GM offer for Chrysler sparked public talk of sale

General Motors Corp. offered to buy Chrysler Group in late January, prompting DaimlerChrysler AG to publicly discuss idea of selling its struggling U.S. arm, according to a report published Monday.

The offer from the world's largest automaker remains on the table, but GM is a long-shot candidate to buy Chrysler, The Detroit News reported, citing people familiar with the situation that it didn't name.

The offer initially was rejected by DaimlerChrysler for being too low, the newspaper said.

It said GM offered to give DaimlerChrysler a minority stake in GM stock of less than 10 percent. And the newspaper said the proposal called for DaimlerChrysler to pay GM more than $1 billion (EUR750 million) to defray Chrysler's health care costs, and then team up with GM to seek financial concessions for Chrysler from the United Auto Workers.

DaimlerChrysler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche first publicly floated the idea of a Chrysler sale. On Feb. 14, he said that all options were open for the U.S. operations, and he would not rule out a sale.

Shares of DaimlerChrysler pushed to a new 52-week high on Friday as speculation swirled that Canadian auto supplier Magna International Inc. and a private equity partner would bid for Chrysler.

Investors, markets, employees and suppliers have been itching to find out who will buy Auburn Hills-based Chrysler. There have been constant rumors that one suitor or the other will soon make a multibillion dollar bid, reports AP.

Chrysler spokesman Mike Aberlich had no comment on the report, and a message seeking comment was left with GM spokesman Tony Cervone.

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