Ford Motor Co. has ceased to be Mazda Motor Co.'s top shareholder as the American car company decided to slash its stake in the Japanese auto firm.
In a statement issued today, Ford said it is cutting its stake in Mazda to just 3.5 percent from 11 percent.
The transaction will be completed on November 19 but Ford said its "strategic partnership" with Mazda will continue particularly in "areas of mutual benefits such as key joint ventures and exchange of technology information." The two carmakers have been partners since 1979.
Ford has talked to 10 companies in Japan who are looking to buy its stake in Mazda by the end of the year, DailyMarkets.com said. Potential buyers include trading house Sumitomo Corp. and lender Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.
Ford said its "decision to reduce its ownership stake in Mazda allows it to increase flexibility as it continues to pursue growth in key emerging markets."
What could these "emerging markets" be? Here's something from a Reuters report: "Speculation has been rife that Ford was looking to reduce its Mazda stake to gain more flexibility in its Chinese operations."
Interestingly, it was also around this time in 2008 when Ford decided to reduce its stake in Mazda to 11 percent from 33.4 percent. What could possibly happen in November 2012?