Two weeks after DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche said all options are on the table for a possible sale of the Chrysler Group, speculation about potential buyers is increasingly focused on private equity investors. Sources tell CNBC the two private equity firms showing the most interest so far are Blackstone and Cerberus Capital.
What about billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian's investment firm Tracinda Corp?
Officially, Tracinda has not entered the Chrysler sweepstakes. But those close to the auction say Tracinda is an intriguing possibility for a whole host of reasons, including the fact that Kerkorian has the money and a history with Chrysler. The big question is whether Kerkorian , a noted deep value investor, thinks there's enough value in a money losing auto company like Chrysler.
All of this comes as DaimlerChrysler's investment bank, J.P. Morgan, is being careful about how much information it shares with prospective buyers. The "book" on Chrysler is reportedly close to being shared with prospective buyers pursuing due diligence on the American automaker.
Would DaimlerChrysler executives share "the book" with Kirk Kerkorian given the letigious history between Tracinda Corp and the German automaker? In late 2000, he sued DaimlerChrysler for $1.3 billion dollars claiming investors were fraudulantly induced to support the joining of Chrysler and Daimler Benz. Tracinda Corp lost a nonjury trial and is currently appealling the case. Among established automakers, General Motors remains the leading possible buyer of Chrysler, though sources tell CNBC it's too soon to know if the world's largest automaker will be able to strike a deal.
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