March 26, 2019 / 7:20 PM / 5 months ago

Daimler nears deal to sell half its Smart unit to China's Geely: FT

FILE PHOTO: The emblem of the Geely automobile maker logo is seen at the IEEV New Energy Vehicles Exhibition in Beijing, China October 18, 2018. Picture taken October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

(Reuters) - Daimler AG is nearing the sale of a 50 percent stake in its small-car brand Smart to China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, the Financial Times said on Tuesday, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The sale of the stake in its Smart division will be confirmed before the Shanghai Auto Show in April, FT said.

Both Daimler and Geely declined a Reuters request for comment.

Last year, Geely built up an almost 10 percent stake in Daimler in a $9 billion bet by its chairman and became the biggest shareholder in Daimler.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Edward Taylor; editing by David Evans

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