WASHINGTON May 6 The Treasury Department said
on Monday it will begin another round of sales of the General
Motors Co stock it acquired during the government's
bailout of the U.S. auto sector.
The move follows a registration statement by GM last month
making it easier for the Treasury to sell its remaining 241.7
million shares, or nearly 18 percent, of common stock of the No.
1 U.S. automaker.
It also will bring GM a step closer to eliminating the
stigma of government ownership.
GM executives have chafed under the tag of "Government
Motors" since its 2009 government-sponsored bailout and
bankruptcy that left the U.S. Treasury with 60.8 percent
ownership of the Detroit automaker.
After GM's November 2010 IPO, the Treasury's share of GM's
common stock fell to 32 percent. Last week, GM came within 56
cents of its IPO price of $33 after it reported
better-than-expected first-quarter earnings.
"We are pleased with the progress to date and will continue
exiting this investment in accordance with our previously
announced plan and timetable, and in a manner that maximizes
returns for taxpayers," Tim Massad, Treasury assistant secretary
for financial stability, said in a statement.
In December, the Treasury said it would fully exit its GM
investments within the following 12 to 15 months, "subject to
market conditions." But it gave no specific dates for the
resumption of share offerings.
Also in December, GM repurchased 200 million shares of its
common stock from the Treasury. At the time, Treasury said the
sale was for $5.5 billion.
By the end of March, the U.S. government had recovered $30.4
billion of the $49.5 billion used to bail out GM under the
Troubled Asset Relief Program, the TARP special paymaster said
It is unlikely that the taxpayers will be fully repaid for
the TARP bailout as Treasury exits. Treasury officials have said
the goal was not to turn a profit on owning GM shares, but
rather to save U.S. jobs.
Executives at GM have said that putting this issue behind
them will improve the company's image and boost sales as they
believe some consumers have held the bailout against them.
GM offered no fresh comment to the Treasury move on Monday.
A spokesman said the company stood by the comments of Chief
Executive Dan Akerson from last December.
Akerson at the time said Treasury's move to exit GM
ownership "is an important step in bringing closure to the
successful auto industry rescue," and "further removes the
perception of government ownership."
The automaker's shares were not much moved by the news. On
Monday afternoon, GM shares were up 1 cent at $32.11 on the New
York Stock Exchange.
While Treasury now owns nearly 18 percent of GM shares of
common stock, its ownership is about 16.4 percent of GM's