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Billionaire Kerkorian sells his shares in Ford

Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian has reportedly sold all of his remaining shares in the second-largest US carmaker Ford, thereby putting an end to an investment which has lost him several hundred million dollars.

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AFP - US billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who had once pledged his support and confidence in Ford Motor Co., has sold all of his remaining shares in the automaker, Dow Jones Newswires reported Monday.

Kerkorian's holding group Tracinda Corp. no longer owns any shares in Ford, a Tracinda spokesperson told the news agency Monday.

Tracinda was not immediately available to comment on the report.

Tracinda sold 7.3 million shares of Ford common stock in October for an average price of 2.43 dollars per share -- representing a huge loss for Kerkorian -- and said it was considering divesting its entire stake through the end of the year.

Tracinda had about 133.5 million shares remaining, or a 6.09 percent stake, in the loss-making automaker.

Ford shares on Monday plunged 5.2 percent to 2.17 dollars in late afternoon Wall Street trade following the report. The share has lost about two-thirds of its value in a year.

Kerkorian accumulated a 6.5 percent stake in the Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford earlier this year and continued to boost his stake. He announced in June that he would pay 8.50 dollars to buy an additional 20 million shares.

The investor, who made a fortune from running and selling Las Vegas casinos, bought the shares in Ford after referring at the time to "meaningful traction in its turnaround efforts."

At the time, Ford managers said they were on track to deliver profitability in 2009 -- an objective that has now been shelved.

Since then, the cash-strapped Detroit giant has struggled with falling auto sales amid a deepening US recession and tight credit conditions blamed for exacerbating the downturn.

Ford said on December 19 that a comprehensive restructuring plan it presented to Congress would allow it to return to profitability by 2011.

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