Fiat Chrysler’s Great Wall interest seen as leverage to attract other suitors

21 August 2017 - 12:00 am UTC

Fiat Chrysler [BIT:FCA / NYSE:FCAU] could use Great Wall Motor Company‘s [HKG:2333 / SHA:601633] interest in the company’s Jeep brand as a bargaining chip to bring other suitors to the table, two shareholders and a sector banker said.

Possible political opposition in the US to a Chinese takeover of the automaker’s Jeep brand could make Fiat Chrysler (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne’s stated goal of a full-company sale more likely to occur with another buyer, one of the shareholders said.

On 21 August, Great Wall Motors confirmed press reports that it intends to bid on Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand, but noted it had not made “concrete progress” to do so. The Chinese automaker also said it is contacting Fiat about the bid; a day earlier the Italian-American company said it had yet to receive an approach from Great Wall. FCA did not return a request for comment for this article.

Despite Great Wall’s intent to bid, a Jeep divest is unlikely given the brand’s value relative to the rest of FCA’s portfolio. Selling Jeep alone is likely not FCA’s preferred option because it is the company’s most valuable brand, the sector banker said.

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