China's BAIC Seeks to Buy Stake of Up to 5% in Daimler: Reuters

(Bloomberg) -- China’s BAIC Group is looking to buy a stake of up to 5% in Daimler AG to cement its investment in Beijing Benz Automotive, Reuters reported, citing three unidentified people familiar with the matter.

BAIC told Daimler that it was planning to buy a 4%-5% stake earlier this year, and asked local authorities in Beijing to support the purchase, Reuters cited two of the people as saying. One of the people also said BAIC has begun buying Daimler shares on the open market.

BAIC didn’t respond to a Reuters request for comment. Daimler spokesman Joerg Howe declined to comment to Bloomberg.

It remains unclear if BAIC could raise the 3 billion euros ($3.37 billion) that a 5% stake would cost at the current valuation, Reuters said.

Daimler has several ventures with local partner BAIC in China. In March, Reuters reported that Daimler had tapped Goldman Sachs Group Inc. for exploratory plans to increase its stake in BAIC.

Bloomberg also reported in December that Daimler was in talks with BAIC to increase its joint venture stake to at least 65% from 49%, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

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