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Fiat Stock Plunges After Spinoff Of Ferrari

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Fiat Chrysler has officially spun off its position in Ferrari, and now shares of the luxury automaker have tumbled by more than 30%, falling as low $8.94 per share on the New York Stock Exchange after trading at more than $14 per share on Dec. 31. Ferrari also made its debut on the Milan Stock Exchange, also declining there during regular trading hours. The stock dipped by as much as 3.5% to €41.50 (US$46.72) per share.

Shareholders dump Fiat

Ferrari shares debuted on the New York Stock Exchange about three months ago, and the New York listing pulled back today as well, falling by as much as 2.15% to $46.97 per share. In the initial public offering, Fiat sold a 10% stake in the automaker. Fiat Chrysler had an 80% stake in Ferrari before the spinoff, giving it total control over the Italian luxury automaker. In the spin transaction, shareholders who owned shares of Fiat Chrysler on Dec. 31 received one share in Ferrari for every ten Fiat shares they owned.

Since opening in New York, Ferrari shares have seen a lackluster performance, trading range-bound close to their opening price of $52 for a number of weeks. Then they slumped, failing to achieve their opening price and ending 2015 at $48.

The Agnelli family from Italy founded Fiat over a hundred years ago and now holds a 24% stake in Ferrari following the spin. That makes them the Italian luxury automaker’s biggest shareholder. Piero Ferrari, the son of the automaker’s founder, held a 10% stake both before and after the spin. A system which involves loyalty shares provides long term investors with extra voting rights, which means Ferrari and the Agnelli family together control nearly 49% of the voting rights in the automaker.

Can Fiat Chrysler find a partner?

Now that the spin transaction has been completed, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is able to focus entirely on the Fiat and Chrysler brands, which include Alfa Romeo and Jeep. The Wall Street Journal suggests that it might also be easier for him to find a company to merge Fiat with, noting that he has said more than once that a deal might be easier to come by after the spinoff of Ferrari because interested automakers would find it easier to place a fair value on Fiat Chrysler.

Today Marchionne again talked about the possibility of a merger, saying that he has already been approached by more than one interested party in the industry but adding that he didn’t see any of them as ideal candidates. He didn’t name any of the parties that approached him about a possible merger with Fiat Chrysler, however.

He sees General Motors as the best possible partner, but thus far GM CEO Mary Barry has rejected the idea of a merger with Fiat Chrysler.

Marchionne seeks to revamp Fiat

In addition to seeking a merger partner, Marchionne is also revamping the automaker, which has faced several problems, including softness in the Chinese and Brazilian markets. Both the Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands have had to cut back on their future plans by delaying the release of new models. Instead, Fiat Chrysler is focusing on the Jeep brand.

Marchionne also seeks to focus in his 2018 targets, which he expects to create more value for shareholders. However, according to Bloomberg, many doubt his ability to hit those targets. He aims to up deliveries by approximately 50% by 2018.

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