Treasury: GM shares could be sold over 2 years

The head of the government's bailout program said Wednesday that the Treasury Department hopes to sell its remaining shares of General Motors stock over the next two years.

The head of the government's bailout program said Wednesday that the Treasury Department hopes to sell its remaining shares of General Motors stock over the next two years.

Timothy Massad, the senior Treasury official managing the government bailout fund, told a congressional hearing that there is now a path forward for the department to sell its remaining shares in GM over the next two years if market conditions permit.

The Treasury Department trimmed its stake in GM to 26.5 percent of the company from 61 percent, when it sold $23.1 billion of GM stock at an initial public offering in November.

In an appearance before the House Oversight Committee, Massad cited the November stock sale as a major milestone.

"Now that we have completed the initial public offering of GM, we do have a pathway to sell the rest of our shares," he told the panel. "And I would expect that we would sell all those ... hopefully within the next two years, market conditions permitting."

Massad said in his testimony that the government still has about $166 billion invested in various institutions that received support from the $700 billion bailout fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. He said that he was hopeful that the government would be able to recover much of that amount over the next two years, depending on market conditions.

Under the terms of the November IPO for GM, the government cannot sell additional shares until mid-May.

The government provided a total of $49.5 billion to the giant automaker as it went through a bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

The Treasury will need to sell its remaining GM shares at an average price of $53 to break even on the bailout. General Motors Co. stock closed at $37.89 on Wednesday. The shares sold for $33 in the initial public offering in November.

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AP Business Writer Daniel Wagner contributed to this report.

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