Dear General Motors
We go way back. After all, I’ve been imploring you to dump your shares all the way down. But I’m not here to deliver an I-told-you-so, friend. I’m here to help you. So help me, GM shareholder. Help me help you.
It is time you swallow the hard truth: GM is almost certainly going to follow Chrysler into bankruptcy court. This means your shares will be worth nothing. This means you should sell. Now.
As expected, GM announced this morning that it was unsuccessful in its efforts to persuade 90% of its bondholders to swap their GM debt for equity. Rather than swallow what they thought was a raw deal, bondholders opted to take their chances in bankruptcy court. Good luck with that, fellas.
What that means for shareholders
In what is the Understatement of the Day, GM simply can't meet its debt obligations. Between that and the company's epic operating losses, all that separates GM from bankruptcy court is either a temporary governmental bailout or a few yards of red tape. Odds are that GM will file for Chapter 11 by next week, at the latest.
Deus ex machina?
I mean, anything is possible. Let's assume the Obama administration waves a financial magic wand and keeps GM from being forced into bankruptcy: Shareholders still lose. Again, the best-case outcome for shareholders is their stake in a stripped-down GM is diluted 100 times over. But even that horrendous "best case" scenario is unlikely. No matter how you slice it, GM's shares are toast.
Yes, there's plenty of blame to go around: past CEOs, the UAW, competition from Japanese competitors Toyota
But the time for finger pointing is long since past. General Motors is a dead man walking, and there's no excuse for continuing to hold these shares. This isn't a question of pride or patriotism, but prudence. Sell GM.
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