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Daimler AG (formerly DaimlerChrysler AG) is a German car corporation and the world's eighth largest car manufacturer. As well as automobiles, Daimler manufactures trucks and provides financial services through its Daimler Financial Services arm.
DaimlerChrysler was founded in 1998 when Mercedes-Benz manufacturer Daimler-Benz of Stuttgart, Germany bought the US-based Chrysler Corporation. The deal created a new entity, DaimlerChrysler. However, the buyout failed to produce the trans-Atlantic automotive powerhouse dealmakers had hoped for, and DaimlerChrysler announced on 14 May 2007, that it would sell Chrysler to Cerberus Capital Management of New York, a private equity firm that specializes in restructuring troubled companies, effectively unwinding the original transaction. On October 4, 2007 a DaimlerChrysler Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting approved the renaming of the company. From October 5, 2007, the company has been titled Daimler AG. The US company adopted the name Chrysler LLC when the sale completed on 3 August 2007.
Chrysler has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years, culminating in DaimlerChrysler's agreement to sell the unit to Cerberus Capital Management in May 2007 for US$6 billion. Through most of its history, Chrysler has been the third largest of the "Big 3" US auto makers, but in January 2007, DaimlerChrysler, excluding its luxury Mercedes and Maybach lines, also outsold traditionally second place Ford, though behind Toyota.
Chrysler reported losses of US$1.5 billion in 2006. It then announced plans to lay off 13,000 employees in mid-February 2007, close a major assembly plant and reduce production at other plants in order to restore profitability by 2008.
The merger was contentious with investors launching lawsuits over whether the transaction was the 'merger of equals' that senior management claimed or actually amounted to a Daimler-Benz takeover of Chrysler. A class action investor lawsuit was settled in August 2003 for US$300 million while a suit by billionaire investor activist Kirk Kerkorian was dismissed on April 7, 2005. The transaction claimed the job of its architect, Chairman Jürgen E. Schrempp, who resigned at the end of 2005 in response to the fall of the company's share price following the transaction. The merger was also the subject of a book Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler, (2000) by Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz.
Another issue of contention is whether the merger delivered promised synergies and successfully integrated the two businesses. As late as 2002, DaimlerChrysler appeared to run two independent product lines. Later that year, the company launched products that appear to integrate elements from both sides of the company, including the Chrysler Crossfire, which used extensive Mercedes parts and the Dodge Sprinter/Freightliner Sprinter, a re-badged Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.
Sale of Chrysler
DaimlerChrysler was reportedly in negotiations with other carmakers and investment groups since early 2007 to sell Chrysler. General Motors was reported to be a suitor while Volkswagen, the Renault-Nissan auto alliance, and Hyundai Motor Company had said that they weren't interested in buying the company.
On August 3 2007, DaimlerChysler completed the sale of Chrysler Group to Cerberus Capital Management. The original agreement stated that Cerberus would take an 80.1 percent stake in the new company, Chrysler Holding LLC. DaimlerChrysler will change its name to Daimler AG and retain the remaining 19.9% stake in the separated Chrysler.
The terms will see Daimler pay Cerberus US$650 million to take Chrysler and associated liabilities off its hands. This is a remarkable reverse in fortunes on the US$36 billion paid to acquire Chrysler in 1998. Of the US$7.4 billion, purchase price, Cerberus Capital Management will invest US$5 billion in Chrysler Holdings and US$1.05 billion in Chrysler’s financial unit. The de-merged Daimler AG will receive US$1.35 billion directly from Cerberus but will invest US$2 billion in Chrysler itself.
Dieter Zetsche has been the Chairman of Daimler and Head of Mercedes Cars since January 1, 2006 as well as member of Board of Management since 1998. He was former President and CEO of the Chrysler Group (a company of DaimlerChrysler until 2007), he is best known in the United States as Dr. Z from a Chrysler advertising campaign.
Current members of the Supervisory Board of Daimler AG are: Heinrich Flegel, Nate Gooden, Earl Graves, Thomas Klebe, Erich Klemm, Hilmar Kopper, Arnaud Lagardère, Jürgen Langer, Robert Lanigan, Helmut Lense, Peter Magowan, William Owens, Gerd Rheude, Udo Richter, Wolf Röder, Manfred Schneider, Stefan Schwaab, Bernhard Walter, Lynton Wilson, and Mark Wössner.
The largest voting shareholder of Daimler is the State of Kuwait, with 6.9% (as at 30 July 2007), followed by Deutsche Bank with 4.35% (as at 2 May 2007) and the United Arab Emirates with 2.0% (as at 31 December 2005). .
The regional breakdown of shareholdings as at 31 December 2006 was:
- 43.6% Germany
- 30.9% Other Europe
- 17.2% USA
- 8.3% Rest of world
Daimler sells automobiles under the following marques worldwide:
- Daimler Trucks
- Mercedes-Benz Vans
- Mercedes-Benz (vans group)
- Financial Services
Daimler currently holds interests in the following companies:
- 85.0% Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation of Japan.
- 40.0% McLaren Group of United Kingdom
- 30.2% European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) - a parent company of Airbus of Europe
- 19.9% Chrysler LLC of United States
DaimlerChrysler disposed of the following holdings and businesses:
- 10.5% Hyundai Motor Company — Bought in 2000 and 2001 for US$572 million. Sold in August 2004 for US$900 million
- 37.1% Mitsubishi Motors of Japan - Stake diluted to 22% in April 2004 and disposal was concluded with sale to Goldman Sachs on November 18, 2005
- MTU Friedrichshafen and Detroit Diesel were sold to EQT in 2006.
- DaimlerChrysler India
- DaimlerChrysler Canada
- Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance
- Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft
- DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. ___ (2006), a U.S. Supreme Court case involving tax incentives granted to DaimlerChrysler to expand its Toledo, Ohio facilities
- United States Council for Automotive Research
- ↑ "Cerberus Takes Over Majority Interest in Chrysler Group and Related Financial Services Business for EUR 5.5 Billion ($7.4 billion) from DaimlerChrysler." Official DaimlerChrysler press release. May 14, 2007.
- ↑ daimler.com: Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting of DaimlerChrysler Approves Renaming as Daimler AG
- ↑ Chrysler Announces Major Downsizing - Daily Auto Insider, CarAndDriver.com, 15 February 2007, loaded 15 March 2007
- ↑ DaimlerChrysler settles investor lawsuit, Car and Driver, 25 August 2003, retrieved 23 July 2007
- ↑ [*Taken for a Ride, BBC book excerpt, retrieved 23 July 2007
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