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.”