DaimlerChrysler AG has picked private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management L.P. as the finalist in the bidding for its Chrysler unit, three people with direct knowledge of the talks said yesterday.

The German automaker may announce its selection as early as today, the people said. Many details remain to be negotiated before an agreement is final, two of the people said.

Cerberus, based in New York, has been one of three bidders negotiating most closely with DaimlerChrysler. The others are Canadian auto-parts supplier Magna International Inc. and a partnership with New York buyout firms Blackstone Group L.P. and Centerbridge Capital Partners L.P.

DaimlerChrysler said three months ago that all options were on the table for the unprofitable U.S. automaker. It has also said it may decide to keep Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler.

DaimlerChrysler sought bids for Chrysler as the unit posted a $1.5 billion loss for 2006, since restated as a $680 million deficit. Chrysler's loss followed Ford Motor Co.'s report of a $12.6 billion loss for 2006 and General Motors Corp.'s $1.98 billion deficit.