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HORSHAM, PA-GM chairman and CEO G. Richard Wagoner announces that the auto giant is seeking a strategic partner to buy more than 50% of General Motors Acceptance Corp., which provides mortgage lending and real estate services in addition to auto financing. GMAC is the parent of locally based GMAC Commercial Holding Corp., which in August agreed to sell a 60% stake to an investor group consisting of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Five Mile Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

Like the sale of a majority share of GMACCH, a sale of more than 50% of GMAC is driven by GMAC’s credit rating, which was downgraded along with GM to junk status earlier this year. Such a rating makes it more difficult for GMAC to borrow. In a conference call, Wagoner called the move “consistent with our strategy of maintaining the synergy between GM and GMAC and at the same time really increasing their ability to growth their business.”

Analysts, in a published report, suggest that all of GMAC would command approximately $35 billion and that a controlling stake would go for between $12 billion and $15 billion. A spokeswoman for GM tells GlobeSt.com the sale of the 60%-share of GMACCH “is expected to close before the end of the year.” Regarding the sale of its parent GMAC, she says, “We are just starting conversations with potential buyers. The process is just beginning.” She declined to identify any potential suitors.

In a report released following Wagoner’s announcement, Scott Sprinzen, a Standard & Poor’s analyst, says, “We view an investment-grade rating for GMAC as feasible, if GM sells a majority stake in GMAC to a highly rated financial institution … Absent steps to significantly limit its ownership control over GMAC, GMAC’s ratings ultimately again will be equalized to those of GM.” GMAC has approximately $300 billion worth of loans, mortgages and insurance policies in about 40 countries.

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