China Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, has amassed a stake of 9.69% in Daimler, the German automaker said in a regulatory filing on Friday.
The stake, worth nearly USD9 billion at the current market price for Daimler shares, makes Li the biggest-single shareholder in the Stuttgart-based maker of Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and vans.
“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.”
Li’s stake purchase makes him the top shareholder in Daimler ahead of the Kuwait Investment Authority, which owned 6.8 percent as of Sept. 30, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Geely’s holdings include Volvo Cars and Geely Automobile. Last December Geely spent $3.9 billion to become the biggest shareholder of Volvo AB, which is the world’s second-largest truck maker.
Geely also won control of British sports car maker Lotus last year while in 2013 it purchased Manganese Bronze Holdings, rescuing the maker of London’s iconic black cabs after it entered administration.
Geely plans to introduce to Europe its new brand Lynk & CO, which started sales in its home country last year.