Will the departure of Jurgen Schrempp last week, it's time for talk about a break-up of the DaimlerChrysler marriage to heat up once again. BusinessWeek thought enough of the topic to make it a cover story this week. The last time the issue was raised, it was due to the poor performance of the Chrysler group, but now it's Mercedes that's fueling the discussion. Spinning off Chrysler would allow the Daimler organization to focus on rebuilding the Mercedes brand. But it's also possible that shareholders are looking at this with the thought that the sum of the parts of DaimlerChrysler is worth more than the whole, and therefore some sort of split would benefit them. The "breakup value" of DC might be worth as much as twice its current market capitalization, but could each company survive on its own? A newly solo Chrysler might not survive its next downward turn, and Mercedes is currently bleeding money, which means it's difficult to fund future development work without supplimental income from the profitable units. It would seem prudent at this point to let Dieter Zetsche do his thing and attempt to turn around the whole corporation.


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