Continental has confirmed it has been in talks with family-owned Schaeffler Group about the firm taking an interest in Continental AG. There is mounting speculation that Schaeffler is preparing a takeover bid.

Continental said in a statement that one ‘brief conversation’ about a possible engagement by Schaeffler-Group in Continental AG took place at the end of last week. No further conversations took place, it said.

“As soon as Schaeffler-Group has substantiated its plans, the management board of Continental AG will evaluate these and communicate its views in due course,” the statement added. 

The statement from Conti followed a newspaper report that Schaeffler was poised to make a takeover offer, which sent Continental’s stock rising sharply.

Although Schaeffler is smaller than Continental it is said to have lined up finance from the Royal Bank of Scotland to finance a deal.

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Continental is seen by analysts as an attractive takeover target because of its strong cashflow and a weak share price reflecting generally weak auto stocks and its high debt position following the VDO acquisition last year.