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A warning shot for General MotorsThe recalcitrant hedge funds that torpedoed the Chrysler deal get smacked down by a bankruptcy judge. You better believe G.M.'s bondholders are paying attention.
May. 06, 2009 |
A U.S. bankruptcy judge has rejected an attempt by dissident Chrysler creditors to derail the sale of the ailing carmaker's viable assets to a group of new shareholders, including Italy's Fiat.
In a ruling at 11pm EDT, Judge Arthur Gonzalez approved the process for the sale, which requires final court approval by May 27, as "appropriate and necessary."
He overruled objections from a group of creditors who oppose the sale and who argued that the guidelines set out restrict competing bids.
Of course, the creditors do not actually oppose the sale. They oppose the amount of compensation that they will receive for their Chrysler debt holdings in the event of a government-brokered sale. They want more. But that's nitpicking. The more important takeaway from this exercise is not what it means for the 20 or so hedge funds that are hopping mad about a deal that they claim in a court filing "was orchestrated entirely by the Treasury and foisted upon (Chrysler) without regard to corporate formalities, the fiduciary duties of (Chrysler's) officers and directors, or other important checks and balances typically found in good faith sales." Far more critical is whether General Motors' bondholders are paying attention -- and I'm sure they are.
Because they're being presented with a pretty clear demonstration of the inadvisability of saying no to the Obama administration at this juncture. I'll lay odds right here, right now: G.M. will avoid bankruptcy, because the bondholders will know they have no choice but to make the best deal they can.
-- Andrew Leonard"Me:
I don't have a disagreement with the decision, but I do with the celerity of the decision. The creditors did have good points:
1) They were legally first in line.
2) The govt pushed them around.
3) As a minority shareholder, it is important that the court look after their interests. That's their only means of addressing problems with the majority.
Again, I see both sides in this case, and I can understand why the judge ruled as he did. But, in doing so, he should have at least made a bigger deal of the legitimacy of these creditor's concerns. As well, the govt pissing on creditors in public is short sighted.