Volkswagen has improved an offer to buy almost half of Porsche, a magazine reported on Saturday, a deal that would reverse an ambitious bid by the luxury carmaker for VW that unraveled in the crisis.

Porsche racked up about 9 billion euros ($12.6 billion) of net debt trying to swallow its much bigger rival Volkswagen before the financial crisis turned the tables on the would-be predator.

Now its attempt to take over VW has backfired, Porsche is fighting to preserve its clout in a future union with the world's No.3 car company and its stable of brands spanning Bugatti and Lamborghini to the Volkswagen Golf.

On Saturday, Der Spiegel magazine reported that Volkswagen had offered to buy 49.9 percent of Porsche for well above 4 billion euros.

Separately, one source close to the matter said that the Emirate of Qatar would pay about 7 billion euros to buy a 25 percent stake in Porsche's holding company as well as options the carmaker owns to get further Volkswagen shares.

Porsche and Volkswagen declined to comment.

The report emerged as the two rival factions that control Porsche prepared for a showdown that could decide the planned merger with Volkswagen.

On Friday, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Porsche Chairman Wolfgang Porsche had called an extraordinary supervisory board meeting for July 23 to discuss a possible sale of a stake in Porsche's holding company to Qatar. [ID:nLA614466]

(Editing by Anthony Barker)