Kerkorian Bets Big on Ford Turnaround

Investor buys 100M shares, taking 4.7% stake after strong Q1
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2008 4:22 PM CDT
Unsold 2008 F150 pickup trucks sit at a Ford dealership in the southeast Denver suburb of Centennial, Colo., on Sunday, April 13, 2008.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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(Newser) – Investor Kirk Kekorian is gobbling up shares of Ford in move seen as a vote of confidence for the automaker’s turnaround efforts, the Wall Street Journal reports. Kerkorian’s Tracinda has bought about 100 million shares and holds a 4.7% stake in the firm. Tracinda also offered to buy 20 million more for $8.50 apiece, 13% more than their market value Friday.

Kerkorian apparently has no plans to overhaul Ford’s management, as he has when investing in underperforming companies in the past. Rather, the buy reflects confidence in the turnaround efforts of CEO Alan Mulally, who presided over a surprising $100 million profit in Q1. "We think Kerkorian simply wants to harvest the fruit of the hard labor that has already been accomplished, rather than agitating for change,” said an analyst.