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Santander, Third-Party Investors Eyeing DriveTime

September 20, 2012

Phoenix, Ariz. — DriveTime is selling itself in separate transactions, according to a filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Santander Consumer USA has agreed to purchase the finance receiving portfolio from the nation’s largest dealer group, while a third-party investor group is expected to acquire all of the outstanding stock of DriveTime.

The third-party investors, which were undisclosed in  the filing, will acquire DriveTime’s used-vehicle operations, which consists of 91 owned and leased dealerships, 16 reconditioning facilities, as well as other components of the company. The shareholders of the auto group and its financial acceptance corporation are to “receive aggregate proceeds of approximately $700 million and the purchasers will assume, refinance or repay certain items of existing indebtedness of DriveTime.”

With the sale, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services placed DriveTime’s ‘B’ rating, along with the company’s $200 million publicly-traded senior secured notes, on “watch developing.” “We do not believe there is enough information available at this time about the eventual capital structure and ownership of the newly formed entity acquiring DriveTime to determine the potential rating,” the ratings agency stated in its report. “If the parties do not consummate the transaction, we would likely maintain our ‘B’ ratings on DriveTime and its senior notes.”

The Credit Watch was placed with the preface that S&P does believe that there is a good likelihood the parties will complete the transaction. The SEC filing states that termination of the agreement could obligate that cancelling party to pay a $25 million termination fee.

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