China's SAIC Considering Buying Stake in General Motors
Industry insiders are reporting that China's SAIC has expressed interest in buying a stake of General Motors come its public offering in November, though it has yet to make a solid commitment. GM has declined to comment on the matter.
The U.S. government is eager to unload its 61% stake in GM after taxpayers bailed out / loaned the iconic automaker to the tune of US$50 billion. This comes despite the political ramifications of selling part of the brand to foreign investors or sovereign-wealth funds.
The government has rejected suggestions that the IPO should be limited to domestic investors, however the Treasury has state that no single investor or investor group would receive, "a disproportionate share or unusual treatment."
The Initial Public Offering (IPO) of GM shares will include those held by the U.S. Treasury, a union-managed retiree trust and the Canadian government. The government's plan is to offload their stake in GM in one month, though GM CEO Dan Akerson believes it could in fact take years. The Treasury will wait until after the November midterms in order to keep politics out of the float.
SAIC's bid is not that farfetched, either. Insiders note that SAIC has been building cars with GM in China since the 1990, with its home market a key source of strength for GM. Year-to-date sales were up 19% in August, for instance, even though the U.S. and Europe are still struggling.
By Tristan Hankins