A Swedish Free For All

Sweden's government had planned for months to sell its 42.7% stake in Procordia, a food and pharmaceutical conglomerate partly controlled by auto maker Volvo. But the plan didn't factor in Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, the strong-willed chairman of Volvo and Procordia. On Jan. 25, he announced that Procordia would attempt a $6.6 billion reverse takeover of Volvo. Gyllenhammar wants to merge the two because, he says, he feared the state's sale of its Procordia stake would attract predators. Prime Minister Carl Bildt objects to the all-stock deal, in part because it undermines his efforts to boost competition in Sweden.

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