GM Stock Falls on Rebuffed Fiat Merger Inquiry, Potential Recall Related Criminal Charges

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- General Motors (GM) shares are down 0.56% to $35.50 in morning trading on Tuesday following reports that the American car company rebuffed a merger offer from Fiat Chrysler  (FCAU) CEO Sergio Marchionne in March, according to the New York Times.

Marchionne floated the idea via an email to GM CEO Mary Barra, saying that the industry needed to consolidate to save money and that a merger between the two automotive companies would cut billions of dollars in costs. 

The Times reported that Marchionne's request for a meeting was flatly rejected as a potential merger failed to pique the interest of Barra or any of GM's other executives.

Separately today, the U.S. government is considering bringing criminal charges against either GM or its employees due to its failure to promptly recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches, a defect that resulted in at least 104 deaths.

The FBI is assisting Manhattan U.S.  district attorney Preet Bharara in gathering evidence to ascertain whether the company knowingly delayed recalling the 2.6 million faulty vehicles. If investigators find the company guilty they will then be able to sue GM.

If that were to happen GM would be liable for fines on top of the $3 billion the company has already spent on the recall, including the $600 million it has set aside as compensation for the victims of the defect.

The fund is still reviewing compensation claims though the company has previously stated that it expects to be finished with that process by July.

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