Kirk Kerkorian to up ownership in Ford to 5.6 percent

The auto industry's old friend Kirk Kerkorian is back on the scene, and this time he has his sights set on Ford. In a press release issued today, Kerkorian's company Tracinda Corp. announced that it intends to buy 20 million shares of FoMoCo at $8.50 per share, which is a 13% premium over the $7.50/share at which Ford's stock closed on Friday. This would up Tracinda's ownership of Ford from 100 million shares at 4.7% to 120 million at 5.6%. In its press release, Tracinda expressed confidence in Ford's performance going forward under the leadership of Alan Mulally, and revealed that the investment firm has been watching the automaker since it surprised the industry with its Q4 2007 earnings. Last week's announcement of a better-than-expected Q1 2008 for Ford apparently sealed the deal for Kerkorian.
Kerkorian has had a tumultuous past with Ford's crosstown rivals, General Motors and Chrysler. At one time he owned nearly 10% of GM and tried to broker a deal between the world's largest automaker and Nissan-Renault that ultimately fell through, after which Kerkorian sold all of his stock in the General. He also sued DaimlerChrysler for its allegedly deceptive "merger of equals" statement back in 1998, then tried to buy Chrysler from Daimler after it was all over.

Ford has released a statement by Bill Ford, Jr. and Alan Mulally that can be read after the jump, but it basically says that the company's stock is able to be purchased by anyone, even Kirk Kerkorian. As for what the 90-year-old is up to with his bid to buy more Blue Oval stock, time will tell.

[Source: Bloggingstocks, Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty]



The following statement is attributable to Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally:

Dearborn, Mich., April 28 –"We welcome confidence in Ford and the progress we are making on our transformation plan. Any investor can purchase Ford shares, which are sold on the open market. The Ford team remains focused on executing our plan to transform Ford into a lean global enterprise delivering profitable growth for all."

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