The sale of General Motors Acceptance Corp. relieved a number of ABS investors from wondering when the transaction would ever take place, but the sale is anticipated to have a somewhat minimal effect on the troubled U.S. automaker's securitizations. Market players noted tightening within certain GMAC transactions, and some speculated as to whether a new secured liquidity facility made available to the company could lower future securitization volume.
GM announced on April 3 an agreement to sell a 51% stake in GMAC to a group of investors, which is led by Cerberus Capital Management and includes Aozora Bank and Citigroup's private equity group. The sale will not only provide GM with cash, but will also provide GMAC more breathing room in order to achieve better financing rates. The deal will pay GM a total of $14 billion over three years, including an initial $7.4 billion from the group at closing and $2.7 billion from GMAC. While the much needed cash helps to ease seller and servicer concerns surrounding GM in the near-term, the deal is not set to finalize until the fourth quarter of this year. Additionally, a number of clauses within the agreement could negatively affect GM. Perhaps most importantly, the deal will not take place if GM's corporate credit rating falls by four notches to Triple-C or GMAC is lowered from its current double-B rating by any one of either Standard and Poor's, Moody's Investors Service or Fitch Ratings. And while GM will have the option of buying back its finance arm if its corporate credit rating reaches investment grade status, it will have to do so at fair market value - expected to be a considerable hike over the price for which it was purchased.