The proposed divorce of Daimler and Chrysler has taken a new twist with a bid for the loss-making US side of the business from a long time investor in the company, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. The reclusive 89-year-old is offering 3.36 billion euros, for a company that Daimler paid the equivalent of 27 billion euros for nine years ago.
DaimlerChrysler’s boss Dieter Zetsche, who is under increasing pressure to sell Chrysler, has said: “We do not exclude any options in order to find the best solution for both the Chrysler group and Daimler Chrysler group” This week Zetsche confirmed talks are underway with prospective bidders. Other than Kerkorian they are two private equity firms and Canadian engineering company Magna International.
Kerkorian’s latest offer for Chrysler is not his first. In 1996, as a major shareholder, he launched a hostile bid for control of the company that failed. He also sued over the merger with Daimler-Benz claiming it was structured in such a way that as a shareholder he lost billions. He lost that law suit.