GM clears important hurdle in bankruptcy

The Chrysler bankruptcy set the standard, and now GM is steamrolling its way through the bankruptcy process with the support of the Obama administration.

A federal judge approved a plan by General Motors late on Sunday to sell its best assets to a new, government-backed company, a crucial step for the automaker to restructure and complete its trip through bankruptcy court.

The decision by the judge, Robert E. Gerber of United States Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, came after three days of hearings to address the 850 objections to the restructuring plan and after he had received a revised sale order from G.M.’s lawyers.

A group of individual accident litigants appealed the ruling on Monday morning, Bloomberg News reported.

In his 95-page opinion, Judge Gerber wrote that he agreed with G.M.’s main contention: that the asset sale was needed to preserve its business in the face of steep losses and government financing that is scheduled to run out by the end of the week.

“Bankruptcy courts have the power to authorize sales of assets at a time when there still is value to preserve — to prevent the death of the patient on the operating table,” Judge Gerber wrote.

Many bankruptcy experts expressed doubt that Chrysler and GM could move so quickly through bankruptcy, but these are extraordinary times, and the courts seem sympathetic to the arguments by the government that a speedy, negotiated reorganization with the support of the government offers the only viable alternative to a destructive liquidation.

  

Bondholders starting to squeeze GM

The Detroit News is reporting the GM bondholers are driving a hard bargain and threatening to push GM into bankruptcy.

General Motors Corp. bondholders want more money in exchange for forgiving billions in debt and are threatening to push the struggling automaker into bankruptcy if they don’t get it, The Detroit News has learned.

GM has been negotiating with bondholders this week on a complicated debt exchange that would cut the automaker’s unsecured debt by two-thirds to $9.2 billion. To get there, bondholders would have to accept about 30 cents on the dollar, which is a requirement of the automaker’s $13.4 billion federal loan package.

But bondholders are demanding 50 cents on the dollar, which they say mirrors the value of concessions being negotiated with the United Auto Workers, said people familiar with the talks.

The demands illustrate the challenges GM is facing in its talks with bondholders and raise doubts about whether the company will succeed in cutting its debt and convincing the government it can repay the loans. If GM cannot reach a deal on concessions with bondholders, as well as with the UAW, the government could recall the $9.4 billion GM has already received and effectively force the automaker into bankruptcy.

  

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