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FTC OK's Chrysler's $7.4b sale

WASHINGTON -- Federal antitrust regulators have cleared Cerberus Capital Management's $7.4 billion purchase of Chrysler.

Peter Duda, a Cerberus spokesman, said the Federal Trade Commission made its decision before the end of a standard 30-day review.

Early termination of an FTC review typically signifies there will be no conditions placed on the deal. The FTC declined to comment.

DaimlerChrysler agreed last month to transfer an 80.1 percent stake in its money-losing Chrysler unit to New York-based Cerberus.

As part of the deal, Cerberus agreed to invest $6.1 billion in Chrysler and its financing arm and to pay $1.4 billion. DaimlerChrysler would remain liable for certain expenses that could result in it paying Cerberus up to $1.5 billion to complete the transaction.

Cerberus, however, will take on $19 billion of long-term retiree health costs.

The companies expect to close the deal in the third quarter, Duda said. Daimler's board approved the transaction last month.

The Chrysler purchase expands Cerberus's automotive holdings, which include a 51 percent stake in GMAC Financial Services. It also owns Guilford Mills, the largest automotive seating supplier in the United States, and Peguform Group, a German-based manufacturer of interior and exterior plastic parts used in autos.