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Germany To Buy EADS Shares From France

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Germany plans to buy a 3 percent stake in EADS from France as the two governments strive to take equal stakes in the Airbus parent, German daily Handelsblatt reported, citing German government sources.

That means Germany will acquire fewer EADS shares from Daimler than expected, forcing the German carmaker to sell shares in the open market, the paper reported on Friday.

Earlier this week, several sources said that France and Germany were discussing a shake-up of the corporate structure of EADS under which each country would hold around 12 percent.

Control of EADS, founded in 2000, is shared between Daimler, which has 22.5 percent of voting rights, and a French consortium that combines the government's 15 percent with 7.5 percent held by French media group Lagardere. Spain controls 5.5 percent.

Daimler and Lagardere have both said they want to sell or reduce their stakes. Germany wants to achieve parity with France by buying shares controlled by Daimler.

About 7.5 percent of shares will come from the Dedalus consortium of banks and German states. If Germany buys a 3 percent stake directly from France, it will need only another 1.5 percent of shares from Daimler to reach a 12 percent stake.

(Reuters)