Blackstone top Chrysler contender


AUBURN HILLS, Michigan, AP

Private equity firm the Blackstone Group has emerged as a leading contender to buy DaimlerChrysler AG’s struggling Chrysler unit, according to a report published Saturday. The Detroit News, citing unnamed people familiar with the Chrysler sale process, reported that Blackstone is moving forward with a detailed analysis of Chrysler’s finances and operations with an idea of making a formal bid. A message seeking comment was left Saturday with a spokesman for Chrysler, which has declined to comment on speculation about a possible sale. John Ford, a spokesman for New York-based Blackstone, said Saturday he was aware of the report but could not comment. The development is the latest in a series of reports that have surfaced since DaimlerChrysler Chairman Dieter Zetsche said Feb. 14 that all options are open for the money-losing Chrysler business and he would not rule out a possible sale. Among those that analysts say are exploring a purchase of the struggling company are General Motors Corp. plus four private equity firms, including Blackstone, Apollo Management LP, the Carlyle Group and Cerberus Capital Management LP.