Monday, May 31, 2010

U.S. hires lead bank for General Motors IPO

by Sam Abuelsamid

The government of the United States may be actively avoiding any direct involvement in the day-to-day management of General Motors, but that doesn't mean it won't have a say when the time comes for the automaker to go public again. According to The Detroit News, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has hired investment bank Lazard Frères & Co. to provide it with advice on the initial public offering process.

While both General Motors and the Treasury would obviously both like the latter to unload the majority stake it owns in the automaker as soon as possible, that process needs to be done carefully. Political and public perception considerations point to an early IPO, but that may not be the smartest thing to do from a business perspective. Selling before its clear that GM's recovery is well underway could lead to getting too low a share price. The bank will reportedly also look at other options for disposing of the 61 percent shareholding.

According to the report, Lazard Frères & Co. will get paid $500,000 a month for the first year and $250,000 per month after that if the sale hasn't yet been completed. Estimates from various sources are that the treasury will face losses of $25-30 billion on the bailouts of GM, Chrysler and GMAC.


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