Nissan and Renault move closer to reviewing their 23-year alliance

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Nissan and Renault are about to undertake a sweeping overhaul of their global auto alliance as their top executives meet on Thursday to try to readjust the two-decade-old alliance and chart the course for an uncertain future in the power sector.

The leaders of Nissan Motor (TYO:7201) Co Ltd and Renault SA (EPA:RENA) will meet by videoconference at an alliance board of directors, sources told Reuters.

They have opted for this format, rather than Renault CEO Luca de Meo and its chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, traveling to Japan, because talks have progressed well, according to the sources.

Renault wants the Japanese automaker to invest in its new electric vehicle business, while Nissan wants Renault, its largest shareholder, to sell its roughly 43% stake and bring the 23-year-old alliance closer to equality.

The talks have been ongoing for months and have focused mainly on issues such as intellectual property. According to Reuters, the official announcement of the companies could occur on February 1.

The future configuration of the Franco-Japanese alliance has implications for both companies, as well as for their junior partner, Mitsubishi Motors Corp (TYO:7211). It also highlights how the immense technological turmoil in the auto industry is forcing companies to partner and compete with a dizzying number of newcomers and tech companies.

Renault, for example, has stated that it will partner with companies ranging from China. Geely Automobile Holdings to semiconductor giant Qualcomm Inc (NASDAQ:QCOM).

Renault is working separately to close a deal with Geely and incorporate the state-owned producer of petroleum Saudi Aramco (TADAWUL:2222) as an investor and partner to develop gasoline engines and hybrid technologies, as reported by Reuters.

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Nissan is concerned that technology it has developed in partnership with Renault could leak to the French automaker’s partners in its restructuring, Reuters reported.

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