Ford (NYSE: F) has decided to sell the bulk of its 11% stake in Mazda and invest the money instead in emerging markets, according to Japanese media reports.

Ford, which has been the top shareholder in the Hiroshima-based automaker since 1979, plans to slash its current equity stake to 3% or less, the reports said.

However, Mazda released a statement saying the reports were based on speculation and that there is no change in the ''close strategic partnership'' between Mazda and Ford.

According to the reports, Ford is likely to ask Japanese banks and firms doing business with Mazda to buy its shareholdings, including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking, Sumitomo, and auto-component manufacturers.

Media house Jiji Press said Ford will use the money it gains from the sale to invest in emerging countries with high-growth potential. The two companies are reportedly expected to make a formal decision in November.

Description: http:/img.ibtimes.com/www/site/us/images/1px.gifU.S. and Japanese automakers started making alliances in the 1970s, but many of them have recently been undone. General Motors, in the face of heavy losses, has sold its stakes in Japanese truck manufacturer Isuzu Motors, carmaker Suzuki, and Subaru vehicle maker Fuji Heavy Industries. Suzuki is now allied with Volkswagen of Germany.


International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader

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