Following recent rumours that Geely would take on a share in Daimler AG, the German carmaker has confirmed that Li Shufu, founder and owner of the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. has acquired 9.69% (103,619,340 shares) of the company.
Valued at around 7.28 billion euros at this time, this is the biggest single shareholding in the company, surpassing the 6.8% of the Kuwait Investment Authority which has been a shareholder for over 40 years.
“The competitors which technologically challenge the global car industry in the 21st century are not part of the automotive industry today. But with challenges come opportunities. No current car industry player will be able to win this battle against the invaders from outside independently. In order to succeed and seize the technology highland, one has to have friends, partners, and alliances and adapt a new way of thinking in terms of sharing and united strength. And we have to act now. My investment in Daimler reflects this strategic vision,” Mr. Li said of the latest investment.
In its announcement, Daimler said it has gained another long-term orientated shareholder ‘convinced by Daimler’s innovation strength, the strategy and the future potential’. “Daimler knows and appreciates Li Shufu as an especially knowledgeable Chinese entrepreneur with clear vision for the future, with whom one can constructive discuss the change in the industry,” the statement added.
Since establishing The London Taxi Company via a joint-venture with its subsidiary, Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH) in 2006, Geely has been expanding its presence in the global auto industry.
In 2010, it bought over Volvo Cars from Ford when the American carmaker was looking to sell it off, and in June last year, it took on a 49% share in Proton while also buying over Proton’s subsidiary, Lotus. And last December, Geely became the largest shareholder in Volvo AB, the truck manufacturer, when it bought an 8.2% share which was valued at around 3.25 billion euros.
Li Shufu began his business activities in 1986, at the age of 22, making refrigerators and ventured into motorcycles in 1994 and cars in 1997. Forbes estimates his worth to currently be US$16.6 billion.