More tales from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court crypt. A shadowy investment outfit has approached Chrysler LLC about buying enough pieces of the company to launch an automaker of its own.
Benstar-Saturn Enterprises Ltd. is interested in acquiring several factories, some vehicle and engine designs, and a network of dealers, according to a document filed as part of Chrysler's Chapter 11 proceedings.
The group wants to own the Conner Avenue factory in Detroit, which builds the Dodge Viper, as well as Chrysler's Sterling Heights, Mich., and St. Louis assembly plants. Those factories produce the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger sedans and Dodge Ram pickup.
Benstar-Saturn also wants the Kenosha, Wis., engine plant and the Twinsburg, Ohio, stamping plant, eight Chrysler engine platforms and "certain vehicle platforms." It also would like 350 to 450 U.S. dealers and 80 to 175 Canadian dealers.
The group offered to pay Chrysler in noninterest-bearing notes convertible into 20 senior preferred shares of Benstar-Saturn with a notional value of $850 million. The document said those preferred shares would pay a "$17 million annual dividend."
Oh, and there is another request. Benstar-Saturn wants Chrysler to supply $359 million in funding for working capital and other costs at closing.
The group last surfaced in 2007 when it expressed interest in buying the Italian airline Alitalia.
The Web site of Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera describes Benstar-Saturn as an investment company based in the Virgin Islands.