A Daimler spokesman said on Thursday that a merger could allow it to exit its stakeholding. Germany had already agreed, via state-owned bank KfW, to buy half of Daimler’s stake to ensure the Franco-German balance.
“Since the planned transaction would also be linked to a possible dissolution of the shareholder pact, all options would be open to us in principle - including the possibility of selling our stake on the open market,” he said by email.
The political implications are equally complex.
Rather than making BAE more European, the deal appears designed to make EADS more American - potentially to the chagrin of the French government and other French aerospace companies.
Until now, EADS has sat uncomfortably at the middle of a triangle of misaligned political and economic relationships.
While France and Germany underpin both the euro and EADS politically, France and Britain are Europe’s biggest military powers and Germany and Britain dominate its defense industry. None of these pairings alone has generated adequate business.
German sources told Reuters the German government had yet to approve the merger, while France said it would wait before commenting. Yet one industry source said there were encouraging signs from both countries involved that a merger could go ahead.
French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg told France Inter radio he could not comment on the deal because of “reasons of confidentiality”, but added that “this is a very important strategic, geo-strategic negotiation”.