Marchionne Sets His Sites High

Detroit News - January 15, 2013

Chrysler CEO Ser­gio Mar­chionne says Fiat SpA will end up own­ing all of Chrysler Group LLC, though he acknowl­edges that the process may get messy.

Read what Mar­chionne had to say at Detroit Auto Show.

The Ital­ian automak­er already owns 58.5 per­cent of Chrysler. The rest is owned by an hourly retiree health care trust run by the Unit­ed Auto Work­ers — part of the 2009 bailout deal that gave con­trol of the Auburn Hills automak­er to Fiat. But Mar­chionne, who is now CEO of both com­pa­nies, has long made it clear that he wants the whole thing.

Last week, the UAW trust — known as a vol­un­tary employ­ees’ ben­e­fi­cia­ry asso­ci­a­tion, or VEBA — took the first step to tak­ing part of its shares in Chrysler pub­lic again. Mar­chionne said Mon­day, at the Detroit auto show, that he wel­comed the VEBA’s deci­sion to “explore” an ini­tial pub­lic offer­ing, but stressed that will not change the ulti­mate out­come.

Either way, he said Chrysler will be con­vert­ed from a lim­it­ed lia­bil­i­ty com­pa­ny into a cor­po­ra­tion, a process that Mar­chionne said will take eight to nine months. That con­ver­sion will require its own nego­ti­a­tions between Fiat and the UAW’s trust.

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