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Creditors can Force GM and Chrysler into Bankruptcy

By Steve Priestap

Given the unprecendented interference by the Obama administration in the pending bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler, the creditors of those companies may want to seriously consider a little-used collection strategy: filing an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the automakers.

According to the New York Times, the Treasury Department is allegedly "preparing" Chrysler's bankruptcy petition, which could be filed as soon as next week. The details are a little murky, but the general idea seems to be that the government is trying to convince Chrysler's creditors to take 22 cents on the dollar plus a 5 percent equity stake in exchange for their existing debt (the creditors are seeking 65 cents, plus 40 percent equity). I am speculating, but I have a strong hunch that the creditors could do better than 22 percent if Chrysler were to file a real Chapter 7 or 11, without Administration interference. And if that's true, the creditors should take matters into their own hands and immediately file an involuntary petition against Chrysler and force the company into bankruptcy court. In one stroke they could take Obama out of the game and put the whole tangled mess in the hands of a bankruptcy judge, where it belongs.

Legally, there are no impediments: under Title 11 of the United States Code, only three creditors who are owed at least $10,000 apiece are needed in order to file an involuntary petition. From a creditor's standpoint, there are several advantages. First, the creditors could choose their own venue rather than allowing Chrysler to choose it. Second, they could prevent Chrysler from transferring assets and paying other creditors preferentially. Third, they could prevent Chrysler from incurring more debt, squandering assets, and taking other detrimental actions (such as allowing the company to be taken over by the Obama administration).

I suspect one reason the creditors haven't taken this action up to now is that they were hoping the government would give them a better deal than 22 percent, and there's probably a good chance that they'll hold out, still hoping to get a better deal than they'll get in bankruptcy court. It would be rather interesting, however, to see a few creditors get together on their own and file an involuntary petition. I'd like to see the look on the President's face when he got the news that the rug had just been pulled out from under him, and that there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it.


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Comments (23)

I would suspect that the ma... (Below threshold)
epador:

I would suspect that the major creditors have already had a visit from a Chicago Luigi giving them an offer they can't refuse to NOT follow such a path.

Of course if the creditors ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Of course if the creditors do that, I'm sure Rahm will be on Twitter to the Obamabots, getting the buses lined up so they can camp out on these people's front lawns. No intimidation there. No harm done. Just ask the last CEO of FreddieMac.......ooops, to late, he's dead.

Are you implying a link bet... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Are you implying a link between the Obama administration and the late CEO (sic--'twas the CFO) of FreddieMac's death? If so, you're stumbling into Limbaughian Vince Foster territory there, GarandFan.

True, Hyper, he had nothing... (Below threshold)
epador:

True, Hyper, he had nothing to do with Whitewater or schtupping Hillary.

Obamasites have orgasmabite... (Below threshold)
914:

Obamasites have orgasmabites

> I'd like to see the lo... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> I'd like to see the look on the President's face when he got the news that the rug had just been pulled out from under him, and that there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it.

I'm sure there's a lot he could do about it. I mean, it wouldn't be legal or constitutional but that hasn't stopped him yet!

GM's and Chrysler's debthol... (Below threshold)
Beldar Author Profile Page:

GM's and Chrysler's debtholders, secured and unsecured, may do better in a bankruptcy than under a cram-down deal forced on them by the Obama Administration and the UAW, but only if Congress doesn't change the rules (e.g., for prioritization of claims). More than likely, the stick that's being vigorously brandished now, along with some very small carrots, includes a promise that Congress and Obama would do exactly that in a bankruptcy -- regardless of who initiated it. Whether they could manage to pull off such a legislative rule-change or not is uncertain, but it certainly must be treated as a credible threat.

Creditors. You mean like b... (Below threshold)
retired miltary:

Creditors. You mean like banks? Banks which have been forced to accept bailout funds and which Geithner wants to be able to fire CEOs and boards of directors at will? YOu mean those creditors? Creditors who would be told that if they are smart and dont want IRS audits up their ass they wont bother doing anything that Obama and company dont want them to do. Creditors that may be reminded that hey the finance guy over at Fannie Mae just committed suicide.

Yeah right.

Spam cleanup needed on comm... (Below threshold)

Spam cleanup needed on comments 8-11...

J.

I suspect the reason credit... (Below threshold)

I suspect the reason creditors haven't taken this action is that their own books are loaded with federal money.

You take the king's coin youi play the king's tune.

"You take the king's coin y... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"You take the king's coin youi play the king's tune.

"

Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's

"I'd like to see the loo... (Below threshold)
BobDog:

"I'd like to see the look on the President's face when he got the news that the rug had just been pulled out from under him, and that there wasn't a damned thing he could do about it."

Good of you to admit your true motives behind your "suggestion", even if you waited until the very last sentence to do so.

