Backing for Kerkorian bid is absent

April 20, 1995|By New York Times News Service

One of the few legs of credibility supporting Kirk Kerkorian's $22.8 billion bid for Chrysler Corp. was knocked out yesterday.

Bear, Stearns & Co., the securities firm that had been widely expected to serve as Mr. Kerkorian's investment banker on the deal, has decided not to represent him -- or any other bidder -- in a hostile takeover of the automobile company, Chrysler executives and others involved in the deal said yesterday.

While Mr. Kerkorian may still find advisers on Wall Street, Bear, Stearns' decision will certainly appear as a stumble. And that could well rob Mr. Kerkorian of crucially needed momentum.

Michael Claes, a spokesman for Tracinda Corp., Mr. Kerkorian's company in Las Vegas, Nev., played down Bear, Stearns' decision, saying that the informal relationship with Bear, Stearns would continue.

Still, in most successful hostile takeovers, a bidder usually arrives at the least with Wall Street representation and often with full financing. Mr. Kerkorian has neither.

Also yesterday, dealers for the company said in a statement that they rejected the idea of a buyout. That came one day after the United Automobile Workers union said that they would work with the management to thwart Mr. Kerkorian.

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