News Column

Treasury Sells $489.9 Million in GM Stock in February

March 13, 2013

Nathan Bomey

General Motors headquarters

The U.S. government sold off nearly half a billion dollars in General Motors stock in February, accelerating the winding down of its ownership in the nation's largest automaker.

The Treasury Department revealed in a monthly report that it had unloaded shares worth $489.9 million in February, more than three times the $156.4 million it sold in January, the first month it started selling shares on the open market.

The company's stock traded in the range of $26 to $28 per share in February, meaning the government sold about 18 million shares. The exact figure was not revealed.

The government has recovered about $29.8 billion of its $49.5-billion GM bailout, which helped the company navigate Chapter 11 bankruptcy and chart a path toward sustainability.

It's unclear exactly how many shares taxpayers own, but it's close to 270 million. That means the U.S. government would have to sell its remaining shares at a price of about $72 to break even.

Shares closed at $28.31 on Monday, up 31 cents.

Treasury in December revealed plans to begin selling the rest of its GM shares at regular intervals to avoid depressing the price and disrupting other investors' trading. At the same time, GM agreed to buy back 200 million shares for $5.5 billion, or $27.50 each.

The government is expected to sell its final GM shares late this year or early 2014.

A Treasury Department official recently confirmed that the government will not lift GM's executive pay restrictions until the government sells its final share of GM stock.

Source: (c)2013 the Detroit Free Press Distributed by MCT Information Services

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