The shell company left over from the failure of Washington Mutual Inc. has raised close to $600 million to pursue acquisitions of financial companies that can benefit from its huge, tax-deductible losses.
WMI Holdings, whose common shares trade over the counter, said Monday it had sold new convertible preferred stock to Citigroup Global Markets and KKR Capital Markets. Total proceeds were $598 million, but after expenses and fees the company will have about $568 million to spend.
“With this capital we intend to continue to pursue opportunities for acquisitions of companies with operations that are complemented by the experience and expertise of our board and management team,” said WMI Holdings Chairman Michael Willingham in the Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
After Washington Mutual’s banking units were seized and sold by banking regulators in 2008 in the nation’s largest bank failure, the holding company fell into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Years of legal maneuvering ensued, and the company finally emerged from bankruptcy in 2012, owned primarily by WaMu’s Chapter 11 creditors.
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Although it owns a mortgage reinsurance operation that’s being wound down, WMI Holdings’ main attraction is the financial crater left when its ownership of the banking units became a worthless asset.
That deficit, known to accountants and tax auditors as a net operating loss carry forward, can be used to reduce future taxable income.
The idea is WMI could buy a company and cut its taxes.
In its latest quarterly SEC filing, WMI said its “total available and utilizable NOL carry forward at Dec. 31, 2013, was approximately $5.96 billion.”
A spokesman for WMI Holdings said it had no additional comment on the funding or its future plans.
The company’s main shareholders before the latest financing were two hedge funds specializing in distressed securities and an arm of investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.
Willingham and the company’s other board members are restructuring and financial experts who did not work for Washington Mutual before it failed.