Kerkorian backs away from GM

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's investment company has decided to sell 14 million shares of GM. That drops his stake in the carmaker from 10 percent to about seven percent. Ashley Milne-Tyte looks at what might be behind this.


ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: Kirk Kerkorian had been a big proponent of an operational alliance between GM, Nissan and Renault to help revive the struggling U.S. auto giant, but GM's management nixed the idea this fall.

Some analysts say Kerkorian's disgust over that decision triggered the sell-off, but Peter Brown of Automotive News isn't so sure.

On Wednesday, Kerkorian's company put in an $825 million offer for a large chunk of casino operator MGM Mirage. With his GM stock sale, Brown says, the energetic billionaire is just re-deploying some capital.

PETER BROWN: It's really hard to read Kirk Kerkorian's mind. He's 89 years old, he's doing all these things, he feels very passionate about these things, so you could see him come back next year and buy some more shares."

But if he does come back for more, Brown says, the same friction will likely remain between his desire to make a fast buck and GM management's steady efforts to turn around the automotive behemoth.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

About the author

Ashley Milne-Tyte is the host of a podcast about women in the workplace called The Broad Experience.

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