The rumors circulating yesterday about Kirk Kekorian selling the remains of his stake in General Motors have now more or less been confirmed. Yesterday afternoon, when large blocks of the shares started hitting the market, people started to guess that Captain Kirk was beaming himself of off Planet General Motors. His attempts to install new leadership had been thwarted earlier, his red-shirted lieutenant had left the company's board and Kerkorian seemed focused on other areas.
Now the Wall Street Journal quotes a "person close to the matter"--probably someone who works for Kerkorian talking off the record--confirming the sale.
Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian abruptly unloaded his entire stake in General Motors Corp., walking away with a modest profit but essentially conceding defeat in his aggressive 20-month effort to reshape the world's largest auto maker.
A person close to the matter said Mr. Kerkorian, only recently GM's largest individual investor with a 9.9% stake, had sold his last 28 million shares yesterday, nearly two months after his closest aide had quit GM's board. The exit removed for now a threat to GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner, who had come under pressure from Mr. Kerkorian's top representative for moving too slowly to fix deep-seated problems such as high employee costs, declining car sales and overlapping brands.
Of course, the stock of GM has been pounded down recently and probably will continue to drop. DealBreaker's rumor-mongering, paranoid friend--who we'll stress has about as much access to Kerkorian's inner thoughts as George Bush has to a path to victory in Iraq--wonders if all this isn't a plot by Kerkorian to buy his way back in on a lower cost basis and after GM CEO Rick Wagoner has been humiliated by bottomed out stock prices.
Activist Kerkorian Moves To Unload Entire GM Stake [Wall Street Journal]