Miracle worker wanted at CIT

CIT Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Peek plans to retire at the end of the year, but the company could well be bankrupt before it concludes its search for a replacement.

Dan Wilchins and Paritosh Bansal report that bondholders are showing little interest in exchanging their debt for equity in the troubled lender to small- and medium-sized businesses. Earlier this month it said it was looking for investors to approve a large debt exchange that would reduce its borrowings, or to approve a prepackaged bankruptcy. CIT listed $71 billion of assets on its balance sheet as of the end of June.

Peek, formerly an executive at Merrill Lynch, has led CIT since 2003. He has been widely criticized for being slow to recognize the extent to which the credit crunch would stress the company’s business model by lifting its borrowing costs. If a white knight is anywhere in sight, he better have something more convincing to sell bondholders than green shoots and the promise of a better tomorrow, as about $3 billion of debt comes due in the fourth quarter.

Live blog from the auction for the NHL’s Coyotes


Reuters will be providing live updates on Thursday at noon ET from bankruptcy court in Phoenix for the auction of the National Hockey League’s Coyotes. Canadian billionaire James Balsillie and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman are expected to take the stand.

Deals du Jour

Wall Street banks and lawyers could collect nearly $1 billion in fees from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and American International Group to help manage and break apart the insurer, the Wall Street Journal said, citing its own analysis.

The following M&A related stories were reported by Reuters and other media on Thursday:

Jewelry retailer Finlay Enterprises filed for Chapter 11 protection and said it would sell its assets in an auction supervised by the bankruptcy court. The company listed assets and debt in the range of $500 million to $1 billion in its filing, Reuters reported.

Delphi’s Race To Redemption

Delphi may close to the finish line, bringing to a close its four-year-long bankruptcy. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation says it will take over the pension plans of 70,000 Delphi workers and retirees. That can’t be anything but good news for potential bidders for Delphi assets.

Talks between Delphi and its lenders have been progressing toward a compromise deal that would supersede a bid by private equity firm Platinum Equity favored by GM and the U.S. Treasury, sources have told us. What else might it take to get Delphi to the finish line? The next few days will tell if enough has been done.

Last night the federal judge hearing the case postponed the auction of Delphi’s assets until Friday. A hearing to approve the reorganization plan (or sale) is now scheduled for next Wednesday. Delphi said it expects to announce the outcome of the auction perhaps by Monday. What’s a few more days after years in the tank?

C it collapse

With government talks aimed at averting its collapse having, er, collapsed, CIT appears to be headed for bankruptcy. Dire predictions about a wave of failures by small and medium-sized businesses are still echoing, sustained by uncertainty. The suggestion that other lenders are going to step in and offer financing to CIT clients sounds hollow in the lingering recession.

Paritosh Bansal and Jui Chakravorty spoke with investment bankers who said asset sales under duress would not only draw fire-sale prices in depressed markets — a lethal combination, as AIG found — but could also lead to legal challenges from creditors if deals are rushed through ahead of a bankruptcy filing. Much like AIG, CIT is having trouble valuing its loans. Private Equity is also unlikely to show much interest.

Government efforts to avoid or manage bankruptcy elsewhere in finance and in the auto industry have led, at best, to inefficiency in clearing the dross from the boom years. At worst, the result has been a degradation of faith in investing in credit.

from Commentaries:

Bankruptcy-related M&A at 5-year high – more to come?

This week's Thomson Reuters Investment Banking Scorecard shows bankruptcy-related M&A at a five year high.


There were five bankruptcy-related M&A deals announced during the week, including the acquisition of venture-backed public company Nanogen by French investment holding company Financiere Elitech for $25.7 million. 


So far this year there have been 173 bankruptcy-related deals, the highest level since the same period of 2004 when there were 202.

Keeping score: bankruptcy boom

The Thomson Reuters Investment Banking scorecard lands again. Here are the highlights:

BAAT Offers Largest Auto Loan Securitization of 2009

A US asset-backed offering fell among the top global debt deals of the week, as Bank of America Auto Trust (BAAT) offered a $3.9 billion TALF-eligible auto loan securitization, the largest such ABS offering this year.  In total, auto loan backed issues have accounted for 35.7% of US ABS, the largest share of the approximately $80 billion so far in 2009.

As a whole, securitizations are down 30% in the US and 39% globally over 2008 levels.  This week marks the third largest week for ABS activity in the US during 2009 with $9.7 billion of issuance.

GM to sell assets to “newco,” future of “oldco” still uncertain

gmA U.S. federal judge has authrorized the sale of General Motors’ most profitable assets to a “new GM,” backed by the government, in a move seen as crucial for the automaker to exit bankruptcy protection.

The decision by Judge Robert Gerber of the U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan came after three days of hearings to address the 850 objections to the restructuring plan. In his 95-page opinion, Judge Gerber wrote that the sale would “prevent the death of the patient on the operating table.”

Under the terms of the revised deal, G.M. would sell its best assets, including the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands, to a new company owned largely by the American and Canadian governments and a health care trust for the United Automobile Workers union.

Live blogging the GM bankruptcy hearing

General Motors is back in bankruptcy court on Wednesday, seeking approval to sell its choice assets to a “New GM” in a plan to reinvigorate the automaker under U.S. government ownership.

Reuters reporters Emily Chasan and Phil Wahba will be filing updates from the hearing in the live headline box below and on the DealZone Twitter feed.

Riding on GM’s rehab

Lear is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. The auto parts supplier’s lenders have agreed to waive defaults under its primary credit facility through June 30. The ventilator may still be working, but the decision on whether to pull the plug will soon be at hand.

Last week, the White House rejected a request from the auto parts industry for up to $10 billion in additional emergency funding. Yesterday, General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson made the case that a speedy exit from bankruptcy for the automaker was the way to avoid a “fatal” blow to suppliers.

Henderson said tentative plans to resume operations at some GM plants by July 13 could be endangered if the court does not approve the sale of the its best assets to a reorganized company funded by Uncle Sam.