Government Motors is almost no more

The Treasury sells $811 million worth of its stake in General Motors. It still needs $14.1 billion to break even on the automaker's bailout.

By Jason Notte Sep 11, 2013 4:29PM
General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Mich., on June 6, 2013 (© Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Uncle Sam is $811 million richer and General Motors (GM) is a step closer to getting that "government motors" insult to go away, assuming taxpayers don't end up taking a loss on its bailout.

According to The Associated Press, the Treasury Department said it sold $811 million worth of GM common stock last month. The report, issued Tuesday, says the government has recovered about $35.4 billion of the $49.5 billion bailout. That still leaves a hefty $14.1 billion on the table.

The government still has an estimated 186 million shares. Those would have to sell for around $76 each for the government to break even, which is a bit problematic considering that's more than double the current trading price. Maybe the government would have more time to let the stock mature a bit if it hadn't painted itself into a corner by promising to sell all its GM shares by early 2014.

It made that announcement back in January and hired JPMorgan Securities and Citigroup Global Markets to conduct the sale. While the Treasury understandably wants to put this mess behind it, its haste seems more for GM's benefit. The Treasury did the bailing out, but running out of cash in 2008 and needing the government to fund its bankruptcy reorganization was all GM's doing. 

When the government finally sells all of its shares, it will end a sad chapter in GM's history. The company nearly ran out of cash in 2008 and needed government money to survive a trip through bankruptcy reorganization. With GM posting 14 straight profitable quarters since then, maybe the Treasury just wanted to go out on a high note.

Considering the company is just getting around to updating its most popular vehicle -- the Chevrolet Silverado -- and finally reaping some benefits from alternative-fuel vehicles, a little more patience from the Treasury might have paid off.

More on moneyNOW

Sep 11, 2013 5:13PM
Perhaps the bond holders who were the victims of the "Obama Bail Out" of the unions would like to have their money returned.
Sep 11, 2013 11:52PM
It's great to be too big to fail! Ask Goldman Sucks and they'll wholeheartedly agree! Why do Americans accept this unlawful use of Government funds? Congress needs a housecleaning, and you don't have the balls to vote them out!
Sep 11, 2013 9:43PM

Don't buy any GM products until they repay the pension plans and make good on those bonds.


The UAW stole that money from the widows and orphans, pensions and taxpayers.


Every time I see someone buying a GM product, I can't help but think, it says, I SUPPORT theft to support the deadbeat UAW and the scum they represent...


Sep 12, 2013 7:26AM
Maybe they should pay back 100% of their bailout money instead of 30% of it.  Then, all the stockholders who took it in the back by obozo's money giveaway would like a refund for their losses.  I will not support any products of obozo's failures but instead buy from someone who knows how to handle their own business affairs.
Sep 12, 2013 3:09PM
Dream on.  That "government motors" insult will NEVER go away.  For all you bow tie liars who have been saying "GM paid that back" for the last 4, no they haven't.  They are still 14 Billion in the red on our tax money.  Government Motors is there to stay.  They've been an insult to the motoring public...and now the insult is on them.
Sep 12, 2013 1:10AM
We can ask ourselves; "what would Mitt do?" He would have GM in China.
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