Nissan has decided to sell all its shares in luxury carmaker Carlos Ghosn’s troubled Nissan Motor Company and abandon a deal to sell a controlling stake in the company to France’s Renault SA, the Japanese company has said.
Renault had agreed to buy a 41.65 percent stake in Nissan from Ghosn, but Ghosn has been arrested in Japan on suspicion of financial misconduct. Renault has come under pressure from the French government, which holds 15 percent of the company, to leave its Japanese partner, although its executive chairman Carlos Ghosn had spoken out against any such move.
The Nissan stake sale comes after Mitsubishi Motors announced on Wednesday that it would not close a deal to sell its 15 percent stake in Nissan to Renault due to the difficulty in concluding a deal as rapidly as it had sought.
Renault had previously promised to increase its stake in Nissan to 43.4 percent by April 2019, which would have made Renault Nissan’s biggest shareholder by a long-established rule of the shareholder pact. A merger of Nissan and Renault was to have followed, but that idea appears to have been abandoned.
Renault denied reports that its board would meet on Monday, following an earlier announcement by Japan’s Nikkei news agency that the executive board of Nissan would meet on Friday to discuss the management team for when Renault takes over as the vehicle and technology investment.
Nissan shares dropped 4.2 percent in Tokyo on Friday, and Mitsubishi Motors plunged 10.4 percent.
Nissan plans to discuss its efforts to sell all its shares in Nissan on its weekly board meeting that begins on Dec. 12, a spokesman said, adding that it would be making a full statement about the situation when it made a formal announcement on that day.
Meanwhile, Carlos Ghosn will remain out of the public eye until the case against him, in which he has been indicted on four counts of breach of trust, in his capacity as chairman of both Nissan and Renault, concludes, a lawyer for the firm said.
Ghosn has been under house arrest in his $30 million luxury apartment in Tokyo’s Ginza district since Nov. 19, when he was arrested by Tokyo police after an anti-trust investigation by the Japanese government. Ghosn is now sharing his apartment with his wife, who told Reuters on Thursday that her husband had changed his medical treatment to avoid strokes as a result of his detention.