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Billionaire Kerkorian offers to buy Chrysler

April 5, 2007

Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire whose Tracinda Corp. last year withdrew an attempt to gain control of General Motors Corp., has offered $4.5 billion to buy Chrysler from DaimlerChrysler AG.

Chrysler would be operated as a stand-alone company, Tracinda said in a letter to the German automaker, according to Bloomberg.

However, a new contract would need to be negotiated with the United Auto Workers in order for Tracinda to close the deal, Tracinda said. Also, Chrysler’s unfunded pension liabilities and retiree health-care costs would need to be shared with DaimlerChrysler.

Other interested parties for money-losing Chrysler include Blackstone Group LP and Centerbridge Capital Partners LLC, both of which are private equity firms, along with Magna International Inc. of Canada.

Chrysler has pared its Indiana presence in recent years, closing major operations in New Castle and Indianapolis. However, it operates four plants, all related to transmissions, in Kokomo.

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