Kerkorian not likely to be hands-off Ford investor

There's no indication that a leopard has ever changed its spots, so while Kirk Kerkorian and his Tracinda Corporation are making noises like they'll strive to be hands-off Ford shareholders, we'd expect some eventual attempts at steering the automaker from the board. As part of an offer to purchase more shares, Tracinda Corp. stated to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has no intent to gobble up or influence Ford. The Las Vegas-based investment firm went on to say that it will continue to monitor the performance of its holding, and may suggest business moves to the automaker.
Jerry York apparently took this to heart when he started mouthing off about what Ford should do with Volvo and Mercury, but that statement has since been rescinded as "shooting from the hip." It would not be a surprise, given the past attempts of Kerkorian and his toadies to direct the course of General Motors and Chrysler, that he once again start to make aggressive attempts at directing the moves of Ford. Tracinda is Ford's largest shareholder, though the hierarchy of Ford's board gives the family a lot of voting muscle. Kerkorian's most recent offer to Ford is for an additional 20 million shares at $8.50 per share, as well as the future prospect of a cash infusion to offer the turnaround plan further liquidity and thus, flexibility. Ford is mulling Kerkorian's bid, but the turnaround plan was put together without Tracinda's money, and can proceed without it, though more money on hand would allow Ford to accelerate its plans. Everyone's playing it cool, though meetings between Bill Ford Jr., Alan Mulally, and Kerkorian are ongoing, and the board of directors has promised a response to Kerkorian by May 22nd.

[Source: Detroit News, Photo: Detroit News]

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