MAN shares have risen this morning [Thursday 18 October] amidst speculation that Volkswagen and Scania are about to launch a takeover offer for the German truck manufacturer.

A report in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri said that Scania's second largest shareholder, the Wallenberg family, has come to an agreement with Scania's largest shareholder, Volkswagen, to make an offer for MAN.

The head of Volkswagen's supervisory board, Ferdinand Piech, is believed to be playing a key role in negotiations. His influence at Volkswagen is expected to increase with a decision from the European Court due next week the legality of the Volkswagen Law. That law limits the voting rights of any Volkswagen shareholder to 20% and is expected to be overturned by the court's decision next week. Porsche owns more than 30% of Volkswagen shares and the Piech family is a major shareholder in Porsche.

All companies have remained officially silent on the news but Dagens Industri is considered to be a reliable source. One German analyst said there has been a lot of speculation over recent weeks and the article in the paper makes the rumours more concrete.

Piech is keen to combine the heavy truck activities of MAN and Scania with Volkswagen's heavy truck business in Brazil. Volkswagen is already the largest shareholder in both Scania and MAN.

Last year MAN attempted a hostile takeover of Scania. The attempt was resisted by Scania which saw its business being swamped by MAN. Volkswagen successfully manoeuvred itself to have a major role in any alliance by taking a stake in MAN.