Renault could reduce its stake in Nissan in a bid to restart merger negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Citing internal email as well as people with knowledge of the matter, the WSJ claims that Renault could cut its 43.4 per cent holding in Nissan as a way to rebalance their global alliance. While neither Nissan nor Renault have commented on the reports, it is understood that if Renault were to reduce its stake in Nissan, it would need the approval of France which owns a 15 per cent stake in the company.
The relationship between Nissan and Renault has long been shrouded in controversy because, while Nissan is the larger of the two carmakers, it only holds a 15 per cent non-voting stake in Renault. Nissan’s belief that a merger between Renault and FCA could weaken its influence in the alliance prompted it to withhold support for the deal. Before the French government could convince Nissan to get on side, FCA pulled the proposed merger.
It is alleged that discussions to change the structure of the Renault-Nissan Alliance commenced shortly after the deal collapsed. Talks have been limited to a small number of executives, board members, and lawyers for the companies.
Those with knowledge of the talks claim that the negotiations are still in their early stages but an email dated July 12 suggests that an agreement between Renault and Nissan could result in an initial memorandum of understanding between the pair as early as September.
Speaking on an earnings call during the week, FCA chief executive Mike Manley expressed his belief that an FCA and Renault merger can help both companies, dubbing it “a great opportunity for us. And we believe it’s a very good opportunity for Renault.”