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GM, Chrysler merger talks back on

2008-12-18 13:51

General Motors and Chrysler have reopened merger talks, as Chrysler owner Cerberus Capital Management has signaled its willingness to give away part of its ownership in the auto maker, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the discussions.

With cash running low at both companies, Cerberus took the initiative to restart discussions that sputtered just weeks ago, the paper said.

The renewal of the talks could be a way for Cerberus to show Washington, which is weighing a $14 billion rescue package for the auto industry, that it wants to cooperate in restructuring the industry, the paper said, citing people familiar with the buyout firm's thinking.

The renewal could offer the firm a way to protect its stakes in two distressed auto-finance companies, GMAC LLC and Chrysler Financial, which are crucial to the survival of the Detroit auto makers, according to the paper.

GM and Chrysler could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

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