A revival of merger discussions between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe Renault will hinge on Nissan supporting the deal. Talks between the two automakers regarding a prospective $35 billion merger abruptly ended a couple weeks ago when FCA blamed political conditions in France.
According to Automotive News Europe talks ended largely because the French state was unwilling to support the deal without Nissan’s support. Nissan owns 15 percent of Renault while Renault owns a hefty 43 percent stake in the Japanese automaker. Nissan was unwilling to back the deal without a larger stake in what it called a “unknown, larger partner.”
One avenue to resolving the impasse is for the French state to give up some of its 15 percent stake in Renault. This reduction would likely hinge on FCA and Renault committing to certain job retainment requirements. Nissan could ultimately gobble up the shares sold by France.
In another twist of the strained Renault-Nissan alliance, Renault has also demanded additional representation on Nissan’s board of director committees. Nissan is reportedly willing to agree to the demands of its largest shareholder.
Italian media reports say FCA CEO Mike Manley was in Paris last week to talk with Renault executives about reviving new merger talks. Reports suggest FCA Chairman John Elkann is leaving any new talks up to Manley to restart.
Thus far all parties are declining to comment publicly.