( DCX) is holding talks this week with a number of parties interested in buying its U.S.-based Chrysler unit, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
Company officials are meeting with private equity duo Blackstone Group and Centerbridge Capital Partners, Cerberus Capital Management and a partnership between auto-parts supplier
and private-equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, said the source.
The Wall Street Journal
reported that Kirk Kerkorian's investment firm, Tracinda Corp., was not scheduled for a meeting with the automaker as of Tuesday evening. Tracinda, which could not be reached for comment on Wednesday,
went public last week with a $4.5 billion bid for Chrysler.
said DaimlerChrysler is questioning whether Tracinda's bid, which came with several significant conditions, is competitive with the three other proposals.
Tracinda offered to make a deposit of $100 million in order to conduct exclusive due diligence with Chrysler for 60 days, which wouldn't allow other would-be buyers access to the information.
The firm also said it would offer the United Auto Workers union and senior management of Chrysler the opportunity to participate with Tracinda as equity partners in a transaction.
Despite the public appeal to organized labor, Canadian Auto Workers President Buzz Hargrove expressed opposition to the Tracinda bid.
"I am not interested in Kerkorian's style," Hargrove said, according to the
Detroit Free Press
. "His whole history has been to make money by taking advantage of throwing a lot of people out of work. He's the guy I am totally opposed to."
Tracinda's public leap to throw itself into the fray for Chrysler also suggests there may be resistance to Kerkorian at DaimlerChrysler as well.
A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment on the situation.
Tracinda took a similar tack when it bought a stake in
last year in an effort to overhaul the automaker in the face of growing competition from lower-cost competitors. Kerkorian's associate, Jerome York, eventually joined GM's board, but he resigned last fall after its board of directors supported GM's CEO, Rick Wagoner, in his decision not to pursue a global partnership with Renault-Nissan. Tracinda later liquidated its stake in the company.
Shares of DaimlerChrysler recently were down 73 cents, or 0.9%, to $83.29.