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By Andrew Ganz

General Motors’ much-ballyhooed IPO last week raised lots of cash for the automaker, much of which came from overseas investors keen to take advantage of what they hope will become a profitable automaker.

Among the highest profile stock acquisitions, however, are $500 billion investments from firms in two countries that boast unique relationships with the United States.

Chinese investment

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, co-operator of a joint-venture partnership with GM in China, bought a $500 million share in GM “on the basis of a good strategic partnership between the two [brands],” the company said in a statement. GM intends to increase its share in the joint-venture from 34 to 44 percent as part of an unrelated expansion plan in China.

GM CEO Dan Akerson was complimentary of SAIC and its acquisition of nearly 1 percent of GM.

“Shanghai Auto, the most successful automotive company in China, who is our partner in China, is absolutely critical to GM’s success,” Akerson told Bloomberg Television yesterday. “I think the pairing and the strategic investment by SAIC, and the relationship that we have is a strong positive, a strong plus for General Motors.”

Saudi Arabian Investment

While SAIC’s investment was rumored for months, a similar acquisition of $500 million in shares by Saudi investment firm Kingdom Holding run by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. Alwaleed (or Al-Waleed), considered by investors to be Saudi Arabia’s Warren Buffett, is an American-educated investor with a wide variety of holdings in various industries across the globe.

“The decision of Kingdom Holding Co. and Prince Alwaleed to invest in GM was based on the global strength of the General Motors brand, the relatively attractive offering price, and the company’s growth prospects in Brazil and China,” Alwaleed’s investment firm said in a statement released to the media.

Alwaleed himself owns 95 percent of Kingdom Holding.



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