Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Selling Assets - Ford and the NY Times

News reports today indicate that Ford is perhaps putting Volvo up for sale, and that the New York Times is doing the same for their stake in the Boston Red Sox. It's quite understandable for struggling firms such as these to be trying to focus their business strategies and raise cash through asset sales. However, firms face a dilemma because the credit crunch makes it difficult for them for them to get a good price for these assets. They may end up only getting a fraction of what they were worth just one year ago in some cases (more of a problem for Volvo than the Sox probably). Thus, we've seen many firms hesitating on whether to sell non-core businesses or other assets at this point in time. For instance, why hasn't General Motors sold Hummer yet? It would seem that they recognize that it may be very hard to find a buyer willing to give them anything near what that business was worth just a short time ago. Thus, every firm faces this balancing act between trying to focus and build their cash reserves versus trying to make sure they don't sell things at a huge discount to what they believe the assets to be worth in the long term.

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