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Daimler in advanced talks to sell 50% of Smart unit to China's Geely

German automaker Daimler AG is in advanced talks to sell a 50% stake in its Smart division to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.Ltd, Financial Times reported March 26, citing anonymous sources.

The sale will be confirmed before the Shanghai Auto Show in April, according to the news outlet.

In October 2018, Geely and Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler said they will form a 50-50 ride-hailing joint venture in China.

Daimler did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

The company told Financial Times that it has been speaking with "several possible co-operation partners" as it worked on the next generation of Smart products. Daimler's Smart brand reportedly sells 130,000 cars a year.

Bloomberg News reported in 2018 that Geely acquired a stake worth €7.3 billion in Daimler, making it the biggest investor in Daimler.