The Devilish Details of Detroit’s Deal
There are some pretty scary devils in the details of this Detroit bailout legislation. This WSJ article provides some specifics.
Under the terms of the draft legislation, “the government would receive warrants for stock equivalent to at least 20% of the loans any company receives.” Let’s put that in perspective. General Motors is seeking around $10 billion in short-term loans, so the legislation would give the government the option to buy a $2 billion stake in GM. GM’s market capitalization — the market value of its outstanding stock — is currently around $3 billion. If the government were to exercise its option today, it would pay GM $2 billion (thereby enhancing GM’s value by that amount) and would receive $2 billion worth of newly issued stock in a (now) $5 billion company. Thus, the government would end up owning 40% of GM.