Monday, April 28, 2008

American Automaker going to make a turnaround?

Fortune.com reports that billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian is taking a larger stake in Ford....

Kerkorian to boost Ford stake to 5.6%

Ford (F) jumped after billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. said it would tender for 20 million Ford shares at $8.50 apiece, a 13% premium to Friday’s close. Kerkorian, who already owns 4.7% of Ford, has a long history of auto investments: He bought into Chrysler’s turnaround in the mid-1990s and later backed the automaker’s sale to Daimler (DAI) in a merger that was unwound last year after years of subpar results. His decision to boost his Ford stake to 5.6% reflects his confidence in the efforts of Ford chief Alan Mulally to put the automaker on firmer footing. Ford swung to a surprising $100 million first-quarter profit last week, as Mulally’s cost-cutting efforts began to bear fruit.

“Tracinda has been following Ford closely since the company released its fourth quarter 2007 results which indicated that Ford’s management was starting to achieve highly meaningful traction in its turnaround efforts,” Tracinda’s press release read. “Last week this was reinforced by Ford’s first quarter 2008 results, achieved despite the difficult U.S. economic environment. Tracinda believes that Ford management under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally will continue to show significant improvements in its results going forward.”

Ford shares rose 10% in early trading Monday, jumping 75 cents to $8.25.

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