Friday, April 17, 2009

Chrysler - Negotiations to Avoid Bankruptcy

There is a very interesting article in this morning's Washington Post (here) about the negotiations to save Chrysler from bankruptcy.

Here's my distillation of the state-of-play:
  1. Chrysler owes the government $4 billion.
  2. Chrysler owes other creditors secured debt of $7 billion. Most of this debt is held by four banks: Citi, Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman.
  3. In order to receive an addtional $6 billion loan from the government, Chrysler must - prior to April 30 - do the following: (1) reach an agreement with its creditors to reduce its debts and (2) merge with Fiat.
  4. At a meeting on April 2, the government (led by auto task force head Steven Rattner) asked the four banks to accept $0.15 on the dollar for their secured debt.
  5. According to S&P, the secured loans would be worth $0.30 to $0.50 on the dollar if Chrysler goes into bankruptcy and its assets are liquidated. But, in a liquidation, the government would probably not recover any of its $4 billion.
  6. The banks balked at the $0.15 on the dollar proposal and are developing a counterproposal.
This sounds to me like a high-stakes game of chicken between the government and the banks -- similar to what I perceive is going on between the UAW and GM's creditors. Given that the deadline is April 30, negotiations must be intense right now -- which law firms are involved?

It seems as though Chrysler might become the sacrificial lamb of the US auto industry, although maybe public pressure will compel the four banks to agree to an "unfair" (!) deal.

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