Monday, January 28, 2008
some doubts about Contrywide Bonds
--some are having doubts that he will ride to their rescue. --The reason: The largest U.S. bank in stock-market value has given few details about what will happen to about $25 billion in Countrywide bonds as part of the deal. As a result, some bondholders are worried that Bank of America will structure the agreement so that it doesn't fully back the mortgage lender's debt obligations. If that happens, Countrywide's debt may not rise in value to levels more in line with Bank of America bonds. --Terms of the deal are crystal-clear for Countrywide shareholders. --Bondholders are concerned about deal consummation, too. They face the additional mystery of how that debt will be treated after the merger, announced Jan. 11. In a conference call that day, Mr. Lewis deflected questions about how Countrywide's debt obligations would fit into the post-deal capital structure. --When the Countrywide deal was announced, the cost of insuring against a default at Countrywide plunged. Since then, though, the cost has surged to about $425,000 annually for protection on $10 million of Countrywide bonds from $342,000 the day the merger was announced, according to data provider Markit. It is abnormal.