Late Wednesday evening, the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Group decided to withdraw the merger offer it had made last week to the Renault Group.
The company explained that while it remains convinced the offer was a solid one and that Renault was open to it, the position of the French government made it impossible to come to an agreement.
In a statement posted on its media site, FCA thanked the Renault Group and alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi for their constructive approach to all aspects of the merger offer.
That is the official company position, at least. Reports in other automotive and other media outlets tell a slightly different story, however. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Italo-American auto giant pulled its offer off the table after Nissan representatives on the Renault alliance board refused to guarantee that the Japanese company would maintain the same role within a merged FCA-Renault company.
And this would be why the meeting held Tuesday in Renault offices failed to lead to an agreement, even as the official position was that there were no snags in the talks.
There will undoubtedly be more to tell about this affair, and details could emerge very rapidly in the coming hours and days.