A deal has been reached to sell the Malaysian government's controlling, 43-percent stake in Proton Holdings Bhd to Malaysian conglomerate DRB-Hicom for $410 million. Rumors surrounding the deal have been in the news for a few months, with Proton's deteriorating profits leading to speculation about if the government would get out and who be the savior. Of course, the other big question was: what happens to Lotus in the event of a sale.

Analysts had uniformly suggested that Proton sell Lotus, citing Proton's sales difficulties and lack of synergies as more than enough reason. DRB-Hicom has interests in various industies from automobile and car-part manufacturing to ports and aiports, but doesn't provide any more synergies with Lotus than Proton alone.

However, with founder and head Syed Mokhtar so closely associated with the firm it could be that he decides to keep Lotus as a jewel in the corporation just because he can – Lotus could do its work in a quiet corner of the DRB-Hicom empire. The deal for Proton is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012, so it shouldn't be long before we find out the fate of the so-close-yet-still-so-far-away Esprit.

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      • 3 Years Ago
      worrisome this is. failure they may have. yoda i am not.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This was news like Yesterday, Whats up with autoblog? Anyways, The English lost their empire and now all their car companies are owned by the colonies.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Many British - not English - people regard the former empire as a mistake. Secondly, let's look who owns American car manufacturers: GM - the US government and investors of multiple nationalities worldwide. Ford - multinational entities. Chrysler - primarily by Fiat, which itself has multinational shareholders. It's easy to pull apart idiots who haven't a clue about corporate structure.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Like many, many people, you're missing the key word in auto>BLOG<. Hint: it's not "auto". They're not out to be your dedicated source of up to date information, and I don't believe they've ever tried to act like they are. Go complain somewhere else.
          • 3 Years Ago
          >> We obsessively cover the auto industry << Its right in their tagline! So don't give me this crap that AB isn't trying to be a "source of up to date information" because that is EXACTLY what they are claiming!
      • 3 Years Ago
      So is this going to put the kibosh on those 50 new models and engines that Lotus was planning?!?
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