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Magna and Ripplewood to Bid for Chrysler?
In the final hours before potential buyers must submit bids to DaimlerChrysler (DCX) for its ailing Chrysler Group unit, private equity group Cerberus Capital Management has decided to go it alone, instead of bidding together with Canadian auto supplier Magna International (MGA), sources close to Cerberus and Magna say. Sources say the two sides couldn't come to terms on how they would structure a deal, and that Magna Chairman Frank Stronach wanted more control over a transaction than Cerberus would permit.

Meanwhile, Magna, which has a front seat at the bidding table, is interested in a minority stake in Chrysler and is teaming up with a private equity player. KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Brett Hoselton said earlier this week that Magna has picked a private equity partner, and a source close to Magna says the company is linked with New York-based Ripplewood Holdings.

Many industry watchers have questioned whether a bid from Magna makes sense. While the company has experience running car plants, it has not engineered complete models and taken them to market.  

A Powerful Partnership
But a Magna-Ripplewood partnership would give the two parties a leg up. Ripplewood brings money and the expertise of its industrial partner, former Chrysler Group President Thomas Stallkamp, to the table.

Magna brings a wealth of industrial experience. The Canadian parts maker assembles entire cars for DaimlerChrysler, BMW, and General Motors (GM) in Europe. Magna has plenty of ties to Chrysler. It recently acquired a transmission-parts plant in Syracuse, N.Y., from Chrysler and manages the paint shop in a Jeep factory in Toledo.

Sources say Chrysler is attracting bids in excess of $6 billion. Magna has just $1.9 billion in free cash, and Stronach doesn't like taking on debt.  More at BusinessWeek

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