PARIS -- Renault and Nissan denied a report that the companies are in talks to buy the French state out of its holding in Renault.
Renault shares surged as much as 13 percent after Reuters reported the company was in talks with Nissan and government officials about having the Japanese automaker purchase most of the French state's 15 percent stake.
"The Alliance is exploring deeper synergies and increased operating convergence, but has no plans to change the cross-shareholding ratio of its member companies," Jonathan Adashek, a spokesman for the alliance, said in an email. "Any discussion about a share transaction involving Renault, Nissan or the French State is pure speculation."
Earlier Reuters said the automakers are in talks with French government officials over proposals by Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn that would see Paris give up influence at Renault and the French automaker relinquish control over Nissan.
Reuters said any deal still faces significant hurdles - not least its extreme political sensitivity in France - and has yet to win government approval, they said. To do so, it must balance French and Japanese interests, avoiding the appearance of a takeover.
French government officials did not return calls and messages seeking comment.
Renault is being advised by BNP Paribas and Nissan by Nomura on the planned stake sale, which would happen either as part of a broader Renault-Nissan combination or as a “stepping stone” on the way to one, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The banks did not respond to requests for comment.
Ghosn has also proposed an interim structure that would see management of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors overseen by a Dutch foundation as a prelude to their integration as a global automotive group based in Amsterdam, sources said.
Reuters contributed to this report