WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday it would sell its 500.1 million General Motors shares, with the automaker buying up a chunk of them by year's end.
The plan that would divest the government of its entire GM holdings is to sell 200 million shares back to GM at $27.50 per share, the Treasury said. The rest of its GM shares would be sold within the next 12 to 15 months, "subject to market conditions," the department said.
The Treasury Department, which recently divested itself of its common shares of American International Group, is attempting to close the door on the Troubled Asset Relief Program through which bailouts were offered to banks, to AIG, and to GM and Chrysler.
The department said that "overall, to date ... the Treasury has recovered 90 percent [$381 billion] of the $418 billion in funds disbursed for TARP."
"The auto industry rescue helped save more than a million jobs during a severe economic crisis, but TARP was always meant to be a temporary, emergency program. The government should not be in the business of owning stakes in private companies for an indefinite period of time," Timothy Massad, assistant secretary for financial stability, said in a statement.
"Moving to exit our investment in GM within the next 12 to 15 months is consistent with our dual goals of winding down TARP as soon as practicable and protecting taxpayer interests," he said.
The department said "independent" analysis of the GM bailout concluded 1 million jobs were saved with the bailout that required $49.5 billion.
"Moreover, since June 2009, the auto industry has added a quarter of a million new jobs," Treasury said.