New Emails Reveal The Chrysler-Fiat Forced Marriage

steverattner serious tbi

The government-assisted merger of Chrysler and Fiat is almost complete, as the final bondholder holdouts have until Monday to get some help from the Supreme Court (highly unlikely).

But yesterday evening, fresh emails were filed with the court that shows just how tense and perilous the whole merger process was.

The emails, posted by WSJ, show how Chrysler top executives were very leery about Fiat, and that getting help, information and technology from the Italian company was like pulling teeth. It also (kind of) shows the heavy-handed tactics of the administration. The Treasury kept pushing on despite Chrysler’s concerns about Fiat, and it was angry anytime Chrysler tried tackling programs without first consulting Treasury officials.

But the thing is: There’d be no Chrysler whatsoever without the administration. There was no hope of either a deal or a non-liquidation bankruptcy without massive government support, so any complaint of heavy-handedness has to be considered in that context.

(That being said, that this was obviously such a forced, shotgun marriage between two parties that don’t seem to particularly trust each other, does not augur well)

In another email that will get play, a Treasury official calls Thomas Lauria, the bankruptcy lawyer for the hedge fund holdouts a “terrorist” — a word choice that gets attributed to the heat of a tense negotation. Frankly, that answer is pretty satisfying to us. We assume he’s fine, but if it really bothered him, he should grow up.

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