Fast 5: Five Things You Didn’t Know About General Motors’ IPO

If you follow automotive or financial news, you most likely noticed that General Motors finally filed its initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday. Although just a filing, and with the stock yet to trade on the open market for a few more months, we thought we’d mention a few things many didn’t know about GM going public again.

1. In addition to offering common stock, the automaker will offer preferred shares. GM says it has no plans to pay dividends to common stockholders, but has plans to for those who hold preferred shares. Preferred stock will be converted to common in 2013.

2. The governments of the United States and Canada continue to hold 61 and 12-percent shares of GM, respectively, but will likely begin selling off their shares once the automaker goes public. The U.S. Treasury is expected to immediately reduce its share to 50 percent, but no announcement has been made public yet. After the IPO goes live, the U.S. and Canadian governments lose their right to nominate board members; the Treasury nominated four members last July.

3. GM is expected to offer 500 million shares to the public. Pricing however has yet to be determined, but the automaker may raise as much as $20 billion from the sale. The IPO could be the largest such offering since Visa’s $19.7 billion IPO in March, 2008. A launch date hasn’t been determined, but it’s expected sometime later this year, possibly to coincide with the November election season. Tesla’s IPO in June was the largest such offering from a U.S. automaker since Ford did so in 1956.

4. No surprise here — the automaker is expected to use the same ticker symbol, GM, as it used before entering bankruptcy last summer.

5. Dan Akerson, GM’s new CEO as of September 1, will be the fourth person to hold the position in the last 18 months. He was nominated for his position on GM’s board of directors last July by the U.S. Treasury. Akerson has an impressive resume as CEO at Nextel, XO Communications, and managing director at the Carlyle Group, all within the last 15 years. Like his predecessor, and current Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Akerson has “no outside automotive industry experience” according to GM. By contrast, before the recent round of shakeups, only nine men have held the position of GM CEO.

Source: Reuters, The Detroit Free Press


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