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Mitsubishi, which dates all the way back to 1870, is one of the oldest business collectives in Japan. Today, the various businesses that share the Mitsubishi name are largely independent of each other. The automotive unit, however, has fallen on hard times over the past few years.

Back in 2004 and 2005, Mitsubishi Motors sold billions of preferred shares to sister companies like Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Corp. Now the automaker is preparing to buy back those shares, only to raise the capital, it's selling $2.5 billion worth of shares, simultaneously paying stock dividends for the first time in over 16 years.

The stock issue will reportedly include as many as 241 million shares at a value of $10.73 each. The move is part of a long-term reorganization being implemented by the automaker's president Osamu Masuko, and is expected to help the company double its net income and eliminate all outstanding preferred shares by the end of the fiscal year closing in March.