Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., ("Nissan") has completed its acquisition of a 34 per cent equity stake in Mitsubishi Motors ("MMC") and become its largest shareholder. MMC will also become part of the global Alliance with Nissan and Renault. With the addition of MMC, the Alliance will be in the world's top three automotive groups by global volumes, with sales of 10 million units in fiscal year 2016.
Nissan Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn announced that Nissan and MMC would collaborate on joint purchasing, deeper localization, joint plant utilization, common vehicle platforms, technology-sharing and an expansion of the companies' combined presence in both developed and emerging markets.
"The combination of Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors and Renault will create a new force in global car-making," said Ghosn. "It will be one of the world's three largest automotive groups, with the economies of scale, breakthrough technologies and manufacturing capabilities to produce vehicles to serve customer demand in every market segment and in every geographic market around the world."
Ghosn predicted that through its partnership with MMC, Nissan would target synergy benefits worth 24 billion yen in fiscal year 2017, rising to 60 billion yen in fiscal year 2018 and beyond. The gains will contribute to increased earnings per share worth an estimated 4 yen per share in fiscal year 2017 and 10 yen per share in fiscal year 2018 – on top of any earnings accretion linked to Nissan's overall shareholding in Mitsubishi Motors.
Nissan offered its assistance at the request of Osamu Masuko, president and chief executive officer of MMC, following the company's fuel economy crisis. The two companies have cooperated on kei-cars for the Japanese market over the past five years.
"We are committed to assisting Mitsubishi Motors as it rebuilds customer trust," said Ghosn. "This is a priority as we pursue the synergies and growth potential of our enlarged relationship."
As part of this strategy, Nissan has nominated four representatives to the Board of MMC, including Ghosn as chairman-elect. The other nominees are Hitoshi Kawaguchi, chief sustainability officer and head of global external affairs; Hiroshi Karube, global controller and global asset manager; and Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan's current representative on the Mitsubishi Motors board.
At Masuko's request, Yamashita joined the company earlier this year as executive vice president of development and as a member of its executive committee. Ghosn has announced a number of other management changes, effective November 1, to allow him to continue to focus on maintaining Nissan's momentum in delivering performance, while at the same time supporting Masuko at MMC.
Ghosn has proposed to the Nissan Board, which has approved, the appointment of Hiroto Saikawa, currently chief competitive officer, as co-chief executive officer. Saikawa will be succeeded as chief competitive officer by Yasuhiro Yamauchi, currently Alliance executive vice president of purchasing. Veronique Sarlat-Depotte, currently deputy to Yamauchi will assume the responsibility as Alliance executive vice president of purchasing and head of the Renault Nissan Purchasing Organization.
She will be supported by Makoto Uchida who will take responsibility for purchasing at Nissan. Also at the request of Masuko, the management team of MMC will be further strengthened by current Nissan Chief Performance Officer Trevor Mann, who will become chief operating officer of MMC.
Mann will be replaced as chief performance officer by Jose Munoz who will continue as chairman of Nissan's North American region. Ghosn concluded: "At a time of unprecedented change in the global auto industry, this strategy will build on our existing strengths and management capabilities to ensure increased competitiveness, better products for our customers and attractive returns for shareholders."
British-based satellite broadcaster Sky is mulling over a 4.5 billion (6.8 billion, 6.06 billion euros) bid to take a controlling stake in Formula One, potentially trumping a Qatari-backed consortium's plan to seize control of the sport, the Sunday Times reported. Wednesday saw the Financial Times report that the owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL team was to join up with Qatar in a bid to take over Formula One.
Sports mogul Stephen Ross and his RSE Ventures, backed by Qatar Sports Investments, initially hope to buy 35.5 percent of the holding company that owns F1 from London-based private equity firm CVC Capital and ultimately buy the entire stake, the paper reported. However, the Sunday Times citing City of London "sources" said the RSE-Qatari team was just one of several buyers in contact with CVC. The newspaper said Sky and Liberty Global, the cable conglomerate set up by the American billionaire John Malone which is the broadcaster's potential partner in any bid for Formula One, had held informal talks with CVC.
The Canadian fashion tycoon Lawrence Stroll, who helped to build the Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors brands, has also been linked with a bid. CVC owns a 35.5 percent stake in F1 but controls the sport because its shares have special voting rights. The private equity giant first bought into the sport in 2006, paying 1.2bn to take control from a group of shareholders, including F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone -- who remains a key figure in the sport -- and the banks JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Bayerische Landesbank. Formula One is viewed as one of the most valuable prizes in global broadcasting.
The Sunday Times said Pay-TV companies were paying ever-larger sums to secure live sports rights, in an attempt to prevent subscribers defecting to online rivals such as Netflix. Sky regards Formula One as an increasingly important part of its sports coverage, especially in Britain where rival a broadcaster has loosened its grip on top-flight Premier League and European football. However, Grand Prix team chiefs have warned that the sport is close to a crisis as grandstand seats remain increasingly unoccupied and television-viewing figures fall, with races increasingly dominated by a handful of drivers.