Auto investor Kirk Kerkorian dead at 98

Kirk Kerkorian, among the most talked-about investors in the American auto industry in recent memory, died at the age of 98 in Los Angeles on Monday, June 15. The billionaire ran the investment company Tracinda Corp. and was the largest shareholder in MGM Resorts International.

Kerkorian attempted to use his power as a well-financed investor to push the auto industry in some fascinating ways. In 2006, he used his nearly 10-percent stake in General Motors to push a merger with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The deal made it as far as discussions, but eventually fell through.

Kerkorian also attempted to purchase Chrysler - twice. According to Automotive News, the first effort came in 1995 with a $22.8-billion offer for the automaker, and soon after it failed the company merged with Daimler. Then in 2007, Kerkorian was back with a bid for $4.5 billion, but things eventually fell to Cerberus.

The billionaire finished the trifecta by buying up $1 billion in Ford stock in 2008 to make Kerkorian the single largest investor in the company. However, the situation didn't last long, and by the end of that year, he had unloaded the shares.

According to Automotive News, Kerkorian was ranked by Forbes as the world's 41st richest man in 2008 with a net worth of $16 billion.

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