General Motors Co. says it will acquire the Irving based auto financing company AmeriCredit Corp. so it can increase leasing and make more loans to buyers with low credit scores.
The Detroit automaker says it will pay $3.5 billion to buy all of AmeriCredit’s stock at $24.50 per share _ a 24 percent premium over Wednesday’s close.  It expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter.

GM CEO Ed Whitacre said Thursday the deal will make GM more competitive in auto financing. GM executives have said their sales have been hurt by a lack of subprime and lease financing. The company says that Ally Financial _ formerly known as GMAC _ will continue to finance GM’s dealer inventory and make loans to buyers with good credit. GM says it is not considering a purchase of Ally’s auto financing unit.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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