Business / Corporate

Nissan asked Japanese government for help avoiding merger with Renault: WSJ

JIJI

Nissan Motor Co. asked the Japanese government for help in fending off a proposal to merge with Renault SA, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The request by the Japanese automaker was made months before the arrest of former Nissan and Renault Chairman Carlos Ghosn in Japan in November, the paper said.

The unusual request for government help “indicated the level of pressure that Nissan executives sensed coming from the French side” to merge, the paper said.

The French government is the biggest shareholder of Renault.

In response to the request, the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry drafted an agreement that would allow it to oversee talks between Nissan and Renault, a role Nissan considered invasive, the paper said.

Some senior Nissan officials discussed whether the draft accord promised the Japanese government too much involvement in Nissan’s internal affairs, according to the paper.

The paper said Tokyo’s direct involvement “stands in contrast with the Japanese government’s public stance that the alliance’s future is for the companies to decide.”

The paper quoted a ministry official as saying he was unaware of any draft document. The official added that in general, Japan has called on the parties to communicate well and share information, according to the paper.