Tracinda's 18-Year Attraction to Big Three

Chrysler 1990: Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. acquires 9.9% of Chrysler Corp. 1995: Kerkorian, joined by retired Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, proposes taking Chrysler private. Ups stake to 14%, but proposal fails. Shortly after, Jerry York joins Kerkorian as Tracinda vice chairman. 1998: Chrysler goes on the block. Tracinda and Iacocca once again try takeover but lack adequate outside financing.

Chrysler

  • 1990: Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. acquires 9.9% of Chrysler Corp.
  • 1995: Kerkorian, joined by retired Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca, proposes taking Chrysler private. Ups stake to 14%, but proposal fails. Shortly after, Jerry York joins Kerkorian as Tracinda vice chairman.
  • 1998: Chrysler goes on the block. Tracinda and Iacocca once again try takeover but lack adequate outside financing. DaimlerBenz AG's $35 billion offer for “merger of equals” revealed in August is winner, and Chrysler becomes division of renamed DaimlerChrysler AG. Tracinda reportedly makes $3 billion on its Chrysler shares.
  • 2007: DaimlerChrysler puts ailing Chrysler on the block in February. In April, Tracinda offers $4.5 billion in cash for Chrysler, proposing to take it private with major equity positions for management and the UAW.
  • Others vying for the company include Magna Internatonal Inc. and, separately, private-equity firms Ripplewood Holdings Ltd., The Blackstone Group and Cerberus Capital Management LP. Cerberus's $7.4 billion bid wins, and on May 14 it takes over with 80.1% control. Daimler retains remainder. Chrysler goes private, is renamed Chrysler LLC.

General Motors

  • 2005: York launches GM study, and in December Tracinda reveals ownership of 12 million, or 9.9%, of GM's shares. In January 2006, York gives a speech urging GM to take a “clean sheet,” drop Saab and Hummer, cut $2 dividend in half and make other painful moves. York joins GM's board on Feb 7.
  • On June 30, 2006, Renault SA and partner Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., both headed by CEO Carlos Ghosn, offer to buy a 20% stake in GM and, tying in with Tracinda, proposes teaming with GM in a 3-way merger.
  • GM mulls the proposal but in October 2006 votes against it. York abstains, then departs GM board. Kerkorian subsequently sells his GM shares.

Ford

  • 2007: On June 19, York submits Tracinda's bid for Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover operations, but a week later Ford informs Tracinda it is excluded from the bidding (subsequently won in 2008 by India's Tata Motors Ltd.).
  • 2008: On April 2, Tracinda begins buying Ford shares at $6.10 each and continues buying until April 21, when stock reaches $7.58, accumulating a 5.6% stake. York informs Ford on April 27 that Tracinda has purchased 100 million shares. On May 9, Tracinda reveals an offer for 20 million Ford shares at $8.50 each and, after investing a total of $800 million, raises its total ownership to 6.5%.
  • Tracinda, which says it may buy more shares or offer to provide Ford additional capital, says it's investing in Ford “because we believe Ford is an attractive investment.”
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