The US government owned and then sold shares of General Motors (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/12/09/government-treasury-gm-general-motors-tarp-bailout-exit-sale/3925515/ ). Did the US government ever vote as a shareholder of GM?

  • Not sure I see how this can be considered personal finance... – keshlam Sep 17 '15 at 20:31
  • Depends on the structure of the deal and contract between the two. Also if they were preferred shares they usually don't get voting rights. – Ross Sep 17 '15 at 20:33
  • Wasn't sure where to post this otherwise, open to suggestions for other locations. – user22490234 Sep 17 '15 at 20:39
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    I think the question is okay here. If you are a GM shareholder, it is an important question. – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Sep 17 '15 at 21:18
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    @user22490234 since when do shareholders make decisions about ignition switches? I don't understand the connections you're trying to make here. – littleadv Sep 18 '15 at 6:36

During GM's Chapter 11 reorganization in 2009, a new company was formed, with new stock. The old General Motors Corporation was renamed to "Motors Liquidation Company," and the new company was named "General Motors Company." The new company purchased some of the assets from the old company, and the old company was left to sell off the remaining assets and settle the debts.

None of the stock transferred from the old company to the new one; if you were a GM stockholder of the old company and didn't sell, it is now worthless.

When the new company formed, the stock was not traded publicly. The company was primarily owned by the United States and Canadian governments; together, they owned 72.5%. In 2010, GM had an IPO, and the US government sold most of their stake. By the end of 2013, the US government sold the remaining stake; the government no longer has any ownership in GM.

When we talk about voting rights for stockholders, we are mainly talking about voting for the members of the board of directors. And yes, the government did indeed have a hand in selecting the board of the new company. The Treasury Department selected 10 members of the board, and the Canadian government selected 1 member. There were 19 board members total. (Source)

Unlike some companies, there are not "voting" and "non-voting" classes of GM stock. All the shares sold by the US government are voting shares.

Additional Sources:

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    While I agree that under the reorganization the government was involved in selecting the board, I believe that bypassed stockholder vote, occurring before the new GM went public again. I may be mistaken. – keshlam Sep 18 '15 at 12:21

I believe the answer is "no", if I remember discussion at the time correctly. A reference librarian could show you how to research this. (Undervalued resource, and they love an excuse to show people how to get the most out of a library.)

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  • That is most definitely incorrect. Directors can only be appointed via shareholder votes, and annual shareholder meetings and votes are required by law. – littleadv Sep 18 '15 at 5:14

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