Tuesday, July 3, 2007

EU Approves Chrysler Sale to Cerberus

Associated Press 07.03.07, 7:31 AM ET

European Union regulators on Tuesday cleared the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management's plan to buy most of the money-losing Chrysler car division from German parent DaimlerChrysler AG.

The European Commission approved the deal automatically after receiving no complaints from rivals and identifying no antitrust problems within a deadline of 25 working days. It was the last major regulatory approval needed for the $7.4 billion deal after U.S. regulators waved it through last month.

DaimlerChrysler (nyse: DCX - news - people ) - the maker of Mercedes luxury cars - agreed in May to transfer an 80.1 percent stake in its U.S.-based Chrysler unit to New York-based Cerberus.

As part of the deal, Cerberus agreed to invest $6.1 billion in Chrysler and its financing arm and to pay DaimlerChrysler $1.4 billion.

DaimlerChrysler would remain liable for certain expenses that could result in it paying Cerberus up to $1.5 billion to complete the transaction.

Cerberus, however, has agreed to take on $19 billion of the auto company's long-term retiree health care costs.

The Chrysler purchase expands Cerberus' automotive holdings, which include a 51 percent stake in GMAC Financial Services. It also owns Guilford Mills, the largest automotive seating supplier in the U.S., and Peguform Group, a German-based manufacturer of interior and exterior plastic parts used in autos.

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