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The Detroit News published an exclusive report Thursday that talks between General Motors (GM) and Nissan-Renault have bogged down. The thrust of Bill Vlasic and Christine Tierney's reporting is that GM has been dragging its feet since alliance talks began on August 28.

Moreover, teams from Nissan and Renault reportedly are frustrated. They want to explore an alliance that would be wide ranging in scope while the GM team wants the focus to be much narrower.

Many think that GM CEO Rick Wagoner doesn't want any alliance -- though Vlasic and Tierney quote an unamed GM insider disputing that.

One factor that The Detroit News piece didn't mention -- but one you've read here repeatedly -- was mentioned in The Wall Street Journal's article on this:


But if Mr. Wagoner's management team concludes there is little benefit to be had, that may not be the final word. Investor Kirk Kerkorian, who owns a 9.9% stake in the Detroit-based auto maker through his Tracinda Corp. investment vehicle, had urged the GM board to do its own examination of the merits, independent of the company's management. Tracinda could renew that demand and could get support from other shareholders.

Read that last sentence again.

Regular readers of mine know that GM's top six shareholders own the majority of company stock.

One of those shareholders is Southeastern Asset Management, managers of the Longleaf Partners funds in Memphis, Tennessee. GM is held in the flagship Longleaf Partners Fund, while Renault is in the Longleaf Partners Internatial Fund.

None of these folks are commenting in public. But it sure would be fun to know what they're saying behind closed doors.

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Source: GM/Nissan-Renault Alliance Talks 'Bog Down'