Three days ago we recoiled in terror at the stupidity of Greek leaders, when we learned that the Greek exchange offer would be deemed satisfactory if only 66% of bondholders accept it as valid, as it would mean an immediate abrogation of UK-law bonds which have a 75% minimum covenant threshold as specified in the indenture. Apparently this was a “small oversight” on behalf of the gross amateurs in charge of this process as according to the just released full exchange offer doc, this threshold was mysteriously raised to the proper minimum acceptance threshold of 75%. Of course, it is needless to say that at least 25% of Greek bondholders will decline the offer, either in the current Greek law exchange, or the forthcoming UK-law one, which would throw the whole process into a tailspin. Because here is the kicker, from the release: “if less than 75% of the aggregate face amount of the bonds selected to participate in PSI are validly tendered for exchange, and the Republic does not receive consents that would enable it to complete the proposed exchange with respect to bonds selected to participate in PSI representing at least 75% of the aggregate face amount of all bonds selected to participate in PSI, the Republic will not proceed with any of the transactions described above.” So here’s the math: if one has 25% +1 of the €177 billion in Greek-law bonds, they can smash the entire process (and give Germany a way out, wink wink). At today’s price of about 20 cents on the dollar, this means that one can hold Greece, and thus Europe (assuming Europe wants Greece in the Eurozone and Germany itself is not the biggest shadow hold out) hostage for less than €9 billion. Or better yet, since the total bonds subject to PSI are about €206 billion, this means UK law bonds of just €29 billion are part of the deal, and one can buy a blocking stake there, at roughly 30 cents on the euro, for a meager €2 billion in cash out today. Furthermore since many hedge funds already have built up blocking stakes, this almost certainly means that Greece will not get the requisite needed votes to pass the exchange.
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