- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 28, 2009

DETROIT (AP) | The Obama administration plans to sell its shares in General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC as soon as it can, the head of the autos task force told a congressional panel Monday.

“We are very eager to dispose of them as soon as possible,” said Ron Bloom, now chairman of the Treasury Department task force overseeing GM and Chrysler. “On GM, our expectation of a GM IPO is 2010.”

Mr. Bloom said the government would not sell all of its shares at initial public offerings, as it could get more money following an IPO should shares of the company rise. He did not give a timetable on such a sale of GM or Chrysler stock.

The U.S. government owns 61 percent of the new General Motors and 8 percent of Chrysler. The task force is overseeing the two companies because they have received $65 billion in federal aid.

New versions of both GM and Chrysler recently emerged from short stays in government-funded bankruptcy protection, cleansed of old debt and burdensome contracts.

Mr. Bloom would not articulate any particular financial or operational milestones GM or Chrysler have to reach before the government would cash out its stock.

“It’s going to be based on the situation,” he said, adding that success would be measured in the taxpayers’ ability to get their money back.

GM’s treasurer, Walter Borst, testified that GM would seek to repay its loans faster than the six-year timeframe outlined by the autos task force. He added that GM is now working on “fresh start” accounting measures that companies use to reorganize their books following a trip through bankruptcy court.

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