Is his plan too little too late?
The proposed $38 billion merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and French Groupe PSA passed its final regulatory hurdle just over a week ago and is now on course to become the world's fourth-largest automaker. The transaction's final approval is due to happen on January 4, 2021 and the final agreement will be signed no later than March 31, 2021. The newly combined automaker, Stellantis, will include all of FCA's brands including Jeep, Ram, Fiat, and Chrysler as well as Peugeot, Citroen, and Opel. But not everyone is pleased with what's happening.
The great-grandson of Chrysler Corporation found Walter P. Chrysler, Frank B. Rhodes, Jr., sent a request on December 24 to FCA to consider his merger plan alternative. In short, he doesn't like the idea of his great-grandfather's company becoming a multi-nationally-owned corporation.
"This alternative proposal is in my opinion superior to the planned merger and would result in the return to the United States of the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram brands and away from the proposed Chinese, and foreign control as proposed in the Merger," he said.
Rhodes specifically wants to change the name of the company to Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Corporation and have its headquarters located in the US, but will still keep the London-based European headquarters. To further sweeten the deal, he also proposes for existing management and all employees to receive a retention bonus based on tenure. Stockholders would also receive rights to acquire shares if the proposed company were to go public at some point. All existing debts should be paid off as well.
"The plans should be to grow through add-on acquisitions and create a vertically integrated manufacturer through carefully planned acquisitions of both OEMs and suppliers but also through acquisitions of transportation-related businesses," added Mr. Rhodes.
He also filed an objection to the proposed Stellantis merger with the Committee of Foreign Investment in the US. And has reached out to US Senators to convince them the merger isn't a good thing for America, specifically future profits and technologies. It's worth bearing in mind one of the reasons FCA wants to merge with PSA is because it's lagging behind in EV development and related platforms. PSA, obviously, wants access to highly profitable vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500. Mr. Rhodes' last-minute proposal, needless to say, stands no chance of succeeding.