Ford To Mazda: Sayonara, Bye Bye
End of 2008, Ford was in dire need of cash and decided to sell off a 20 percent chunk of their 33.4 percent holdings in Mazda. Both promised that their cozy relationship would not suffer over something mundane like money. Of course, it wasn’t so. Their relationship disintegrated in record time. And now, they will make it official. Ford Motor Co. has decided to reduce its stake in Mazda by selling a large portion of its remaining shareholdings to Sumitomo group firms and other companies with which Mazda enjoys close business ties, The Nikkei [sub] just learned.
According to The Nikkei, Ford will sell most of their remaining shares, leaving a token presence of 3 percent or less. Once the sale is completed, Ford will no longer be Mazda’s top shareholder.
Mazda has asked Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., as well as Sumitomo Corp. and other major Sumitomo group firms, to take shares off Ford’s hands. Some of Mazda’s parts suppliers will also be asked to help out.
The Nikkei thinks that when all is said and done, each buyer will be allocated around 1 percent of the outstanding shares. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking would end up owning more Mazda shares than Ford. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial already has a 2.9 percent interest.
Once upon a time, Ford sent the people to run Mazda. After they sold their first big batch of shares, their relationship degraded to mere “exchanges of information.” If an executive from Ford wanted to attend a meeting at Mazda, the matters discussed had to be carefully vetted beforehand and signed-off in advance. It’s probably more fun to be deposed by your wife’s lawyer in divorce proceedings.
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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