Bailout Watch 424: Cerberus, TELL US WHO OWNS CHRYSLER

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bailout watch 424 cerberus tell us who owns chrysler

In a Letter to the Editor in today’s New York Times, Cerberus CEO Mark Neporent fights back against the widely-held opinion regarding his employer’s relationship with Chrysler: you bought it, you pay for it. And yet, the CEO refuses to divulge the “retirement plans, charitable and educational endowments and individuals” who’ve invested in Chrysler, who he claims to be protecting (with our money). Until Cerberus names names, the equity firm’s insistence that taxpayers should be on the hook for their mismanagement of a dying car brand lacks any hint of credibility. And man, does it piss me off.

Why Can’t Cerberus Foot the Bill?” (editorial, Feb. 23) imposes an unfair double standard by suggesting that Chrysler’s shareholders should be treated differently from the shareholders of General Motors or Ford.

Cerberus’s investors are pension and retirement plans, charitable and educational endowments and individual family savings. Our investment guidelines limit the amount of capital committed to any single investment.

The Times has devoted countless articles to the criticism of excessive risk-taking by money managers. Yet in the case of Chrysler, it blithely opines that Cerberus should be “more pliant” and break rules intended specifically to control risk.

Why should these retirees, universities and charities, simply because they are represented by a private investment manager, be required to take additional risks or make additional investments, when G.M. or Ford shareholders are not?

Cerberus has already stepped up to the plate. After acquiring Chrysler, we immediately brought in a new world-class management team, which despite your criticism has executed many of the hard operational fixes that other American car companies are only now addressing.

To assist the administration in the restructuring of Chrysler, we agreed to give up our equity stake in Chrysler Automotive, convert debt to equity and subordinate $2 billion of other interests to the government’s financing. Cerberus is and remains fully committed to help create a sustainable future for Chrysler.

Mark A. Neporent

Chief Operating Officer

and General Counsel

Cerberus Capital Management

New York, Feb. 26, 2009

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2 of 23 comments
  • ConejoZing ConejoZing on Mar 03, 2009

    LOL. Having taxpayers foot the bill ... without telling who is actually obtaining the (huge amounts of government) money. Ah, this is almost worse than GM.

  • VIKING VIKING on May 01, 2009

    Really that is the thing. We want to know who, and yes it matters. It is painfully obvious that some group or individual has gone to great lengths to keep the majority owners of this company unknown to the general public; this has always bothered me, not just when they where in financial trouble. Frankly there are some "groups" or what have you that John Q. American would say, "go to h*LL" if they asked for help in this situation. It seems to me that all this dancing around it, shows we would not want to help if we knew who they were. Spin all you want but it seems "Cherberus" is pretty self conscience about who they are. Baring any other info the popular opinion on this will be no bail out, now weather anyone cares what we think enough to really represent us is yet another problem.

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