November 18, 2010
This morning, newly-minted shares of General Motors begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
You know the history: founded early in the 20th century, grew to become the world's largest auto company selling half of all US motor vehicles in the 1950's and 60's, torpor and decline in the 70's and 80's, and the fatal struggles of the last twenty years, ending in GM's bankruptcy on June 1st, 2009.
US taxpayers put up about $60 billion in loans in an effort to stave off the inevitable. Once the company tipped into bankruptcy, taxpayers got a fistful of stock in "new" GM - 60% of the shares - some of which are being sold in today's offering. So We The People own the company, getting shares about 6 weeks after the bottom of the market during the financial crisis. How'd we do?
Up to this point GM has paid back roughly $10 billion of the $60 billion bailout. If the Feds can sell "our" entire stake in GM at $43/share we'll break even on the remaining $50 billion. But wait - the underwriters priced the offering at $33. That means that taxpayers will lose money on the deal. Leave it to the Federal government to buy stock at the bottom of a bear market and then manage to sell at a loss. Thanks, guys.
Despite all that: Welcome Back GM.
(This article contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Brighton Securities Corp. The author's opinions are subject to change without notice. This blog post is for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. References to specific securities and their issuers are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended and should not be interpreted as recommendations to purchase or sell such securities).