New Investor Allows Suzuki To Fend Off VW

Posted on Aug 5 2015 - 8:26am by Lisa Chan

After years of legal wrangling, the long-soured partnership between Volkswagen and Suzuki looks finally to be coming out of arbitration, according to Bloomberg. As a sign of the Japanese brand’s improved fortunes, hedge fund Third Point LLC recently bought an undisclosed stake in the company. The investor reported seeing a major opportunity in the successful Maruti Suzuki business in India.

New investor allows Suzuki to fend off VW

As an investment, the only major problem that Third Point found with Suzuki was its legal battle with VW. “The company’s greatest asset is its low-cost manufacturing process for vehicles for the emerging market consumer,” the fund said in a letter, according to Bloomberg. Third Point reportedly also wants a seat on Suzuki’s board, despite being a minority shareholder.

The alliance between Suzuki and VW goes back to late 2009. In the deal, the Japanese brand was meant to get access to cutting-edge tech, and the German firm got a helping hand towards better establishing itself in India and Southeast Asia. Things didn’t go as planned, though. Less than two years later, Suzuki’s boss publicly derided the deal. Eventually, the allegations started going back and forth, and the two have been working out a way to untangle practically ever since. Among the biggest issue has been how to get back the 19.9 percent stake that VW purchased.

According to Bloomberg, the arbitration is now technically over. With the divorce nearly final, the two sides are just waiting on a decision on how to split things up. Suzuki may even just buy VW’s stake to get the shares back.