March 27, 2019 / 5:50 AM / 3 months ago

Renault aims to restart Nissan merger talks within 12 months: FT

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French car manufacturer Renault is seen at a dealership of the company in Illkirch-Graffenstaden near Strasbourg, France, January 10, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo

(Reuters) - France’s Renault SA intends to restart merger talks with Japan’s Nissan Motor Co Ltd within 12 months, after which it will set sight on a bid to buy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

The plans signal a return to the strategies supported by former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn who held talks about merging Renault with Fiat Chrysler two to three years ago, the report, which cited sources familiar with the matter, said, adding the French government had opposed the move.

Late last year, Ghosn was ousted as Nissan chair and arrested in Tokyo on financial misconduct charges of under-reporting his salary. Ghosn has said the charges were “meritless”.

The recent formation of a new alliance board led by Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has led to an increase in confidence that the two parties can now push ahead with the merger plans, according to the FT report.

Fiat Chrysler is also seeking a partnership or merger and the company is holding talks with rivals for a deal, the report said.

Nissan and Renault are also expected to revamp their boards, with Renault reducing its board’s size and Nissan adding majority outside directors, the report added.

Nissan, Fiat Chrysler and Renault declined to comment on the FT report.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Gilles Guillaume in Paris and Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Gopakumar Warrier

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