BERLIN/FRANKFURT -- A week after Daimler AG was charged with insider trading by Paris judges conducting a 5-year probe into sales of shares in EADS, the company has offered to sell a 7.5 percent stake in the Airbus parent to the German government, a cabinet source familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.
"This is true, but no decision (by the government) has been made yet," the source said, confirming an earlier report in the Financial Times.
Daimler and EADS declined to comment on the report.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will discuss the offer with her ministers on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting next Wednesday, the source said.
Last week's charges came after French judges questioned Daimler about its decision to sell a 7.5 percent stake in EADS in April 2006, two months before the parent of Airbus SAS announced production delays on the A380, the world's biggest passenger plane. The FT, citing two unnamed sources close to the situation, had said Merkel would discuss a proposal to altogether buy 15 percent of EADS, half from Daimler and half from a banking group.
Balance of power
On Wednesday, Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche signaled in an interview with Reuters Insider TV that the German carmaker could make a change to its holding in EADS but said no decision had been made yet.
German government sources told Reuters last week that Germany is seeking a new private investor for EADS in the light of Daimler's possible departure and as it wanted to maintain a balance of power between French and German interests in EADS.
In 2007, Daimler effectively reduced its interest in EADS from 22.5 percent to 15 percent, after Berlin first secured its strategic interests in a complicated deal that ensured the votes would remain with Daimler.
Unlike France, the German state does not own any shares in EADS, where a delicate balance has long been maintained between Daimler on the one hand and French conglomerate Lagardere and Paris on the other.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report