GM TO SELL STAKE IN SUBARU

Move Comes as Troubled Automaker's Losses Continue

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- General Motors Corp., which is trying to return to profitability after a challenging first half, said today it will sell its roughly 20% stake in Subaru of America’s Japanese parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, ending an alliance that started in 2000.
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GM in a statement said it will sell 68 million of the 157 million Fuji shares it owns to Toyota Motor Corp. for $315 million. GM’s remaining 89 million shares will be offered for sale in Fuji’s open-market buy-back program.

Restate second-quarter earnings
GM, which posted a combined net loss of $1.1 billion in the first half of 2005, said any cash proceeds from the sale would be recorded in the fourth quarter. The automaker said a planned 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission would restate its second-quarter 2005 statement to reflect a reduction of between $700 million and $800 million in the carrying value of its Fuji stock.

The auto giant said it will work with its other strategic partners as it refocuses its business in Asia Pacific’s high-growth markets. GM expects to divest its stake in Fuji in the fourth quarter.

Planned projects
The automakers had worked together on projects that included product development, product distribution, technology and global purchasing. GM’s venture with Fuji on GM’s Saab 9-2X, which was derived from a Subaru and dubbed a “Saab-aru” by some Subaru dealers, will continue. But the two are canceling plans to jointly develop a previously announced Saab "crossover" vehicle (crossovers are car-based SUVs and sport wagons) related to Subaru’s new seven-seat B9 Tribeca sport wagon. Subaru is trying to move into the premium-car ranks.

“We’ve had a good partnership. However, both GM and Fuji came to the conclusion that there were not enough collaborative projects to sustain the alliance and that each of our interests could be better served through a different approach,” said Troy Clarke, group VP-president, GM Asia Pacific.

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