Volkswagen Says It Welcomes Activist’s Advice, May Actually Mean It

This is uncharted territory.

Normally, when a company sends a letter to an activist shareholder with the assurance that it “always welcomes constructive dialogue with investors,” it is usually a prologue to a series of denials and eventual blow-off. But when that company is Volkswagen, certain things that have come to light make a full-throated defense unseemly, if not exactly impossible. Still, we’re willing to bet that TCI founder Chris Hohn has never received a letter quite like this one, which is almost certainly being framed for prominent display in his office.

Volkswagen senior managers agree with many of the criticisms made by British hedge fund TCI about the performance of Europe's largest carmaker, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

In a letter sent by Volkswagen Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter on May 17, addressed to Sir Chris Hohn, Europe's largest carmaker responded to criticism that it was in need of a performance hike and a new governance structure.

Volkswagen tells hedge fund TCI it welcomes investor dialogue [Reuters]