August 22, 2019 / 12:00 PM / 25 days ago

Volkswagen not interested in buying Tesla stake

FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen AG CEO Dr. Herbert Diess speaks at a news conference in New York City, New York, U.S., July 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) said on Thursday it was not interested in taking a stake in Tesla (TSLA.O), denying a media report that CEO Herbert Diess wanted to buy shares in the U.S. company to access its software and batteries technology.

“The speculation about buying a stake in Tesla made by Manager Magazin is without merit,” a Volkswagen spokesman said in a written statement to Reuters.

Manager Magazin had said Diess meets with Tesla CEO Elon Musk on a regular basis because of the U.S. carmaker’s expertise in software and battery cell design, and that Tesla had so far rebuffed Volkswagen’s efforts at striking an alliance.

“Diess would go in right away if he could,” the magazine quoted an unidentified top Volkswagen manager as saying.

Acquiring a stake would be enough for the German carmaker to access Tesla’s technological expertise, the report said.

An obstacle, however, would be to get the consent of Volkswagen’s controlling Piech and Porsche families to fund the stake purchase, the magazine added.

A banker close to Volkswagen said that while Diess would love to have Tesla’s software developers, the CEO believed it was almost impossible to justify paying $30 billion (27 billion euros) to buy the whole company.

Tesla’s shares pared pre-market gains following Volkswagen’s denial of the magazine report. At 1335 GMT, they were up 1.3% at $223.60, while Volkswagen’s shares were up 1.2% at 144.36 euros.

Reporting by Thomas Seythal and Edward Taylor; Additional reporting by Jan Schwartz and Edward Taylor; Editing by Mark Potter

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