Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Inside Story | Part 2 of 2

Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda, left, Cerberus CEO John W. Snow and DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche announce the $7.4 billion sale of Chrysler on May 14 in Germany.

How Cerberus snagged Chrysler: Speed, all-star team, resolve put firm on top

Bill Vlasic and Christine Tierney | The Detroit News / The Detroit News

Axel Schmidt / Getty Images

As Chrysler slipped into financial trouble, its onetime champion Zetsche decided a sale was inevitable. See full image

December 2006: DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche and GM Chairman Rick Wagoner discuss the possible sale of Chrysler to GM. GM makes a tentative bid in early 2007 considered low by DCX.
Feb. 14, 2007: Zetsche says all options are on the table for Chrysler, including a sale. Chrysler CEO Tom LaSorda unveils a restructuring for the company. DCX stock soars.
March 5-7, 2007: Executives from bidders Blackstone Group and Cerberus Capital Management tour Chrysler facilities and review product plans as part of the negotiations.
March 7, 2007: The UAW's refusal to give Chrysler the same health care concessions granted to GM and Ford was a setback "which was hard to consider in our thinking," Zetsche says at the Geneva motor show.
April 4, 2007: Zetsche confirms to shareholders at the annual meeting in Berlin that DaimlerChrysler is in talks with bidders for Chrysler.
April 5, 2007: Former Chrysler Corp. investor Kirk Kerkorian publicizes a $4.5 billion cash bid for Chrysler.
May 2007: Cerberus emerges as the leading candidate to buy Chrysler as DaimlerChrysler presses for a rapid deal.
May 3, 2007: Former Chrysler COO Wolfgang Bernhard, now on Cerberus' payroll, returns to Auburn Hills during the negotiation process. "He walked right in the front door," said one Chrysler employee.
May 10, 2007: Magna International, one of the bidders for Chrysler, announces an unexpected linkup with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. "If I would be Mercedes, I'd be pleased," says Magna Chairman Frank Stronach.
May 14, 2007: DaimlerChrysler says it will sell Chrysler to Cerberus. "This decision is the toughest thing I've done in my professional career," Zetsche writes in an e-mail to Chrysler employees.