, a former division of
, reached a deal to come out of bankruptcy on the same day that GM went in.
The company, which makes auto electronics systems, announced Monday that it will sell a large part of its business to a Los Angeles private-equity firm called Platinum Equity.
Platinum will operate Delphi with $3.6 billion in capital, $250 million of which will be put up by GM and some portion by Platinum itself, according to reports -- though specifics of that financing were not disclosed in the press release announcing the deal.
GM, in turn, agreed to buy back five of Delphi's plants, including those with hourly worker pension obligations -- or, as the press release put it, "labor-related legacy costs."
The pact is similar to an earlier one that was skunked last April, when the private-equity firm Appaloosa split from its $2.55 billion agreement to buy a stake in Delphi, which would have helped it emerge from bankruptcy.
This time around, Delphi agreed to end its salaried pension plan covering about 20,000 employees and retirees. That perhaps acted as a deal sweetener, as it frees Platinum from any such obligations. Delphi said that it couldn't find funding for its defined-benefit pension plan because of last April's delay. A government agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., will take over that plan, but will cap retirement payments at $54,000 a year for those 65 or older.
Of course, the deal still needs the blessing of Delphi creditors, and talks between the company and its lenders have not exactly gone smoothly in the past. Indeed, in May, Delphi's bankruptcy judge forced the company, its creditors, GM and the government's auto task force into mediation.
According to a report in the
New York Times
, the deal with Platinum could be replaced by one in which Delphi's assets are sold in a workout much like the one GM hopes to conduct.
A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday to discuss this alternative plan, the
Originally spun off from GM in 1999, Delphi has been in Chapter 11 since 2005. It has struggled mightily with its benefits and pension obligations; about $10 billion of its liabilities, including underfunded retirement funds, have been taken over by GM, contributing to the former parents' own substantial difficulties.
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