TEXT OF INTERVIEW
JEREMY HOBSON: In the next 24 hours or so General Motors is expected to file final papers for an Initial Public Offering, selling shares to private investors would change Uncle Sam from a majority owner into a minority owner.
Marketplace’s Scott Tong is on the line with us live from Washington to explain all this. Good morning, Scott.
SCOTT TONG: Hey Jeremy.
HOBSON: So, Scott are the taxpayers no longer going to own General Motors?
TONG: They’re going to own less. The government during the bailout put nearly $50 billion of public money into General Motors. So far, it’s got about $10 billion or so back. And the Treasury could bank another $7 billion from this expected IPO. That still leaves a lot — more than $30 billion the government owns. And it’s exit strategic going forward is to sell more shares down the road, and hopefully with the stock at a higher price.
HOBSON: And Scott, who’s going to buy these new shares?
TONG: Well, there’s a lot of chatter about foreign investors among others, including China’s largest car producer — which is already a big General Motors partner in China. I just spoke to analyst Bill Russo at the firm Synergistics in Beijing, about what this means for GM’s future.
BILL RUSSO: GM is transitioning from a north American centered company to a more global company with a new center emerging in its largets growth market and its largest overall market, which is China.
Now in China, GM’s Buick is one of the top brands there — talk about an alternative universe, Jeremy. General Motors is already partnering with the Chinese firm in developing a domestic brand for the China market, and they’re looking to move jointly into emerging markets like India. Now back here at home the company hopes the IPO will change its image — that it gets away from the Government Motors jokes, and that it’s once again a private sector company just like the old days.
HOBSON: So GM’s future may be far from Michigan. Alright thank you Scott.
TONG: Alright. You’re welcome.
HOBSON: Marketplace’s Scott Tong in Washington.
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