The relationship between Chrysler and Fiat will change if the U.S. company proceeds with the initial public offering, according to Fiat Chairman John Elkann. Paperwork has been filed by Chrysler, 58.5%-owned by Fiat, for a flotation of shares owned by the United Auto Workers, which owns the rest of Chrysler through its retirees' healthcare trust.
Talks between the trust and Fiat for a buyout had failed, prompting the trust to pursue the listing. Information in the stock market listing document has led to doubts on Fiat’s commitment to its Chrysler alliance. Elkann added that having two separately listed companies is “very different” from having only one.
n its filing, Chrysler said that if there’s a separate listing, Fiat may reconsider its business plan with the U.S. firm. Fiat seeks to acquire the 41.5% remaining stake in Chrysler and hopes to merge the group's finances too. However, the union-affiliated healthcare trust has not accepted Fiat's offer.
There is a gap of at least $1 billion on what these two parties are willing to agree on. If the healthcare trust opts for a public listing, it will get a market evaluation of its worth.
Analysts said that Fiat probably won’t cut its alliance with Chrysler as both groups need each other's products to continue to exist. An insider said that in a separate listing, the two groups will spend more for their sharing of technology and dealer networks. It will also take more time to accomplish their goals. [source: Reuters]