Ford And Mazda: Officially Still Married, But No Longer In Bed
Most divorces are a bit messy, and the Ford/Mazda separation is no exception. Sometimes, it tales a while for reality to sink in. Here are the latest dispatches from divorce court.
- Last Friday, The Nikkei [sub] said that Ford will sell most of its remaining shares in Mazda, leaving a token presence of 3 percent or less.
- Later in the day (Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of NYC) the Wall Street Journal said it’s true that Ford and Mazda will split in China ( talk about old hat, we said that in January), otherwise, everything hunky-dory. “Ford’s ownership stake in Mazda remains unchanged. Ford continues to have a close strategic relationship with Mazda and we cooperate in areas of mutual benefit. We have no further comment on the speculation,” a Ford spokesman said in an email to the WSJ. Nobody believed it.
- On Saturday, The Nikkei [sub] plowed ahead with the story and already whittled down the list of possible suitors for Mazda after Ford has left the fair maiden. They caught a Toyota official who said that Toyota has not been asked to buy some of the Mazda shares “that Ford Motor Co. has decided to sell. So Toyota is out.
- Today, The Nikkei [sub] is standing steadfast by its story, saying that “Ford Motor Co. is set to sell a large part of its shareholdings in Mazda Motor Corp. (7261) and will invest the money instead in emerging markets.” Their source: “A person familiar with the matter.”
- Meanwhile in the West, reality is beginning to sink in. Financial Times confirms today that “Ford is preparing to sell most of its remaining interest in Mazda of Japan, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would all but end the carmakers’ 31-year capital alliance.” The Wall Street Journal today concedes that “Ford mulls cutting its share of Mazda” and that “Ford is expected to use the proceeds to pay down debt and invest in emerging markets.”
The deal will most likely go down by the end of the year. Until then, everybody can claim that officially, nothing has happened. Just like a marriage officially ends when the judge says so.
Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.
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