GM extends IPO deadline for employees, dealers

By Deepa Seetharaman and David Bailey

DETROIT (BestGrowthStock) – General Motors Co (GM.UL: ) said on Tuesday it has extended the deadline for a program that allows employees and retirees to buy shares at the price of its initial public offering, expected in November.

GM extended the registration deadline to October 22, the company said on Tuesday in a notice obtained by Reuters. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by October 19.

The stock purchase program also is open to the automaker’s dealers in the United States and Canada.

The share purchase program covers U.S. and Canadian employees, directors, retirees and dealers, according to the notice.

The roll-out of the program had been reported, but it was unclear if the share registration would be extended to GM dealers.

GM emerged from a U.S. government-funded bankruptcy in July 2009 and plans an IPO that would allow the U.S. government to begin reducing its nearly 61 percent stake in the automaker. Canada holds 11.7 percent of GM’s common shares.

Mark Whibbs, a dealer at Vince Whibbs Pontiac-Buick-GMC Inc in Pensacola, Florida, said he intends to buy GM stock.

“I think it’s a phenomenal opportunity,” Whibbs said. “With … our product and the lean manufacturing team we have at GM, we’re very excited about it.”

GM CEO Dan Akerson is scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in New York where he is expected to provide an update on GM’s business and IPO.

The lead underwriters are Morgan Stanley (MS.N: ) (Read more about the money market today. ), JPMorgan (JPM.N: ), Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N: ) and Citigroup Inc (C.N: ).

The size of the offering has not been determined, but people involved in the process have said they expect a stock sale of $10 billion or more including new preferred shares to be issued by GM.

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is administering the directed stock purchase program. It is not clear what percentage of the offering will be open to retail investors. Bankers involved in the deal have sought sovereign wealth funds to act as cornerstone investors in GM.

The number of shares that people may buy under the program has not been determined, but the minimum investment is expected to be more than $1,000, GM said in a notice to potential individual investors.

GM has about 600,000 employees and retirees and 4,500 U.S. dealerships in the United States and Canada.

GM spokesman Pete Ternes confirmed that the company sent a letter to employees, retirees and dealers, but declined to comment on its content.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Krolicki. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

GM extends IPO deadline for employees, dealers