Saturday, July 21, 2012

China to Backdoor PEU Investments via GM Pension

One tentacle of China's government will buy up to $2 billion in private equity underwriter (PEU) investments from General Motor's pension fund.  Ironically, GM CEO Daniel Ackerson worked as a Managing Director for The Carlyle Group.

GM needs to reduce its pension liability.  In a PEU-like move, GM announced in June it would offer employees a lump sum buyout.  The move is expected to reduce GM's pension obligations by $26 billion.  The company will effectively contract out its pension function.  It will pay Prudential for a group annuity contract for employees not taking the buyout.

GM will shift $29 billion of $109 billion in pension assets to Prudential.  Did Prudential hold their nose on taking GM's PEU holdings?  Or is this simply a re-balancing in the remaining portfolio after a major move?  Only the people not talking know for sure.

GM loved PEU's for a decade and a half.  They hired one to be their CEO.  GM is but the latest middleman in moving PEU stakes.  It's China's backdoor gain of U.S. assets.  Will it garner a CFIUS review under Tim Geithner's Treasury?  It's a global PEU world.