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JPMorgan's Exposure to GM: What You Don't Know

Stocks in this article: JPM GM F

Underwriting data from Thomson Reuters provides some clues, showing JPMorgan is the lead or joint-lead underwriter on some $105 billion worth of outstanding bonds and loans to GM, Chrysler and Ford Motor Co. (F) and their finance affiliates.

JPMorgan was also lead or co-lead underwriter on about $6.8 billion in outstanding bonds and loans to Delphi and Visteon, according to Thomson Reuters.

GM Through the Years

These figures only amount to circumstantial evidence, however, as the fact that JPMorgan underwrote all this debt does not technically mean it owns any of it. Other underwriters own a share in much of the debt, and, particularly in the case of the bonds, a large portion was sold to hedge funds and other large money managers.

Still, a JPMorgan-led group of banks was largely unsuccessful in selling off a $12 billion loan in 2007 to finance Cerberus Capital Management's purchase of Chrysler in 2007, according to several reports at the time. Other lenders on that deal were Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS) and Bear Stearns, though JPMorgan assumed Bear's exposure when it bought the faltering firm the following year.

The banks apparently hedged a good deal of this exposure by buying credit default swaps of Ford and GM. A report by bond research firm CreditSights in 2007 noted a sudden rise in credit default swaps on Ford and GM that July, which it attributed to bank hedging activity as efforts to sell the Chrysler debt ran into trouble.

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