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Marchionne Says Fiat May Acquire Chrysler Stake Just Before IPO

Fiat SpA (F) Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said the automaker may buy the rest of Chrysler Group LLC just before a public listing of the stake held by the United Auto Workers’ retiree health-care trust.

“It’s technically possible,” that Fiat may buy out Chrysler as the initial public offering nears completion, Marchionne, who is also CEO of the U.S. carmaker, told reporters at The Council for the United States and Italy in Venice today. It’s one of several alternatives, he said.

Marchionne is in talks to acquire the UAW trust’s 41.5 percent stake after Italy’s biggest manufacturer accumulated 58.5 percent of Chrysler since 2009. An IPO requested by the UAW trust may take place as soon as the fourth quarter of this year, he said, adding that discussions on a sale to Fiat are “fundamentally” about price.

The merger of the two companies, which would further the CEO’s aim of developing a global automaker to compete with General Motors Co. (GM) and Volkswagen AG (VOW), will “not necessarily” be completed this year, Marchionne said. That Exor SpA, the Agnelli Family holding company which controls Fiat, is open to a potential capital increase after the Chrysler acquisition is “very positive,” he said.

Marchionne said Fiat should expand in Asia and may seek a second partner for its Jeep brand in China.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tommaso Ebhardt in Venice at tebhardt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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