MOSCOW -- Nissan Motor Co. is in talks with Russian shareholders of AvtoVAZ about buying a more than 25 percent stake, said Serguei Skvortsov, managing director of Troika Dialog, Russia's largest private investment bank.
The stake would allow the Renault-Nissan alliance to gain control of Russia's biggest automaker, which builds Lada cars.
Nissan is talking with both Troika and Russian Technologies Corp. about acquiring the stake in AvtoVAZ over several years, Skvortsov said on Friday. Renault SA will continue to hold its blocking stake in AvtoVAZ, he said.
Renault spokeswoman Oxana Nazarov said negotiations to raise the alliance's stake are continuing and a final decision hasn't been made. Nissan spokeswoman Tatjana Natarova declined to comment.
Carlos Ghosn's Renault-Nissan alliance is moving to take a majority stake in Togliatti-based AvtoVAZ, after Renault's $1 billion purchase of a 25 percent stake in 2008.
Ghosn, who is chief executive officer of both Renault and Nissan, said in November that the alliance will seek control of the Russian company.
Renault is upgrading AvtoVAZ's sprawling plant in Togliatti to assemble models for all three carmakers. Renault also owns 43 percent of Nissan.
The parties haven't agreed on the value of the AvtoVAZ stake or the time period in which Nissan may gain the stake, Skvortsov said. Troika and Russian Technologies each own 25 percent of AvtoVAZ.
Russian Technologies' CEO Sergei Chemezov said Nov. 19 that Nissan is in talks to buy a 10 percent stake in AvtoVAZ. Troika may eventually sell all of its holding, while Russian Technologies plans to buy new stock in AvtoVAZ to keep its stake at 25 percent, he said at the time.