Tony O'Kane | Oct 23, 2008

Self-made billionaire and one of the largest private shareholders in Ford, Kirk Kerkorian, has decided to cut his losses and sell a chunk of his stake in the beleaguered manufacturer. The news comes at the worst possible time for Ford, whose share price has tumbled as falling large car sales and an ever-deepening economic crisis deliver blow after blow to the North American automotive industry.

Kerkorian's share pull-out is also a particularly bad omen for Ford. Back in 2006, Kerkorian divested himself of his 9.9 per cent stake in General Motors, which didn't bode well then for the General: two years later the share price of that company nose-dived and landed what was once the world's most dominant automaker in a whole lot of hot water.

Kerkorian and his investment company, Tracinda, have decided to head for greener pastures in the world of gaming, hospitality and oil (great for them but terrible for the venerable Blue Oval). Will Kerkorian's ship-jumping prompt even more investors to drop shares in the American automaker? Will the company that brought cheap motoring to the masses survive this crisis and still have a penny to its name? We'll have to wait and see how this one pans out...

[The Detroit News]

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