DaimlerChrysler is close to buying out the remaining shareholders in heavy diesel unit MTU Friedrichshafen, clearing the way for a divestment, sources told Reuters. A deal would give DaimlerChrysler the Brandenstein-Zeppelin family’s nearly 5% stake in MTU, which would pave the way for the diesel engine manufacturer to be sold. A spokeswoman for family patriarch Albrecht Graf von Brandenstein-Zeppelin said that a statement would be forthcoming, but she gave no details.
DaimlerChrysler, which controls 88% of MTU, last week announced that the third major shareholder in the company, the founding Maybach family, had agreed to sell its 7.2% stake. DaimlerChrysler has said it intends to sell the unit, but wide-ranging veto rights from the two founding families had complicated the disposal and led to a public clash.
Daimler vetoed the families’ plan to sell their stakes to U.S. private equity firm Carlyle since Daimler wanted at least two bidders in order to net a higher price for the unit, which it has said is worth more than $1.22 billion.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s cabinet has proposed an extension to existing law — widely referred to as Lex MTU — to require government approval for selling any company such as MTU that generates even some revenue from the defense industry.