Delphi Claims Dirty Tricks by Investors

The bankrupt company says some in the investor group offering to bail it out are trading or shorting its securities.
Stephen TaubMarch 7, 2008

A Delphi Corp. lawyer claims that at least one member of the investor group that offered to invest $2.55 billion in the bankrupt company has been trading or shorting the company’s public securities, according to published reports, citing court papers.

The attorney, Jack Butler, said in a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan that he has received “credible information” about the alleged trading improprieties, according to the Associated Press.

The investor group, led by hedge fund Appaloosa Management, also includes Harbinger Capital Partners, Pardus Capital Management, Merrill Lynch, UBS Securities, and Goldman Sachs.

Butler reportedly first made the allegations in a Feb. 20 letter to an Appaloosa attorney, in which he asserted that at least one of the investors may have discussed with Appaloosa’s representatives the possibility that the deal to reorganize the auto parts maker might fall apart.

“Delphi has a fiduciary responsibility to evaluate information received by the company which may materially affect the best interests of the company and its stakeholders in the Chapter 11 cases,” Butler wrote in the letter, according to the AP.

Last week, Delphi asked for an additional two months to put together a reorganization plan without outsiders getting involved. The request was filed with the bankruptcy court amid concerns about its ability to secure exit funding, according to press reports.

Still, Delphi plans to emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of March, according to Reuters, citing a company spokesman.

Delphi — which has sought six extensions since filing for bankruptcy protection in October 2005 — is relying on the promise of $6.1 billion in loans to bring it out of Chapter 11.

The reorganization plan, however, depends on an equity investment of as much as $2.55 billion from the investor group, as well as a settlement deal with former parent General Motors.

Butler reportedly said the company was told that one or more investors in the Appaloosa group may have discussed with Appaloosa representatives scenarios under which the investment deal would not be consummated or would be underfunded.