Fiat Buys Chrysler for $4.3 Billion in Global Merger

Jan 02, 2014 11:01 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma (j.ecarma@autoworldnews.com)

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Chrysler

Chrysler is now owned by Italian car company Fiat. (Photo : Reuters)

Chrysler is now Italian-owned after Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne struck a savvy deal to combine the two companies into a global automaker, TIME reported.

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"Marchionne did a great job," Vincenzo Longo, a strategist at IG Group in Milan, told Bloomberg by phone. "Fiat couldn't get a better deal."

The Italian car company agreed to purchase the 41.46 percent of Chrysler shares owned by a United Auto Workers (UAW) union's health care trust. Fiat will pay $3.65 billion in cash along with $700 million in future payments for a total of $4.365 billion, according to TIME.

Fiat now has 100 percent ownership of the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based company, which is known as the No. 3 American carmaker.

The agreement put to a rest somewhat strained bargaining with the voluntary employees' beneficiary association. The VEBA owned Chrysler shares as part of auto industry bailout designed to keep American automakers above water during the worst of the recession.

While some analysts valued VEBA's shares at as much as $5 billion, the trust "took guaranteed if slightly less cash today rather than risk the vicissitudes of market," according to TIME.

Fiat and Chrysler hope the merge will result in a global contender with a full lineup of vehicles.

"In the life of every major organization and its people, there are defining moments that go down in the history books," Marchionne was quoted as saying by TIME. "For Fiat and Chrysler, the agreement just reached with the VEBA is clearly one of those moments."

After the deal was struck, Fiat saw its biggest intraday stock jump since April 2009, rising about 16 percent. Fiat stock is at its highest price since July 2011, and the carmaker is valued at 8.43 billion euros ($11.5 billion). 

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