For General Motors Corp., the task at hand is so difficult that experts say a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing is all but inevitable.

To remake itself outside of court, GM must persuade bondholders to swap $27 billion in debt for 10 per cent of its risky stock. On top of that, the automaker must work out deals with its union, announce factory clo­sures, cut brands and force hundreds of dealers out of business — all in three weeks.

“I just don’t see how it’s possible, given all of the pieces,” said Stephen J. Lub­ben, a professor at Seton Hall Uni­versity School of Law who specializes in bankruptcy.

GM faces a June 1 government deadline to complete its restructuring plan or follow Chrysler LLC into bankruptcy protection.

Experts say all GM is doing now is lining up stakeholders to make its court-supervised reorganization move more quickly.

CEO Fritz Henderson said last week there’s still time to get everything done by the deadline, although he conceded it will be difficult to meet a government requirement that 90 per cent of its bondholders agree to the stock swap.

The biggest obstacle appears to be GM bondholders, who have been reluctant to sign on to the stock swap when the government and United Auto Workers union would get far more stock in exchange for debts owed by GM.

The company is talking with the UAW and Canadian Auto Workers unions about concessions, including getting the UAW to take 39 per cent of its stock in exchange for half of the $20 billion GM must pay into a union-run trust.

Cutting dealers also remains a huge hurdle. Dealers are protected by state franchise laws, and trying to shed them outside of bankruptcy would result in either millions of dollars in payments or multiple lengthy lawsuits, Lubben said.

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