Big Auto

12:08 pm:
Obama in ‘da house.
12:13 pm:
I can announce that I saved Chrysler, nothing is fucked, I am safeguarding taxpayer dollars, Fiat is going to save the day (oh and Canada too).
12:13 pm:
Bob Nardelli is a cool guy. No. Seriously. (But he’s fired).
The UAW cut down to the bone, and then found more muscle to cut. It was amazing.
You, America, will also be sacrificing.

12:15 pm:

Some stakeholders did NOT cooperate.
Damn hedgefunds held out waiting for a unjustified taxpayer bailout.
Some demanded twice the return of other stakeholders.
I don’t stand with them I stand with Chrysler’s (everything).
12:16 pm:

Bankruptcy is not a sign of weakness.
This process will be quick.
12:18 pm:

Oh, I almost forgot.
Hedge Funds suck.
It is unacceptable for a small group of speculators to endanger my success.
As such an effective and diligent steward of your taxpayer dollars I was not prepared to provide unlimited bailout funds or to reward greed.
This is going to be our finest hour 30 60 days. Seriously. ‘kaythanksbye.

  • 30 Apr 2009 at 9:23 AM

Embrace The Chaos!

If anyone harbored any illusions with respect to the crushing complexity involved in trying to restructure a firm before during or after bankruptcy, the last several hours should clear that question up nicely:
8:52 am EDT
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9:16 am EDT
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9:41 am EDT
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9:54 am EDT
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The time-line betrays a nearly blind, almost naive optimism on someone’s part. It is easy to feel sorry for the Administration in the way you pity the little kid who was sure she would be “A Fairy Princess” when she grew up.
Administration Official Says Chrysler to Enter Chapter 11; Obama to Speak at Noon [The Wall Street Journal]

  • 30 Apr 2009 at 5:51 AM

Dealbreaker Afterhours: Chrysler Headed To The Suck

burn.pngOne of the disadvantages of taking strong positions on economic events before the fact is the credibility sink one is subjected to on the flip side. Ouch. Failing one’s predictive tasks as an asset manager is a potentially career limiting mistake. Missing a call as a gambler is expensive, even dangerous- at least to limb if not also to life. But missing a call while occupying the Executive Branch of government of the United States is a different matter all together. Now add the detail that your office was actively leveraging the rather substantial resources of the Executive Branch in pursuit of the effort and you have a bit of a problem. You either have been making a show of it, or your office is far more impotent than it appears. Neither outcome is desirable.
The solution, of course, is not to publicly intertwine yourself in industrial policy with such visible and unbridled enthusiasm unless you have matters well in hand. With J.P. Morgan Chase leading the creditors, 90 minutes of discussion before voting wasn’t enough time to tip the hands in favor of the latest deal. It wasn’t even close. It should surprise no one that once an outsider (Fiat) was introduced into the mix the subsidized and coddled “avoid Chapter” process was split wide open.
Can we please… please move on?
Chrysler Chapter 11 Is Imminent [The Wall Street Journal]

  • 28 Apr 2009 at 10:06 AM

May You Come To The Attention Of Those In Authority

It is difficult not to be entertained by the coverage on the meteoric plunge towards bankruptcy that is Chrysler. The Journal article is pretty circumspect about some rather important details, failing even to mention bondholders until the 18th paragraph in a 19 paragraph article. The deep and heartfelt sacrifices the UAW is making are front and center:

The United Auto Workers union would eventually own 55% of the stock in a restructured Chrysler LLC under the deal reached by the union and the auto maker, according to a summary of the agreement that was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.
Fiat SpA “eventually” will own 35%, and the U.S. government and Chrysler’s secured lenders together will end up owning 10% of the company once it is reorganized, that summary said.

Hmmm, employee owned and operated. Where have we heard that before?
The Washington Post, however, claims to have the scoop on bondholders with:

The Treasury Department reached an agreement with Chrysler’s creditors late last night that may prevent the troubled automaker from going into bankruptcy, a source familiar with the matter said this morning.
The carmaker had owed a fractious group of 45 banks, hedge funds and other firms about $6.9 billion. These creditors have agreed to write down the debt to $2 billion, the source said.

