This is a strange story. Bloomberg headlined, Goldman Sachs Helps YRC Avert Bankruptcy Following Hoffa’s Plea as if Goldman Sachs saved America's largest trucking company from default.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. helped YRC Worldwide Inc. complete a debt swap to avert bankruptcy after the Teamsters union said the bank was trying to profit from a failure of the largest U.S. trucker by sales.
A group consisting of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank AG, Aristeia Capital LLC, Silverback Asset Management and a Smith Management LLC unit, “got us over the goal line by going into the market, buying bonds and tendering them,” YRC Chief Executive Officer Bill Zollars said yesterday.
YRC extended the deadline for the bond exchange six times in December as it sought to overcome resistance from bondholders owning derivatives that would pay out if the company defaulted. YRC, which has posted $1.7 billion in losses in the past five quarters, needed to complete the exchange by Dec. 31 to avoid a bank payment that would have left the trucker in an “unsustainable” position, the Overland Park, Kansas-based company said in a regulatory filing two weeks ago.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa said in letters last month to regulators and lawmakers that Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank were among banks that “have a history of making markets in these types of derivative financial products.”
Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally said Dec. 17 that the bank was “actively exploring ways to help” YRC.
Yet just a few days ago, the Teamsters President, Hoffa, requested the SEC look into YRC's credit default swaps:
International Brotherhood of Teamsters President James Hoffa is asking the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to review “questionable promotion” of credit- default swaps tied to trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc.
I guess a bunch of bond holders were using derivatives to possibly destroy the trucking company. YRC had $19 million in fees and interests due to pay for a CDS if the company defaulted, which would have wiped them out.
Here's the meat of the issue:
Facing a slump in freight demand, YRC is locked in a struggle with a group of bondholders who own derivatives that would pay out if the company defaults.
So, a bunch of derivatives traders had placed bets YRC would default in the form of our favorite derivative, credit default swaps.
It also appears Goldman Sachs was trading these bets for YRC's demise:
Goldman Sachs sent e-mails to debt investors on Dec. 16 offering pricing levels on YRC bonds and credit-default swaps and saying that $25 million of the bonds and swaps were “trading here,”
So, YRC managed to get a debt for equity exchange to advert bankruptcy at the 11th hour and will now survive.
But did Goldman Sachs really help YRC or did they begrudgingly do something for a company who could offer up quite a bit of testimony in Congressional hearings?