DETROIT -- Don't bother looking for a shadowy figure whispering into billionaire Kirk Kerkorian's ear as he buys up General Motors stock.
There isn't one, says Kerkorian's lawyer, Terry Christensen. Kerkorian's proposed $870 million stock acquisition is his own idea -- and his own money. Christensen says he intends to pay for the deal with cash.
Kerkorian has a small number of people he consults with on investments, Christensen says. But Tracinda is not working on the deal with any investment bankers and is not talking to any GM insiders.
"We would have loved to have talked to some seasoned sage on GM, but we haven't," says Christensen, attorney for Kerkorian's private investment firm, Tracinda Corp.
Kerkorian's lone-wolf style has left Wall Street guessing about his next move. Last week, Christensen said his boss intends to be a passive investor, and does not plan to parlay his eventual 8.8 percent share of GM's stock into a takeover or breakup of the company.
But Wall Street speculates that his real target is General Motors Acceptance Corp.
Several industry analysts suggest that GM's captive finance operation could be sold for a tidy profit. Analysts estimate GMAC alone could be worth $20 billion if sold in its entirety. By comparison, the market value of GM's stock is only $18.5 billion.