The founder of Chinese carmaker Geely, Li Shufu, has never hidden his fondness for Mercedes-Benz cars: Geely’s first vehicle, which hit the market in 1998, was a bad copy of a Mercedes model.
Mr. Li, now heading China’s largest maker of electric cars, is now buying up shares in Daimler, financial sources told Handelsblatt. The German carmaker would welcome any investor with a long-term focus, people familiar with the company said. Daimler’s boss Dieter Zetsche has already met with Mr. Li, Handelsblatt has learned.
Both Daimler, based in Stuttgart, and Geely declined to comment when contacted by Handelsblatt. Chinese finance website JRJC had reported earlier on Friday that the Asian firm was looking into buying a stake of 3 to 5 percent in Daimler, the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, ahead of BMW and Audi. As soon as Geely owns 3 percent or more it has to file a notification to Germany’s financial regulator, Bafin, and Daimler. These filings are public.