How France’s Intrusive Demands Quashed the Fiat-Renault Deal
Fiat Chrysler and Renault had been negotiating a merger proposal, but Fiat Chrysler pulled out of talks late Wednesday night.
Credit Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times
By Liz Alderman
June 6, 2019
PARIS — It was supposed to be a transformative merger in an industry facing intractable challenges. But Fiat Chrysler and Renault ran headlong this week into a familiar problem in France: the government itself.
With the two companies edging toward a deal, officials in Paris played a role that comes naturally — safeguarding jobs and protecting Renault, a celebrated brand here. But in the end, the government infuriated both Fiat and Renault executives, who wanted to create a competitive new industrial giant free of state influence, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.
The merger appeared to be sealed after more than four hours of negotiations on Wednesday night at a marathon Renault board meeting in Paris. Then France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, stunned those present with a message that he wanted to delay the vote for five days to consult in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart about Nissan, Renault’s partner in a decades-old carmaking alliance, two people familiar with the discussions said.
Less than 20 minutes after he heard of the request, John Elkann, the chief executive of Fiat Chrysler, quit the talks, these people said.
CONTINUE AT LINK ABOVE