Why Cerberus won't do it!

Why Can’t Cerberus Foot the Bill?


For its $5.3 billion — on top of the $4.3 billion it has received since December — Chrysler offered little more than an assurance that it has already cut costs and accomplished most of what it had to do to become a valuable, viable company. It offered to trim production by a paltry 100,000 units — leaving it with capacity to make almost one million vehicles more than it will sell this year — on the questionable assumption that demand, and its market share, will bounce back next year.

Chrysler said the only reason it was back asking for more money so soon was that the car market was worse than it had expected two months ago.

This cavalier approach to the public purse raises a very big question. If Chrysler is really on track for a turnaround and all it needs is some financing to get over a bad patch in sales and debt markets, why doesn’t Cerberus Capital Management, which owns 80 percent of the company, put up the money itself? Why should taxpayers have to take the risk? That’s what private equity funds like Cerberus are supposed to do.

Cerberus and Daimler, which retained a stake in Chrysler, have promised to convert $2 billion in loans to Chrysler into equity, which should help reduce its debt. But Cerberus said giving fresh money would violate its fiduciary duty to investors, breaking company rules limiting how much it can commit to any given investment.

We suspect these rules would be more pliant if Cerberus deemed Chrysler to be a good deal.

It seems the secretive private-equity fund is willing to gamble on Chrysler’s survival with the taxpayer’s dime, but not its own.

Chrysler warns that if it doesn’t get more money from Washington it will have to declare bankruptcy.

Comment: Cerberus won't do it because it is a bad investment. Maybe someone in the Obama administration should get a clue from this fact.

1 comment:

  1. What ever happened to "you bought the cow, you feed it?" I know that Cerberus maintains Chrysler as a separate enough legal entity to declare it bankrupt without killing Cerberus, but yeesh....


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