The move is dependent on a number of market factors.
Porsche and its parent company, the Volkswagen Group, have been moving slowly toward an initial public offering (IPO) for the legendary sports car brand for some time. Expectations around the move grew earlier this year when VW announced that it was in advanced talks with Porsche executives to take the company public. Porsche's CEO stepped in to temper excitement around the deal last week, saying that no concrete decisions had been made yet.
Porsche SE Chairman Hans-Dieter Poetsch said the automaker is reviewing a variety of scenarios to help the company remain robust no matter how things play out. "The actual feasibility of the IPO depends on a large number of influencing factors. Final decisions have not yet been made," he told Reuters. Volkswagen may own Porsche, but the company retains some decision-making control.
Rumors swirled around whether or not VW would spin off Porsche, but an IPO makes more sense. The final decision has been lingering since February when VW and Porsche drew up an agreement to list Porsche. The two hoped to capitalize on the brand name and generate interest in what could be a giant IPO. VW's CEO Herbert Diess does not share all of Poetsch's concerns and said that he thought the time was right for an offering.
Porsche is the largest of VW's brands not yet public. Audi and VW are both publicly traded, but Porsche's contributions to the bottom line and its exceptionally strong brand make it ripe for a public offering. Some expect that Porsche's value could reach more than $100 billion in an offering, so there's a steep financial incentive for VW to move forward with the deal.
This year has been busy for Porsche so far. In addition to the potential public offering, along with Audi, the automaker is working its way into Formula 1. The expectation is that the company partners with Red Bull, whose engine supplier exited the sport after last year. The automaker is also hard at work testing its electric vehicle tech. Just today, Porsche announced the 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance, the car it's using to test technologies from the Mission R race car for use in customer motorsport vehicles.
Porsche did not share further details on a potential IPO, but the move could occur as early as the fourth quarter of this year if all goes smoothly. Though Porsche could be heading for IPO, the ownership structure of its parent company is just as interesting. Volkswagen owns Porsche, but VW itself is owned by several entities, including Porsche, private investors, and foreign institutional investors. Volkswagen said it would pay out 49% of its earnings from an IPO to shareholders and invest the rest in its business operations.