Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo and Fiat/Exor chairman John Elkann

Just a couple of weeks ago, few of us had ever heard of a company called Exor. After all, why should we? It's a private family investment company. But the family in question is the Agnellis, and their company holds the keys to the entire Fiat empire (and by extension, much of Chrysler as well). Then news broke that Exor was part of a consortium looking into buying the commercial rights to Formula One.

While that development plays itself out both in the media and behind closed doors, Exor is in the news once again, but for an entirely different reason. Reports from Italy indicate that Exor is considering spinning Ferrari off into a separate entity. The move would likely follow a similar path taken when they spun off Fiat Industrial, granting current Fiat shareholders (the Agnelli/Elkann family included) the same proportional stake in a separate Ferrari, which would in turn place the Prancing Horse marque outside the scope of any potential merger between Fiat and Chrysler, while also making it easier to sell off part or all of Ferrari.

Of course, this isn't the first time the Elkann brothers have been linked to a more direct role at Maranello. While John Elkann chairs both the Fiat group and Exor, his eccentric brother Lapo has been rumored to replace Luca di Montezemolo as chairman of Ferrari should the latter opt to run against Silvio Berlusconi for the Italian premiership.

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