May 04, 2005
Kirk Kerkorian Bids for Stake in GM
Posted by Gordon Smith

Kirk Kerkorian isn't trying to buy all of General Motors, just enough to make things interesting. The 87-year-old Kerkorian announced today that he is going after 9% of GM in a tender offer. He could have purchased that many shares in the open market, but he appears to be setting up GM management for a public relations battle.

Last week, I wrote about GM's troubles, which are many. People are speculating that Kerkorian may be the wolf at the door that is required to break the will of the UAW, but so far Kerkorian is singing the same song that he sang to Chrysler. According to Reuters, Kerkorian's lead attorney, Terry Christensen, said: "This is just a passive investment and there is no intent to control the company in any way. It's for investment only, and we wanted to be very clear  about that."

The market doesn't believe Kerkorian will stay passive for long, and based on his history with Chrysler, that seems like a safe working assumption. Look for this to be a story that hangs around for years, not just days.

By the way, the lawsuit that resulted from the DaimlerChrysler merger was recently dismissed by a federal district court jude in Delaware, and Kerkorian is appealing.

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