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Government Could Seek Foreign Investors for GM

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"We expect that a large and diverse group of institutional investors will be offered an opportunity to participate."

(AP) — Investment bankers handling the upcoming General Motors Co. stock sale are expected to court foreign investors as well as those in North America, according to a U.S. Treasury Department statement.

GM and the Treasury Department would not comment Sunday on reports that the automaker is in talks with its current partner in China, SAIC, about buying a stake in the Detroit company. SAIC is owned by the Chinese government.

The Treasury Department, in a statement issued late Friday, said investors in GM would be sought across "multiple geographies," with a focus on North America.

The U.S. Treasury loaned GM about $50 billion to help it through bankruptcy protection last year. GM has repaid $6.7 billion. The rest of the bailout money was converted to a 61 percent government stake in the company.

The government hopes to get the remaining $43 billion back with stock sales that could start in November.

Foreign investment in U.S. automakers and other companies is common. Before the stock sale, GM will put on a two-week "road show" of presentations for investors, and several stops are expected to be in cities outside the U.S.

The Treasury statement also said banks underwriting the GM stock sale will be expected to balance getting the maximum price per share and return for taxpayers with having a stable base of shareholders and keeping up interest in several sales that will occur after the initial public offering.

Individual investors will get "ample opportunity" to buy GM shares, but institutional investors such as mutual funds, hedge funds and pension funds will be sought out, the statement said.

"We expect that a large and diverse group of institutional investors will be offered an opportunity to participate, with no single investor or group of investors receiving a disproportionate share or unusual treatment," the statement said.

The government will make ensure general guidelines are followed in the sale "but will not involve itself in decisions regarding allocation of shares to specific buyers," the statement said.

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