Chrysler says it has received a “registration demand” from the United Auto Workers union Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (usually called the “VEBA”) under the terms of the June 2009 Shareholders Agreement. The demand requests the registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission of 270,769.6 Class A Membership Interests now owned by the VEBA. The shares represent about 16.6% of Chrysler Group’s outstanding equity interests.
Demand registration rights allow an investor to require a company to register shares of common stock with the SEC in order to for the investor to sell them on the market. In this case, Chrysler most likely will have to undertake, and fund, an initial public offering which can be expensive (GM’s IPO cost $118 million and it was widely held that GM got a bargain).
Fiat had hoped to be able to buy out the VEBA stake, but the Italian company recently admitted that the collapse of the European vehicle market and the need for investment in production left the company short on cash. Even with an IPO, Fiat will hold a controlling interest in Chrysler.
In a statement, Chrysler Group said it will comply with its obligations.