Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler

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9780060934484: Taken for a Ride: How Daimler-Benz Drove Off With Chrysler
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Here is the book that exposed the Daimler-Chrysler "merger of equals" as a bold German takeover of an industrial icon. Taken for a Ride reveals the shock waves felt around the world when Daimler-Benz bought Chrysler for $36 billion in 1998. In a gripping narrative, Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz go behind the scenes of the defining corporate drama of the decade -- and in a new epilogue chart its chaotic aftermath.

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Review:

It all started with a misunderstanding. Kirk Kerkorian, the Las Vegas wheeler-dealer, thought Chrysler's management would back him up if he tried to take the company private. Chrysler's management thought they'd made it clear they had no interest in such a deal. As the two sides faced off--Kerkorian and legendary Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca on one side, current Chrysler boss Bob Eaton and his top executives on the other--Mercedes-Benz CEO Helmut Werner stepped in. The result is the company now known as DaimlerChrysler. But Vlasic and Stertz make clear no one really knows the result of the deal. It's far too early to tell if blending the manufacturer of sleek German luxury sedans with the Detroit-based progenitor of the minivan will succeed in the global marketplace. Instead, they show in riveting detail how the deal came to be, and the immediate aftermath. They give us private moments with the major players and show us the multilayered considerations that crop up when two gigantic companies merge. Another book will have to judge the ultimate success of the merger, but the immediate results aren't exactly promising. By late 1999, a share of the original Chrysler was worth a few pennies less than it had been before the merger was announced, and only about a dollar more than before Kerkorian made his move back in April 1995. --Lou Schuler

From the Inside Flap:

It was the deal heard round the world. In May 1998, a stunning $36 billion merger was announced by Chrysler, the all-American automaker, and Daimler-Benz, the German manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz luxury sedans. The Wall Street Journal christened the deal "the biggest industrial merger of all time." The marriage of Daimler and Chrysler promised to rock the global auto industry and draw up a blueprint for international consolidation on an epic scale.
But the union of Chrysler, the blue-collar maker of Jeeps and minivans, with Daimler, the crown jewel of German industry, didn't turn out to be a merger made in heaven. When the dust settled, Daimler had bought Chrysler, and the shock waves reverberated on both sides of the Atlantic. An American icon lost its independence, and a German giant grew in power and influence.
The DaimlerChrysler deal brought together two automotive superpowers and triggered a chain reaction among competitors seeking partners around the world. In a gripping narrative ripped from the daily headlines, Bill Vlasic and Bradley A. Stertz of the Detroit News go behind the scenes of the defining corporate drama of the decade. With groundbreaking reporting, they reveal the untold story behind the unsuccessful attempt to take over Chrysler by its biggest shareholder, the reclusive billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, and its legendary retired, Lee Iacocca. Their startling grab for the smallest of Detroit's Big Three automakers sparked secret talks between Chrysler and Daimler on a massive joint venture. The first deal collapsed, but it set the stage for the final intense negotiations between Chrysler chairman Robert Eaton and Daimler chairman Jürgen Schrempp. It was hailed as a historic "merger of equals", but the euphoria evaporated amid a clash of cultures, identities, and personalities.
The action moves feverishly around the world with larger-than-life characters in the high-stakes arena of international automaking. Taken for a Ride follows the twists and turns in the road to DaimlerChrysler and, in the end, emerges as a cautionary tale of the risks and rewards of going global.

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