A few days after divesting its stake in the firm that started it all, AIG, and at a profit at that (ignoring that the risk has merely been onboarded by the Fed whose DV01 is now $2+ billion as a result), the US Treasury continues to divest of all its bailout stake, this time proceeding to GM, where the channel stuffing firm just announced it would buyback 200MM shares from the US government at a price of $27.50. More importantly, the "Treasury said it intends to sell its other remaining 300.1 million shares through various means in an orderly fashion within the next 12-15 months, subject to market conditions. Treasury intends to begin its disposition of those 300.1 million common shares as soon as January 2013 pursuant to a pre-arranged written trading plan. The manner, amount, and timing of the sales under the plan are dependent upon a number of factors." Assuming a price in the $27.50 range, this implies a nearly 50% loss on the government's breakeven price of $54. So much for the "profit" spin. One hopes all those Union votes were well worth the now booked $40+ billion cost to all taxpayers.
One wonders why the US government did not open up this particular buyback to a public tender: after all some taxpayers may still care about the financial mismanagement of Uncle Sam. Then again, perhaps not.
General Motors today said it will purchase 200 million shares of GM common stock held by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for $5.5 billion, or $27.50 per share. The share buyback is part of the Treasury’s plan, also announced today, to fully exit its entire holdings of GM stock within 12 to 15 months, subject to market conditions.
Treasury has announced its intention to sell its remaining shares of common stock into the market through various means and in an orderly fashion. Treasury intends to begin its disposition of its remaining shares as soon as January 2013, consistent with a pre-arranged written trading plan. In addition, Treasury has agreed to relinquish certain governance rights that were included in the U.S. Treasury Secured Credit Agreement with GM.
“This announcement is an important step in bringing closure to the successful auto industry rescue, it further removes the perception of government ownership of GM among customers, and it demonstrates confidence in GM’s progress and our future,” said Dan Akerson, chairman and CEO of GM.
Dan Ammann, senior vice president and CFO added, “A fortress balance sheet has been a pillar of GM’s financial strategy and has enabled us to undertake today’s actions. GM’s balance sheet will remain very strong, with estimated liquidity of approximately $38 billion at the end of 2012, following the closing of the share buyback.”
The repurchase price of $27.50 per share represents a 7.9 percent premium over the closing price on December 18, 2012. The share buyback is expected to close by the end of the year. This transaction will be accretive to earnings per share, as GM’s total shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis will be reduced by approximately 11 percent. In association with this share buyback, GM expects to take a charge of approximately $400 million in the fourth quarter, which will be treated as a special item.
After the repurchase, Treasury will continue to own approximately 300 million shares of GM common stock, or approximately 19 percent of the outstanding shares on a fully diluted basis. Government ownership of GM stock was the result of the auto industry rescue that began under President George W. Bush in 2008 and which was expanded by President Barack Obama in 2009.
The industry in general, and GM in particular, have rebounded sharply since the rescue. Since the rescue, GM has announced investments of more than $7.3 billion in the U.S. and created or retained more than 20,000 jobs.
“We come to work every day grateful that taxpayers from the US and Canada stepped forward to rescue our industry, and determined to show this extraordinary help was worth it,” Akerson said.
* * *
And just because you asked for it again, here is GM's channel stuffing in its full glory: