U.S. to Unload GM Stake Quickly - Even At a Loss to Taxpayers

Joshua Duval
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Steven Rattner, a member of President Obama's automotive task force, said the government is seeking to shed its stake in the new General Motors as soon as possible--even if it means a lower return for U.S. taxpayers.

"We are not trying to be Warren Buffet," said Rattner, one of the top members of Obama's automotive task force responsible for engineering GM's bankruptcy. "The most important thing is to get the government out of the car business."

GM won the approval Sunday of bankruptcy judge Robert Geber to sell its "good" assets to a new company, a key part of its plan to return to profitability. The government said it will choose its members on the board of directors in a few weeks, and that it will retain GM's current CEO, Fritz Henderson, and Chairman, Ed Whitacre.

Reaffirming the statements made by President Obama earlier, Rattner said that the government is not seeking to micromanage GM. He said the government's influence would be limited to working with the new board of directors.

Rattner also admitted that the economy is weaker than the task force anticipated when the plans to force Chrysler and GM into bankruptcy were formulated. Despite that hiccup, Rattner says the automakers' plans allow for profitability even at low annual auto sales of 10 million to 12 million units. Last month's annual rate was less than 10 million units.

"There are no rosy scenarios embedded in the restructuring plan," he said. Sales "are bumping along the bottom."

Source: The Detroit Free Press

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