GM Set to Close Deal on Car Loan Financer AmeriCredit

GM to Close Deal on AmeriCredit
GM to Close Deal on AmeriCredit

General Motors will once again have its own in-house financing unit beginning Friday, when the auto giant closes on its $3.5 billion purchase of AmeriCredit (ACF). The new unit, to be renamed General Motors Financial, will allow the automaker to offer consumers more financing and leasing options, GM said in a written statement.

"This acquisition allows GM to offer an enhanced range of solutions for our customers and dealers, and establishes an important strategic capability for GM," said Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell.

AmeriCredit shareholders voted to approve the purchase at a meeting Wednesday at the company's headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.

Having an in-house financing arm gives GM greater control over the loan and lease deals it can offer consumers, including nonprime loans, in which AmeriCredit specializes. That greater flexibility, combined with desirable products, could help the automaker regain some of its declining share of the domestic auto market -- and aid in attracting investor interest to its planned initial public offering in November.

"When you own somebody, you can tell them what to do," Former GM CEO Edward Whitacre told The Detroit News last month. Whitacre said further that the deal would boost the automaker's public offering. "It strengthens the IPO because it shows we have a credit organization just like Ford Motor (F) and Toyota Motor (TM)."

GM Will Keep Working With GMAC/Ally

GM once owned GMAC, but sold its stake in the finance arm for $7.4 billion three years ago to raise cash. GMAC, now known as Ally Financial, still supplies loans to GM, as well as to Chrysler Group.

GM's purchase of AmeriCredit was a swift one. The all-cash transaction, which values each share of AmeriCredit at $24.50, was just announced in July. The companies have been working together since September 2009, when they began a program to offer nonprime loans, allowing GM to significantly boost sales to customers with less-than-stellar credit.

In its statement Wednesday, GM said "key partners," including Ally Financial, will continue to provide financial products, such as dealer financing and financing for prime customers.

In the second quarter, Ally financed 36% of GM's new retail sales in the U.S. and Canada, up from 28% last year, the Detroit Free Press reported. Ally also financed 86% of dealers' new-vehicle inventory at the end of June, in line with the 85% it financed a year earlier.

GM sought earlier this year to reacquire Ally, but the lender declined GM's overtures, leading to the automaker's decision to purchase AmeriCredit.