GM files for IPO and plans dual listing

Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:47pm EDT
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By Clare Baldwin and David Bailey

NEW YORK/DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co took a big step toward repaying a controversial taxpayer-funded bailout by declaring plans for a landmark stock offering that represents a critical test for the Obama administration.

The automaker said it planned to list the shares on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange in an initial public offering that comes amid a still-weak global market for cars that is vulnerable to a further downturn.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup Inc have been selected as the lead underwriters for what is expected to mark one of the biggest global IPOs.

The long-running confidential preparations for the IPO were dubbed "Project Dawn" by the group of bankers, Treasury officials and GM executives led by Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell.

GM's initial filing with U.S. securities regulators did not say how many shares would be sold or give an expected price range for the IPO. The IPO could raise up to $20 billion, though analysts cautioned that its size depends on still-untested investor demand for a restructured automaker with only two consecutive quarters of profits.

"I don't think this is a good time to be going public," said Dennis Virag, president of Automotive Consulting Group. "It's more political than practical."

Trading in GM shares is expected to start between late October and the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on November 25, according to people involved in the process. A stock offering in late October would mean trading would start just before the November congressional elections.

Government officials and GM executives have repeatedly denied any link with the elections.   Continued...

<p>Vehicles for sale are parked at a Cadillac dealer in Sherman Oaks, California August 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>