DaimlerChrysler Pitches U.S. Unit, Private Equity Approached

DaimlerChrysler plans to offer detailed financial information about its Chrysler Group selectively, as it discusses a sale of the division with potential buyers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper said the loss-making auto company and its investment bank JP Morgan Chase, don't plan to hold a traditional auction, where a formal information packet outlining Chrysler's operations and financial condition would be given out to any parties expressing interest.

Instead, they plan to share information more judiciously, the paper said, depending on the direction and pace of any talks that get under way. That approach, for example, could enable the company to exclude certain car makers from the auction to keep them from seeing sensitive competitive information, the paper said.

Separately, the Financial Times reports that at least four private equity groups have been in preliminary talks with DaimlerChrysler about buying Chrysler.

According to people familiar with the matter, Apollo Management, Blackstone, Carlyle, and Cerberus Capital Management - as well as several European firms - were contacted about their potential interest in acquiring Chrysler before last week's announcement by DaimlerChrysler that "all options are on the table" for the unit. Those discussions continued after the announcement, these people said.

Flush with cash and growing industrial ambitions, private equity groups could help create a more competitive sale for Chrysler. However, many of the obstacles to a deal that could hamper strategic buyers, such as Chrysler's legacy healthcare and pension costs, would also need to be overcome by private equity buyers the Financial Times reports.