According to a recent report, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne has started asking hedge funds and activist investors for help in securing a deal with larger rival General Motors in what would become a mega-merger.
The report comes from the Wall Street Journal, which cited undisclosed sources that have knowledge of the matter, with Marchionne now going down the investor road because of the recent successes obtained by GM’s activist investors, asking them to hear his pleas for a consolidated automotive industry. FCA’s chief executive was initially reported and then the FCA chairman officially acknowledged Sergio Marchionne sent a letter to his rival at GM, Mary Barra, asking for a meeting to discuss the possibility of a merger – though he was refused. GM back in March had to agree to a new deal with an investor group over the governance and balance sheet and announced a $5 billion share buyback program that was designed to mitigate a possible proxy fight with the shareholders.
Marchionne meanwhile, fresh off the success of uniting Italy’s Fiat with its wholly owned subsidiary Chrysler, started mulling his next mega-deal, preaching the auto industry needs a smaller number of players to cope with the massive investments needed to make autos safer, connected and clean. According to the WSJ report, the chief executive’s contacts with the activist investors have not yet yielded a patron and the strategy could be used to potentially attract at least one European automaker.