Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne said Monday that he would prefer to boost Fiat's shareholding in Chrysler via direct purchases from a union retirement fund rather than letting Chrysler first go public.
With Fiat (IW 1000/48) angling to increase its control of Chrysler from the current 65%, Marchionne said the push for an IPO by the United Auto Workers union retiree health benefits fund, which holds 16.6%, was a possible option.
But asked if preferred to buy the shares directly from the fund, known as VEBA, rather than from the market after an initial public offering, Marchionne replied: "Ideally yes, if the price is in line with what we think is right."
But last week VEBA pressed Chrysler to first undertake a public offering of its shares, after Fiat offered $198 million for another 3.3%.
"I understand fully that they need to see their position monetized. You know, we'll try and get them a way to get there," he said.
Ultimately Fiat's goal is a complete fusion of its own business with Chrysler's by 2015, but Marchionne believes an IPO could complicate that.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013