Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why is Chrysler filing for an IPO?

A strange situation has developed at Chrysler, where the company has reported that it is filing for an IPO, even though its majority owner, Fiat, is in opposition to the filing.

So what's going on?   Back in 2007, the big 3 automakers created something called VEBA -a trust that allowed the firms to transfer their retiree healthcare benefit obligations to the UAW.   All was well, until the financial crisis "carpocalypse" and the UAW had to take shares in GM and Chrysler instead of cash because these automakers were broke.   Now the UAW wants to cash out, but is unhappy with the price being offered by Fiat - hence the IPO (the VEBA arrangement allows the UAW to push for an IPO).   The UAW is hoping that the IPO will result in a higher price than what Fiat is offering.  

Fiat isn't happy because a higher valuation will mean that it has to pay more to buy out Chrysler's share of the VEBA fund.  But, the UAW could lose out though if the valuation comes in lower.

Either way, Fiat and the UAW are playing chicken.  This should be interesting, but there's a good chance this IPO will never happen.