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Last Updated: Friday, 29 September 2006, 06:04 GMT 07:04 UK
Kerkorian wants extra GM shares
Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian
Kirk Kerkorian already has a sizeable stake in GM
Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian has announced that he wants to buy up to 12 million more shares in struggling US carmaker General Motors (GM).

Mr Kerkorian, who's investment firm Tracinda already owns 56 million GM shares, or 9.9% of the firm, has been a vocal critic of the GM board.

His announcement comes as GM continues discussions over a possible alliance with Renault and Nissan.

Some analysts think Mr Kerkorian wants to pressure GM to speed up the talks.

'Undervalued asset'

Gerald Meyers, a former chairman of American Motors, said Mr Kerkorian was trying to reinvigorate GM's discussions with France's Renault and Japan's Nissan.

Mr Kerkorian's Tracinda said in a filing with the US regulators that it "continues to believe that a strong opportunity exists in a potential alliance between GM, Renault and Nissan".

It added that it thought "there should be strong General Motors board involvement in the analysis of such a potential alliance".

Yet other analysts speculated that Mr Kerkorian simply recognised that GM's turnaround efforts are now starting to gather speed and that buying additional stock in the firm represented a good investment.

"It's [GM stock] a very undervalued asset, he's smart enough to recognise this," said David Cole, chairman of the Centre for Automotive Research.

"He's not buying to lose money."

GM is trying to turn around its fortunes in the face of weak sales in the US and continuing losses.

Back in July, it announced that its second-quarter losses widened to $3.2bn (1.7bn) from $987m in 2005.

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