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GM Board OKs Alliance Talks With Nissan, Renault

General Motors Corp.'s (GM) board of directors has voted to start exploratory discussions with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. on a potential alliance between the three automakers, GM announced Friday.

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner will lead the talks, which stem from a proposal by billionaire shareholder Kirk Kerkorian.

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GM shares were up more than 2 percent after the announcement.

In a teleconference meeting held Friday, the board authorized the company's management to "weigh the potential benefits of such an alliance in order to assist the board in its decision making," George Fisher, a member of the board, said in a statement.

Kerkorian had been pushing for GM to consider an alliance with Renault and Nissan in an effort to help the world's biggest automaker stage a turnaround and reverse its declining market share.

"General Motors has a lot of experience with different types of alliances and some have provided significant benefits to GM's competitive position and financial strength," Wagoner said in a statement.

"We will enter into discussions with the managements of Renault and Nissan with an open mind — eager to hear their ideas of how an alliance between our companies might work to our mutual benefit. Given the complexity of any potential relationship, it has to be carefully considered on its merits before coming to any conclusion," he said in a statement.

GM shares rose 65 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $29.85 in midday trading after the announcement. They have been trading in a 52-week range of $18.33 to $37.70.

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