Mazda To Buy Back 20% Of Ford Ownership Stake For $185 Million

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In an effort to boost capital while simultaneously distracting auto journalists by waving a bright, shiny and colorful new toy around, Ford today authorized Mazda to buy back approximately 20% ( around 96,802,000 shares ) of the 33.4% stake the Dearborn-based automaker holds in the Japanese car manufacturer. The transaction, to be made in off-hours trading at today's closing price of ¥184 ($1.91) per share, despite reducing the share to 13.4%, will apparently not change Ford's control of Mazda. It will net Ford approximately $185 million. And yes, that's not very much. Full press release after the jump.

Ford to Change Ownership Stake in Mazda - The two companies will continue their strategic relationship - HIROSHIMA, November 18, 2008—Mazda Motor Corporation (Mazda) has announced today that Mazda and several of its strategic business partners will acquire a part of Ford Motor Company’s (Ford) shares in Mazda through market trading. As a result, the ratio of Ford’s ownership of Mazda stock will be reduced from 33.4 percent to just over 13 percent, with the new agreement allowing the two companies to continue their strategic relationship that spans nearly 30 years. “The sale of Mazda shares by our partner, Ford, will not result in any change in Mazda’s strategic direction and we will continue to accelerate our product-led brand improvement and cost innovation initiatives,” says Mazda’s Chairman, President and CEO, Hisakazu Imaki. “We will continue our strategic relationship through our ongoing joint ventures with Ford, as well as the sharing of platforms and powertrains.” “This agreement allows Ford to raise capital that will help fund our product-led transformation, and at the same time, allows Ford and Mazda to continue our successful strategic relationship in the best interest of both companies,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. Ford’s sale of the Mazda stock will be achieved through Mazda and a group of Mazda’s strategic business partners each buying a portion of the shares.

Photo Credit: STAN HONDA / AFP