Back in 2004, perfectionist homemaker and well known TV personality Martha Stewart was charged with insider trading. As presented, the facts in the case were simple. Martha owned stock in a medical research company called ImClone and, like a lot of people who invest in tech firms, she was hoping for a big payout when their product, a promising new cancer treatment, went on the market. Unfortunately, the FDA chose not to approve the drug and the value of the stock looked set to take a beating once the decision was announced. According to the charges initially brought against her, Martha and many of the company’s top executives learned of the FDA’s decision though their inside connections the day before it was publicly announced and were able to sell their shares before they crashed. That’s against the law and many of the people caught up in the scandal, including Martha who was convicted on the charge of making false claims to a federal investigator, ended up going to jail. (Read More…)
The Government Accountability Office issued a report on the U.S. Treasury’s investment in General Motors (and Ally Financial, the former GMAC credit arm of GM) which says that the automaker has improved since 2008 but that there still are concerns about competitiveness and market share as well as pension and labor costs. “Although GM’s financial performance has improved significantly since the company initially received federal assistance, questions remain about competitiveness, market share and costs,” the GAO said. (Read More…)
The United States Treasury has reduced its stake in General Motors to 7.3% after selling off another block of the shares it acquired during the bailout of the giant automaker. According to documents released earlier this week cited by Reuters, the Treasury sold at least 110 million shares between May 6 and September 13, raising more than $3.82 billion.
Continuing its divestment of the shares it obtained in General Motors for bailing out the automaker in 2009, the United States Treasury told Congress yesterday that it has sold $876.9 million dollars worth of GM stock last month, somewhere between 23 and 26 million shares, based on the trading prices during July. By those calculations, the U.S. government still holds about 136 million shares of GM, which closed yesterday at $35.98. At the rate that Treasury is selling off its GM shares, the government’s equity will be completely divested by early 2014. The government originally held a 61% stake in GM following the $49.5 billion bailout, over 500 million shares. By selling some of those shares, Treasury has recouped $34.6 billion of the $49.5 billion. (Read More…)
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.
Ally Financial, what used to be known as the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, GMAC, before GM’s bankruptcy and bailout, itself received over $17 billion from the U.S. Treasury during the bailouts of 2009. On Tuesday the company said that it was looking into options on how to repay that money and comply with the Federal Reserves’ latest stress tests for financial institutions. Ally is 74% owned by Treasury and it is trying to buy back some taxpayer-owned stock and reach an agreement with the Fed on its capital structure (known as the “Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review”) so it can offer stock in an IPO. Ally had originally planned on a 2011 IPO but having to resolve claims against its bankrupt Residential Capital mortgage unit delayed that. ResCap hopes to be out of bankruptcy by 2014. (Read More…)
Now that the GM share finally is trading a wee bit above its IPO price, The Treasury is eager to bail from the bailout. The government’s fiance department announced “plans to sell 30 million shares of General Motors Co common stock as part of its ongoing effort to wind down the government’s stake in the bailed-out automaker,” Reuters says. (Read More…)
In America, government bailouts of ailing car companies are (at least in some circles) viewed as an inalienable right. In the EU, government aid generally is forbidden by law. Ironically, Ford, the only un-bailed-out Detroit company, now is in collision with these quaint continental regulations. (Read More…)
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before. Unlike the poorly interpreted plans for Mazda to be a “premium” brand, PSA really is planning to take Peugeot upscale, despite having zero brand equity, an upscale Citroen line and zero exposure to the profit center of the future, low-cost cars.