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Auto blogWed, 01 Jan 2014 19:47:00 EST
Chrysler will now become a wholly owned member of the Fiat family, as it's been announced that the 41.46-percent stake in the Auburn Hills, MI-based manufacturer owned by the United Auto Workers' VEBA trust fund will be sold to the Italian company. Concluding the agreement will mark the closure of a piecemeal purchase process that could have resulted in an initial public offering.
The total cost of the sale will see the VEBA healthcare trust receive $4.35 billion, $3.65 billion of which will come from Fiat. $1.75 billion of that will be cash, while an additional $1.9 billion will be part of a "special distribution." An additional $700 million will be paid over four separate installments according to reports from Automotive News Europe and USA Today, although the shares will belong to Fiat following the first payment. The deal was reportedly initially struck on Sunday (though it is just being announced today), and is being portrayed as particularly good news for Fiat and Chrysler, which have now prevented the remaining shares going to the stock market in a UAW-forced IPO.
"The unified ownership structure will now allow us to fully execute our vision of creating a global automaker that is truly unique in terms of mix of experience, perspective and know-how, a solid and open organization that will ensure all employees a challenging and rewarding environment," Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.
The following is written by auto industry veteran Tow Kowaleski. The words are his own, but the memories now belong to everyone thanks to his willingness to share. If you're an industry veteran with a story to share, contact us at tipsATautoblogDOTcom.
It became the flame that started the fire of belief in the next life of Chrysler.
I just sold a car. Nothing new. Millions do it every day. But my car was a 1995 Dodge Viper, so maybe it was a bit more unique since just 12,000 were built. And like others selling a car that's been a part of the family for close to 20 years, this was a confluence of emotions for me. I was sad to see it go, but happy to have the cash and one less big, shiny, under-utilized object in my life.
As Fiat looks to become the full owner of Chrysler, all it has standing in its way is the retiree trust of the United Auto Workers, which currently holds the remaining 41.5 percent of the company as the result of the Pentastar's bankruptcy deal. The Detroit News is reporting that that Fiat is currently talking to numerous banks in an attempt to raise around $10 billion to fund the purchase of Chrysler's remaining stake with enough left over to refinance the debt of both companies. We've known that Fiat has been working to obtain the capital to buy out Chrysler for some time now, but this is the first time we've seen Fiat tip its hand about how much cash it thinks it will need to close the deal.
The first order of business is a legal dispute over the value of the UAW's stake in Chrysler, which the report indicates could cost Fiat around $3.5 billion. The acquisition of remaining shares could happen by this summer, but it sounds like CEO Sergio Marchionne (above) might not be ready for a full merger until next year.