The Blue Oval is back where it belongs.
Last week we noted that Ford "hasn't yet gotten its iconic Blue Oval out of hock, but additional ratings-agency bumps of Ford bonds are expected to move that moment closer, as Ford seeks to regain control of one of the major assets it pledged as collateral in its private-borrowing spree before the Great Recession."
That day has come. With Moody's Investors Service's move today to upgrade Ford's debt, Ford has taken its iconic corporate logo out of hock, where it had resided for more than five years. Ford helped secure $18.5 billion in debt in December 2006 by pledging the Blue Oval along with substantially all of its domestic assets, which also included the F-150 and Mustang trademarks — as well as $5 billion of unsecured convertible debt.
"This is a great day for us and is the result of several years of hard work and progress by everyone associated with Ford," Bill Ford, executive chairman, said in a press release. Not to mention the risks that Ford took by recapitalizing in the private market, before the onset of the Great Recession, that rivals General Motors and Chrysler avoided through the federal-taxpayer bailouts in 2009. Ford couldn't get possession of the logo back from its banks until three credit-ratings services had bumped up its ratings, and Moody's was the third.
"When we pledged the Ford Blue Oval as part of the loan package, we were not just pledging an asset," Ford said. "We pledged our heritage. The Ford Blue Oval is one of the most recognized symbols in the world, and it is a source of great pride and passion, both inside and outside our company.
"Getting the Ford Blue Oval back feels amazing, and it is one of the best days that I can remember."
Ford went on to say that the release by Ford lenders of all Ford collateral in the wake of Moody's decision "is further proof that, by staying laser-focused on our One Ford plan, the Ford team can deliver great products, buiold a strong business and contribute to a better world even through the most challenging external environment."
"There is an enormous psychological impact on Ford and all of our employees," Ford's corporate blog commented on today's news. "It means our plan is working."
Below, Ford shared this look today at its iconic oval logo through the years: