Renault Could Pull Back Its Stake In Nissan To Kickstart FCA Merger Talks

Renault Could Pull Back Its Stake In Nissan To Kickstart FCA Merger Talks

Renault currently holds a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan.

French automaker Renault could lower its stake in Nissan to restart its merger talks with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Internal e-mails and accounts from unnamed sources close to the matter indicate the companies are discussing ways to relieve tensions following original merger talks back in May 2019.

Renault Could Pull Back Its Stake In Nissan To Kickstart FCA Merger Talks
French automaker Renault is reportedly negotiating its stake in Nissan to reboot merger talks with Fiat Chrysler. [Photo: Renault]

During the first merger talks, Nissan withheld its support from FCA merging with its larger alliance partner. The Japanese automaker currently holds a 15 percent, non-voting stake in Renault, while Renault has a 43.4 percent stake in Nissan. Concerns that a merger could weaken Nissan’s involvement in the alliance compelled FCA to pull its proposal before Renault could convince Nissan to support the deal.

Now, this new report shows that discussions to restructure the Renault-Nissan partnership have been ongoing since the first proposal fell through. Part of the solution would be for Renault to reduce its stake in and influence over Nissan, which would require the French government’s approval. At the moment, France holds a 15 percent stake in Renault. According to The Wall Street Journal‘s sources, negotiations between Renault and Nissan are in their early stages. A July 12 e-mail indicates the companies could produce a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by September 2019.

2020 Nissan Versa
Nissan expressed its concerns with FCA’s merger proposal, since the Japanese automaker would have relatively little say in the resulting group’s decisions. [Photo: Nissan]

Both companies have yet to officially comment on this report. However, Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley recently said on an earnings call that a merger could be a “great opportunity for us. And we believe it’s a very good opportunity for Renault.”

Stay tuned for more updates.

H/T to The Washington Post for this information.