Chrysler on Friday said it would cut a quarter of its white-collar workforce by next month, according to a published report. About 5,000 jobs in all are expected to be shed, The Wall Street Journal reported. Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli said in a memo to employees "the company is facing the "most difficult economic period any of us can remember," according to the Journal. Reports have circulated that Chrysler's owners, including Cerberus Capital, are talking to General Motors, a combined Nissan ( NSANY) and Renault alliance, and others about a possible sale or merger. Meanwhile, Nissan reportedly isn't willing to put up cash for an alliance with Chrysler. Nissan won't consider a tie-up that weakens its financial position, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Chrysler, meanwhile, said Thursday it plans to eliminate one shift at an assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, and will speed ahead the closure of its Newark, Del, assembly plant. The shift reduction at the Toledo plant will affect about 825 jobs. The closure of the Newark plant will affect about 1,000 jobs, Chrysler said.