Volkswagen Group and its largest shareholder, Porsche Automobil Holding SE, have confirmed they are currently in advanced discussions regarding a potential IPO of the Porsche brand.
In a short statement, Volkswagen AG said it has negotiated a framework agreement with Porsche SE which should form the basis for further steps in the preparation of a potential IPO of Porsche AG.
"The conclusion of the Framework Agreement is subject to the approval of the Management Board and the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG. A final decision have not yet taken.
Whether a Framework Agreement is concluded and its content as well as the question if an IPO of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche is being further assessed, is currently open and depends on the approval of both parties' boards."
In a separate statement, Porsche SE confirmed it was in discussion with Volkswagen Group about an IPO. The holding company also said the transaction could include the acquisition of Porsche AG ordinary shares, which bestow voting rights upon the holder.
Gallery: Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo
Reports about a Porsche listing have surfaced several times last year, but no decision has been made due to a complex stakeholder set-up. According to sources cited by Reuters, the Porsche and Piëch families, who control Porsche SE, were considering taking a direct stake in Porsche AG.
The families own 31.4% of VW Group shares and have 53.3% of voting rights via their Porsche SE holding company. Separate from the sports car business, the listed Porsche SE was created more than a decade ago when Porsche tried to take over the much-larger VW Group.
After the attempt failed due to lack of funding amid the financial crisis, the sports car business became a wholly owned VW Group subsidiary, while Porsche SE remained a separate legal entity.
If a Porsche IPO happens, Bloomberg Intelligence estimates the company could be valued at between $68 billion and $96 billion, compared to the entire group's current market value of around $112 billion.
Taking Porsche public could offer a new funding option for the VW Group to pursue its costly shift towards electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles. It would also give the sports car brand more independence to pursue projects better suited to its brand ethos.