Geely to buy $9B Daimler stake, report says

File this one under, “Things I would have never expected,” right next to the Spanish Inquisition.

Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images

China’s Geely has been on a tear lately, helping usher in a brand new era of Volvo cars and preparing to have Lotus do, um, anything, really. Now, its invisible hand might scoop up a slice of one of the world’s largest automakers.

Geely is buying a $9 billion stake in Daimler AG, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The purchase has reportedly happened in steps, with Geely buying up shares on the stock market over the course of a few weeks. Neither Daimler nor Geely immediately returned requests for comment, but rest assured that if it’s happening, it’ll be news.

Daimler is one of the world’s largest automakers, and it’s in charge of the Mercedes-Benz luxury-car empire. Despite becoming Daimler’s largest investor, it’s unclear how much Geely would be able to move the needle in future company decisions, and it’s not like Daimler is having a bad time on its own.

It could just be a smart bet to hedge, based on what Mercedes-Benz has planned for the future. Like Volvo, Mercedes-Benz is committed to electrifying its fleet in the not-too-distant future, and we’re going to see the beginning of that onslaught when Mercedes debuts the first production-ready vehicle in its EQ electric car sub-brand at the Geneva Motor Show in early March. If the EQ is well received, it could bump Daimler’s stock price closer to the stratosphere, making Geely a tidy chunk of change in the process.

Under Geely’s control, Volvo has made waves with a series of new vehicle debuts that are as impressive technologically as they are visually. Geely also owns 51 percent of Lotus, and that automaker is set to reinvigorate its efforts with a new SUV and two new sports cars over the next four years. It also bought Terrafugia, a flying car company, so perhaps its Daimler investment exists solely to make up for all the money it’s bound to lose on that endeavor.

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