DaimlerChrysler Reportedly Considering Deal With GM

The Financial Times reported Monday that DaimlerChrysler was considering taking a stake in GM in the form of a payment for the Chrysler brand.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - DaimlerChrysler is reportedly considering taking a stake in General Motors Corp. in exchange for its struggling Chrysler unit.

Meanwhile, Russia's second-biggest automotive company denied that it was interested in the Chrysler business.

Earlier this month, DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said all options are on the table for the money-losing Chrysler business and he would not rule out a possible sale.

The Financial Times reported Monday that DaimlerChrysler was considering a move that would see it take a stake in GM in the form of a payment were a deal to go forward.

GM is the world's biggest automaker, but has been losing market share at home and is undergoing a massive restructuring that includes closing plants and shedding jobs.

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the situation, said DaimlerChrysler was weighing the possibility of trading Chrysler for the GM stake, but added it was also considering a cash sale to private equity firms, including Apollo Management LP, Blackstone Group, Cerberus Capital Management LP and Carlyle Group, among others. All four have refused comment.

DaimlerChrysler AG did not comment on the report, reiterating its previous stance that all options for Chrysler are being considered.

GM also said it would not comment on what spokesman Tony Cervone called speculation.

On Friday, a senior Chrysler official told The Associated Press that the company is giving detailed financial information to selected potential suitors and is working with its investment bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., to avoid divulging sensitive information.

Analysts said an equity deal would benefit GM given that a domestic tie-up would be easier for Chrysler instead of a foreign buyout.

Chrysler earlier this month announced it lost $1.475 billion in 2006 and said it expects losses to continue through 2007. Parent DaimlerChrysler, however, earned $4.26 billion in 2006.

The news was accompanied by plans to shed 13,000 jobs, including 11,000 production workers and 2,000 salaried employees as it trims expenses and factory capacity to match declining sales. The automaker also announced the closure of one plant and layoffs at several others.

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