The World's Newest Automaker Is Nearly Here

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Shareholders have just changed the original agreement.

It's been nearly a year since Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced its intention to merge with French Groupe PSA. The combined automaker, called Stellantis, will be the world's fourth-largest and include numerous brands, among them Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat, Maserati, Peugeot, Opel, and Citroen. Both sides have been intent on making the deal happen regardless of some recent European regulatory concerns. And then the coronavirus pandemic struck and, like nearly everything else, brought the world to a temporary halt.

Fortunately, this won't destroy the agreement but a recent joint FCA and PSA announcement states that the boards of both companies have agreed to amend the combination agreement originally settled last December.

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The 50-50 balance will remain in place, but FCA shareholders have now agreed to receive a smaller dividend than originally planned. FCA will distribute $3.44 billion to shareholders instead of the previous $6.5 billion ahead of the merger. For its part, PSA will delay the distribution of its 46 percent stake in parts supplier Faurecia. This will happen once the deal is closed and all shareholders from both FCA and PSA will receive an equal 23 percent stake.

The boards of both automakers also agreed to consider a potential distribution of almost $594 million to each company's shareholders either before the merger, or a $1.2 billion distribution to be paid following the closing to all Stellantis shareholders.

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"Today's announcement is a further, strong signal of a common determination to ensure that Stellantis has all the resources it needs to apply its unique assets, its creative energies and many opportunities to the creation of superior value for all our stakeholders," said FCA chief executive Mike Manley. Assuming all goes to plan, this merger will finally be a done deal by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

"With this new decisive milestone, we are moving all together towards our goal in the best possible condition with even greater prospects for Stellantis," said PSA Chairman Carlos Tavares.

So, what could be one of the first global Stellantis models? Chances are Peugeot will finally re-enter the US market, only it'll likely be in the form of an all-new (and rebadged) Fiat 500X.

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