Report: GM May Raise Price Range For IPO

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general motors headquarters Report: GM May Raise Price Range For IPOStrong investor demand for General Motors stock may prompt the automaker to raise the target price range for Thursday’s initial public offering, a person briefed on the matter said Monday.

GM earlier this month said the common stock would sell for $26 to $29 per share and preferred shares would go for $50 each. But demand for the shares is now causing the automaker to rethink the pricing, although no decision has been made, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Scott Sweet, senior managing partner of the research firm IPO Boutique, said investment bankers have told him the final price for the common shares will likely be $30 to $30.50 when it is announced on Wednesday after stock markets close.

It was unclear whether the price of the preferred stock, which would pay a 5.5- to 6-percent dividend and be converted to common shares in 2013, would change as well.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a person it did not identify, reported Monday that the new common share price range would probably be from $31 to $33.

GM spokesman Selim Bingol would not comment on any possible price increases, which could be announced in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

GM’s owners, including the U.S. government, are selling 365 million common shares and the company plans to sell 60 million shares of preferred stock. At $30 per share, the common stock sale would be worth almost $11 billion, and the U.S. government would get almost $8 billion.

The price increase helps GM’s owners raise more money. Besides the U.S. government, other owners are the Canadian and Ontario governments and a United Auto Workers health care trust fund, which also are selling shares in the IPO. Because of strong demand, banks underwriting the sale also are likely to exercise an option to sell 15 percent more shares, which could bring the sellers even more money.

U.S. taxpayers became GM’s largest shareholder last year when the government put up $50 billion to get the automaker through bankruptcy protection. GM expects to have repaid $9.5 billion by the end of this year, and the government hopes to get the remaining $40 billion back through the IPO and several follow up sales.

Last week another person briefed on the sale said that orders for common stock were four times the number of shares, while preferred stock orders were double the number of shares.

Sweet said GM has to be careful not to price its offering so high that it exceeds limits placed on investors’ orders.

The possibility of a price increase comes during a week that could be the biggest for IPOs since 2007, according to investment adviser Renaissance Capital LLC. The IPO market has improved steadily since August 2009. The sector had been almost frozen for nearly a year after massive losses on mortgage bonds upended global credit markets.

Sweet wrote in a note to investors that two other IPOs slated for this week also have more orders than shares, management consultant Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., and the massive broker-dealer LPL Investment Holdings Inc.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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