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Report: BAIC raising stake in Daimler to replace Geely as top shareholder

Chinese automaker BAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. is looking to double its ownership stake in Daimler AG in a bid to secure a board seat and unseat Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. as the German carmaker's top shareholder, Reuters reported Dec. 15, citing sources who were briefed on the matter.

Beijing-based BAIC, which already owns 5% of Daimler and has a joint venture with the company, is reportedly planning to raise its shareholding to 10% to surpass Geely, which has a 9.7% stake. The report said the move would also potentially give BAIC a seat at Daimler's supervisory board, which Geely does not have.

According to Reuters, BAIC has started purchasing Daimler shares in the open market. HSBC is helping the Chinese carmaker with the investment, the news wire added.

Daimler reportedly said it has not been notified that BAIC has raised its stake in the company, but Daimler's China head, Hubertus Troska, reportedly said Dec. 13 that "we welcome long-term investors in Daimler." Asked about BAIC's potential move, Troska reportedly added: "We like each other. Let us see how things develop."

Daimler, BAIC, Geely and HSBC did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's requests for comment.

The report follows news in November that said BAIC wanted to raise its stake in Daimler.