Fiat will spend less than the limit the carmaker set to buy shares from investors who opted to sell ahead of its merger with Chrysler Group, clearing a key hurdle before the deal can close.
Based on a preliminary tally, the total will not exceed the $658 million Fiat allotted, the company said in a statement. Had the amount exceeded the company’s cap, the deal would have been delayed.
“I am delighted with these results,” Fiat Chairman John Elkann said in the statement. “We are now looking forward to the completion of this project.”
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said: “I am reassured by the fact that the vast majority of our equity holders have remained loyal and committed shareholders.
Marchionne said investor support is “of crucial importance as we embark on the execution phase, which will dramatically improve the market positioning of our group.”
Marchionne said previously that if a critical mass of investors were to breach the cap, he would start the merger process again — effectively meaning a delay of several months.
Fiat shareholders have the right under Italian law to sell their shares because Fiat is moving its registered offices away from Italy.
Fiat said it was finishing a count of shares for which cash exit rights had been validly exercised, but it could already say that the limit would not be exceeded, based on data calculated so far. The company said it would give final details by Sept. 4.
“Fiat has determined that even if all remaining unmatched notices and unmatched confirmations were to be matched, the maximum number of shares for which cash exit rights have been validly exercised will yield an aggregate exposure that is below the cap,” it said.