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A bit of background!Acquisition of Chrysler
On 20 January 2009, Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler LLC announced their intention to form a global alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, Fiat would take a 20% stake in Chrysler and gain access to its North American distribution network in exchange for providing Chrysler with technology and platforms to build smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the US and providing reciprocal access to Fiat's global distribution network.
In addition, the proposed agreement would entitle Fiat to receive a further 15% (without cash consideration) through the achievement of specific product and commercial objectives. No cash or financial support was required from Fiat under the agreement. Instead it would obtain its stake mainly in exchange for covering the cost of retooling a Chrysler plant to produce one or more Fiat models for in the US. Fiat would also provide engine and transmission technology to enable Chrysler to introduce smaller, fuel-efficient models in the NAFTA market. The deal was engineered by Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne, who pulled the Italian group back from the brink of collapse after taking over in 2004. The principal objective of the partnership was to provide both groups with significantly enhanced economies of scale and geographical reach at a time when they were struggling to compete with larger and more global rivals such as Toyota, Volkswagen and alliance partners Renault S.A. and Nissan.
On 30 April 2009, Fiat announced the signing of a series of agreements to form a global strategic alliance with Chrysler, with Fiat receiving an initial 20% stake and the option to further purchase/receive additional ownership interests in Chrysler, pursuant to certain conditions being met. Fiat's shareholding would be capped at 49%, however, until all government loans had been repaid.
Fiat would not have to pay any money for its 20% of Chrysler. On 7 June 2009, the Indiana State Police Pension Fund, the Indiana Teacher's Retirement Fund, and the state's Major Moves Construction Fund asked the US Supreme Court to delay the sale of Chrysler to Fiat while they challenge the deal. The funds argued that the sale went against US bankruptcy law because it unlawfully rewarded unsecured creditors ahead of secured creditors. On 9 June 2009, the Supreme Court lifted the temporary hold, clearing the way for Fiat to acquire Chrysler. See Indiana State Police Pension Trust v. Chrysler for more information. On 10 June, the Supreme Court announced that Fiat was now an owner of the new Chrysler a.k.a. Chrysler Group LLC.
Marchionne was appointed CEO of Chrysler following its emergence from bankruptcy proceedings. Under his leadership, Chrysler has taken on a structure similar to that of Fiat and has released, in quick succession, a large number of completely redesigned or refreshed vehicles. Fiat launched its 500, which had been available in Europe since 2007, in the United States and Canada in 2011, marking the company's return to the American auto market, which it had been absent from since 1984. Prior to this, Fiat's main presence on the continent was Mexico, where it offers a greater variety of products than in the United States and Canada.
On 10 January 2011, Fiat announced that it had increased its share in Chrysler from 20% to 25% following the achievement of the first of three performance objectives. On 11 April 2011, it announced achievement of the second performance objective, increasing its stake a further 5% to 30%. On 24 May 2011, Fiat announced that it had paid Chrysler US$ 1,268 million for a further 16% interest, increasing its stake total stake to 46% (fully diluted). The transaction coincided with Chrysler refinancing its debt to the U.S. and Canadian governments. On 25 May autonews.com reported that Fiat could buy government stakes in Chrysler as soon as the end of July 2011, increasing its total stake to 54%.
In May 2011, it emerged that Fiat could actually increase its stake in Chrysler Group to more than 70 percent through the exercise of further options.
In a regulatory filing dated 22 July 2011, the Michigan-based automaker reported that Fiat held a 53.5% interest (fully diluted). Fiat and Chrylser have both stated that they expect that interest to reach 58.5% by the end of 2011 as result of achievement of the third of the three performance objectives. In 5 January 2012 Fiat released press info that the ownership has increased to 58.5%. The stake was further increased to 68.49% in July 2013. On 1 January 2014, Fiat announced it would be acquiring the remaining shares of Chrysler owned by the VEBA worth $3.65 billion. The deal is expected to be completed by 20 January.
Partnership with Mazda
In May 2012, Fiat formed an alliance with Mazda to develop and build a new rear wheel drive roadster for the Alfa Romeo and Mazda brands
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