Kirk Kerkorian, the billionaire investor that died on Monday, had the reputation of an aggressive activist investor – with his eyes on mega-deals and hostile takeover bids.
Kerkorian has also made his mark on the motorcity as he was considered a “deep value” investor – one that loved to poke around Detroit’s companies looking for added value – especially when it came to the Detroit Three and their suppliers – as many of them were discounted several times over the passing decades. His strategies often had to do in Detroit with the auto and casino industries and he made his opinions noted there on several occasions – in memorable deals that delivered his aura as an aggressive activist investor. For example, Kerkorian’s Tracinda tried to take a swing at General Motors – the largest US automaker – back in 2006: he starting purchasing stock since the spring of 2005 but ultimately clashed with the company’s management as he envisioned a mega partnership between GM, Nissan and Renault.
This wasn’t the first attempt to impose his will on a Detroit Three – he started investing in Chrysler since 1990 as he had a good relationship with the carmaker’s then leader – Lee Iacocca. Half a decade later, as the company didn’t perform well, he tried to deliver a takeover bid and only lost after a long and strenuous fight. He also fiddled with numerous casinos, including the MGM Grand Detroit – a pioneer in the city. While he is well known for his attempts to fiddle with Chrysler first and GM later on, he also mingled with Ford – in 2008 – right when the Great Recession started to show numerous investment opportunities.