Renault picks adviser on GM/Nissan talks

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Renault has appointed a French investment bank to advise it on a possible three-way alliance with General Motors and Nissan, and drawn up a shortlist of Anglo-American investment banks, suggesting the carmaker thinks a deal is becoming more likely.

The French carmaker has picked BNP Paribas, where Renault chairman Louis Schweitzer is a non-executive director, according to one person familiar with the situation. It has also gone through a beauty contest of British and US investment banks, with eight or so still in the running, said people close to two of the banks involved.

One person close to the selection process said it was likely to take several weeks to finalise.

A deal between Renault, its existing Japanese alliance partner Nissan and GM, the world’s biggest carmaker, would form a giant controlling a quarter of the world’s car sales. Teams from the three groups have been analysing potential cost and revenue benefits under a 90-day deadline, ending next month.

Proposals for a deal, discussed by octogenarian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, GM’s biggest individual shareholder, and Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of Renault and Nissan, would have seen the two companies take a combined 20 per cent stake in GM. Mr Ghosn said he believed it was important to take equity stakes to ensure an alliance lasted, although he said there had not yet been any discussions with GM about shareholdings.

On Tuesday, Renault and GM declined to comment. GM is expected to appoint Goldman Sachs as its adviser.

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