What causes the super-hearts rich's to race? The list undoubtedly includes fast automobiles and stock market floats near the top. When shares of Porsche begin trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Thursday, the initial public offering (IPO) is likely to be exciting on both counts.
The spin-out of the German sports car manufacturer from its owner Volkswagen would rank as the fifth-largest float in European history with a hoped-for valuation of €75 billion (£65 billion).
It's a peculiar time for a huge IPO, though. After two years of central bank stimulus to prop up the pandemic economy, war-driven inflation threatens severe market recessions. Carmakers face supply chain issues.
Dealmaking slowed. According to Dealogic, global IPOs have raised £97bn in 2022, compared to £320bn in 2021. In Europe, floats are worth £4.8bn this year and £48bn in 2021.
Ferdinand Porsche created a car firm in the 1930s before creating the first "people's car," therefore Volkswagen and Porsche have always been linked. Why would it decide to break up that pairing now?
Volkswagen needs money. The acquisition might net it €19.5bn (although it will pay out nearly half as a special dividend). The world's second-largest manufacturer has gone all-in on electric-only cars after the diesel emissions-cheating scandal. It requires money to retool plants for electricity.
Ferrari's black prancing horse emblem is another cause. The Agnelli family has built a fortune convincing drivers and investors that Ferrari is a luxury brand. VW trades at four times Ferrari's earnings per share.
Volkswagen expects an independent Porsche can bridge the gap and boost profits. That's debatable. Porsche's hefty Cayenne SUVs ("more handy and practical," said an investment bank analyst) and new Taycan electric cars are no longer premium items.
Porsche won't throw free its parent's chains. A decade after ceding power to VW, the Porsche-Pich family will receive a quarter of Porsche's voting shares. Herbert Diess was fired in July and Oliver Blume took over Volkswagen and Porsche. Afterward, he'll keep both positions
This isn't a bubbly float for a startup that's never generated money. Porsche had €33bn in revenues and €4bn in profits in 2021 and sells household-name vehicles like the 911, alluded to in the float's P911 ticker. Shares are in high demand, and state-backed investors have offered support.