DetN Wild Ass Rumor of the Day: Kirkorian Sold Ford Stock Because of Escaping Execs

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
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detn wild ass rumor of the day kirkorian sold ford stock because of escaping execs

As we’ve just reported, The Detroit News seems to have abandoned the normal standards of reporting. In j-School ethics world– informed as it is by the movie All The President’s Men— if you can’t confirm a story with two independent sources, you either don’t run it or you clearly identify the info as unverified. As in “according to unconfirmed anonymous sources,” presenting the resulting material as speculation. To avoid the semantic hoops, TTAC established the Wild Ass Rumor (WAR) category. With this story on Kirk Kerkorian’s Ford stock sell-a-thon, we’re deploying WAR on the DetN’s behalf. “Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s decision to sell off his stake in Ford Motor Co. may have been precipitated by a series of high-profile departures from the struggling automaker that began less than two weeks ago with the abrupt resignation of Chief Financial Officer Don Leclair. Since then, two of Ford’s most respected board members also have tendered their resignations. Ford says the events are unrelated, but a source close to Ford’s largest private shareholder told The Detroit News that Kerkorian doubts that and is concerned that the departures signal trouble at the top of the nation’s second largest auto company.” Trouble at Ford? NO WAY! And there’s no reason Kirk would want to pin the blame for his $600m or so loss on someone else, is there? More meshugas after the jump.

“Privately, Ford executives suggested Kerkorian began selling off his shares in the automaker to protect his MGM Mirage investment. Publicly, Ford said it is too busy fixing its automotive operations to worry about where Kerkorian puts his money.” Privately, as in another anonymous source? Sounds like you need a reservation to secure a quiet corner of a parking garage in Motown these days. Or maybe we could just substitute “publicly” for reporting and “privately” for reportorial creative license.

“And while York has said publicly that he views the [Ford] family’s continued ownership as a source of stability in a turbulent industry, Tracinda has privately maintained that it represents a serious impediment to the kind of collaborations with other automakers it wanted to see explored.” You see, “Ford family members have been wary of Kerkorian’s intentions since he first began buying up shares. That contributed to the cool reception Ford gave his offer to inject additional cash into the automaker, which has lost nearly $24 billion since the end of 2005.” Which Ford family members? Oh right, they probably spoke to Bryce G, Hoffman “privately.” Sorry for asking.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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2 of 6 comments
  • Bancho Bancho on Oct 22, 2008

    Mr. Kerkorian looks exactly like "The Grinch". It's a little creepy...

  • 4runner 4runner on Oct 22, 2008

    Does anyone think this was done for tax purposes? I'm a little fuzzy regarding the law in this area, but a loss due to a decline in stock price can't be written off as a loss for tax purposes until it is sold. Right?

  • Lorenzo A union in itself doesn't mean failure, collective bargaining would mean failure.
  • Ajla Why did pedestrian fatalities hit their nadir in 2009 and overall road fatalities hit their lowest since 1949 in 2011? Sedans were more popular back then but a lot of 300hp trucks and SUVs were on the road starting around 2000. And the sedans weren't getting smaller and slower either. The correlation between the the size and power of the fleet with more road deaths seems to be a more recent occurrence.
  • Jeff_M It's either a three on the tree OR it's an automatic. It ain't both.
  • Lorenzo I'm all in favor of using software and automation to BUILD cars, but keep that junk off my instrument panel, especially the software enabled interactive junk. Just give me the knobs and switches so I can control the vehicle, with no interconnectivity of any kind.
  • MaintenanceCosts Modern cars detach people from their speed too much. The combination of tall ride height, super-effective sound insulation, massive power, and electronic aids makes people quite unaware of just how much kinetic energy is nominally under their control while they watch a movie on their phone with one hand and eat a Quarter Pounder with the other. I think that is the primary reason we are seeing an uptick in speed-related fatalities, especially among people NOT in cars.With that said, I don't think Americans have proven responsible enough to have unlimited speed in cars. Although I'd hate it, I still would support limiters that kick in at 10 over in the city and 20 over on the freeway, because I think they would save more than enough lives to be worth the pain.