Reports: Schaeffler Wants Conti Chairman Out or New Board
The ongoing struggle between Continental AG and its major shareholder, Schaeffler Group, took a new twist yesterday when the Financial Times (FT) reported that Schaeffler wanted to force our Conti’s supervisory board chairman, Hubertus von Grünberg. According to FT, Schaeffler executives have fallen out with von Grünberg over his “systematic sabotage” of their plans.
FT reported that von Grünberg was told he should resign and make way for Schaeffler to be given four board seats, or the ball bearing maker would force an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to replace all 10 members. Neither side has commented publicly about the reports.
By 21 January Schaeffler appeared to be taking a more diplomatic approach, with Reuters reporting that Schaeffler said it wanted to “sit together with all parties involved to find a ‘peaceful’ solution.” In addition Reuters contradicted FT’s suggestions: “[Reports] Schaeffler had asked its banks to examine a full takeover of the much bigger Continental [are] not true.”
Meanwhile Germany’s Handelblatt reported that banks involved in the acquisition of Schaeffler’s stake “may consider a complete purchase of Continental.” In response Schaeffler spokesman Detlef Sieverdingbeck, told Bloomberg that the family-owned company will not breach the investor agreement that limits its stake to under 50 per cent.