Put a fork in it? Obama planning to announce Chrysler bankruptcy tomorrow

April 29, 2009 at 6:35 pm
According to a report by Bloomberg citing the usual unnamed sources, President Obama will announce tomorrow that Chrysler will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy while continuing to work on its alliance with Fiat.

Bloomberg‘s source made it clear that the there are still several loose ends and the plan “is not finished yet,” but it will likely involve Chrysler’s strongest assets being bundled and sold to a new entity. In that scenario, Fiat would become a 20% owner of the Auburn Hills-based automaker, the UAW retiree health-care trust would take a 55% percent stake and the government would gobble up the rest. Essentially, it’s the same out-of-court deal initially proposed, but now, with all the benefits (and hurdles) of bankruptcy protection. 

As part of ongoing negotiations, the U.S. Treasury raised its offer to Chrysler’s lenders, offering them $2.25 billion in cash to forgive $6.9 billion in secured debt, two other people familiar with the matter said. The previous offer had been for $2 billion in cash.

One issue remaining is the U.S. government’s effort to combine Chrysler Financial and GMAC LLC, the lending units affiliated with Chrysler and General Motors Corp.

The idea is to ensure that Chrysler has a well-capitalized credit arm, as required by Obama’s automotive task force, said people familiar with the situation.

Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has expressed concern that such a combination would involve her agency guaranteeing its debt, according to two people familiar with her views.

(Source: Bloomberg & Autoblog)