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Billionaire joins Chrysler scramble

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian has launched a surprise offer for Chrysler, saying he is prepared to pay $4.5bn (£2.3bn) for the ailing carmaker and pay it $100m upfront to secure exclusive negotiating rights.

Kerkorian’s Tracinda investment firm notified DaimlerChrysler of the cash offer in letters to its chief executive Dieter Zetsche. It would be the second time Kerkorian has tried to buy the company – he made a $25bn offer in 1995, but was rebuffed. He already has a 10% stake in General Motors.

The $4.5bn offer is close to the $4.7bn that Canadian car parts maker Magna International is understood to have offered. Private equity groups Blackstone and Cerberus Capital have also made bids. DaimlerChrysler is expected to make a decision on which party to start negotiations with by the end of this month.

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