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Cerberus denies selling stakes in Chrysler, GMAC

DETROIT -- A published report Monday saying Cerberus Capital Management LP has sold more than half its stake in Chrysler LLC and GMAC Financial Services is inaccurate, a spokesman for Cerberus told Automotive News.

“Nothing has changed,” the Cerberus spokesman said. “Cerberus hasn’t sold a nickel” of its investments.

Cerberus later released the following statement:

"Cerberus has not reduced or made any changes to its equity stakes in GMAC or Chrysler since the closing of either transaction. Cerberus continues to have voting control over both investments.

"It is common knowledge, and has been widely reported, that Cerberus made these investments side-by-side with its co-investors at the time of closing. Our commitment to these companies has not changed."

A senior Chrysler official also denied the report as it related to the automaker.

“Cerberus has not sold any equity in Chrysler,” said the company official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “There are always co-investors at the time of the transactions, so when they originally purchased 80.1 percent of Chrysler, there were co-investors at that time. They still own 80.1 percent.”

The Chrysler official declined further comment, referring inquiries to Cerberus. Likewise, a GMAC spokesman referred reporters to Cerberus.

The Financial Times reported today that Cerberus has sold "significantly" more than half its stake in Chrysler and GMAC to a group of about 90 investors.

“All of the co-investors came in at the time of the transaction,” the Cerberus spokesman said.

Cerberus last year acquired 80.1 percent of Chrysler from Daimler AG. In 2006, the New York investment fund bought 51 percent of GMAC from General Motors.

Cerberus has faced troubles with both deals. Like other major automakers, Chrysler has been hurt by the sharp downturn in U.S. auto sales and the shift from higher-margin trucks to small cars. Meanwhile, GMAC has suffered from losses at its mortgage financing unit, ResCap.

The Financial Times said that although Cerberus invested $7.4 billion in both transactions, it has since sold the majority of the equity to other investors, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation.

Cerberus earned fees of up to $1 billion for the sale of its holdings as it unloaded risk to other investors, the newspaper said.

Reuters contributed to this report

You can reach Bradford Wernle at bwernle@autonews.com

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