Magna chief: We're looking at Chrysler

By From FREE PRESS BUSINESS| Mar 10 2007
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Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc.'s Chairman Frank Stronach confirmed his company's interest in potentially purchasing Chrysler Group.

In an interview with Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, published today, the businessman said his company's interest was motivated by protecting itself and assisting its largest customer -- Chrysler.

"We have huge contracts with Chrysler, we have thousands of employees involved," Stronach is quoted as saying. "It's very important that we have a total understanding of what it is all about."

The Free Press first reported that Stronach met with DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche Feb. 14, the day Zetsche said all options for Chrysler were on the table. CAW President Buzz Hargrove has said he's met with Magna about its interest.

The Canadian newspaper said Stronach has also met with the UAW. Magna is expected to meet with Chrysler executives at the company's Auburn Hills headquarters to receive presentations similar to those given to other prospective buyers.

He told the newspaper that it's too early to say if Magna will ultimately decide to make an offer for Chrysler.

"We might say we have a fiduciary duty to our employees to take a look and see can we find solutions," the paper said he said. "Can we be of assistance to the car industry?"

In other developments, Reuters is reporting that private equity firm Ripplewood Holdings is among the growing list of potential bidders. Thomas Stallkamp, a former top Chrysler executive, is part of Ripplewood.

This past week, two big-name private equity firms -- Blackstone Group and Cerberus Capital Management -- made separate visits to Chrysler headquarters for presentations on the company.

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