Roger Penske says he does not want to sell Detroit Diesel Corp. to DaimlerChrysler, and he is willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Last week, Penske offered to buy back the automaker's 20 percent share of his diesel engine business. Penske's statement came one day after a news report that DaimlerChrysler Chairman Juergen Schrempp had repeated an earlier offer to buy Detroit Diesel.
Penske's company supplies engines to DaimlerChrysler's Freightliner Corp. subsidiary and several DaimlerChrysler plants in Europe and Brazil. Sales to DaimlerChrysler totaled $729 million last year.
Schrempp first indicated DaimlerChrysler's interest in the Detroit-based heavy-duty engine supplier at a press conference held in Stuttgart, Germany, March 31.
Detroit Diesel vice chairman Tim Leuliette later denied the company was for sale.
Last week the Reuters news agency reported that Schrempp -who was in New York to discuss first-quarter earnings - again said he wanted to buy Detroit Diesel outright or sell off his company's share of it. Penske responded the next day with an offer to repurchase DaimlerChrysler's 20 percent interest in Detroit Diesel.
According to Detroit Diesel treasurer Daniel MacEnroe, Penske's statement was issued to 'clear the air' after the volley of conflicting statements.
'We're not comfortable with having these different positions being put out there that denote some uncertainty as to Daimler's position relative to Detroit Diesel,' he said. While a financial transaction may not be imminent, 'the direction we're going to pursue is the repurchase of those shares,' MacEnroe said.
DaimlerChrysler owns 4.9 million shares valued at $123 million.