Fiat asks U.S. court to help set Chrysler stake price

MILAN Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:09pm EDT

The Fiat logo on a Fiat 500 is pictured at a dealership in Vienna, Virginia April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Fiat logo on a Fiat 500 is pictured at a dealership in Vienna, Virginia April 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat (FIA.MI) said on Wednesday it had asked a U.S. court to help it define the price of a 3.3 percent stake in Chrysler that Fiat has agreed to purchase from the workers' trust fund VEBA.

Fiat, which already owns 58.5 percent in Chrysler, said it was seeking confirmation of the price in the Delaware Court of Chancery through its U.S. subsidiary Fiat America.

On July 3, Fiat exercised the option to purchase a portion of the stake held by VEBA, or the Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association.

In its statement, the Italian company said it could not agree with VEBA on the price it would need to pay for the 3.3 percent stake.

"While it is unfortunate that we were unable to resolve the issue without the assistance of the courts, we are hopeful the matter will be resolved swiftly," Fiat said in a statement.

"We need to court assistance in the application of a specific pricing formula which was agreed in 2009 and as such unrelated to the value of Chrysler today."

VEBA owns the 41.5 percent of Chrysler that Fiat does not. The option gives Fiat the right to buy a 3.3 percent stake in Chrysler every six months.

(Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Gary Hill)

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