GM CEO Interested in Buying Ally’s International Business

GM CEO Dan Akerson
General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson during an interview in New York. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

General Motors Co. is interested in acquiring Ally Financial Inc.’s international operations, the chief executive officer of the world’s top-selling automaker said.

“We’re interested in it, but we’re not going to bleed to buy it,” GM CEO Dan Akerson said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters. “We’re the natural buyer.”

As part of Ally’s announcement today that it was putting its ResCap mortgage subsidiaries in Chapter 11 reorganization, the Detroit-based bank said it was also beginning the process of exploring “strategic alternatives for its international businesses.”

Ally is seeking to divest more than $30 billion of assets in Canada and Mexico as well as in Europe and South America, Ally CEO Michael Carpenter said in an interview. The sales may allow Ally to repay two-thirds of the government rescue that left the U.S. Treasury Department with a 74 percent stake, he said.

GM had owned Ally’s predecessor, GMAC, until 2006, when GM sold 51 percent of it to Cerberus Capital Management LP.

“They have not been as robust as we quite frankly wanted internationally,” Akerson said. “But they have the infrastructure there, and they have the distribution channels there, which would facilitate our move into it reasonably quickly.”

GM is “probably not” interested in Ally’s U.S. operations because the automaker has already turned over lending to Wells Fargo & Co. in the western part of the U.S., Akerson said. “That works fine,” he said.

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