Daimler backs VfB Stuttgart′s plans for structural reforms | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 19.04.2017
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Daimler backs VfB Stuttgart's plans for structural reforms

The three-time German champions are hoping to rubber-stamp changes in June, which should attract further investment. Daimler are one of the companies keen to back the historic club, if they are promoted this season.

VfB Stuttgart are already planning for life back in the Bundesliga after 12 months in the German second division.

As part of structural reforms, the Swabians hope to attract more than 100 million euros ($107 million) of investment with Stuttgart-based automobile giants Daimler putting up nearly half of that.

Stuttgart, who were last German champion in 2007, suffered a surprise relegation last season from the Bundesliga, but are top of the league with five matches left. 

Depending on sporting success, Stuttgart plans to sell 24.9 percent of the public company to investors with car giants Daimler paying 41.5 million euros for 11.75 percent in the listed company, which the club values at more than 300 million euros.

"Daimler has been closely linked to Stuttgart for more than 100 years and we are convinced that the club's new management, the players and the fans will ensure that we can also celebrate great sporting success soon," says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG.

With an average attendance of just under 50,000 in the second division and a highly-promising young squad, Stuttgart are one of the most attractive propositions for investors. But Germany's 50+1 legislation, which prevents a sole owner of a football club, has protected member-owned clubs from external backers.

Although there is pressure to abolish 50+1, the strategy of spinning off the football department, whilst maintaining member control of the organisation was executed recently by Hamburg, who made the structural changes at the club in 2015.

Stuttgart will hold its Annual General Meeting on June 1 and require at least 75 percent support of members to approve the reforms. 

Should Stuttgart fail to achieve promotion to the Bundesliga, Daimler will only give 10.5 million euros for 5 percent of the newly-established company. The club doesn't intend to hold further talks with other investors until after the AGM, confirmed Wolfgang Dietrich, the club's CEO.

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