Chinese billionaire Li Shufu has purchased a near 10-percent stake in Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler, making him the German group’s biggest single shareholder, a stock market filing showed Friday.
Li, who chairs auto giant Geely Automobile Holdings, purchased a 9.69-percent stake in the carmaker, worth around 7.2 billion euros ($8.9 billion), as per the filing.
The size of the stake leapfrogs a 6.8-percent stake in the Stuttgart-based group held by Kuwait and Renault-Nissan’s 3.1-percent holdings.
The billionaire is no stranger to the European car business, having purchased Sweden’s Volvo in 2010.
In a speech to the CAR Institute automotive conference in Bochum, Germany earlier this month, Li refused commenting on speculation that he was preparing to jump aboard Daimler, saying simply that Europe had “a very important role for the development of automotive brands under our leadership”.
German business daily Handelsblatt had earlier announced that Geely was buying shares in Daimler.
But Friday is the first time Li’s stake has crossed the threshold of 3 percent of stock, demanding a public notification.
54-year-old Li is 10th on Forbes magazine’s China Rich List and 209th on its global billionaires ranking, with an estimated net worth of $16.6 billion.
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