General Motors Co. (GM), the largest U.S. automaker, is preparing to bid this week for Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY)’s auto-lending arms in Europe and Latin America, said three people with knowledge of the matter.
GM isn’t pursuing an offer for Ally’s Canadian operations or its Mexican auto insurer, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. Detroit- based Ally put its non-U.S. operations up for sale in May to help repay a U.S. government bailout. Ally has asked companies to submit bids by Sept. 21 after receiving almost 30 indications of interest in July, the people said.
An acquisition of the units would more than double the assets of GM Financial, created in 2010 with the acquisition of AmeriCredit Corp. Detroit-based GM owned Ally’s predecessor, GMAC, until 2006, when the automaker sold 51 percent of it to Cerberus Capital Management LP.
Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) and Royal Bank of Canada (RY) are among lenders that have shown interest in Ally’s Canadian operations, one of the people said. TD bought the former lending arm of Chrysler LLC in 2011 for $6.3 billion.
“We have disclosed our interest in acquiring some parts of Ally’s international operations but we’re not prepared to discuss the topic in any detail in the middle of the process,” GM said in an e-mailed statement. Stephen Knight of TD and Katherine Gay at Royal Bank declined to comment.
“We are encouraged by the breadth and depth of interest in the international businesses,” said Gina Proia, an Ally spokeswoman. She declined to comment further.
GM bought AmeriCredit to boost auto sales by providing customers with more access to credit. Last year, GM Financial bought Toronto-based leasing company FinanciaLinx Corp. to expand its Canada operations.
The carmaker’s executives view Ally’s $15.3 billion of assets in Canada as less attractive than the other regions partly because GM already has a finance business there, one of the people with knowledge of the matter said. Competition from local banks also contributed, two other people said.
While GM Financial is focused mainly on North America, Ally financed about 30 percent of GM customers internationally in the first quarter, Colin Langan, an analyst at UBS AG in New York, said in a note to investors this year. Ally’s Latin American and European lending units had $16.4 billion of assets, the lender said in a May 15 presentation to investors.
GM’s finance unit had $14.6 billion of assets as of June 30. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson said in a May interview that the automaker was “the natural buyer” for the non-U.S. operations.
By Zachary R. Mider, Tim Higgins and Jeffrey McCracken
Courtesy of Bloomberg News