The Bev Hills billionaire wants to boost his stake in the car company from 4.7 percent to 5.5 percent. That follows an unsuccessful effort last year to bid on Ford's Jaguar and Land Rover divisions. Tracinda Corp., which is Kerkorian's investment arm, said in a filing today that it may "from time to time, propose business strategies and, subsequent to the expiration of the offer, acquire additional shares.” Hmmm. In 1995, he made an unsuccessful bid to take over Chrysler and more recently he became the largest individual shareholder in GM before pulling out when the board rejected his suggestion for a linkup with Nissan and Renault. So what's up with Ford? The Tracinda filing says there's no "present intent to acquire or influence control over the business of Ford.” Hmmm. The filing does offer the backstory on how Kerkorian's right-hand man, Jerry York, got hooked up with Ford CEO Alan Mulally and CFO Don Leclair. The three met on April 4 at Mulally’s office in Dearborn. Here's a Bloomberg story and below is a summary of the meetings, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press (note the mention of Century City attorney Terry Christensen, who has been indicted in the Pellicano case).
They discussed various topics, including the automobile industry and the credit crisis. No material non-public information regarding Ford was provided to York. During the meeting, York informed Mulally and Leclair that Tracinda had an interest in investing in Ford. On April 26-27, York had various communications with Leclair, in which York requested a meeting with Mulally or Leclair on Sunday, April 27, or Monday, April 28. After having been informed that neither Mulally nor Leclair would be available to meet, York informed Leclair on Sunday evening that Tracinda had purchased 100 million shares of Ford common stock and planned to issue a press release on April 28, announcing its intention to commence a tender offer for an additional 20 million shares.
During that Sunday evening call, York read the portion of Tracinda’s press release dealing with Tracinda’s assessment of Ford to Leclair. On Friday, May 2, York contacted Leclair, via telephone and e-mail, to apologize for off-the-cuff remarks about Volvo and Mercury made by him during an interview with “Automotive News” regarding General Motors. York reiterated his and Tracinda’s belief in Ford management and admiration for their accomplishments. On Tuesday, May 6, Terry Christensen, an attorney for Tracinda, received a telephone call from Bill Ford, in which a possible future meeting of representatives of Ford and Tracinda was discussed. On Thursday, May 8, 2008, representatives of Tracinda informed representatives of Ford that Tracinda planned to commence the tender offer on Friday, May 9, 2008.