Nov 25 (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC expects to set a pricerange for its initial public offering as early as this week toraise $1.5 billion to $2 billion, the Wall Street Journalreported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The U.S. automaker expects to complete the offering in thefirst half of December in an effort to beat the IPO marketslowdown around the holidays, the Journal said. ()
Reuters reported last week that Chrysler had added fourbanks to help underwrite the IPO and that the automaker waslooking to launch the deal as soon as early December.
Chrysler, which is majority owned by Italian automaker FiatSpA, filed paperwork to go public in late Septemberafter Fiat was unable to reach a buyout deal with Chrysler'ssecond-largest shareholder, a retiree healthcare trustaffiliated with the United Auto Workers union.
Fiat, which owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler, wants to takefull control and buy out the rest of the stock owned by thetrust, a voluntary employee beneficiary association (VEBA), buthas balked at the more than $5 billion being demanded.
In response, the trust exercised a right enshrined inChrysler's 2009 government-financed bankruptcy to go forwardwith an initial public offering, stepping up pressure on SergioMarchionne, chief executive of both automakers, to reach a deal.
The expected price range would imply a total value forChrysler of between $9 billion and $12 billion, based on the16.6 percent stake that the trust has demanded the companyregister for the IPO, the Journal said.
At the proposed IPO price, the trust's stake will be valuedat between $3.7 billion and $5 billion. It had valued itsownership stake in Chrysler at $3.6 billion at the end of 2012,according to a filing with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Chrysler and Fiat could not immediately be reached forcomment outside of regular U.S. business hours.
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