Multi-Billionaire Auto Investor Kirk Kerkorian Dies At Age 98

You may never have heard the name Kirk Kerkorian, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been affected by his influence. The late 98 year-old investor was perhaps best-known for being the largest individual shareholder in MGM Resorts International, but he had major sway in the goings on at Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, as well.

Kirk Kerkorian ran the Tracinda Corp. investment company, and among his many past maneuvers were two separate attempts to purchase Chrysler, reports Automotive News. In 1995, back when Kerkorian held a 10 percent stake in Chrysler, he tapped former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca to help him make nearly a $23 billion offer for the automaker. Chrysler ended up passing into Daimler ownership instead, but Mr. Kerkorian came back in 2007 with a $4.6 billion bid. Again, the deal did not go through.

Beside his involvement with Chrysler, Kirk Kerkorian also held the largest outside stake in Ford Motor Company for a time, at 6.5 percent, which cost nearly $1 billion to procure. He sold the stock at a loss less than a year later, citing his doubts regarding the automaker’s turnaround.

And, in 2005, Kirk Kerkorian bought a 10 percent stake in General Motors, and used his leverage to try and urge GM into a partnership with Renault-Nissan. That hoped-for partnership was in discussion between GM and Renault-Nissan for several months, before it, too, fell apart.

According to a statement from Tracinda Corp., Kirk Kerkorian died Monday, June 17th, in Los Angeles.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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