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State-owned Chinese firm BAIC seeking 5% stake in Daimler?

by Ronan Glon

China's Geely s in early 2018 when it purchased a nearly 10-percent stake in Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler. Over a year later, another Chinese automaker wants to buy into the German giant, according to a recent report.

Citing three anonymous sources familiar with the matter, reported that state-owned automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC) is seeking to purchase a five-percent stake in Daimler. The two companies aren't strangers; they operate a joint-venture named Beijing Benz, and BAIC wants a stake in Daimler to protect its investment, the sources added.

Still according to Reuters, BAIC informed Daimler it wanted a four- to five-percent stake earlier this year. Daimler executives refused to issue new shares, but BAIC isn't asking for preferential treatment; it has simply started buying the shares it wants on the open market. All told, it will need to spend nearly $3 billion euros (about $3.3 billion) to secure a five-percent stake, and a little bit less for a four-percent stake.

"Daimler's share price is currently being underpinned by a buyer who appears to be building a stake," a source told Reuters.

Neither party has commented on the report, though BAIC has publicly manifested its intent to buy Daimler shares before. If the rumor is accurate, and if BAIC manages to raise over $3 billion, we won't have to wait long to learn how much of Daimler it owns. German regulators require companies or individuals who purchase over three percent of a firm to file a regulatory disclosure.

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