GM expert says shares are cheap

Dec. 21, 2012 at 3:12 PM
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DETROIT, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. government's point man who guided policy on the bailout of General Motors said the government might be selling out too quickly.

Harry Wilson, a board member at Yahoo! and Visteon, runs MAEVA Group, a firm that does consulting work for and also buys struggling companies, the Detroit Free Press reported Friday.

When GM's 2009 bailout from bankruptcy was in its early stages, Wilson was on the president's auto industry task force and steered the government response away from loans to GM and toward buying GM stock.

With a $49.5 billion bailout, taxpayers owned 61 percent of GM when it emerged from bankruptcy.

The Treasury Department announced this week it would sell its 500.1 million GM shares, 200 of those going to GM by the end of the year, for $27.50 and the rest when the market appears right.

With the current plan, taxpayers will lose as much as $12 billion. The Treasury Department said the government should not be in the business of owning automobile companies.

But then the Treasury needs to answer for all losses.

Wilson said the government was right to sell its shares. On the on the other hand, "I always believed --- and still do --- that U.S. Treasury could get to break even in five years," he wrote in an email.

"I still believe that. I thought GM was dirt cheap a year ago and the stock is up 38 percent since then, and I still think it's attractive," he wrote.

GM stock climbed to a price near the government's $27.50 mark when the sale was announce.

Wilson, however, said a price-to-earnings ratio would put GM stock at close to $35 per share, if it was in line with Ford Motor Co., the Free Press said.

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