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GM IPO tour timetable emerges

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GM IPO tour timetable emerges

Auto executives won't try to attract investors until after Nov. 2 elections

David Shepardson and Christina Rogers / The Detroit News

Washington -- General Motors Co. won't send its executives on a worldwide tour, aimed at convincing potential investors to buy its stock, until after the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

A person briefed on the matter confirmed GM's plan for a post-election investors' road show, followed by the initial public offering of its stock a few weeks afterward.

Led by new CEO Daniel Akerson, who took the reins of GM Wednesday, the automaker's stock sales team will court investors in Asia, Europe and around the United States, the person told The Detroit News on Thursday.

The post-election timetable gives the Securities and Exchange Commission about three months to approve GM's registration statement, which was filed last month.

The exact timing of the road show and stock sale could change, depending on market conditions. The SEC's approval process could also delay the sale.

The Associated Press, citing two people with knowledge of the process, reported Thursday that GM's board of directors hasn't approved a date for the IPO and is expected to meet next week to discuss the issue.

But Scott Sweet, senior managing partner for IPO Boutique, told The Detroit News he has learned from multiple sources that GM will set its stock price Nov. 17, and the stock will be offered for sale the following day. He declined to name his sources.

Tampa-based IPO Boutique specializes in IPO research.

GM is in a "quiet period" before its IPO, so no company official or spokesperson is authorized to discuss the process publicly.

The Detroit-based automaker faces a weak market for public offerings and will have to convince investors it can perform well, even though it already has predicted weaker second-half results for the year than the $2.2 billion profit posted in the first half.

A November stock sale likely will come after GM releases its earnings for its third quarter, which ends Sept. 30. If the third-quarter earnings are good, it could push up the stock price, analysts say.

After it secures SEC approval, GM will file an amended registration that includes the number of shares to be sold, and an offering price.

The U.S. Treasury Department hasn't decided how much of its 61 percent stake in GM it will sell. As part of the 2009 federal bailout, the government took the equity stake in exchange for about $43 billion in loans to GM.

Administration officials have insisted that they aren't driving the timing of the IPO. Under the automaker's agreement with the Treasury, it needed to make its best efforts to go public by July 2010, but wasn't required to do so. GM decided this year it needed more time.

Numerous published reports have suggested the government could sell between $10 billion and $16 billion, but government officials may opt to sell for less if market conditions dictate.

GM also is likely to sell preferred stock of $2 billion to $3 billion, based on how much common stock is sold. Generally, companies sell preferred stock at a ratio of one share for every five shares of common stock.

Several Wall Street banks made pitches to be lead underwriters for GM's IPO, according to a book coming out next month by the White House's former auto czar, Steve Rattner.

Rattner also writes in the book, "Overhaul," that GM's board last month was considering two candidates for the CEO job besides Akerson: lead director Patricia Russo and Steve Girsky.

Girsky, a GM board member and longtime Wall Street analyst who covered the auto industry and had worked for former GM CEO Rick Wagoner, had no management experience. And Russo had a rocky tenure as a CEO of Lucent Technology, which suffered repeated losses while she headed the company.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100903/AUTO01/9030352/1148/auto01/GM-IPO-tour-timetable-emerges#ixzz0yTIxYOWC

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