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Bailing out Mitsubishi Motors shows Carlos Ghosn's ambitions

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Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, left, and Mitsubishi Motors CEO Osamu Masuko attend a joint news conference announcing their companies' capital alliance on May 12.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- In bailing out scandal-hit Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor is hoping to achieve two long-held goals: a foothold in Southeast Asia and annual sales of 10 million vehicles.

Mitsubishi admitted on April 20 to manipulating data related to fuel-economy testing. Only three weeks later, the two companies had reached an agreement: Nissan would spend 237.3 billion yen ($2.18 billion) to form a capital alliance with the troubled automaker. Under the deal, Nissan will acquire about 500 million ordinary shares of Mitsubishi for 468.52 yen each through a third party allotment later this year. This will make Nissan the largest Mitsubishi shareholder, with a 34% stake in the company.

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