Autobytel tries again with IPO
IRVINE, Calif. - In a second attempt to go public, Autobytel.com Inc. plans to sell 25 percent of the company for $72 million through an initial public offering. Autobytel.com plans to offer 4.5 million shares of stock at $16 per share, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. If the offering is fully subscribed, the company would have 17.9 million shares outstanding. Autobytel.com, an online buying service, filed plans to sell stock to the public in January 1997, but put those plans on hold when markets soured.
D/C UNITS MERGE
BERLIN - DaimlerChrysler AG will merge its financial services units. In North America, Mercedes-Benz Credit Corp. will combine with Chrysler Financial Co. to form DaimlerChrysler Financial Services North America. The North American company and German-based Finanzdienstleistungs GmbH will be folded into the global holding company, DaimlerChrysler Services (debis) AG, headquartered in Berlin.
With an $81 billion portfolio, the combined company will be the fourth-largest nonbank financial company in the world, behind those of General Electric Corp., General Motors and Ford Motor Co.
BIRD FLIES TO FORD
LONDON - Ford Motor Co. has appointed Audi's Chris Bird its European design chief. He replaces Claude Lobo as director of design at Ford's small-and medium-vehicle center in Merkenich, Germany. Lobo, 55, known as the creator of Ford's first 'new edge' production car, the Ka, is retiring. In 1995, Bird became a chief designer at Audi and played a key role in developing Audi's current look.
CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. - Asbury Automotive Group is buying Damerow Beaverton Ford in Beaverton, Ore. Damerow, formerly owned by George Francis and his son, John, had sales of $175 million in 1998. John Francis will stay as general manager. Asbury Oregon Automotive was created last May when Asbury Automotive acquired 51 percent of Thomason Auto Group of Portland, Ore. Including Damerow, Asbury's 1998 revenues were $3.2 billion. Asbury is based in Conshohocken.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. will buy $2.3 million worth of fuel cells and equipment from Ballard Power Systems of Vancouver. Nissan plans to use the cells to research the viability of electric vehicles powered by fuel cells.