd.
Even more absurd is that this false market is legal in Germany. Stranger still, is that Porsche and its managers – even though VW’s share price has started to fall – may well have made money from it all. Last year, the company earned €3.6bn from option operations, some five times as much as from cars. Porsche used to be the emblem of a go-go City trader. Recently it has become one.
Volkswagen AG (VOW)
Fonte: Financial Times de 21-Out