Fiat has high hopes for Ferrari and a GM merger

Matt Clinch and Silvia Berzoni
2014 Ferrari La Ferrari.
Getty Images

Sergio Marchionne, the Italian-Canadian chief executive of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, may be revving up for the flotation this week of its luxury Ferrari marque, but he also remains open to a possible merger with General Motors.

Reports over the summer stated that Fiat Chrysler had been aggressively pushing for the tie-up with the Detroit-based automaker. But, ratings agency Standard Poor's poured cold water on any possible deal in a new report last week.

It said that the possibility of a fully-fledged merger between two large automakers (naming GM and Fiat Chrysler) was "unlikely," adding that there were "significant integration and execution risks."

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Speaking to CNBC over the weekend, Marchionne said that he had not read the report from the ratings agency but rebutted its claims.

"With all due respect to Standard & Poor's doesn't understand anything," he said at the sidelines of an event in Washington D.C.

While Fiat-Chrysler might still be keen on the deal, General Motors appears to be the opposite. CEO Mary Barra told CNBC last month that the formal offer made by its counterpart were "not in the best interest of shareholders."

She explained that the company would instead focus on "what's best for the company" and look at integrating new technology into its products.

The latest round in the saga between the two carmakers comes amid a busy time for Fiat-Chrysler and for the industry as a whole, after an emissions scandal at Volkswagen erupted last month.

The new Ferrari 488 Spider at the 2015 IAA Frankfurt Auto Show September 16, 2015 in Frankfurt, Germany.
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The iconic Ferrari brand is expected to be spun-off from its parent Fiat-Chrysler this week with an initial public offering due on Wednesday. It is selling up to 10 percent, or 17.2 million shares, of Ferrari at between $48-$52 a share, which values it close to $10 billion.

It will have the "RACE" ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange, which Marchionne told CNBC was his idea.

"It's a great brand, no doubts," Marchionne said, assuring people that the symbol will be understood by investors and analysts.