It took four years of legal wrangling and mudslinging and sucked tens of millions of dollars out of the company, but in the end U.S. District Judge Joseph Farnan Jr. ruled in favor of DaimlerChrysler and against billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian.
No one who was paying attention would have believed DaimlerChrysler was created by a merger of equals, so you have to wonder why Kerkorian claimed he was duped by Daimler-Benz AG CEO Juergen Schrempp into believing that it was.
Did Schrempp pull a fast one?
Should Kerkorian have known what was happening?
It's over and done and now. DaimlerChrysler must move on and move on quickly.
So what happens now?
It's time to get on with the marriage.
The union isn't perfect yet, but it is becoming like a two-paycheck marriage where one spouse then the other has been the dominant breadwinner. First it was Daimler, when Chrysler was broken. Now it's Chrysler.
The money the lawyers pocketed could have been put to better use. The legal fees weren't a large part of DaimlerChrysler's budget, but the money could have spent on something that's really needed, like say improving Mercedes-Benz quality.
And there is no way to figure out how much of the company's attention was diverted from pressing operational needs, like say fixing Mercedes-Benz quality.
Like so many quickie marriages that start with affection and a torrent of passion, this one has been a little rocky since the honeymoon. But in today's auto environment, few would argue that DaimlerChrysler ought to end up in divorce court, because they'd both have to start dating again in a hurry.
And that would be really expensive.
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