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GM calls a financial summit in preparation for IPO

June 24, 2010

GM calls a financial summit in preparation for IPO

The Detroit News

General Motors Co. has invited financial analysts, potential investors and other members of the financial community to Warren next week to review its business performance ahead of an initial public stock offering expected late this year.

The June 29 meeting at GM’s Technical Center will focus on the automaker’s progress since emerging from bankruptcy last summer.

GM will provide updates from each of its four global regions. Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell will host the meeting, and Vice Chairman Steve Girsky will talk about the new GM.

Tom Stephens, vice chairman of global product operations, will review fuel economy and technology improvements.

The meeting comes as GM prepares to file, as early as next week, a detailed statement outlining its proposed initial public offering that will reduce the U.S. government’s 60.8 percent stake in the company. The sale could take place before the November election.

"It’s been a while since we’ve engaged with this community," GM spokeswoman Noreen Pratscher said.

An IPO will allow GM to again be a publicly traded company, the first step toward the government selling its ownership stake.

Bloomberg News, citing unidentified sources, reported Wednesday that GM. is preparing to sell 20 percent of the Treasury’s 304 million shares, which would reduce its stake to below 50 percent.

Final decisions on which owners will sell how many shares haven’t been made and may change, Bloomberg reported.

Some Wall Street analysts predict the government will sell a third of its stake — roughly 100 million of its 500 million GM shares — in an initial sale.

That first sale could raise between $10 billion and $15 billion or more, which would put it among the three largest IPOs in history.

One Treasury official said a GM stock sale could raise more than $20 billion and become the largest IPO in history.

Members of the financial community also will test drive GM vehicles during the meeting.

Also Wednesday, GM said it is in talks with financial institutions to provide more loans and leases for customers with bad credit — a move that could boost sales and market share.

The discussions mean GM is less likely to try buying back part of its former GMAC financing unit, now called Ally Financial Inc., or create its own finance division.

"We are developing relationships with other financial sources on a selective basis for specialized financing needs, such as leasing and sub-prime financing," GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson said.

Next week’s get-together in Warren could be timed to coincide with GM filing the IPO registration statement, speculated auto analyst Joe Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting in Short Hills, N.J.

"It’s about spin," Phillippi said. "GM wants to get its story out. This is the first go-’round with the road show."

The registration statement also will announce that Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. will be lead underwriters for the sale of part of the government’s stake.

The registration statement will include detailed financial information about GM.

It also will likely indicate how much stock the government is willing to sell, and how many shares can be sold to the underwriters, which can profit by selling them.

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