Ladies and gentlemen, the Unknown Comic
From time to time, journalists rely on anonymous sources, who, for whatever reason, prefer not to identify themselves to the public. And that's fine. But for the Wall Street Journal to base a 1200-word article about one of America's major corporate players on the comments of "person familiar with the matter" seems a little weird. Not that we'd ever impugn the integrity of the WSJ, but it feels almost like gossipmongering or fodder for a slow news day. And we're pretty sure it's not a slow news day.
Apart from that quibble, the WSJ piece about General Motors is a good read, centering on the mysterious source's revelation that GM's upper management is "more open to a speedy bankruptcy reorganization financed by the government, pushing aside earlier concern that such a move would scare away so many customers the company wouldn't survive" [emphasis ours].
In other words, GM has left Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Depression in the dust, and has finally reached the fifth stage in the Kübler-Ross grief cycle: Acceptance. The Deloitte & Touche report from yesterday seems to have been the straw that mercifully broke the camel's back. We're sure it was a teary day in the executive restrooms. According to the article:
[A]fter months of research, including analysis done by top bankruptcy advisers, the company has come to believe it could emerge from what is known as a prepackaged bankruptcy, said the person familiar with the matter.
Under a prepackaged bankruptcy, the various constituents -- unions, suppliers, bondholders -- would agree in advance to concessions. Prepackaged bankruptcies typically take just a few months to accomplish.
Of course, bankruptcy of any sort--prepackaged or not--isn't a cakewalk, and chances are slim that GM would emerge, shiny and new, in "just a few months". But given the way things are going, it's nice to know that GM's preparing for the worst.