Kirk Kerkorian: Billionaire Automotive Investor Dead At 98 Photo:
Trevor Collett | Jun, 17 2015 | 4 Comments

If Tesla CEO Elon Musk is the automotive industry’s ‘top disrupter’, perhaps Kirk Kerkorian is one of its most influential.

Kerkorian died this week, aged 98, but not before he rattled the cages of some of the world’s biggest carmakers.

The billionaire businessman used his wealth to attempt to purchase Chrysler - twice. A US$22.8 billion offer was knocked back in 1995, before the carmaker merged with Daimler.

A second effort in 2007 saw Kerkorian put US$4.5 billion on the table, but again he was unsuccessful.

He owned a 10 percent stake in General Motors, and used his influence in 2006 to push for a merger with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. While talks were initiated, the deal was not done.

Kerkorian purchased US$1 billion worth of Ford shares as the carmaker stared down bankruptcy in 2008, making him the company’s biggest investor.

Despite Ford dodging the bankruptcy bullet, unlike GM and Chrysler, Kerkorian sold the shares only months later - suffering a significant loss in the process.

At the time, Forbes ranked Kerkorian as the world’s 41st richest man with a net worth of US$16 billion, and he was the world’s 393rd richest person at the time of his death.

Kirk Kerkorian also ran the Tracinda Corp investment company, and was the largest shareholder in MGM Resorts International.

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