Fallout: The Financial Crisis

GM restructuring down to the wire

Amy Scott May 25, 2009
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Fallout: The Financial Crisis

GM restructuring down to the wire

Amy Scott May 25, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: General Motors is up against another deadline tomorrow. The automaker owes its bondholders some $27 billion. As a key part of its struggle to avoid bankruptcy, it wants to swap that debt for stock and what bondholders see as just a sliver of the pie. They have ’til tomorrow to make up their minds. But it’s pretty clear a lot of them have already decided to reject the offer. Quick on the heels of that comes a June 1st deadline for bankruptcy. And as Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports, that outcome is looking more and more likely.


AMY SCOTT: Mark Modica’s life savings is invested in General Motors bonds. He works for a Saturn dealership outside Philadelphia. Modica was counting on the interest on those bonds to help carry him into retirement. Now GM is asking him to forgo that interest in exchange for stock in the company worth far less. Like many bondholders, he plans to say no.

MARK MODICA: They made an offer we cannot accept. So it’s their choice, and now the country is going to suffer for it. And I want to make sure the country knows whose decision it was.

Modica blames President Obama’s auto task force. He says it’s asking bondholders to give up far more than other stakeholders, in exchange for less.
Bondholders would get a 10 percent stake in the company. The government and a union health-care trust would share most of the rest.

To avoid bankruptcy GM needs 90 percent of its bondholders to approve the deal. That’s looking unlikely. A committee representing major debtholders says they plan to reject the offer. Gerald Meyers is former chairman of American Motors Corporation. He says GM is running out of options.

GERALD MEYERS: The government has shown that it’s serious, and it intends to pull the chain. So I…there’s every expectation here in town, that is in Michigan, that GM will be in some form of bankruptcy by this time next week.

GM would join rival Chrysler in bankruptcy. Chrysler filed last month after some of its debtholders held out for a better deal in court.

I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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