UAW may be key to forced FCA merger with GM

Sergio Marchionne doesn't give up on a business deal easily. While outwardly not much has recently been said about FCA's attempted merger with General Motors, Marchionne might be hoping to garner a powerful, new ally that could help break things wide open. The United Auto Workers retiree health care trust is the single largest shareholder of GM with 8.7 percent of the stock, and having its support would certainly improve FCA's position in getting a deal done.

"Whatever happens in terms of consolidation, it would never be done without the consent and support of the UAW," Marchionne said when FCA recently began contract talks with the UAW, The Detroit News reports. The boss is also allegedly on good terms with the union president Dennis Williams. Still, using the organization for a hostile takeover could be very difficult because of the way its votes are structured. Other activist investors might already be on board, though.

Marchionne believes that consolidation in the industry is vital because automakers are investing to create the same technologies. A GM/ FCA merger still has many roadblocks, though, including the fact that Marchionne's company is smaller than GM. From a regulatory perspective, the size of the merged company could raise serious anti-trust concerns among regulators, according to The Detroit News. There's also the concern for lost jobs from redundant work with the two combined businesses.

Even if the UAW angle doesn't work out, there are contingency plans afoot for other merger targets. According to The Detroit News speaking to anonymous insiders, FCA bigwigs have a meeting in London on Thursday to take a close look at other options. In addition to GM, they are investigating possible deals with Volkswagen and the Renault-Nissan Alliance. In the past, PSA Peugeot Citro├źn and multiple Asian automakers have also been brought up as partners, and UBS has reportedly been providing financial advice on what to do.

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