Is Mitsubishi Selling Out?
Well no . . . not exactly. But there has been a fairly substantial transfer of shares in the Urawa Reds, even if most of the shareholdings ARE being kept inside the Mitsubishi Group.
Mitsubishi Motors in Reds Sell-off*
In actual fact, the news reported on Monday is not as much of a shock as the above title might suggest. There is no crisis at Reds but there has been a change of ownership, with Mitsubishi Motors drastically cutting its stake in Urawa. The reason behind this "sell-off" is more to do with the fact that Mitsubishi Motors recently was acquired by Nissan Motor - who, of course, are a major power at Yokohama F•Marinos. According to the rules of ownership in the J.League's playbook, a company can not have a major shareholding in more than one club. Since Nissan will now become the direct owner of Mitsubishi Motors, the latter club cannot remain as the major power behind Urawa Reds. Something had to be done to stay within the rules.
It appears that the Mitsubishi Group was reluctant to part ways with a club that takes its full name (Red Diamonds) directly from the "Three Diamonds" logo used by the Mitsubishi Group. Therefore, while Mitsubishi Motors must part with the majority of its shares in the Urawa Reds, most of those shares will be transferred to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Although the two companies unwound their cross-shareholdings years ago, and now have only nominal capital ties, the trading company Mitsubishi Corporation still had significant stakes in both companies until the Nissan deal was announced, and group companies continue to collaborate in many areas, both business-related and "peripheral", such as social contributions, sporting activities and so on.
In the long run this will probably not affect the Reds beyond the specific brand name used on their shirts, but we thought there'd be someone out there interested!
Link to the Japanese language article is here: