SANTA BARBARA, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/16/10 -- Plan solicitation packages are heading out to creditors and shareholders in the matter of Fremont General Corporation ("Fremont" or the "Company") (PINKSHEETS: FMNTQ). James A. McIntyre, Sr. announced that following careful consideration of all plan of reorganization alternatives he has decided to back the Plan of Reorganization ("Signature Plan") being put forward by plan proponent Signature Group Holdings, LLC ("Signature"). Also supporting the Signature Plan are Seth W. Hamot of Boston based Roark, Reardon, and Hamot, LLC and Howard Amster of Beachwood, Ohio based Ramat Securities, who are believed to be the two largest holders of Trust Oriented Preferred Securities or TOPrS (PINKSHEETS: FMNPQ). Mssrs. McIntryre, Hamot, and Amster have each agreed to be co-proponents of the Signature Plan. "I strongly support the Signature Plan of Reorganization for Fremont General and recommend a "YES" Vote. In putting together this Signature Plan, I had the opportunity to work with the senior members of the Signature team and to help guide the Plan including revisions to the compensation structure and other aspects of the Plan that protect shareholders," said McIntyre.
Mr. McIntyre explained that the decision to support the Signature Plan was the result of a deliberative process that began in November when he, Hamot, and Amster entered into an agreement to support a revised plan negotiated with the Official Equity Committee. Thereafter, McIntyre, Hamot, Amster, and the Official Equity Committee proceeded to evaluate potential plan proponents who would bring a turnkey management team. Said McIntyre, "This process included an evaluation of the proposals from other proponents, as well as various meetings, phone calls, and negotiations. At the conclusion of that process, the large TOPrS and I agreed that Signature presented the best alternative and proceeded with Signature." McIntyre said he was disappointed that the OEC had not joined him in supporting the Signature Plan, "In my view, the Equity Committee erred in not moving forward with the established team that Signature provides us." McIntyre also expressed his opinion that "the Equity Committee lacks a viable, committed management team and also lacks a workable business plan."
The Signature Plan utilizes the asset base of the current Fremont estate as a foundation for the creation of a broad based, high growth, and solidly profitable commercial finance platform oriented toward the "middle market" for corporate lending which is acutely needed under current market conditions. Signature has an established track record, market presence, and an experienced and accomplished team that can originate, structure and manage a diversified portfolio that is expected to include asset-backed commercial financings, special situations loans, distressed asset investments. A key to Signature's ability to generate high returns while avoiding credit losses has been its focus on mitigating risk with borrower collateral. "I am confident that the path to shareholder value lies in supporting Signature. They bring to our company a bright, energetic and dedicated management team -- all with an enviable record in commercial lending," said McIntyre. In particular, he said that the Signature Plan emphasizes financial products and services that have proven consistently profitable through credit cycles, and is "particularly well suited to maximizing the value of the net operating loss carry-forwards. This will, in my opinion, result in a robust earnings and cash flow profile, leading to attractive risk-adjusted returns and solid, long-term value creation for the Equity Holders."
While Mr. McIntyre indicated that he does not intend to serve on the board of directors for the reorganized Fremont he noted that Signature's proposed Board of Directors slate "is impressive and comprised of experienced and knowledgeable businessmen who are committing their own capital to the reorganized Fremont." Mr. McIntyre noted that, as part of his process in evaluating his alternatives, he had met with John Nickoll, the prospective Chairman under the Signature Plan. Mr. Nickoll formerly founded Foothill Capital, "a highly successful financial services firm that is now part of Wells Fargo." McIntyre opined that the Directors identified in the Signature Plan "will bring further balance, prudent stewardship and strategic guidance to the Company." Five of the directors, John Nickoll, Robert Peiser, Larry Hochberg, Seth Hamot, and Howard Amster have considerable experience serving as Directors of publicly traded companies. In addition, according to the Disclosure Statement for the Signature Plan, three of the six directors who have been identified under the Signature Plan are existing Fremont shareholders while two others, Mr. Hamot and Mr. Amster, are believed to be the two largest holders of TOPrS. All of the proposed Directors under the Signature Plan are expected to qualify as "independent directors" under requirements of the applicable securities laws and exchange regulations. Mr. McIntyre concluded: "I care deeply about Fremont General and believe that the Signature Plan is the right way forward towards a brighter future."
About Jim McIntyre
James A. McIntyre, Sr., joined Alltrades Insurance Co in 1963 as part of a recapitalization. The Company changed its name to Fremont at that time. He later served as CEO of the Company from its IPO in 1970 until his retirement in 2004. He has continued to be an equity holder and, together with family members, owns 9,786,994 shares representing approximately 12.5% of the outstanding shares of the company.
About Signature Group Holdings, LLC
Formed in 2004, Signature Group Holdings, LLC is a credit oriented special situations investor with a track record of successfully acquiring, originating and managing debt investments. Signature is a Plan Proponent in the reorganization of Fremont General Corporation. Copies of the Signature Disclosure Statement, Solicitation Letter, Plan of Reorganization, and other information about Signature can be found on its website www.SignatureGroupHoldings.com. Signature is headquartered in Sherman Oaks, CA.
This news release contains forward-looking information. Statements contained in this news release relating to future results, events and expectations are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements may involve known and unknown risks and other factors and uncertainties which may cause the actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such statements. The Company does not have any intention or obligation to update forward-looking statements included in this press release after the date of this press release, except as required by law.
No stock exchange or regulatory authority has approved or disapproved of the information contained herein.
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