China’s Li Shufu, owner and chairman of Geely, has purchased a stake of 9.69 percent in Daimler, which makes him the company’s biggest single shareholder.
The stake is worth nearly $9 billion in the current market price for Daimler shares, with Li building up his percentage in the stock market in recent weeks.
It’s no secret that Geely was looking to strike an alliance with Daimler the past few months over EV technologies, as the Chinese government’s requirements for cleaner cars create pressure on automakers.
The German automaker announced the news in a regulatory filing on Friday. A Daimler spokesman described the stake purchase as a private investment by Li, Reuters reports.
"We are delighted, with Li Shufu, to have won over another long-term investor who is convinced of Daimler’s innovative prowess, strategy and future potential," the spokesman said.
"Daimler knows and respects Li Shufu as a Chinese entrepreneur of particular competence and forward thinking."
Earlier reports suggested that Daimler had turned down an offer from Geely to buy a stake of up to 5 percent at a discounted rate. Geely currently owns Volvo Cars, Polestar, the London Taxi Company and last year acquired a 49.9 percent stake in Proton, which includes Lotus.
Li’s stake purchase makes him the biggest shareholder of the company that owns Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and vans, surpassing the Kuwait Investment Authority which owns a 6.8 percent stake.