Fiat to return to its historical 90 percent stake in Ferrari, says Marchionne

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 16, 2010

After saying the its expects Chrysler IPO later in 2011, Fiat and Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne also said today that the Italian manufacturer will return to its historical 90 percent stake in Ferrari.

Minutes later, Marchionne confused the press by saying that he does not exclude a possible Ferrari initial public offering before 2014.

Regarding Fiat’s stake in Ferrari, the Italian manufacturer currently owns a 85 percent of Ferrari. This stake is a result of three actions. Back in 1969, Fiat bought a percent stake in Ferrari and a call option to buy the rest of 50 percent after Enzo Ferrari dies.

In 1989, Fiat bough 40 percent of the company, after the death of Enzo Ferrari. Regarding the rest of 10 percent, this stake was donated by Enzo Ferrari to his son Piero, who is currently vice chairman.

In 2002, during its worst financial crisis ever, Fiat had to sell 34 percent of Ferrari for 775.2 million euros ($1.0 billion at current exchange rates) to Mediobanca, an Italian merchant bank, but wilt a call option to buy the stake back.

Time passed, and Fiat bought 30 percent of the stake back, but the rest of 5 percent was sold in 2005 by Mediobanca to Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. for 114 million euros ($149.2 million). However, Fiat says that its call option on the 5 percent of Ferrari owned by Mubadala expired July 31 and now the two companies are negotiating on the topic.

“We are looking for a way to permit Fiat returning to control 90 percent of Ferrari, our historical stake,” said Marchionne today. Regarding the Ferrari IPO, Marchionne said that a plan is not currently on his table but, and he can’t exclude anything. [via autonews - sub. required]

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