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CHRYSLER COMING BACK TO U.S. IN HISTORIC DEAL

An equity firm buys an 80 percent stake.

Chrysler became an American company again Friday as Cerberus Capital Management gained a controlling share from Chrysler's German owners and started on the long road to restoring the 82-year-old automaker's luster - and profits.

DaimlerChrysler AG transferred an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler to New York-based Cerberus, one of the world's largest private equity firms, in a $7.4-billion deal. The German automaker retained a 19.9 percent interest in the new company, Chrysler LLC.

With the closing, Chrysler becomes the first U.S. automaker in private hands since Ford Motor Co. went public in 1956. Chrysler, which plans a companywide celebration Monday where it will revive its five-sided star logo, will be free of the short-term quarterly earnings pressures that public companies face, since there will be no Chrysler shares.

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