Ford to remain neutral on Kerkorian offer

Kirk Kerkorian
DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. said today that its board of directors won’t take a stance on billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s offer to buy just under 1 percent of the automaker’s stock at $8.50 a share.

The board cited a statement in a regulatory filing this month by Kerkorian’s company, Tracinda Corp., that Tracinda was making the purchase because it saw Ford as an attractive investment and wouldn’t try to “acquire or influence control over the business of Ford.”

Ford’s board also said that Ford determined “after making reasonable inquiry” that no Ford directors or officers were planning to sell their stock to Tracinda.

Tracinda already owns 100 million shares of Ford stock. If the tender offer succeeds, Tracinda’s stake would grow to 5.5 percent of outstanding shares.

Ford shares were trading at $7.30 – down 6.5 percent -- as of 10:01 a.m. EDT. The company today announced major cuts in production and said it would only post a breakeven year in 2009.

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