* Stuttgart judge sees "litigation risks" for plaintiffs
* Porsche rejects accusations, rules out any settlement
STUTTGART, Germany Feb 10 Hedge funds suing
Porsche SE for 1.36 billion euros ($1.85 billion)
over its failed attempt to take over Volkswagen in
2008-2009 suffered a setback at a German court on Monday.
The regional court in Stuttgart, where sports-car maker
Porsche is based, expressed strong doubts about the case brought
by hedge funds including Viking Global Investors, Glenhill
Capital and Greenlight Capital.
"We see considerable litigation risks for the plaintiffs,"
judge Carola Wittig said during the hearing. "There's a whole
series of obstacles that need to be overcome."
Plaintiffs say that throughout 2008 Porsche's holding
company camouflaged its plans to acquire much-bigger Volkswagen
(VW) and secretly piled up its holding in Europe's largest
In March 2008 Porsche SE dismissed as "speculation" talk
that it intended to take over Volkswagen (VW). Seven months
later Porsche SE said it controlled 42.6 percent of VW's common
shares and held options for another 31.5 percent of the stock it
had not disclosed previously.
Porsche SE's statement caused VW shares to surge to 1,005
euros within days, briefly making the Wolfsburg-based carmaker
the world's most valuable company, as short-sellers raced to buy
back stock they had borrowed to bet that VW shares would drop.
Porsche SE has repeatedly denied all allegations and ruled
out any settlement ahead of Monday's hearing.
The holding company is faced with a total of 5.7 billion
euros of damage claims through a number of investor lawsuits
pending at various German courts.
($1 = 0.7343 euros)
(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach Writing by Andreas Cremer;
Editing by Mark Potter)