NEW YORK -- General Motors, facing a possible credit downgrade to "junk" status, is in talks to sell a stake in its commercial mortgage unit, a spokeswoman for the automaker said on Wednesday.
GM faces a cash outflow of $2 billion this year, but the automaker is not selling the stake to raise cash, spokeswoman Toni Simonetti said.
"This is more of a strategic move on the part of commercial mortgage," she said. "GMAC has plenty of cash, $23 billion in cash. They don't need to raise cash."
GMAC Commercial Mortgage, which originates and services mortgages in a variety of business sectors, is part of GM's GMAC finance unit. In recent years, the world's largest automaker has derived most of its profits from its finance unit, while its automotive operations have weakened.
Last week, GM said it expects profit this year to be as much as 80 percent below its prior forecast due to weak U.S. sales and competition from foreign automakers.
The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the situation, said the commercial mortgage unit could be valued at $1 billion to $2 billion.
GM intends to keep a "significant equity interest" in the unit, Simonetti said.
She declined to identify the parties GM was talking to, or a sale price for the unit.
"We are in discussions right now," she said. "We have been approached by some interested potential investors."