FTC Waives Waiting Period for Chrysler to Sell Stake in Auto Plant
DETROIT (AP) _ The Federal Trade Commission has waived a waiting period for Chrysler Corp. to sell all or part of its half interest in a joint venture car assembly plant with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. in Illinois.
Chrysler is considering selling its share of the Diamond-Star Motors Corp. plant near Normal, Ill., to raise much-needed cash. Such a sale could raise close to $500 million.
The struggling automaker also has parts of its Acustar Inc. parts subsidiary and its profitable Chrysler Financial Corp. up for sale. And it holds a 12 percent of Mitsubishi’s outstanding stock, which also could be sold to raise cash.
FTC spokeswoman Bonnie Jansen said Wednesday the agency decided Friday it would not challenge the sale of Chrysler’s stake in Diamond-Star to Mitsubishi on antitrust grounds.
Officials for both companies said the move was a procedural one that doesn’t move the deal any closer to closing.
″You can’t proceed without it,″ Mitsubishi spokesman Rich Jachetti said of the FTC’s decision. ″However, it doesn’t change the nature of the negotiations.″
Chrysler spokesman Steve Harris agreed.
″It’s a preparatory step,″ he said. ″But it really doesn’t change where we are.″
The Diamond-Star plant makes the Mitsubishi Eclipse and Mirage, the Eagle Talon and Summit and the Plymouth Laser.