* Chrysler IPO documents to be filed this week-CEO tells FT
* Minority shareholder VEBA would sell some shares in IPO
* Follows deadlock in talks for Fiat to buy VEBA's stake
By Francesca Landini
MILAN, Sept 16 U.S. carmaker Chrysler plans to
file documents this week that would allow its minority investor
to sell shares in a stock market listing, bringing to a head a
battle with majority owner Fiat which wants to take
full control of the business.
Italian automaker Fiat wants to buy the 41.5 percent stake
in Chrysler held by VEBA, a healthcare trust affiliated to the
United Auto Workers union, to secure access to cash flow and
technology it needs to compete against rivals.
But VEBA is not happy with the price Fiat has offered.
Although a listing would drag out the sale process for VEBA,
it will be hoping to get a better price from investors or to
force Fiat to increase its offer.
Meanwhile Fiat, which already owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler,
will be hoping the stock market's valuation of the U.S. carmaker
will show its existing offer is VEBA's best option.
"It's in the interest of both parties, but of Fiat in
particular, to reach an agreement before a Chrysler IPO," said
ICBPI analyst Luca Arena.
At 1040 GMT, Fiat shares were down 0.3 percent at 6.13
euros, extending losses on Friday after Fiat chief executive
Sergio Marchionne said he was not getting any closer to striking
a deal with VEBA.
Marchionne, who is also the chief executive of Chrysler, was
quoted by the Financial Times newspaper on Monday as saying the
U.S. carmaker was planning to file documents with regulators for
the stock market listing this week - earlier than expected.
"We need to go trough this process of determining value," he
said. "(VEBA) have been very clear that they are not long-term
holders of the assets. They want to monetise so we need to find
a way that ... does not create what I consider to be
exceptionally high or abnormal expectations of value."
Marchionne said on Friday any listing could take place in
the last quarter of this year but was more likely to happen in
early 2014, and could delay his plans for a full merger of the
People familiar with the matter have told Reuters that VEBA
is seeking more than $5 billion for its stake, which it obtained
as part of Chrysler's 2009 bailout.
UBS analysts estimate the stake is worth about $4 billion.
VEBA can sell a stake of up to around 25 percent of Chrysler
in a stock market listing. The rest is locked as part of an
agreement that allows Fiat to exercise options to gradually buy
portions of the VEBA holding.