The ownership change will leave Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc as the largest shareholder in Mazda (it currently only own 2.9 percent). That would mean Ford will sell at least five (or more) of its 11 percent holding to give Sumitomo the largest shareholder title.
According to the Nikkei report, Ford has already reached a tentative agreement to sell more of its stake in Mazda to Sumitomo Mitsui, Sumitomo Corp. and other interested companies. Mazda has so far declined to comment on the issue, telling Bloomberg News that Ford's shareholding remains unchanged.
The American company has over 195 million Mazda shares, which by last Friday's valuation equate to roughly $515 million ($508 million AUD).
The two companies have had close ties for some time. The current Ford Fiesta is based on the Mazda2 platform whilst Ford sells the Mazda6 based Fusion in overseas markets. More recently the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 were co-developed by the two companies in Australia.
Both utilities are built in the same Thai factory, co-owned by Ford and Mazda.
The selling of shares in Mazda signals a new period for Ford which is focusing its efforts on creating more cars based on the Ford system without having to rely on Mazda or other partners.