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.