Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hedge Funds Resist Obummer's Charms

Oh, boy! Obummer is pissed because certain hedge funds, which own $6,900,000,000.00 of Chrysler LLC's debt, would not succumb to his charms. The funds refused to be bullied into accepting 29 cents on the dollar and instead chose to take their chances in bankruptcy court. I can understand why they did so.

See "In Chrysler Deal, Obama Criticizes Reluctant Hedge Funds".

First of all, hedge funds are investors. No investor, or any business, can succeed by accepting less than $1.01 for each $1.00 invested. When a business profits, it stays in business and is able to pay its employees, and the economy prospers. Obummer showed just how anti-business he truly is when he attempted to force a group of businesses to accept losses just because he said so. At the same time, Obummer was trying to give a majority share of Chrysler to the United Autoworkers union to cover retirement and health obligations for past employees. Bottom line, Obummer wanted private enterprise to take it in the shorts while handing the keys to the plant to the union. Chrysler's working capital dries up and the union gets control without any concession whatsoever.

The hedge funds are right to force Chrysler into bankruptcy. If the hedge funds are secured creditors (and they should be smart enough to be) they have their loans tied to tangible assets. Pensions are usually priority unsecured creditors in bankruptcy, in line behind secured creditors, so the UAW's position in bankruptcy court would theoretically be behind the hedge funds. Obummer tried to change the order by placing the UAW ahead of secured creditors, and they would not go for it. In bankruptcy, it is possible that the hedge funds could strengthen their position by providing financing for the debtor-in-possession (Chrysler). Who knows how this may actually work out. The hedge funds are taking a gamble and may get less than 29 cents on the dollar out of the bankruptcy proceedings, but at least they will not have bent over willingly.

The bankruptcy is a good thing, as the UAW will likely get its comeuppance for its part in bankrupting a once-great automaker. If Italian automaker Fiat remains out of the picture, I might have to change my mind about buying a Chrysler product in the future. I kinda want another Jeep.

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