GMACs ratings were placed on review last October when parent General Motors announced that it wanted to sell a controlling interest in its finance unit in order to get a better rating for the subsidiary and lower its cost of funding.
The rating agency said in a statement in late January that it was deferring its decision because, although no sale of GMAC had been announced, GM officials had indicated that they were conducting due diligence with potential investors. Wachovia, working with a number of private equity firms, is one strategic buyer believed to be interested. In Moodys view, there remains a reasonable probability that GM will reach an agreement to sell the GMAC stake, it said.
However, the agency says that if the sale was not negotiated in what it called a reasonable time frame, it might relink GMACs ratings with those of GMs.
At the moment, Moodys ranks GMAC three notches above GM in anticipation of a sale. And it warned that even if it feels that GM is still making progress with the sale of part of GMAC, it might downgrade GMACs ratings anyway if any further deterioration of the parents business were to worsen GMACs credit profile. It says that if this happened the stand-alone residential real estate finance business, ResCap, might also be downgraded.