Monday, May 14, 2007

Chrysler Sold to Cerberus

DaimlerChrysler announced today that they would sell 80% of Chrysler to a private equity firm (Cerberus Capital Management) for $7.4 billion. Of course, Daimler bought Chrysler back in 1998 for $36 billion. Is it any wonder that Newsweek once called the merger, "the worst-executed big takeover since God invented corporations." If you want to learn more about how this merger took place back in the late 1990s, I would highly recommend reading Taken for a Ride: How Daimler Drove Off with Chrysler. Veteran auto industry journalists Bill Vlasic and Brad Stertz wrote this definitive account of how the deal unfolded. I had the pleasure of hosting the two gentlemen at a seminar at Harvard Business School several years ago. They impressed us with the thoroughness of their research, and the incredible access that they had secured with many of the key figures involved in the deal.