Deadline Approaches in Porsche Hedge Fund Lawsuit

Twenty-six New York hedge funds have just a few days left to appeal a state court’s dismissal of their lawsuit against Porsche.

The funds claim they were defrauded by Porsche in 2008, when it bought a huge amount of VW stock behind the scenes, while outwardly claiming it had no intention to raise its stake in Volkswagen. When it transpired that Porsche had amassed a stockpile of Volkswagen shares in a bid to take over the company, prices for Volkswagen soared and funds who had bet on a decline in the stock price lost fortunes.

The action was Porsche suicide, ultimately leading to the collapse of the company and takeover by the intended victim. The hedge funds weren’t happy with that and brought a $1.4 billion lawsuit against the carmaker in the NY state courts.

Last August, New York courts gave the lawsuit a green flag to continue, but the decision on December 27th axed that decision, on the basis of Porsche being a German based company, stating New York state courts were an inapproropriate forum. Porsche’s burden of proof on this regard was described by the courts as ‘heavy’: only the NY state appeals court can now rule in the hedge funds’ favour. A decision is still outstanding on a seperate $2 billion lawsuit in the federal appeals court. Yes: two lawsuits.

Meanwhile, German legal action surrounding the affair continues, with Stuttgart prosecutors recently bringing charges of market manipulation against former Porsche Chief Executive, Wendelin Wiedeking, and former CFO, Holger Haerter. Legals for both denied any misconduct by their clients. Not sure if I’m on either side here, but the whole sorry tale is incredible.

I keep coming back to the notion that gamblers should expect to lose, as both parties eventually did. I’m far too naiive for the world of stocks and shares.

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