Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cerberus Capital Taking Heavy Hits In Auto Positions

Stephen A. Feinberg, one of the country’s most powerful — and secretive — financiers, hoped to make a fortune out of the detritus of the American auto industry. Instead, he seems to be losing one, reports NYT.

Feinberg’s giant investment fund, Cerberus Capital Management, is attempting to salvage multibillion-dollar investments in Chrysler, and GMAC, the financing arm of General Motors.

On Wednesday, Chrysler, which owns the Jeep and Dodge brands, said its sales in the United States fell by a third in August — nearly twice the industry average.

The same day, GMAC, in which Cerberus holds a 51 percent stake, said it was trying to stanch the bleeding from a business that was supposed to be immune to the ups and downs of the car industry: home mortgage lending. GMAC and its home loan unit, Residential Capital, announced that they would dismiss 5,000 employees, or 60 percent of the unit’s staff, and close all 200 of its retail mortgage branches.

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