Fiat eyes $10-billion loan for Chrysler buyout and debt refinancing

Article by Anita Panait, on May 30, 2013

Fiat SpA is holding discussions with a group of banks over up to $10 billion in financing that it plans to use for acquiring a 41.5-percent Chrysler Group LLC stake it doesn't own as well as refinancing the two carmakers' debt, people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. The banks include Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BNP Paribas SA.

According to Bloomberg’s sources, the banks are currently discussing a possible loan to Fiat. Talks between the banks and the Italian carmaker were reported in different media earlier this year. The carmakers’ chief executive, Sergio Marchionne confirmed the talks himself during the Geneva auto show in March 2013. The details on size and the scope of the financial package only became apparent when Bloomberg published its report.

Marchionne plans to finalize the buyout of Chrysler’s other shareholders by the end of the summer, pending results of a litigation between Fiat and UAW's retiree health-care trust over the value of the stake, the sources told Bloomberg.

The sources remarked that some of the banks have already given their verbal agreement to Fiat at this point, although a final accord between them has yet to be signed.

Marchionne is planning to merge Fiat and Chrysler after the stake buyout, thereby creating a global auto group large enough to rival world leaders General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG.  One of Bloomberg’s sources remarked that Marchionne will be able to merge the balance sheets of Fiat and Chrysler if he elects to do so. [source: Bloomberg]

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