The DFL, the German soccer league body, and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office have approved a deal that will see sports car manufacturer Porsche acquire a 10.4% stake in top-tier Bundesliga club VfB Stuttgart.
The decision comes after the two bodies investigated the German carmaker’s plans to invest in the team and take over several of the club’s sponsorship designations due to the DFL’s multi-club ownership rules.
Porsche is owned by Volkswagen, which is the owner and main sponsor of fellow Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg.
The investment was first announced last June when Porsche acquired its first 5.49% stake in VfB Stuttgart as part of a deal that saw its IT consultancy firm MHP secure naming rights to the club’s stadium for the next 10 years. However, it has taken several months for the move to be approved.
Now approved, Porsche can take its second 5.49% stake in June.
At the time, VfB said Porsche’s investment could be worth more than €100 million ($108 million), with the funds supporting the club after it faced financial difficulties amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
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As part of the new deal, Porsche becomes the club’s official youth academy partner, which will see its logo feature on the sleeve of the team shirt and the training outfits of the club’s junior teams from U11 to U21.
The carmaker will also be prominently featured at the MHP Arena home stadium in the second half of the season through a new exclusive lounge in the main stand called the ‘Porsche Tunnel Club,’ allowing 215 guests to view the players’ tunnel.
Porsche will also gain two seats on VfB’s supervisory board, which will be filled by the carmaker’s deputy chairman and executive board member Lutz Meschke, and executive board member for production Albrecht Reimold.
Meschke said: “We are very pleased that the DFL considers our commitment to be independent. This gives us a stake of more than 10%. Now we want to actively contribute our know-how to move VfB further forward together with all partners.
“We are united by a great tradition with VfB Stuttgart. With this long-term commitment, Porsche would like to become even more committed to the Stuttgart region, in which we both have deep roots.”
Porsche joins fellow German manufacturer Mercedes Benz, which also holds a 10.4% stake, and Jako AG (1%) as shareholders in Stuttgart. The club said it plans to sell a further 3.9% of its shares through a capital increase in the coming years, which will dilute the shares of existing investors.
VfB chief executive Alexander Wehrle said: “Getting Porsche and MHP on board is a historic step that gives us room for maneuver and stability in the long term.
“We’ll use this to ensure a sustainable future for VfB and develop the club further. We’re very grateful to Porsche and our current partners Mercedes-Benz and Jako for the trust and enthusiasm with which they’re embarking on this collaboration with us.
“I’m also fully confident that other strong companies from our region will want to be part of VfB’s shared history in the coming years.”