Purely “speculation” is how Ford Motor Co. refers to a report from the Nikkei business daily that states that the carmaker will be selling a majority of its stake in Mazda Motor Corp. to Sumitomo group firms and other companies with close business ties with Mazda. Ford, Mazda’s top shareholder with an 11% stake, is expected to reduce its interest to 3% or less.
Ford released a statement, indicating that Ford's ownership stake in Mazda remains “unchanged.”
Ford said that it still has a “close strategic relationship with Mazda” and that they continue to cooperate in areas of mutual benefit. Ford declined to comment further on this rumor. Nikkei said that as of Oct. 15, Ford held about 195 million Mazda shares, worth around 42 billion yen ($515.6 million).
Nikkei also said that Mazda has requested main lender Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Sumitomo Corp., and other major Sumitomo group firms to purchase shares from Ford.
The business daily said that it’s likely for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking to end up owning more Mazda shares than Ford, as the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. unit already holds 2.9% of the shares. The Nikkei said further that each buyer is likely to get about 1% of the outstanding shares. [via autonews - sub. required]