Bloomberg and Sky News have reported that the Canadian government has started a selection process to find investment banks for selling off of the stake the government took in General Motors as part of its own contribution to bailing out the automaker. Late last year, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said that Canada had no intention of holding those shares long-term. Together the federal Canadian and provincial Ontario governments own 140 million shares of common GM stock, valued at $5.1 billion (US), a 10% stake in the automaker, which makes Canada the company’s third biggest shareholder behind the U.S. Treasury and the UAW’s VEBA health plan. The governments had originally invested $9.5 billion in GM back in 2009, selling off 35 million of its shares when GM made its initial public offering of stock in the reorganized company.
In response to the news reports, a spokeswoman for Flaherty said in an email, “The government of Canada remains committed to exiting from ownership of GM as quickly as feasible, while maximizing the value of the government’s interests for Canadian taxpayers.” GM shares are now trading at 11% above the post-bankruptcy IPO price, and are up 27% this year. Around the same time that the Canadian finance minister made his remarks last December, GM announced that the U.S. Treasury would be selling it’s entire stake in the car company within 15 months.