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Archive for Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CIT secures $3B from bondholders

July 21, 2009

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— Commercial lender CIT Group Inc. confirmed late Monday that it has secured a $3 billion bailout from its bondholders, averting an immediate bankruptcy filing and giving the company some breathing room to restructure its debt.

It’s a new twist in the financial crisis: A major bank on the verge of a last-minute rescue — only this time the bailout isn’t coming from the government. The deal marks the first time since the banking crisis erupted that private investors are stepping in to save a big financial firm without federal help or oversight.

The lifeline for CIT, whose clients include Dunkin’ Donuts franchises and clothing maker Eddie Bauer, aims to sustain the company long enough for it to rework its heavy debt load, which includes $7.4 billion due in the first quarter of next year. It does not guarantee CIT will avoid bankruptcy.

CIT said the rescue includes a $3 billion secured term loan with a 2.5-year maturity, which will ensure that its small and midsized business customers continue to have access to credit. Term loan proceeds of $2 billion are committed and available immediately, with an additional $1 billion expected to be committed and available within 10 days.

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