General Motors Corp has been given about a third of the bankruptcy financing promised by the U.S. Treasury and will get the remaining $20 billion over the remainder of the year, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.
We want them to be able to spend the whole day without looking at the bank balance and wondering if their check is going to clear, said Steve Rattner, the former investment banker who heads the Obama administration's autos task force.
We want to get them out of that rut that they were in and really be able to focus on making cars, he said.
The comments in a conference call with reporters were the first from the White House after a federal judge approved a plan brokered by the Obama administration that would create a new GM by selling the automaker's best assets out of bankruptcy.
Absent a successful appeal of that decision, the deal to create a reorganized GM under the 60 percent ownership of the U.S. government could close as soon as this week.
Rattner said that a priority for the Obama administration was to sell its equity interest in the largest U.S. automaker as soon as possible.
The U.S. government has provided about $60 billion in financing to support GM's turnaround, including $30 billion in bankruptcy financing. About $50 billion of the U.S. government financing will be converted into stock in the reorganized company.
An initial public offering that would take the newly private and reorganized GM back into public ownership could happen as soon as the first half of 2010 if the stock market is decently robust, Rattner said.
I believe that will be sometime next year. I would like to believe and hope it will be in the first half of next year but I would not want to predict anything specific, he said.
(Reporting by David Lawder; writing by Kevin Krolicki; editing by Leslie Gevirtz)