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Hedgeweek Comment: Could hedge funds stay on the road with Daimler?

Last weekend German news magazine Focus reported that Daimler, the maker of Mercedes Benz cars, could be the target of a hedge fund bid after banks had supposedly informed the company that a fund has started to buy stock.

Since then Daimler has denied that the company has received any indication that a hedge fund investor was building up a position in the company. The company's shares have risen in recent days and were up again on August 4.

But were the speculation to be true, it could be a double-edged sword. On one hand any buyer would benefit from the prestige and status of owning a stake in arguably the world's greatest automobile brand, but on the negative side there's a bit of history, politics and bureaucracy.

Hedge funds and Germany do not exactly have a great relationship. Isn't it Germany that continually demands that hedge funds be more strictly regulated and has repeatedly urged the G8 group of countries to impose a code of conduct on them. And wasn't it former vice-chancellor Franz Müntefering who dubbed hedge funds 'locusts' three years ago during the battle between The Children's Investment Fund and Deutsche Börse?

It shouldn't surprise anyone if active hedge fund investment in Daimler is greeted with unease in Germany, even anger. But with the auto manufacturer having a high free float, there may not be a lot anyone can do to prevent it happening.

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