Takeover battle set to end as two firms agree to go into partnership

Porsche's long-running battle to take control of the Volkswagen Group appears to be over after the two sides agreed yesterday afternoon to try to merge instead.

The German sports car manufacturer has been building up its stake in troubled VW for months - it currently owns around 51 per cent of shares and has been aiming for 75 per cent - but internal conflicts over the debts racked up during the process are said to have forced the Porsche board to consider a more amicable merger instead.

"Ten brands shall stand below an integrative leading company," said Porsche, referring to its brand's position alongside the Volkswagen Group's current line-up of VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley, Scania and VW Commercial Vehicles.

The fine detail of the merger has yet to be revealed, but VW and Porsche expect to formulate the new structure within the next month. The discussions will include input from the Lower Saxony government, which still owns a 20 per cent stake in the VW Group and has a veto over strategic decisions.

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