Exclusive: Volkswagen to take up to 20 percent Suzuki stake

An employee is reflected in a Suzuki Motor's car at a Suzuki Motor showroom in Tokyo June 2, 2009. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG is close to announcing plans to take a stake of up to 20 percent in Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, three sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations said on Tuesday.

One of the sources, who asked not to be identified because the information is not public, said Volkswagen’s stake could “easily” rise to a controlling stake of more than one-third down the line.

“An announcement could come as early as this week,” the source said. “This is the first step.”

A 20 percent stake in Suzuki would be worth about 250 billion yen ($2.8 billion) at current prices.

Spokesmen at Volkswagen and Suzuki had no comment.

(Additional reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo in Tokyo and Christiaan Hetzner in Frankfurt; Editing by David Holmes)

$1=89.34 Yen