Fiat already has a controlling stake in Chrysler Group, but the Italian automaker plans to increase control to 65 percent by exercising an option to buy 3.3 percent of Chrysler shares currently held by the United Auto Workers’ retiree healthcare fund. Fiat determined that $198 million would be a fair asking price for the second tranche held by the voluntary employees beneficiary association. Fiat arrived at this price after considering Chrysler’s interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
This isn’t the first time Fiat has attempted to purchase the remaining 3.3 percent tranche held by VEBA. Back in July of last year, Fiat exercised its option to purchase the first 3.3 percent tranche of VEBA’s holding. However, after having a U.S. court verify the share’s actual value, it was determined that the share was actually worth $342 million, not $198 million as originally agreed upon. Fiat believed that was 145 percent more than the shares were worth, and the transaction was put on hold. VEBA owns 41.5 percent of Chrysler Group with Fiat owning the remaining, and controlling stake.
Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has put a hold on a complete merger between the two automakers as Fiat works to turn itself around first. In order to increase its stake in Chrysler though, Fiat must cough up the $342 million asking price. The Italian automaker believes a decision from the court will take place “within the next several months” to determine whether or not it will be forced to pay the new asking price if it wants the second 3.3 percent share currently held by VEBA.