Cerberos Wishes to Acquire Daimler’s Stake in Chrysler

24 09 2008

Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler last year, is seeking to buy the 19.9 percent of the struggling American car maker it does not already own from Germany’s Daimler.

If completed, a deal would see Daimler finally shed its remaining holdings in Chrysler, erasing the remnants of the ill-fated marriage between the maker of Mercedes-Benz and the maker of the Jeep and Dodge brands.

The news was first reported by Manager Magazin, a German magazine. Cerberus, which confirmed the news, did not give a timeline or a value for the stake.

Cerberus has labored to turn around Chrysler, which has been struggling the most of the big three Detroit car makers amid higher gas prices and a shift by American consumers toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Daimler’s decision to explore selling its stake marks something of an about-face for its chief executive, Dieter Zetsche. In August 2007, shortly after the sale of Chrysler to Cerberus took place, he said his company had “no intention whatsoever” to divest its Chrysler stake.

Mr. Zetsche, who ran Chrysler from 2000 to 2005, said at the time, “We have two main interests, one being a successful future for Chrysler and the other being the continuation of close cooperation where it makes sense. Both can be supported by this stake.”





Cerberos Wishes to Acquire Daimler’s Stake in Chrysler

24 09 2008

Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity firm that acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler last year, is seeking to buy the 19.9 percent of the struggling American car maker it does not already own from Germany’s Daimler.

If completed, a deal would see Daimler finally shed its remaining holdings in Chrysler, erasing the remnants of the ill-fated marriage between the maker of Mercedes-Benz and the maker of the Jeep and Dodge brands.

The news was first reported by Manager Magazin, a German magazine. Cerberus, which confirmed the news, did not give a timeline or a value for the stake.

Cerberus has labored to turn around Chrysler, which has been struggling the most of the big three Detroit car makers amid higher gas prices and a shift by American consumers toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Daimler’s decision to explore selling its stake marks something of an about-face for its chief executive, Dieter Zetsche. In August 2007, shortly after the sale of Chrysler to Cerberus took place, he said his company had “no intention whatsoever” to divest its Chrysler stake.

Mr. Zetsche, who ran Chrysler from 2000 to 2005, said at the time, “We have two main interests, one being a successful future for Chrysler and the other being the continuation of close cooperation where it makes sense. Both can be supported by this stake.”





Volvo vs. Locusts

18 09 2008

Volvo is determined to build an injury-proof car by 2020, and the engineers working out the bugs developing so complex a vehicle hope to include a few as well. They’re studying the African locust to figure out how to make cars mimic the insect’s uncanny ability to avoid crashing into each other as they swarm.

The goal is to incorporate the African locust’s “sensory-input routing methodologies” in a car, making it smart enough to avoid hitting people. “If we could trace how the locust is able to avoid each other, maybe we could program our cars not to hit pedestrians,” says Jonas Ekmark, Volvo’s director of preventative safety.

The way Volvo sees it, there’s no difference between millions of locusts swarming across Africa and millions of people commuting to work each morning. If the bugs can avoid hitting each other, they ask, why can’t we?

“Locusts are quick-reacting and have reliable circuits, they do their computations against lots of background chatter, much like driving around town,” says Dr. Claire Rind, a researcher at the University of Newcastle in London who turned Volvo on to the idea.

Rind’s research at the Insect Vision Laboratory focuses on the behavioral patterns of locusts in flight and how it is that millions of them can swarm without hitting each other. Turns out the bugs’ visual input is transmitted directly to their wings, seemingly bypassing the brain in what Rind calls the Locust Principle. Volvo engineers first heard of Rind’s work in 2002 and set to work trying to adapt the Locust Principle to cars.

The work hinged on developing an algorithm that would mimic the insect’s ability to send visual stimuli directly to its wings, then applying it to a vehicle’s computerized safety features. Easier said than done. “As it turns out, the locust processing system is much more sophisticated than the hardware and software currently available,” Ekmark says. “In the end, technology was no match for nature.”

So for now the score remains Locusts 1, Volvo 0. But Volvo isn’t giving up. “We still have many years of research ahead to bring that small locust brain into our cars,” Ekmark says. “We have found a lowly locust has man beat, at least for now.”





Untitled

7 09 2008

Police are trying to track down a man filmed riding a skateboard down a steep stretch of south German motorway at 100 km an hour (62 mph), far above the speed limit.

They believe the man who raced down the Ulm-Stuttgart motorway for three km (two miles) before he stopped and fled was a professional stuntman, Goeppingen police spokesman Uli Stoeckle said.

A video of the skateboarder, broadcast on German television networks on Wednesday, showed a helmeted figure wearing a red and white protective suit building up speed by holding onto the back of a motorcycle before letting go and freewheeling.

“We put out an all-points bulletin and have received information that gives us useful clues to who the man may be,” Stoeckle said. “We are particularly concerned about copycats who may imitate the stunt, putting their lives at risk.”

The film clips show several cars escorting the skateboarder, enabling his collaborators to record the event. The clips have since surfaced on Internet websites.

The German magazine Stern said the mystery man is known in skateboarding circles as a professional stuntman and takes part in international downhill skateboarding competitions.

Stoeckle said the man faces charges for interfering with traffic safety and endangering motorists, and would lose his driver’s license and face a “substantial fine.” He denied media reports the skateboarder would face a one-year jail sentence.

There are no speed limits on German motorways but there are restrictions on many sections, especially steep and dangerous stretches. The section the skateboarder was using has an 80 km an hour (50 mph) speed limit.

Why will they take away the driver’s license of a man who wasn’t speeding in a motor vehicle?





Carmelo Anthony Suspended For DUI

24 06 2008

The Denver Nuggets suspended NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony for the first two games of next season as punishment for his April arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

The announcement by the team Monday comes a day before he is scheduled to enter a plea in the case. Anthony was also named to the U.S. Olympic team Monday.

Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien said in a written statement the team will continue to support Anthony as he “strives to live up to the high expectations” set by the Nuggets and by Anthony.

Warkentien also said in the statement the team takes “drinking and driving very seriously” and that they will continue to handle the matter internally and will not comment further.

Anthony was arrested April 14 on Interstate 25. Police said Anthony was weaving and not dimming his lights when he was pulled over. He was driving alone at the time.

Police also said Anthony failed a series of sobriety tests. Following his arrest, Anthony apologized to his team and his fans and said his behavior was “truly and totally unacceptable.”

“I’m here to man up to my mistake, just to let you know that I’m truly sorry for what happened and everything that’s going on,” Anthony said then.

Three weeks later, Anthony was ticketed for driving 60 mph in a 45-mph zone. The 24-year-old paid a $130 fine on that case last week.

Anthony’s attorney, Dan Recht, did not immediately return a call after hours Monday.

Anthony was also suspended last season after his involvement in a brawl with the New York Knicks during a game at Madison Square Garden. In that case, he was suspended for 15 games after he punched Knicks guard Mardy Collins.

The Olympic selection is the second for Anthony, who also played for the U.S. in Athens in 2004.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.