As with most IPOs, General Motors’ initial public offering will be aimed at getting big investors to come in and snap up the millions of shares that will be put on the block.
Traditionally, that’s meant that the “little guy,” whether a day trader or just someone fleshing out a 401K, has had to wait until the initial buyers then put their shares up for bid – and often, with a promising new stock, that means a stiff premium over the initial offering prices.
But GM plans to offer a deal to an estimated 600,000 employees, retirees and dealers, who will have a chance to buy the maker’s new stock at the same offering price as a JPMorgan Chase or one of the other major investment firms expected to dominate the IPO.
A letter outlining the inside offer has been posted at www.gmipo.morganstanley.com.
“In connection with the proposed IPO, the Company is implementing a Directed Share Program in which U.S. and Canadian employees, Company directors, retirees and dealers that reside in the U.S. or Canada at the time of the IPO will have an opportunity to purchase shares of common stock at the opening IPO share price. The minimum and maximum number of shares that you can purchase as part of this program is still being determined; however, the minimum investment is expected to be greater than US$1,000,” it explains.
Eligible buyers will have to register by October 19th, through the mail, or online before October 22nd.
GM still has not said precisely when it will hold its eagerly-awaited IPO. The maker has been under heavy pressure from the White House, which oversees the government’s 61% stake in GM, to move as quickly as possible. But the stock offering will definitely not be staged before the upcoming mid-term elections, it turns out.
Something later in November is reportedly under study. It appears GM is watching closely to see how its third-quarter numbers shape up. (Ford is anticipated to be the first to announce its July – September results, likely within the next two weeks.) A solid performance on the bottom line would help motivate investors, industry analysts believe, after the good earnings GM has reported for the first half of 2010.
New General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has acknowledged that potential investors will want to see signs that the company’s turnaround is sustainable.
As the letter to potential inside investors makes clear, there are plenty of uncertainties about the IPO, not only including the date and share strike prices, but also the precise number of shares GM will put on the block. Akerson’s predecessor, Ed Whitacre, had suggested earlier this year that the maker might sell off the entire government stock block in one fell swoop. However, Akerson last month appeared to rule that out.
More likely, it now appears, GM will put a smaller chunk of stock out with the IPO and then stage additional offerings in the months, possibly years, to come.
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