Kerkorian also sent a letter to Ghosn and to Louis Schweitzer, Renault chairman.
In a statement, GM responded: "The Tracinda request will be taken under advisement by the GM Board of Directors. At this time, we have no further comment." Renault and Nissan declined comment.
But Ghosn expressed interest in acquiring a minority stake of up to 20 percent in GM at a dinner with Kerkorian about 10 days ago, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday, according to Reuters.
The source said the dinner took place in Nashville, Tenn., the home of Nissan's new U.S. headquarters. Ghosn expressed interest in acquiring a stake of up to 10 percent each for Nissan and Renault, the person said.
Renault said on Friday that the Renault-Nissan alliance was an open partnership, which could be expanded further with the "appropriate partners."
Renault said in a statement that Ghosn was approached by Kerkorian, Kerkorian's representative on GM's board, Jerry York, and representatives of Tracinda to "assess the merits of GM joining the Renault Nissan alliance"
"At this point it is necessary that GM board and top management fully support this project in order to start the study of this opportunity after agreement of Renault and Nissan boards," it added.
DaimlerChrysler AG Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche on Friday said it was uncertain that the proposed tie-up would happen.
Zetsche, speaking to reporters at Chrysler's headquarters, questioned Kerkorian's motive in making the proposal public, which triggered a sharp rise in GM shares on Friday.
"Sometimes the news in itself is already the purpose not necessarily leading to a result," Zetsche said. "Consolidation is one theme in mature industries. I would stay put and listen for further developments."
The proposal shocked analysts and investors and opened up the prospect of a cash infusion for GM, which has been facing heavy labor costs and declining market share in the United States as it undertakes a massive restructuring. The world's largest automaker lost $10.6 billion in 2005.
Such a partnership also promises future cost savings on product development and a closer association with Ghosn, who is credited with driving Nissan's turnaround and now heads the Japanese automaker and Renault, which is based in France.
David Kudla, chief executive of Mainstay Capital Management, said the partnership could provide GM with $3 billion dollar in cash and a "potentially rewarding" strategic alliance.
Others were uncertain about the prospect of the success of the proposal, but said it demonstrated the activism of Kerkorian.
"I would call this a surprise," said Standard & Poor's equity analyst Efraim Levy. "This wasn't widely considered. Even if it isn't adopted, it shows that Kerkorian is pushing his ideas."
Since January, GM has followed a number of board member York's suggestions, including moves to cut executive pay and reduce GM's dividend.
GM shares rose 6.6 percent to $29.26 on the New York Stock Exchange, easing from a gain of 11 percent before trading opened.
The automaker is in the middle of a sweeping turnaround that includes slashing 30,000 jobs and closing 12 plants.
The letter comes after a quarter in which investors were growing more optimistic about GM's cost-cutting efforts.
Nicknamed "Le Cost Killer," Ghosn is credited with the turnaround of Nissan, which went from being billions of dollars in debt in 1999 to becoming profitable in 2001.
But Nissan's share price has fallen 20 percent since May, as the automaker has cut its sales targets for Japan and said first-half financial results will decline.
Nissan earlier this month cut production at two of its four final-assembly plants in Japan in response to an 18 percent decline in sales.
Reuters contributed to this report.
You may e-mail Jamie LaReau at [email protected]
You may e-mail Dave Guilford at [email protected]