In a weekend full of surprises and bewilderment for the American auto industry, right after reports of Chrysler holding merger talks with GM hit the web, Japanese media reported Saturday that Ford Motor Company was seriously considering selling its stake in Mazda Motor Corp as part of an effort to keep itself alive amid a downturn in global auto sales and a worldwide financial crisis.
Citing unnamed inside sources, public broadcaster NHK TV reported that Ford has almost reached a final decision to sell its shares in Mazda to secure hard cash to rebuild management. NHK TV said that about 20 percentage points of Ford’s 33.4 percent stake in Mazda is expected to sell for roughly 1 billion U.S. dollars. The TV report noted that Mazda was among those interested in buying the shares. -Continued
Although NHK TV’s report did not include any comments from either company, The Associated Press received a statement from Mazda saying that no specific decision has been made while Ford also said it had nothing to announce and did not want to comment on speculation.
Ford had acquired a 25 percent stake in Mazda in 1979 that was raised to 33,4 percent in 1996 giving the American firm a controlling share over the Japanese automaker.