U.S. News

DaimlerChrysler EADS Stake Transfer Soon: Sources

By Reuters

DaimlerChrysler could announce the transfer of shares in European aerospace group EADS to a financial consortium as soon as Friday, industry sources said.

DaimlerChrysler declined to comment, while EADS was not immediately available.

"The matter is about to be concluded," one source familiar with the matter said, adding details could emerge later on Friday or by early next week.

DaimlerChrysler has said it plans to cut its stake in EADS to 15% from 22.5%. A group of German and international banks is expected to take the stake in return for a loan in which the shares would be held as collateral.

Some German states had also expressed an interest in taking part.

DaimlerChrysler shares came off session highs but were still up 2.4% at 49.14 euros, easily outperforming the German blue-chip index DAX, which was up 0.6%.

The deal is designed to safeguard German influence in Franco-German EADS at a time of major restructuring that could cost jobs at EADS unit Airbus.

Under the roughly 1.5 billion euro deal being discussed, the stock is supposed to revert to the carmaker after about four years, a banking source close to the matter has said. Voting rights for the shares would stay with DaimlerChrysler.

The French government and French media firm Lagardere together also own 22.5% in EADS.

EADS plunged into a crisis last year after production problems delayed its flagship A380 superjumbo, costing it almost 5 billion euros in future profits.

As cuts at EADS loom, Germany appears fearful of ceding too much influence over the firm to France.