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Italian automaker Fiat has reached a $4.35 billion deal to buy the rest of U.S. automaker Chrysler. The company already owns about a 58 percent stake in Chrysler, which came out of bankruptcy proceedings in 2009.

Chrysler, which has seen its sales increase for the last 44 months straight is still the smallest of the three major American car manufacturers, trailing General Motors and Ford. The merger will make Fiat the seventh-largest automaker in the world, and give it a larger foothold in the U.S., a worthwile move as Fiat's sales have been rocky in Europe.

Back in September, the United Auto Worker's trust exercised a clause in Chrysler's bankruptcy proceedings and forced it to file for an IPO. With this new deal in place, and expected to close in late January, the company can avoid a public offering. It's unclear whether or not the company will proceed anyhow.

In 1998, Daimler-Chrysler, the Daimler-Benz, paid $36 billion for the company, while Cerberus Capital Management paid $7.4 for an 80 percent stake in 2007.

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