Cyrus mistry, the ousted tata sons chairman, said he was willing to sell his familys shares in the conglomerate, a move that may end one of the most acrimonious disputes in indias recent corporate history.

The mistry familys shapoorji pallonji group, which retains an 18 per cent stake in tata, has been locked in a legal dispute with one of indias biggest and best-known companies since mr mistry was sacked in 2016.

Both sides indicated on tuesday that they were willing to part ways, however, after a lawyer for tata said in indias supreme court that the company would be willing to buy out the mistry familys holdings.

The tata group has dozens of businesses in everything from it to heavy industry, and owns jaguar land rover and the uks largest steelworks in port talbot.

In a statement on tuesday, shapoorji pallonji said it was time to separate from tata.

The [shapoorji pallonji]-tata relationship spanning over 70 years, was forged on mutual trust, good faith, and friendship, it said. today, it is with a heavy heart that the mistry family believes that a separation of interests would best serve all stakeholder groups.

Tata declined to comment.

Mr mistry was removed four years into his tenure as chairman after falling out with his predecessor, family patriarch ratan tata. mr mistry had sought to establish that he was wrongfully dismissed, and that mr tata had interfered during his time at the helm.

He also accused tata of oppression of the mistry familys rights as minority shareholders. tata has denied mr mistrys allegations.

The case resulted in a shock ruling last december that mr mistry should be reinstated to his post and that his replacement with the current chairman, natarajan chandrasekaran, was unlawful. mr mistry went on to clarify that he would instead seek only a board seat.

The messy dispute has complicated the 152-year-old tata groups efforts to navigate a difficult business environment. even before the coronavirus pandemic its core automobile and steel businesses were struggling, which had forced a series of cutbacks.

The severe hit from the pandemic had forced it into emergency talks with the uk government to secure the future of its british businesses, and tatas european steel arm warned this month about its ability to carry on operating.

Shapoorji pallonji, whose own businesses in construction and real estate have also been hard hit by coronavirus and the ensuing economic contraction, had been attempting to raise funds by pledging its shares in tata. the supreme court blocked the move pending a hearing in late october.