Geely chief builds $9 billion stake in Germany’s Daimler
FRANKFURT – Li Shufu, the chairman and main owner of Chinese carmaker Geely [GEELY.UL], has built a stake of 9.69 percent in Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE), the German carmaker said in a regulatory filing on Friday.
The stake, worth nearly $9 billion at the current valuation for Daimler shares, makes Li the biggest single shareholder in the maker of Mercedes Benz cars, trucks and vans headquartered in the German city of Stuttgart.
Sources told Reuters this month that Geely was buying Daimler shares as it seeks an alliance in electric vehicle technology – a response to Chinese requirements for more clean cars to be put on the road to cut pollution.
A Daimler spokesman called the stake purchase a private investment by Li.
“We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler’s innovative prowess, strategy and future potential,” the spokesman said in response to a request for comment.
“Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking.”
In November, sources told Reuters that Daimler had turned down an offer from Geely to take a stake of up to 5 percent via a discounted share placement.
Zhejiang Geely owns Volvo Cars, as well as the maker of London’s black cabs and last year acquired a 49.9 percent stake in Malaysian automaker Proton.
Li’s stake purchase makes him the top shareholder in Daimler ahead of the Kuwait Investment Authority, which owned 6.8 percent as of Sept. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine in Frankfurt, Jan Schwarz in Hamburg and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Potter)