May 16, 2007
Did Cerberus Save Chrysler From The Underworld?
Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press wrote a wonderful article about Cerberus, a leading private investment firm, the company that bought Chrysler this week for $7.4 billion, and asks “why a company with $60 billion would name itself after a three-headed monster.”
By the way, in Greek mythology, Cerberus is a three-headed dog.
Seems that some investment groups like using terms from Greek mythology in their company naming—one of the least effective name changes from 2006 was Prime Rate Investors’ move to Summus Works. Say it fast, it sounds like “some of us works”.
But I would say that a quick look at a list of Investment Company names shows that names from mythology certainly do not dominate the field.
Because there are regulations over what an investment company can call itself, it seems logical that names from history and mythology that just look good—and neutral to regulators—may get some play.
Why would the founders of Cerberus choose that name? Chances are they liked the fact that it looked like the word “cerebral” from “cerebrum”, the Latin word for brain, neither of which have any relation to Cerberus, which is a Greek word.
But it is amusing that an investment company would (probably inadvertently) name itself after a three-headed dog protecting the gates of Hell. I have to say I do like Cerberus’s response: "Our firm was founded to keep companies that are in pretty bad shape from entering the underworld."
Which is exactly what they have done with Chrysler.
Nice save, guys.
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