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Magna confirms it wants Chrysler

From freep| April 16,2007

Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. officially confirmed Friday that it is involved in the potential purchase of the Chrysler Group.

"Magna has previously commented that, as DaimlerChrysler is one of its largest customers, Magna is seeking a full understanding of the situation regarding the future of the Chrysler Group and any constructive role Magna may play in a potential transaction," a statement issued Friday said. "There is no assurance that any transaction will result from Magna's current involvement."

Earlier in the week, Magna Chairman Frank Stronach told Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail that his company was in talks with Canadian investment firm Onex Corp. about joining Magna in its bid for the auto company.

It's also believed that Magna has considered working with private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, where Thomas Stallkamp, the former Chrysler Group president, is a partner.

Top DaimlerChrysler officials met with potential buyers this week in New York City. In addition to Magna, private equity firms Blackstone Group and Cerberus Capital Management are believed to be in the hunt.

A fourth bidder emerged last week. Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. offered $4.5 billion, but his rocky relationship with DaimlerChrysler is believed to have kept him out of the meetings this week.

Auto analyst Erich Merkle of IRN Inc. said he believes Magna would be a good fit to run Chrysler. "They build cars, so it's not new for them," he said. "They've got a bench. They've got some talent there."

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