U.S. Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III said Wednesday that he sees some benefit in the proposed purchase of American Motors Co. by Chrysler since it would return control of the small domestic auto maker to U.S. hands.
"I think one of the things that has to be recognized in that merger is that it appears, at least, that a good portion of the ownership of American Motors, which has been in overseas hands, will be put back in American hands," Meese told a House Appropriations subcommittee.
"That may be one of the factors that would be weighed in the judgment" to be made by the Justice Department in reviewing a final merger proposal, he said.
Meanwhile, AMC announced Wednesday that its board met for five hours to consider the bid, but took no action on it. "The board . . . expects to be meeting periodically over the next several weeks on the Chrysler proposal," the company said in a terse statement.
AMC also said that a hiring freeze has been ordered and that its board has hired advisers to help it with the takeover proposal. It was AMC's first formal statement since Chrysler announced plans Monday to buy the company for $757 million, including the 46.1% stake held by the French auto maker Renault.
AMC stock closed unchanged Wednesday at $4.25 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Chrysler eased 25 cents to $54.50.