PARIS (AP) _ The board of Renault SA on Monday approved opening
talks with General Motors Corp. over a possible new alliance with
the French automaker and Nissan Motor Co. if the U.S. company wants
the discussions, Renault said.
``The Board of Directors approved the position proposed by Carlos
Ghosn: Exploratory discussions with General Motors concerning a
potential alliance could start if General Motors Corp. makes the
proposal,'' the brief Renault statement said. Ghosn is the CEO of
both Renault and Nissan.
The Renault board met to discuss a proposal put forward by
billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. urging the U.S.
automaker to join the alliance formed by Renault and its Japanese
partner. Kerkorian holds 9.9 percent interest in General Motors.
The board of Nissan also met Monday and endorsed the idea of
starting talks with General Motors. Like Renault, it set a condition
_ that GM endorse the proposal.
Media reports in Japan have said that Renault and Nissan could
buy up to 20 percent of outstanding shares in GM. Details of the
possible investment plan surfaced after Kerkorian proposed Friday
that the American carmaker join the Nissan-Renault alliance.
French Finance Minister Thierry Breton said on Europe-1 radio
Monday that he met several times over the weekend with Ghosn to
discuss the possible deal.
The French government, which holds 15 per cent of Renault, wants
to ensure ``that transparency is perfectly respected'' in any deal,
It remains unclear how much the investment would cost.
Should it materialize, the deal would create a huge auto alliance
with annual output exceeding 15 million vehicles and commanding
nearly one-quarter of global market share, Japan's Kyodo News Agency
GM has been engaged in an extensive turnaround plan in North
America amid declining profits, high labor costs and growing
competition from Asian automakers. The automaker announced plans
last year to close 12 plants by 2008 and earlier this week said
35,000 hourly workers had agreed to retire early or accept a buyout
Renault owns a 44.4 per cent stake in Nissan, which in turn owns
a 15 per cent stake in Renault.