U.S. automaker set to buy back company shares
U.S. automaker set to buy back company sharesReuters

The US Treasury said Wednesday it would sell its investment in US automaker General Motors, a stake it bought as part of a government bail-out of the auto industry, over the next 12 to 15 months.

The announcement came as GM said it would buy 200 million shares of GM common stock held by the Treasury for $5.5 billion, or $27.50 per share.

The Treasury, which currently holds 500.1 million shares of GM common stock, said the move was part of its "continuing efforts to wind down its investments in the Troubled Asset Relief Program."

"The auto industry rescue helped save more than a million jobs during a severe economic crisis, but TARP was always meant to be a temporary, emergency program," said Timothy Massad, assistant secretary for financial stability.

"Moving to exit our investment in GM within the next 12 to 15 months is consistent with our dual goals of winding down TARP as soon as practicable and protecting taxpayer interests."

GM Chairman and Chief Executive Dan Akerson called the development "an important step in bringing closure to the successful auto industry rescue."

In October, GM, the largest US automaker, posted a 12 percent drop in profit for the third quarter from a year ago, hit by losses in Europe.