Notwithstanding doubts about whether Chrysler Group would go forward with a promised public float, the company is late in the stages of preparing its offering documents, said a person familiar with the offer, and JPMorgan Chase is expected to underwrite the IPO.
Chrysler chief executive Sergio Marchionne said in a Financial Times interview earlier this week that IPO plans were well under way and that the prospectus could be published in the U.S. "within the third week of this month." But Marchionne, who has been trying unsuccessfully to buy out a large minority shareholder in Chrysler, has made it clear that he would strongly prefer to avoid the public route.
(Read more: Chrysler IPO to bring shareholder battle to a head)
Knowing that, a number of investment bankers – many of whom participated in a so-called "beauty contest" Chrysler held to select IPO underwriters earlier this year – regarded his public remarks this week as a bluff. Some hadn't heard any fresh details on the company's plans since their pitch meetings, and presumed no deal was yet under way. As recently as Wednesday, the identity of the carmaker's lead underwriter had been kept under wraps and some competing bankers wondered aloud whether the new-issue prospectus had even been written.