The Push for a People's IPO of GM
In the wake of General Motors’ stellar second quarter—the company’s best in six years—and surprising news that CEO Ed Whitacre would leave his post on Sept. 1, Cramer on Thursday reiterated his call for a people’s IPO of GM. On Monday, he urged the US government, a major stakeholder, to make sure individuals as well as institutions had access to the offering. See below for his full report.
The US government needs to let the public in on the initial public offering of General Motors, Cramer said Monday.
"It has to give us an open auction for all individuals and institutions that might want the stock," he argued. "It has to give everyone an opportunity to be in this IPO, because if it doesn’t, if it follows the conventional route of giving the deal to a big investment bank for a traditional IPO, then the only beneficiaries will be the fat cat clients who get the stock and their brokers that give it to them."
In two government offerings of private securities during Cramer's lifetime, he can remember how the public was "short-changed" by the US government and brokers, too. The first example would be the privatization of Conrail, the once bankrupt railroad, he said. The second is the sale of TARP warrants, where the government did not take equity stakes in the banks that it gave TARP money to. The government did keep warrants, but those gave a very mall return versus what could have been a "homerun" for the US taxpayers had the Treasury Department insisted on taking coming stock for its investments.
If the government opts for a conventional offering with General Motors, Cramer thinks it will be like Conrail, where big brokers will parcel out stock to the wealthiest investors and hedge funds as a perk for sending a lot of commissions their way. The last bailout of an automaker made shareholders a fortune, Cramer said. If you owned shares of Chrysler between when the government signed the loan guarantees in May 1980 and when Chrysler repaid the loans in September 1983, you posted a 280%.
Some have said the government won't do a public IPO of GM because anything other than a traditional offering would violate SEC rules. But Cramer said the open auction of Google counters that argument.
"So come on, Mr. President. Let the people in on their investment’s return," Cramer said. "Share the wealth. Give us some GM! We paid for it!"
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