General Motors has just announced its intent to acquire AmeriCredit Corp. According to the automaker, the move should give dealers an added finance option when it comes to putting car shoppers into a new vehicle. Since GM and GMAC parted ways back in 2006, buyers looking to purchase a car or truck from The General have faced tougher financing terms than in the past. Supposedly, the new deal with AmeriCredit will provide new opportunities for sub-prime borrowers. The total cost of the deal? A cool $3.5 billion in straight cash.

GM says that putting AmeriCredit under its wing is the next logical step in moving toward an IPO, and most analysts seem to agree. The carmaker had been criticized for not having an in-house financing arm in the past, but the new move should afford the company and its dealership network an added level of financing flexibility. It should also allow GM to return to leasing in a big way. The two companies have been working together extensively in recent months, and GM says that over 4,000 of its dealerships already have relationships with the lender.

The purchase has already been approved by the boards of both GM and AmeriCredit, and pending approval from the lender's stockholders, The General will purchase the finance company for $24.50 per share. As of writing, the company's stock is currently trading at $24.07 – up $4.36 on news of the purchase. Hit the jump for the GM press release. Thanks for the tips, Jeff and Sea Urchin!

[Sources: General Motors, TickerSpy]


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GM to Acquire AmeriCredit
2010-07-22
* Will form core of GM's captive finance arm
* Bolsters retail financing options for dealers and consumers, supporting GM North America sales growth

DETROIT – To meet customer demand for leasing and non-prime financing for GM vehicles, General Motors and AmeriCredit Corp. (NYSE: ACF) today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement for GM to acquire AmeriCredit, one of the nation's leading independent auto finance companies, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion.

"This acquisition supports our efforts to design, build and sell the world's best vehicles by expanding the financing options we can offer to consumers who want to buy GM vehicles," said GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ed Whitacre. "Adding AmeriCredit to our team will improve our competitiveness in auto financing offerings, and I am very pleased to have them on board."

The acquisition establishes the core of a new GM captive financing arm that will enable GM to provide customers with a more complete range of financing options, while creating significant growth opportunities for both GM and AmeriCredit. Since GM and AmeriCredit launched a successful non-prime program in September 2009, GM's non-prime penetration has increased significantly. Upon completion of the transaction, AmeriCredit intends to also re-enter the leasing business which will provide expanded leasing availability for all GM customers.

Direct ownership of AmeriCredit's expertise will provide consistent availability of non-prime financing for GM customers throughout all economic cycles. While AmeriCredit already has relationships with approximately 4,000 GM dealers, this transaction will enhance dealer receptivity and improve sales penetration rates through coordinated GM branding and targeted customer marketing initiatives.

"With AmeriCredit providing us niche capabilities in leasing and non-prime financing, along with the continued strong support of Ally Financial and others for prime retail and dealer financing, we've set up a very competitive solution for our financing needs, which will be resilient through credit and business cycles," said GM Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, Chris Liddell.

AmeriCredit President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Berce said, "We're excited about joining the GM team. While we will be expanding our product set to more fully support GM, we'll continue to offer our loan products to the more than 11,000 dealers across the country we serve today. Long term, this transaction will deliver benefits to our dealers, customers and employees."

The highly regarded AmeriCredit management team will remain intact, which will assist in minimizing integration risk and maximizing opportunities between the two companies.

With total assets of approximately $10 billion, the acquisition of AmeriCredit poses minimal impact to GM's balance sheet, and does not change GM's objective of achieving strong investment grade status. Under GM ownership, AmeriCredit will maintain its own direct access to the capital markets for its financing requirements.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both companies' boards of directors, at closing, AmeriCredit shareholders will receive $24.50 in cash for each share of stock held as of the transaction closing date.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, pending certain closing conditions, including the approval of AmeriCredit shareholders.

GM and AmeriCredit will hold a joint conference call today for analysts and media at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The toll-free number for U.S. callers is 800-764-4852. The dial-in number for international callers is 1-212-231-2917. When prompted, please ask to be connected to the General Motors conference call. Details on the call and information about how to access a replay of the call can be found on the GM or AmeriCredit websites at www.gm.com/corporate/investor_information/cal_events or www.americredit.com/investors/presentations.asp, respectively.