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An old acquaintance knocks at Chrysler

Posted by: David Welch on March 20, 2007

The hip thing for ex-Chrysler execs to do these days is advise someone bidding to buy the company. Another big name has surfaced. None other than former Chrysler CFO Jerome B. York is said to be advising someone on a Chrysler bid. Two sources close to York say he is on the case, but for whom they wouldn’t say.

It could be his usual boss, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, who has a long history with Chrysler. Kerkorian had a big piece of Chrysler back in the ‘90s and made a play to buy the company. I could be wrong, but buying into Chrysler these days doesn’t sound like Kerkorian’s play. He is a patient investor, but fixing Chrysler and waiting to get a big return on the investment may take longer than Kerkorian would want to wait.

York could be advising one of the private equity firms. It probably isn’t Cerberus Capital Management. That firm is bidding on Chrysler but already has ex Chrysler Corp. finance whiz Tom Gilman and former Chrysler Group COO Wolfgang Bernhard on the payroll. But there are other private equity players involved and York may be helping them look over the books.

What do all the bidders want to know? Simple. They want to know where the pitfalls are and what other problems might crop up later on. Those are the questions I’d be asking. And even though York left Chrysler in 1993, he’s a good guy to do the asking.

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Want the straight scoop on the auto industry? Our man in Detroit David Welch, brings keen observations and provocative perspective on the auto business.

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