Your suggestion is a bad idea for the creditors, and bad idea for GM, a bad idea for GM's employees, and a bad idea for our nation and its recovery.

But you would get a kick out of making life difficult for a liberal.

So glad this nation no longer follows the doctrine of people like you. Running our country, our nation's businesses, and working Americans into the ground so you conservatives can vent your spleens against liberals went on for far too long.

You're so right BOBDOG, lif... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

You're so right BOBDOG, life's alot better now that Obama's running the Banks and car companies. How's your 401K since the election?

Are you aware that historically, the markets get a bounce when dems are elected Pres., even during rough economic times? I guess us investors just don't get it yet. Keep posting though, maybe we'll eventually see the light and recognize how great things are now that we are blessed with the one we've been waiting for.....lololol

I apologize that my fellow ... (Below threshold)
Hyperapologist:

I apologize that my fellow traveller, BobDog, makes "[r]unning our country, our nation's businesses, and working Americans into the ground" sound like a bad thing.

Running our country, our nation's businesses, and working Americans into the ground is our goal, not yours. Or rather, "your" country - we're just jealous Canadians who want America to suck as long and hard as us.

Of course the creditors had... (Below threshold)
OLDPUPPYMAX:

Of course the creditors had better be prepared for longterm visits from the IRS, the EPA, OSHA and every other governmental agency designed to destroy impudent upstarts who dare to insinuate themselves between Lord Hussein and the exercise of absolute power and control.

Kim--Good take on what's ha... (Below threshold)

Kim--Good take on what's happening.

It would be wise for the banks to find proxies to file. Surely there are three parts suppliers which have past due balances with Chrysler. That would take the heat off the banks.

Obama is doing the same thing to the banks using the SEIU (union)to sue the banks to gain leverage for the administration.

If you don't like governmen... (Below threshold)
tomg51:

If you don't like government intervention to date, just wait for when our future Chinese overlords try to collect.


The Obama Administration ho... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

The Obama Administration hoped at first to avoid such a situation with the American auto industry with GM and Chrysler, neither of which were as well managed as Ford which has made the correct business decisions to avoid these problems. The Obama Administration has hoped that GM could opt for a voluntary "surgical bankruptcy" that could salvage the profitable portions of the company and get rid of the lagging parts such as the troubled Saturn Division, which I always felt was a major mistake by GM to start.

If Saturn made scooters you... (Below threshold)
epador:

If Saturn made scooters you wouldn't say that, Paul.

Really, though, Saturn's big mistake was being a part of GM.

Sorry, Paul - I had one of ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Sorry, Paul - I had one of the early Saturns ('92 model.) It worked well for me for ten years, needing only one starter, tires, and brake pads during 160k miles. (Plus oil changes, of course...)

It was well made, good fit and finish, and comfortable seats. Ended up trading it in for something larger when the little guy hit a certain age, and it was much harder to get him in and out of the back seat...

I don't see it as a mistake, but the later years weren't what the early years were...

Hello Epador and JLawson, I... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Hello Epador and JLawson, I don't think that Saturns were any mistake as far as a quality product goes. But at a huge cost to GM they looked strangely similar to those imported Geo Storm cars from Korea. That made it difficult to justify the huge cost of building a new car line that looked too much like some low priced import. Further, from the marketing viewpoint, this new brand had no inbuilt customer loyalty such as traditional GM brands like Chevrolet or Cadillac does. This is how Rick Wagner chose to slowly squander away GM's once good fortunes and lose 90% of the stock value during his 25 year rule at GM. After a guy like Wagner running things, about all you can do is to turn off the lights at GM. No company can stand this much serious problems.

Pontiac is my favorite car division of theirs, but also one of the most troubled at GM. I doubt I'll ever get to own a new model of Firebird in the future. I still own a large Oldsmobile though, besides my Jeep Cherokee and two imported motorbikes. I miss my old 1973 Firebird.

If rumors prove true, and I... (Below threshold)
marc:

If rumors prove true, and I suspect they are, Pontiac will be history come Monday.

Paul - "Further, from th... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Paul - "Further, from the marketing viewpoint, this new brand had no inbuilt customer loyalty such as traditional GM brands like Chevrolet or Cadillac does."

Aren't you putting the cart before the horse there? How are you going to get brand loyalty unless you actually build the cars and get loyal customers?

After my '92 Saturn, for a few years I was pretty much convinced I'd be a Saturn customer for life. However - they didn't hold up THEIR end, in my opinion. The VUE wasn't a great piece of work - it cost too much for what you got. The SL series after the first few years lost the distinctive styling and turned into something identical to other makers - AND lost interior room. They went the way of GM - sell a crappy base car, make the upgrades very profitable AND necessary for user comfort.

Sucks to be them at this point, but they've essentially done it to themselves. A good idea and a good design, ruined by corporate creep.




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