As long as one can watch from a distance, this charade is quite entertaining.
UAW to Get 55% Stake in Chrysler for Concessions [The Wall Street Journal]
Chrysler Creditors Agree to Deal With Treasury [The Washington Post]

Or it would seem from the looks of the CNN piece:

General Motors is preparing to announce that the Pontiac car brand — once marketed as GM’s “Excitement division” — will be killed off, according to a source familiar with the decision.

These are, of course, the death cries of the company, which had hitherto been muffled with yards of duct tape bearing Management and UAW fingerprints. This is the end. Can we please stop sending money now?
Pontiac: End of the road [CNN.com]

  • 17 Apr 2009 at 2:41 PM

Signal To Noise Ratio

Have we really reached the point of unadulterated fantasy such that anyone still thinks GM is going to avoid not just bankruptcy but an ugly and protracted bankruptcy? Seriously, how much longer is the investing public going to tolerate C-Level executives who are either so out-to-lunch that they believe their own prattle, or so spun that nothing that escapes their lips has a signal-to-noise ratio that exceeds that of the Pioneer 10 spacecraft?

General Motors Corp Chief Executive Fritz Henderson said on Friday the automaker was readying detailed plans for a bankruptcy filing that now appears more likely even as it races to complete a business plan under federal oversight.
Henderson said GM faced no pressure from the Obama administration’s autos task force to make a decision on whether to file for bankruptcy before an established June 1 deadline and said it was “feasible” that the automaker could still avoid bankruptcy despite the short time frame remaining.

GM readies plans for bankruptcy it hopes to avoid [Reuters]

  • 16 Apr 2009 at 5:28 PM

“What Is Going To Happen To The Other Kids, Huh?”

kdb copy.pngMaybe it is just us, but there are a number of things that just scream “wishful thinking.” Like the return of Growing Pains to television, a re-do on the OJ Simpson trial, owning your own private island, or a widely successful debt-for-equity swap at General Motors.

General Motors Corp. is planning to make a formal offer to all bondholders by April 27 to exchange their $27.5 billion in claims for equity, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions.

Yes, we know, we know, the administration wants 66% of the original bonds whacked out via such a swap so their fantasy of a “surgical bankruptcy” can be realized (where “surgical bankruptcy” means “fail to piss off the UAW too badly”) but no one seems very likely to want to make nice-nice with this administration in a case like this (when being “nice” means giving up cash). This hasn’t stopped the administration from trying, though the latest efforts (concentrating on how bad it would be for Detroit if the bankruptcy turns out as anything but a blistering bit of unexpected caning for bondholders) seem a little familiar to us. Familiar sort of like the guilt trip your mother used to play on you when you were twelve. Or certain 1970s public service announcements.
GM Said to Plan All-Equity Offer for Bondholders [Bloomberg]

  • 07 Apr 2009 at 11:34 AM

The ADA Market Will Save Us

seg1.jpgIt is a pity that what is probably the busiest the Executive Suite over at General Motors has been in the last twenty years is during its current preparation for a bankruptcy filing. And as tempting as it is to regard a filing for bankruptcy protection by the automaker as something of a triumph of rationality, it is, in fact, the reverse. It should be quite difficult not to be beyond pissed off at the billions of cash, taxpayer cash, that has been burned over the last many months, all for the sake of the PR gloss of calling the currency whirlpool a “going concern.” This also bodes rather poorly for the many financial institutions that would seem to be in similar condition, though perhaps with slightly less advanced pathology.
Of course, the news could be little more than the latest bit of leaked brinkmanship, but we think that ship has sailed.

General Motors Corp is in “intense” and “earnest” preparations for a possible bankruptcy filing, a source familiar with the company’s plans told Reuters on Tuesday.
A plan to split the company into a new company made up of the most successful units, and an ‘old company’ of its less-profitable units is gaining momentum and is seen as the company’s best configuration for the future, said another source familiar with the talks.

Don’t worry. Nothing is fucked. We are beyond certain that the current plan to mass produce wheelchairs with windscreens (note the wheelie wheels on the back!) in partnership with Segway (free colostomy bag with every purchase!) will pull the chestnuts out.
GM in “intense” bankruptcy preparations: source [Reuters]