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Metzler, Merrill Lynch have big Continental stakes

German bank B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co Holding AG and Merrill Lynch have taken combined voting stakes of 35.75% in Continental AG, the German automotive supplier said on Wednesday.


Metzler has built a 19.5% voting stake, while Merrill Lynch International has 16.25%, becoming the largest shareholders after privately held bearings maker Schaeffler group. Continental shares fell 1.9% to €26.72 by 0850 GMT, lagging a 0.2% dip in the German MDAX midcap index.

Schaeffler gained control of its larger rival this month when it collected the bulk of shares tendered after an €11.3 billion ($15.03 billion) takeover bid. The acrimonious takeover wrapped up when Schaeffler disbursed to depository banks €75 per Continental share to raise its stake to 49.90% from a last reported 15.2%.

Continental shareholders had actually tendered far more shares, but under an agreement struck in August with Continental’s management Schaeffler agreed to limit its stake to under 50% by transferring excess shares to financial institutions. On Dec. 22, banks Metzler and Sal. Oppenheim bought stakes of 4% and 5.5%, respectively, triggering disclosure thresholds mandated under German securities law. (Reuters)