Nissan to take controlling interest in Mitsubishi Motors
Intent on forging a strategic partnership that will provide strong benefits to both parties, Nissan announced plans for a major investment in Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. Under terms of the Basic Agreement, which still needs final approval from all key parties, Nissan will purchase 506.6 million new-issue shares of MMC for approximately $2.17 billion, a move that will give it 34 percent stake as well as controlling interest in the operation. When finalized, Nissan and MMC will work in a number of functional areas including purchasing, developing common vehicle platforms, technology sharing, joint plant utilization and more effectively addressing global growth markets.
In commenting on the deal, Carlos Ghosn, chief executive and president of Nissan, noted: “This is a breakthrough transaction and a win-win for both Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors. It creates a dynamic new force in the automotive industry that will cooperate intensively, and generate sizeable synergies. We will be the largest shareholder of MMC, respecting their brand, their history and boosting their growth prospects. We will support MMC as they address their challenges and welcome them as the newest member of our enlarged Alliance family.” Osamu Masuko, chairman of the board and chief executive of MMC, concurred and added: “This agreement will create long term value needed for our two companies to progress towards the future.”
There’s a certain sense of irony to the Nissan move, which to some extent reflects Renault’s action back in 1999 when it purchased controlling interest in Nissan which was struggling through its own financial crisis at the time. Since then, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has enjoyed impressive success and presently accounts for roughly 10 percent of all worldwide vehicle sales. The Alliance also has established working partnerships with both Daimler and AutoVaz. Although Nissan and MMC have been engaged in various programs for the past five years, this direct buy-in will take that collaboration to a different level. Earlier this spring, Mitsubishi’s stock prices and its reputation were rocked as the result of a scandal involving improper fuel-economy rating numbers on some vehicles it produced and sold in Japan.